TCEC Season 16 League 1 Game 88 – Stoofvlees-ScorpioNN
|Game||Season 16, League 1, Game 88|
|Links|| TCEC archive|
Stoofvlees played as white against ScorpioNN. White made an early exchange sacrifice, giving up a rook for a bishop and a pawn and some space advantage. White utilized the positional advantage with better pawns to keep the black rooks constrained. Stoofvlees showed that in such positions, piece versatility can be more important than their raw power.
|Position after 11. Nd4|
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. d4 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nc3 Nc6
End of the opening book.
7. O-O Bf5 8. d5 Na5 9. b3
White offers an exchange. While the position after 8... Na5 has been seen in a fair number of GM games, 9. b3 is a move with practically no games. Instead, the games have usually continued with either 9. Nd4 and 9. Nd2.
9... Ne4 10. Nxe4 Bxa1 11. Nd4 (diagram)
A key move to follow up the exchange sacrifice, which forces a favorable continuation for white. Black has two options:
- Either black must exchange the dark square bishop by 11... Bxd4. This would weaken the control of the important dark squares, and particularly the a1-h8 diagonal; or
- Black must drive the knight on d4 away with c5, allowing white to close the queenside files to constrain the black rooks.
Black chooses the second option.
|Position after 35. Ne6|
11... Bxe4 12. Bxe4 c5
The battle now continues by black trying to open the b and e files for the rooks, and white trying to contain black's attempts.
13. Nf3 Bg7 14. h4 b5 15. cxb5 Qd7 16. Bd3 Rac8 17. Qc2 e6 18. e4 exd5 19. exd5 Qc7 20. Be2 Rfe8 21. Be3 Bd4 22. Bh6 Bg7 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. h5
The h-pawn is now brought in the attack, which is a typical plan for NN engines.
24... Nb7 25. Kg2 Kg8 26. Rh1 Qe7 27. Bc4
Black has managed to force the white bishop in a passive square, as maintaining the pawn structure is of importance for white. But given an opportunity, white also has the queen-side passed pawn potential with moves such as a4, which makes it difficult for black to activate the knight.
27... f5 28. Qc1 Qf6 29. Qh6 Qg7 30. Qf4 Qf6 31. hxg6 hxg6 32. Ng5 Re7 33. Rh6 Rce8 34. g4 Rg7 35. Ne6 (diagram)
White continues to control black's access to open files by putting the knight on e6. The knight is also a powerful attacking piece and is difficult to challenge directly. If taken, white would get a strong passed pawn on e6 protected by the bishop in return.
|Position after 48. a4|
35... Rh7 36. gxf5 Qxf5 37. Qxf5 gxf5 38. Rf6 Rf7 39. Rg6+ Kh8 40. Kf3 Rg8 41. Rh6+ Rh7 42. Rf6 Nd8 43. Rxf5 Nf7 44. Ke2 Rg1 45. Bd3 Kg8 46. Rf6 Rh6 47. Rxh6 Nxh6 48. a4 (diagram)
After the position has been simplified favorably, white is ready to start advancing the queen-side pawns and the f-pawn. Black does not have his own passed pawns to provide sufficient counterplay, and ultimately, cannot stop the white pawns from winning the game. The rest is technique.
48... Nf7 49. f4 Rg2+ 50. Kf3 Rd2 51. Bc4 Kh7 52. Nf8+ Kg7 53. Nd7 Rh2 54. Nb8 Rh3+ 55. Kg2 Rh8 56. Nc6 Kf6 57. Nxa7 Kf5 58. b6 Rb8 59. Nc6 Rh8 60. b7 Rh5 61. b8=Q Kxf4 62. Qc7 Rg5+ 63. Kf2 Rf5 64. Bd3 Ne5 65. Bxf5 Kg5 66. Qxd6 Kxf5 67. Qxe5+ Kg6 68. Qe6+ Kg5 69. Kg3 1-0
- Lichess Masters database, https://lichess.org/N738zNVV#16