Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Hanif - Yours Truly
French Defense [B30]
IIUM Inter College 2000 (Round 4) 23.07.2000
Annotation by Me

A game with Hanif always makes me very nervous. It is seldom that I beat him in a tournament match ever since we were in IIUM Matriculation Centre. Last year in IIUM closed tournament we drew. However, I have to beat him today in order to stay in the running for the championship. A point here is also crucial for our respective teams.

1.e4 e6 Surprise! Surprise! The last time I play this move in competitive game was some two years ago! Actually, the reason I don't play Sicilian with him today is that I don't want to face his Morra Gambit which is his specialty. Sometimes, catching your opponent off guard is some kind of a deadly weapon.

2.d3 Already we are in the battle of our own. Hanif deviates from the main line 2.d4 probably because he is afraid of my preparation. Frankly speaking, I was a little bit shocked by his choice. However, I have played this variation before with him some years ago so I know how to play it.

2...c5 Transposing into a type of Sicilian Closed.

3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Preparing to fianchetto the Bishop.

4... b6 Black fianchetto his own bishop. There was a maxim about how to blunt a fianchettoed bishop: by opposing it with the other.

5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 Be7 7.Re1 d6 I really have to play d5 at some times to free the game but only after some careful preparations.

8.c3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 d5 At last, the time has come. A difference between playing this move now apart from to play it two moves earlier is that I can take the pawn with my knight, thus opening the diagonal for my bishop. Now, Hanif is faced with the decision whether to block the centre or to open it.

10.e5 He chose to close the position.

10...Nd7 11.Nf1 Qc7 Black attacks the isolated pawn for the third time and simultaneously prepares to castle long. Note that a developing move while threatening something is always advisable.

12.d4 Defending the lone pawn. He should have played it on his second move.

12...0–0–0 Castling in opposite sides always resulting in sharp battles.

13.Bd2 I don't really understand the purpose of this move. Probably he prepares for the b4-pawn break.

13...Kb8 It is best to place the king in a safer place before embarking upon some active measures. After all, I yet to see any of Hanif's attacking plans.

14.a4 Ka8 15.Qb1 Probably this is the purpose behind 13.Bd2 earlier. Hanif is slowly getting his pieces into attacking positions.

15...c4 I choose to release the tension in the centre and at the same time discourage him from moving his pawn to b4.

16.b4! He move it all the same! I find that taking the pawn en passant will give him too many attacking chances.

16...a5! A very good defensive move. I saw that letting him push the a-pawn will cause me many problems and this move prevent just that. Hiarcs 7.32 gives this position as a clear plus for White but the subtlety of this move is that if he takes the pawn, I just take it back with my knight, and I don't see any concrete continuation for White after that.

17.Qb2 h6 After securing my own king, now it's time for some active measures to harass Hanif's king. With the idea of pushing the g and h-pawns down the board, Black is already looking very dangerous.

18.Ne3 The knight intends Nf1–e3-c2-a3-b5

18...Rdg8 19.Nc2 g5 With Hanif's attack has come to a halt, I start my own attacking plan.

20.Reb1 h5 21.Na3 Rg7 Some precautious move. I foresaw that Hanif is intending Nb5-d6. With this move, I defended the crucial f7-pawn so that I don't have to take the knight whenever it landed on d6.

22.Nb5 Menacing.

22...Qd8 23.Qc2 g4 With the idea of opening the h-file.

24.Ne1 h4 25.Nd6 hxg3 Black launches an attack. Note that this is the first exchange of the game and it proves to be fatal!

26.hxg3 Opening the h-file gets Black a lot of play.

26...Bxd6 27.exd6 Rh5 Prepares to double rooks. Black is in total control.

28.Bf4 Desperately trying to regroup his pieces. After the game Hanif told me that he didn't know what to play in this position. Hiarcs 7.32 gives 26.Qb2 but it doesn't give the continuation.

28...Rgh7 29.Qd2 Qh8 Threatening mate: Rh1. Hanif is already in big trouble.

30.Kf1 Trying to escape from his castled position via e2, but I already get it covered.

30...axb4! 31.cxb4?? A horrible mistake. Better is 31.Rd1 but after 31...b3 Black can already relax. Note that here he is already in big time trouble.

31...Nxd4! Covering e2. Black renews the threat of Rh1 mate.

32.f3 Forced.

32...Rh1+ 33.Kf2 Ugly, but what else he can do? The variation 33.Bxh1 Rxh1+ 34.Kf2 Nb3 35.Rxb3 cxb3 36.Rc1 Rh2+ 37.Ng2 gxf3! 38.Kxf3 d4+ wasn't much help either.

33...R7h2 34.fxg4 With less than a minute on your clock, it is hard for you to find any good move here.

34...Rxg2+ Also good is 34... Nf6 when White has to part with his Queen or get mated. 35.Qd1?? is a mistake when I coolly finish him off with 35...Ne4+ 36.Ke3 Nf5+ 37.gxf5 Qc3+ 38.Ke2 Rxe1+ 39.Qxe1 Qd3 checkmate

35.Nxg2 Rh2 36.Be3? A sign that he doesn't know what to do now. Even 36.Rh1 Nb3 37.Rxh2 Qxh2 38.Qb2 Nxa1 With 39... d4 coming, I don't think Hanif will last long enough.

36...Qf6+ 37.Bf4 Forced. If 37.Kg1 Nf3+ 38.Kf2 Nxd2+ wins the Queen.

37...Nb3 38.Qb2 d4! It's all over. Black opens a diagonal for his fianchettoed bishop simultaneously attacking the poor knight.

39.Rg1 Ne5 The end. White lost on time. 0–1

Final Standings:


1st Mohd Azizul Mat Daud 6 points
2nd Mohd Hanif Arkurni Abas 4.5 points
3rd Mohd Rezal Che Man 4.5 points
4th Shamsuddin Taya Baguilan 4 points
5th 'Abdur Rahman Mohd Amin 4 points


1st Mahallat As-Siddiq 16.5 points
2nd Mahallat Ali Abi Talib 16.5 points
3rd Mahallat Bilal 12 points
4th Mahallat Al-Farouq 11 points

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