Welcome to my French Defense (ECO C02) game with Michael Cui page!

This is a game in which I messed up the Milner-Barry Gambit versus the French Defense against one of Michael Hoffer’s students, a boy who is about ten years old.

I had drawn the previous round against a higher rated player and was still tired from that game when this one started. My opponent was expecting me to play the English opening and would have played a Kings Indian defense against it. I am OK with that but wanted a faster win against a very low rated opponent! I was down material for much of this game but played on anyway because I believed that this little kid would mess up in the time scramble, and he did. I would have resigned the lost position against anyone that I actually respected!

One of the advantages of having played chess for more than thirty years is that there is very little that I have not seen. The main drawback is that I am now 55 years old and fatigue quite easily! Fatigue, plus a fast time limit, were the main reasons for my poor play in parts of this game. I was 53 at the time that this game was played.

[Event “Florida State Championship Prep”]
[Site “Tampa”]
[Date “2011.08.27”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Serovey, Michael”]
[Black “Cui, Michael”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C02”]
[WhiteElo “1567”]
[BlackElo “923”]
[Annotator “Michael Serovey”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq – 0 1”]
[PlyCount “87”]
[EventDate “2011.08.27”]
[EventType “swiss (rapid)”]
[EventCountry “USA”]
[SourceDate “2011.08.29”]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 Bd7 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4
Nxd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. Nc3 a6 11. Re1 f6 12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Qf3 Bb4 14. Ne2 Qg4
15. Qxg4 Nxg4 16. Rd1 O-O 17. h3 Nxf2 18. Be3 Nxd1 19. Rxd1 e5 20. a3 Bd6 21. g4
Rf3 22. Be4 Rxe3 23. Bxd5+ Kf8 24. Nc3 Bc5 25. Kg2 Bc6 26. Bxc6 bxc6 27. Na4 Be7
28. Rc1 Rc8 29. Nb6 Rb8 30. Nd7+ Kf7 31. Nxb8 Re2+ 32. Kf3 Rxb2 33. Rc3 Kf6 34.
Nxc6 Rb7 35. Nxe7 Rxe7 36. Ke4 Kg5 37. a4 Kh4 38. a5 h5 39. gxh5 Kxh5 40. Rg3
Kh4 41. Rf3 g5 42. Rf5 g4 43. hxg4 Kxg4 44. Rxe5 {Black declined the Rook
trade and eventually lost on time.} 1-0

Florida State Championship Prep
Tampa, Florida
Date Played: 27 August 2011
White: Mike Serovey (1567) Black: Michael Cui (923)

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3 Bd7 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nxd4 9. Nxd4 Qxd4 10. Nc3 a6

French Defense after 10... a6.

French Defense after 10… a6.

I was not expecting a little boy with a 923 rating to find this move! It was the only one here that I was not prepared for. It seems to be Black’s best here. I wanted Black to take the pawn on e5 and then I would have played 11. Re1 followed by either Nb5 or Nxd5, depending on where Black puts his Queen. One advantage to playing a gambit in a game with a fast time control is that up to this point I am playing from memory while my opponent is using up quite a bit of clock time figuring this all out!

11. Re1 f6??

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 11... f6??

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 11… f6??

We both missed the Bishop check on g6 winning the Black Queen!

12. exf6 Nxf6 13. Qf3 Bb4 14. Ne2 Qg4 15. Qxg4 Nxg4

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 15... Nxg4.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 15… Nxg4.

Considering how weak f2 is 16. Rf1 was better.

16. Rd1 O-O 17. h3?? Nxf2!

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 17... Nxf2!

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 17… Nxf2!

White is losing more material here no matter what he plays! Black is winning for the next 10 moves, but I played on anyway because I had no respect for my opponent and expected him to mess up in the time pressure that followed.

18. Be3 Nxd1 19. Rxd1 e5 20. a3 Bd6

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 20... Bd6.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 20… Bd6.

At this point in the game I was exhausted from playing a decent opponent in the previous round and was missing all kinds of things!

21. g4?? Rf3!

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 21... Rf3!

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 21… Rf3!

And White loses yet more material! I had considered playing 22. Bxh7+ followed by 23. Rxd5, but I think that loses more material than what I played here.

22. Be4 Rxe3 23. Bxd5+ Kf8

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 23... Kf8.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 23… Kf8.

If 24. Bxb7 Rb8 25. Rxd6 Rxb7 26. Rd2 Rxh3 White is down a Rook and a pawn.

24. Nc3 Bc5? (Better was 24… Rxh3.) 25. Kg2 Bc6 26. Bxc6 bxc6

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 25... bxc6.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 25… bxc6.

Although Black is up a Rook and a pawn he also has three isolated pawns that White can target. The exchange of bishops was forced and favors the side that is up material.

27. Na4 Be7 28. Rc1 Rc8 29. Nb6!?

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 29. Nb6!?

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 29. Nb6!?

This was a cheap shot that worked! If 29… Rc7 then 30. Nd5 Re2+ 31. Kf3 Rxb2 32. Nxc7 Rb3+ 33. Kg2 Rxa3 34. Rxc6 a5 and White is down 2 passed pawns that he will have trouble catching.

Rb8?? 30. Nd7+ Kf7 31. Nxb8 Re2+

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 31... Re2+

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 31… Re2+

Now White is only down the passed pawn on the e file! Black’s time pressure blunders let White back into this game! The lesson here is that if your opponent is inexperienced in fast time controls it is sometimes to your advantage to play out lost games.

32. Kf3 Rxb2

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 32... Rxb2.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 32… Rxb2.

Either I recorded the next two moves in the wrong order or my opponent let me get away with a colossal blunder!

33. Rc3?? Kf6?? 34. Nxc6 Rb7 35. Nxe7 Rxe7 36. Ke4 Kg5 37. a4 Kh4 38. a5

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 38. a5.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 38. a5.

Trading off pawns helps the side that is down material!

h5 39. gxh5 Kxh5

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 39... Kxh5.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 39… Kxh5.

Because I am up on time but still in a bit of time pressure myself I am simply trying to run my opponent out of time here and miss 40. Rc6!

40. Rg3 Kh4

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 40... Kh4.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 40… Kh4.

Now, 41. Rg6 works.

41. Rf3 g5 42. Rf5 g4 43. hxg4 Kxg4 44. Rxe5

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 44. Rxe5.

French Defense, Milner-Barry Gambit after 44. Rxe5.

Because we are both quite low on time here I stopped recording moves at this point in the game. I do remember that Black declined the trade of rooks here and we both raced to the last pawns left on the board.

 and White eventually won on time forfeit.

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