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Easter Ladder – Rnd 11

March 03, 2001

White: NM Duane Rowe

Black: Peter Myers

1. Nf3 !

With this move White has chosen to avoid the Petroff’s debate which was started four rounds before between the two warriors. Black came prepared to continue the debate, but with Nf3, White has successfully shot down Black’s preparation, which immediately puts Black in an uncomfortable position. Being able to handle almost any possible opening move and to know when not to play your usual opening moving is a key ingredient in successful master play.

With the King’s Indian Opening, White retains the option of various second pawn moves, however, Black is allowed to develop at leisure.


Black responds to White’s opening ‘surprise’ with a natural pawn move, which White can transpose into a number of openings.

2. c4

The first moves of the Reti, which does not become distinct until White fianchettoes both Bishops before challenging the centre.


If 2...dxc4, 3. Na3 wins the pawn back in favourable circumstances

3. b3 Nf6 4. g3

Book moves.


Black is the first to deviate from the book. He has shunned the recommended 4...Bg4, for two reasons, 1. Out of ignorance and 2. He prefers a direct focus on the centre, rather than the indirect Bg4 which serves the purpose of allowing an eventual Bxf3 followed by an e5 thrust in the centre.


5. Bg2 e6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Bb2 O-O 8.d3

Apart from Black’s deviation on move 4, both players have played according to the book thus far.


Black seeks a home for the Bishop at f5 in the event of an e4 thrust. This move is however unnecessary and only serves to weaken Black’s kingside pawn structure, which will come back to haunt once again. In the last game between the two combatants, this very move led to the down fall of Black. This game proves no different.

Black should have continued his development with 8...Nbd7 knowing that the f5 Bishop could easily go to g6 or g4 if forced to move.

9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. Re1

Better was the immediate 10. e4 which leads to a positional advantage manifested by greater control of space after 10...de4 11. Ne4 (if 11...Be4 12. de4 Qc7 13. Qe2) (if 11...Be7 12. Qe2 Qc7 13. Nf6 Bf6 14. Bf6 Nf6 15. Ne5).


Better was 10...e5 11. e4 de4 12. de4 Be6 13. Qc2 Qb6

11. Rc1

Once again better was the space grabbing 11. e4, which leads to 11...de4 12. Ne4 Bb4 13. Re2 Qe7 14. Nf6 Nf6


11...e5 12. c5?

White gives away the c-pawn free because of 12...Bxc5 13. Nxe5 Bxf7 14.Kf7 Ne5. Here White cannot take back the Knight because it leads to either the loss of his queen or checkmate as follows.

If 15. Bxe5 then 15...Ng4 (if 16. Kg1, 16...Ne3 wins the White queen) or (if 16. Kf3, then 16...Ne5+ 17. Kf2 Ng4 18. Kf3 Qf6 19. Kg4 Qf5 20. Kh4 Qg5 21. Kh3 Bf5 22. g4 Qg4 ++)

White is therefore forced to secure his King with a move like 15.Bd4 which still leaves White in a precarious position.

Unfortunately Black for some reason did not see these combinations which any Third Former could have seen. He instead was fixated on a far inferior pawn winning combination!

12...Bxc5 13. Nxe5 Qb6?

Black is obviously either visually impaired or mentally challenged. 13...Bf7! could not be more obvious! 13...Qb6 still wins a pawn but Bf7 is far superior.

14. e3 Nxe5 15. Bxe5 Bxd3

Black wins a pawn but with less of an advantage than 13...Bf7 would provided.

16. Nf3 Bh7?

This is Black’s first bad move in the mishandling of his kingside. 16...Bg6 was better, the eventual Nh4 was nothing to fear.

17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Nh4

Having survived this far only a pawn down and with compensation positionally, White proceeds to show why National Masters must be dispatched when the opportunity presents itself or they will make you pay.

From here on, White plays an almost perfect game, to press home his compensation for the pawn. This added to the fact that Black underestimates Whites kingside attack.


Poor move, forces White to bring his Rook at c1 to a better square. Black played this move because he wanted to play Bg6. If the immediate 18...Bg6?, then 19. Nxg6 fxg6 20. Qc2 is winning for White. Black seeks to move the Bishop out of the way with a tempo. Better was 18...Bb4

19. Qg4+ Kh8 20. Rcd1 Bb2 21. Qf4 Kg7?

The h-pawn is not worth the trouble. Black needs to secure his king from the impending danger. Better was 21...Bc3 harassing the e1 rook, which if allowed to remain undisturbed helps to support the powerful and inevitable e4 thrust.

22. e4 Qb4 23. Qg4+ Bg6 24. Nf5+ Kh7?

Better was 24...Kh8, the h6 pawn is still not worth the trouble. 24...Kh8 would probably lead to something like 25. Nxh6 Bc3 26. Re3 de4 27. Nf5 Rad8 28. Qh4+ Kg8 29. Rxd8 Rxd8 30. Rxe4 Rd1 31. Bf1 Qf8.

25. Qh3 Bxf5?

This was Black’s last chance to salvage some pride. With less than five minutes to reach 40 moves, Black did not have much time to consider 25...h5 which was much better. From here on almost everything loses for Black.

26. Qxf5 Kg7 27. ed5 cd5 28. Bd5 Rh8 29. Qd7 Raf8 30. Re4 Qc3 31. Rg4+

Blacks flag was about to fall.

31...Kh7 32. Qf5++

White puts an end to the misery. A good finish by White!



Both combatants have learnt a lot from the two games played between the two in the Easter Ladder.


NM Rowe has learnt that there are some problems which he has to iron out in his opening and early middlegame play. In both games he should have been put away.

CM Myers has learnt that he has to manage his time better and more importantly he has to focus on converting his opening and middlegame advantages when they occur.