Alex Kuznekov - Robert Hamilton

Canadian Junior, 1980

Philidor Defence

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7

Black steers towards the solid but passive Philidor Defence.

4. Nf3
A good alternative was 4. f4 , which was well analysed by World Champion Lasker.

4... e5 5. Bc4 Be7 6. Ng5!?

I had played the Philidor many times but this was the first time I faced this aggressive move. White goes straight for the jugular. The move was known by theory and considered reasonable for Black.

6... O-O 7. Bxf7+ Rxf7 8. Ne6 Qe8 9. Nxc7 Qd8 10. Nxa8

White wins material but Black has an early lead in development.

10... b6 11. Be3 Bb7
An interesting alternative was 11... Ba6
12. dxe5 dxe5 13. Nxb6

Kuznekov is planning to hang on to his material advantage and play f3.

13... axb6 14. f3 Bb4!?

Threatening to double pawns and use moves like ...Qc8, ...Ba6, ...Nc5 and ...Rc7 to create counterplay.

15. Bd2?!
A passive response. More active was 15. Qd3
15... Nh5

Threatening Qh4. Kuznekov now spent twenty minutes deciding between Qe2 and the risky 0-0.

16. O-O
After 16. Qe2 Nf4 the position is roughly equal. I couldn't believe castling was playable. After all, if Black checks on c5 with the Bishop the threat of Ng3 creates strong mating possibilities on the h-file. But it's not so easy to find a forced win. White always has Be1, and sometimes Bf2 as a defensive resource. Can you find the win?

16... Bc5+ 17. Kh1 Ba6!

Adding a new diagonal to the attack. White cannot put his rook on e1 since it prevents the Bishop from going there in response to ...Qh4.

18. Ne2

The only move to keep the material balance.

18... Ndf6!

An unintuitive move which wins by force. The threat is ...Rd7, and since e2 and d2 are threatened White's response is forced.

19. Qe1 Nxe4

It's all over now.

20. fxe4 Rxf1+ 21. Qxf1 Qxd2 0-1