Welcome to my Italian Opening game (ECO C50) with Stanislav Szabo  page!

On this page I have posted one my chess games in which I played the White side of the Italian Opening.

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This is the seventh game that I finished at Stan’s Net Chess. My rating at this site became 2027 after this loss. Szabo is from Bratislava, Slovakia. I think that this game is a good study in Rook and Pawn endgames.

Correspondence Game
Stan’s Net Chess
Game played 2-15-04 to 2-28-04
White: Mike Serovey (2027-P7) Black: Stanislav Szabo (1984-P18)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4

Italian Opening after 3... Nd4.

Italian Opening after 3… Nd4.

Once again my opponent avoids the Max Lange attack. I was also unable to transpose into the Kings Indian Attack.

4. d3 d6 5. Nxd4 exd4 6. O-O Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. f4

Italian Opening after 8. f4.

Italian Opening after 8. f4.

I completely overlooked Black’s next move! The Black Knight gets a nice home on e3 and is hard to dislodge. Better would have been to play 8. h3 instead or just capture the Knight.

Ng4 9. Qd2 Ne3 10. Rf2 Bxg5 11. fxg5 O-O

Italian Opening after 11... O-O.

Italian Opening after 11… O-O.

If instead of 11… O-O Black had played Qxg5 then 12. Bxf7+ causes Black some problems.

12. c3 (Trying to dislodge the Knight.) c5 13. cxd4 cxd4 14. Na3 d5 15. Bxd5 Nxd5 16. exd5 Qxd5 17. Nc4 Be6 18. b3 b6

Italian Opening after 18... b6.

Italian Opening after 18… b6.

Here I’m trying to figure out how to win the isolated Pawn on d4. I also wanted to trade Queens because I thought that doing so would help me to win that d Pawn.

19. Re1 Rad8 20. Qf4 f6 21. gxf6 Rxf6 22. Qe4 Qxe4

Italian Opening after 22... Qxe4.

Italian Opening after 22… Qxe4.

Here I recaptured with the Pawn but now believe that the Rook was better. For example, 23. Rxe4 Bxc4 24. bxc4 Rxf2 25. Kxf2 Kf7 26. Kf3 Kf6 27. Kf4 g5+ 28. Kg4 And White should be able to trade off the Kingside pawns and then resume his attack on the isolated d Pawn.


23. dxe4 Bxc4 24. bxc4

Italian Opening after 24. bxc4.

Italian Opening after 24. bxc4.

I expected Black to trade Rooks here and was surprised by his next move. Black now has a passes Pawn in the Center and White has two isolated pawns. Black is clearly better here but I still had drawing chances.

Rc6 25. Rc1 Rdc8 26. Rfc2 d3

Italian Opening after 26... d3.

Italian Opening after 26… d3.

I spent quite some time looking at this and realized that trading Rooks would give Black an easy win. Thus, I had to trade 2 Pawns for one and be down a Pawn on the Queenside. I considered 27. Rc3 d2 28. Rd1 Rxc4 29. Rxc4 Rxc4 30. Rxd2 Rxe4 But decided to play the other way instead. Now, I can’t remember why.

27. Rd2 Rxc4 28. Rcd1 Rxe4 29. Rxd3 Re2 30. R3d2 Rc2

Italian Opening after 30... Rc2.

Italian Opening after 30… Rc2.

Black is doubling his Rooks on my second rank so that he can win all of the Pawns there. Also, he forces the exchange of Rooks here. Immediately after sending my next move I realized that I captured the wrong Rook! This is one example of my playing too quickly even in a correspondence game. If instead of the weak 31. Rxe2? I had played the strong 31. Rxc2! then the game would have most likely continued Rxc2 32. Rd8+ Kf7 33. Rd7+ K-any 34.Rxa7 and White recovers the extra Pawn from Black and has what looks like an easy draw. The White Rook can attack the b Pawn as well as the Kingside pawns if the Black King strays too far from them.

31. Rxe2? Rxe2 32. a3 Kf7 33. Kf1 Re3 34. Rd7+ Re7

Italian Opening after 34... Re7.

Italian Opening after 34… Re7.

Here trading Rooks is not to White’s advantage so I declined and tried to contain Black’s King instead.

35. Rd6 Rc7 36. Rd3 Ke6 37. Ke2 b5 38. Rb3 a6 39. Kd3 Kd5

Italian Opening after 39... Kd5.

Italian Opening after 39… Kd5.

We both have centralized our Kings and are trying to move them over to the Queenside to deal with the Pawn advances there.

40. Rb2 Kc5 41. Kc3 Kb6+ 42. Kb3 a5 43. Rd2 a4+ 44. Kb2 g5

Italian Opening after 44... g5.

Italian Opening after 44… g5.

Again, I cannot trade Rooks here. What I’m trying to do is contain the Black King and to win one of the Kingside Black Pawns. I did manage to trade Pawns later on, but not to win one.

45. Rd6+ Rc6 46. Rd5 h6 47. Re5 Rf6 48. Re2 h5

Italian Opening after 48... h5.

Italian Opening after 48… h5.

I now have doubts about my next move. Perhaps better was to keep everything on the second rank and just move the Rook back and forth on the second rank.

49. h3 Rf5 50. Rc2 h4 51. Kb1 Rc5 52. Rf2 Rc3 53. Kb2 Rg3 54. Rc2 g4 55. hxg4 Rxg4

Italian Opening after 55... Rxg4.

Italian Opening after 55… Rxg4.

Now I have part of what I wanted, Pawns exchanged. When I am down material I want to exchange pawns. When I am up material then I want to exchange pieces.

 56. Kb1 b4 57. axb4 Rxb4+ 58. Ka2 Kb5 59. Rc3 Rc4 60. Rh3

Italian Opening after 60.Rh3.

Italian Opening after 60.Rh3.

Here I got too fancy and tried to force the exchange of the pawns on the Kingside. Again, I overlooked Black’s reply.

Rg4 61. Rh2 Kc4 62. Rh3 Rxg2+ 63. Ka1 Rg4 64. Ka2 Kd4 65. Ra3 Ke5?

Italian Opening after 65... Ke5?

Italian Opening after 65… Ke5?

Black had a better move here that would have won faster. Black can sacrifice the a Pawn to get his King over to support the advance of the h Pawn and the White King is too far away to stop it. For example, 65… Ke4! 66. Rxa4+ Kf3 67. Ra3+ Kg2 and the White Rook cannot stop the h Pawn from queening. I played this out anyway just because I kept hoping that Black would miss enough good moves to give me a draw.

66. Kb2 Rb4+ 67. Kc2 Kf4 68. Kd2 Kg4 69. Ke2 Rf4 70. Ra1 Kg3 0-1

Italian Opening after 70... Kg3 (Final position).

Italian Opening after 70… Kg3 (Final position).

This is the final position. I could have played it out another 20 moves but would have eventually lost. I’m content to have lasted this many moves after blowing an easy draw on move 31.

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