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ANNOTATED GAME FROM 53rd KNIGHTS QUEST

By Jeff Caveney

 

The Open section of the May Knights Quest came to an exciting conclusion with the game between Kent Cen and Jordan Cohen on Board 1 in the final round. Both players went all-out to attack the opposing king -- in fact, both players sacrificed their queens during their attacks! Play out the game below and enjoy:

White: Kent Cen (1940)

Black: Jordan Cohen (2022)

 

Renaissance Knights Quest

May 16, 2010

 

Round 4, Board 1

 

1.e4 c5

2.c3 g6

3.d4 cxd4

4.cxd4 d5


This is a good answer to the 2.c3 line against the Sicilian.


5.exd5 Nf6

6.Nc3 Bg7

7.Bb5+ Bd7


I prefer 7...Nbd7 here. Black will castle next, then move the knight on d7, then win back the pawn on d5 with a good position.


8.Bc4


Now Black's bishop on d7 and knight on b8 are misplaced, and it is more difficult to win back the pawn on d5.


8...O-O

9.Qb3 Qb6

10.Nf3

I would have just exchanged queens, and Black has a difficult position. But as spectators we can all be grateful the queen exchange did not happen, which made possible the exciting attacking game that follows.


10...Rd8

11.O-O Na6

12.Re1 Kf8

13.Qa3


The chance to attack the e7 pawn and the king behind it on f8 tempt the white queen to step away from the queen trade.


13...Nb4

14.Bf4 Rac8

15.Ne5 Be8

16.Qb3


The queen comes back to give extra protection to the bishop on c4 under attack.


16...Qxd4

17.Ne2


It looks like there should be some way for White to punish Black for his queen's pawn grab in the middle of the board surrounded by white pieces, but Black's attacks on the bishops on f4 and c4 seem to save him. For example 17.Qxb4 Qxf4 18.Nxg6+ hxg6 and after White captures on e7 the black king just steps away back to g8, or 17.Qxb4 Qxf4 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Nxg6+ Kd7 20.Nxf4 and the hanging bishop on c4 comes back to haunt White after 20...Rxc4.

 

17...Qc5

18.Be3 Qd6

19.Bf4 Qc5


If Black tried 19...Nh5 with the idea 20.Nxg6+ Qxg6 21.Qxb4 (unclear), White had the answer 20.Nxf7! with an unusual double attack on the queen, followed by 21.Nxd8 winning material.


20.Be3 Qc7


Black doesn't want a draw by repetition of moves. But this daring refusal to draw is also very risky. Again, as spectators we can be thankful for it!


21.Bf4 Qa5

22.Bd2


By avoiding the repetitions the black queen has gotten the knight on b4 caught in a nasty pin.

22...Nfxd5

23.a3 Ba4

24.Qf3 Bxe5

25.axb4 Rxc4


Black sacrifices his queen for just one bishop! But he has some attacking chances that are tricky for White to deal with, and both players were running very low on time by this point in the game. The players had to stop writing down their moves, but thanks to the DGT electronic display board Renaissance Knights used on Board 1, we were able to record all the rest of the moves too.


26.bxa5 Bc6

27.Qh3 Nf6

28.Qh6+ Kg8

29.Bc3 Ng4

30.Qc1 Bxh2+

31.Kh1 Rd5


31...Rd5 is a beautiful and powerful attacking move! The rook moves up on the open d-file with the idea of next moving over to the h-file to attack the exposed white king. This "up and over" move by a rook on an open file is an important attacking strategy to remember.


32.Nf4 Bxf4

33.Qc2 Rh5+

34.Kg1 Rh2


Now Black has a bishop and knight for the queen, and his attack is still going strong.


35.f3 Bxf3

36.Rxe7


Setting up the counter-attacking threat of Re8 checkmate!


36...Rxg2+


In time trouble Black doesn't find a way to deal with the counter-attacking threat. After the game Master Ken Wallach, whose two young sons played in the Knights Quest tournament, pointed out Black's winning move 36...Be3+! After 37.Rxe3 Nxe3 Black is attacking White's queen and the attack on the white king is still going. I tried to find some more counter-attacking tricks for White, but Wallach showed Black can at least get to a winning endgame: 38.Re1 (still trying for Re8 checkmate!) Rxc3! (with no bishop on c3, there's no checkmate!) 39.Qxc3 Rxg2+ 40.Kh1 Rc2+ 41.Kg1 Rxc3 42.bxc3 and the knight, bishop and many pawns will easily beat the rook.


37.Qxg2 Bxg2

38.Re8 checkmate 1-0.


A disappointing conclusion for Black, but in an exciting back-and-forth game that ends decisively, there's always one player who's disappointed with the result. We should all thank both players for giving us such an enjoyable game to watch, analyze, and play over!

 
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