Having a Ball with the French

Posted on: March 29th, 2009 by Graham J Ball

White: McKenna Black: Graham Ball

I think Graham expected to lose this one, he had fluked a half early in the season but maybe that actually worked in his favour.

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4 e5 Nfd7
5. f4 c5
6. Nf3 Nc6
7. Be3 a6
Graham likes the 7…..a6 line for no better reason than he has forgotten about the Nb5 Nd6 manouver on more than one occasion. Its also true that with a bit of cooperation from White it can produce some interesting Q side ideas. I prefer 7……cxd4

8. Qd2 b5
9. dxc Bxc5
10. Bxc5 Nxc5
11. Qf2 Qb6
12. Bd3
Not sure about this one, Graham likes to get the bits off against a better player and surely White wants to keep the light squared bishop

12. … Nxd3ch
13. cxd3 Qxf2 ch
14. Kxf2 Bd7
15. Rhc1

After 15 minutes thought. Graham gets nervous when good players start to think, mostly because he admits he can never figure out whats to think about, too much quickplay chess!

15. … Ke7
16. Ne2 Rhc8
17. a3 h6

Can’t help but think one side or the other needs to be on b4 here but haven’t sat down and analysed it.

18. h4 Ra7
19. Rc5 Rac7
20. R1c1 Kd8
21. g4 Ne7
22. RxR RxR
23. RxR KxR
24. Ng3 g6

25. h5
(25. Nd4 better maybe)
25. … Kc6

JPM has around 15 minutes left but takes 10 of them over the next mone, GB now very nervous. now I think b4 or Nd4 probably best but JPM maybe feels he should find a winning move

26. Ng5

26. … gxh

After sitting there for 10 minutes. GB would not have taken that Knight even if it were possible.

27. Nxf7 hxg
28. Nxh6 b4

Hard for JPM to win this now even with the extra pawn coming

29. axb Kb5
30. Nxg4 Kxb4

31. Ne3?

Dont like this move, think GB has an edge now

31. … Kb3
32. Nd1?

Not convinced by this either (time trouble moves.)

32. … Kc2
33. Ke2 Bb5
34. Ne3 Kxb2

35 f5?

Swapping off alright for GB, the Bishop ought to become strong.

35. … exf
36. Ngxf5 Nexf5

Time control, now on a first look I would have thought black winning but have not yet found a winning line , the problem is the a pawn is queening on the wrong colour so if white gets his king in front of it even after losing the knight to stop the d pawn it’s drawn.

37. Nxf5 Kc3
38. Nd6 Bxd3ch
39. Ke3 d4ch
40. Kf4 Bc2
41. e6 Ba4
42. Ke5 d3
43. Ne4ch Kc2
44. Kd6 d2
45. Nxd2 Kxd2
46. Kc5 Kc3 draw

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