Queen's Pawn GameD04

Adly A. (2448)
Aikhoje O. (2278)

Africa-chT (3)
Abuja, 2003

Ahmed Adly was a rising star at the time of this game and would later become the 1st Egyptian Grandmaster. He would later win the prestigious World Junior crown in 2007. Aikhoje was a veteran national and winner of gold medal in the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista, Russia. Additional comments are made by Aikhoje.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Bg4 Aikhoje: I prefer to go for open play in games with short time controls. 4. b3

Adly tends to play these esoteric and quiet systems which he knows quite well. Upon first glance, his opening choice appears innocuous, but he has scored quite a number of impressive wins with such openings. 4... e6 5. Bb2 Bb4+ Black's pre-emptive move forces white to make a tough decision. 6. c3 6. Nbd2 of course is met by 6... Ne4! 6... Bd6 One benefit of black's previous move is that he is immediately applying pressure to the center due to white's blocked bishop on b2 after 6.c3. 7. Be2 Nbd7 8. Nbd2 Qe7 9. c4 c6 10. Ne5 Bxe2 11. Qxe2 O-O Black has equalized quite comfortably and has a solid structure. 12. a3 Ne8 12... Bxe5!? 13. dxe5 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. O-O Nc5 may be good for black... xd3. 13. O-O f6 Again 13... Bxe5!? 14. dxe5 c5 15. Rfd1 Nc7 16. Rac1 Rad8 with a tense struggle. 14. Nxd7 Qxd7 15. e4 Bf4 16. Rfe1 Bxd2 17. Qxd2 Nd6 18. f3 White keeps his flexibility and awaits for black to reveal his plan. 18... dxc4 19. e5 Aikhoje: I foresaw this possibility two moves earlier and I had a trick up my sleeve to make sure I could maintain control of the strong d5 square. 19... c3!= 19... cxb3? doesn't work, not enough compensation because of 20. exd6 Qxd6 21. Qe3 (Aikhoje) 20. Qxc3 20. Bxc3 Nb5 piles up on the backward d-pawn. 20... Nb5 Black will try to get his knight onto the d5-square to blockade white's backward pawn at d4. 21. Qc5 f5! 22. a4 White is trying to get his Bishop into play via a3 - d6 22... Nc7 23. Ba3 Nd5 Aikhoje: The knight has reached the dream outpost d5, from here I felt the win was just a matter of time. 24. Qc1 Rf7 25. Bd6 Aikhoje: The bishop has reached an outpost but it isn't doing much as the b-file is not really important in the ensuing struggle. Shabazz: The bishop does not disrupt black's plan nor does it effectively block the path to the weak d-pawn. 25. f4 Qd8= 25... f4!

White should not have allowed this move. This stifles white's freedom, prevents g3 and provides an outpost for black's knight on the e3-square. Black has sealed off the kingside and can consider launching an attack. 26. b4 26. a5 Rf5 26... Rf5 I'm not sure why the Nigerian master did not play 26... Nxb4! 27. Rb1 h6 28. b5 cxb5 29. axb5 a6 Black will create a passed pawn here, but a crude, yet effective attack can be initiated by 29... Ne3 30. Re2 Rg5 31. Qd2 Qe8!? with an eye on b5 with 32... Rc8 coming and 33... Qg6 in reserve. 30. Qa3 Qe8 31. bxa6 Rxa6! Aikhoje had two ways to create a passed pawn and chose to open the a-file to activate the a8-rook. 31... bxa6 is also interest ing. If the black passed pawn can get on a4, then white will have to keep an eye on it while black conjures an attack on the kingside. However, black's move is more active as the game shows. 32. Qd3 Qd7 33. Rb5 Rg5 34. Reb1 Ra2 35. R5b2 Qa4

36. Qd2?? 36. Rc1! Ra1 37. Rbb1 (37. Rxa1 Qxa1+ 38. Qb1 Qxb1+ 39. Rxb1 b6=) 37... Rxb1 (37... Ra2?? 38. Rc8+ mating! ) 38. Qxb1= (38. Rxb1 Qa2) 36... Rxb2! 37. Qxb2 37. Rxb2?? Qa1+ 38. Kf2 Ne3 with threats such as Nd1+, Qf1#, Rxg2#. 37... Ne3 A bulwark of a knight!! 38. g4 fxg3 39. h4 Rf5 40. Qxb7 40. Re1 Rxf3 41. Ba3 40... Qc2 41. Qb2 Qxb2 41... Qd3 42. Ra1 Rxf3 43. Qb8+ Kh7 44. Qb1 Qxb1+ 45. Rxb1 g2 42. Rxb2 Rxf3 43. Rb1?? 43. Rb8+ Kh7 44. Rf8 Rxf8 45. Bxf8 is the best try, but black will collect pawns after advancing the king. 43... g2

White can resign here. 44. Rb8+ Kh7 45. Rf8 Rf1+ As you can see, the white bishop at d6 remained idle for 20 moves. White played virtually a piece down. 0-1 [Shabazz&Aikhoje]