The Wanganui Championship is just about at the half way stage and leading with a perfect score is John McDonald. Full standings to follow.
John McDonald has kindly annotated his latest victory from the Championship
Wanganui Championship 11.08.2008, Round 4
Chris Burns 2039 - John McDonald 2064
I have played 1...e5 against Chris before, but thought he was probably better prepared with this line. An aggressive line from Tawbeh-Soloman, Novi Sad Ol, 1990, went 1...e5 2.Bb2 f6 3.e4!? Bxb4 4.Bc4 Ne7 5.Qh5+ Ng6 6.f4 exf4 7.Nf3 Qe7 8.Bb3 Nc6 9.Nc3 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 d6 11.Nh4 Bd7! with advantage to Black. Although, I think Chris would simply have played 3.a3. Also, after 1...e5 2.Bb2 Black can play for quick development with 2...Bxb4 3.Bxe5 Nf6 4.c4 0-0 5.Nf3 Re8 6.a3 Ba5 7.e3 d5 8.cxd5 Nc6 Afifi-Hakki, Cairo 1997.
2.Bb2 Nf6 3.a3 d5 4.e3 Nbd7 5.c4 dxc4
Otherwise White can play for a bind with 6.c5 and 7.d4
6.Bxc4 c5 7.bxc5 Qa5!? 8.Nf3 Qxc5 9.Qe2 Be7 10.0-0
Another possibility was 10.a4 Qa5 10...0-011.d4 Qh5With White's bishop on c4 and the queen on e2 Black's queen is curiously safe here, for now.
White correctly veis for the centre!
12...Nb6 13.Bd3 Rd8 14.Nc3 Bd7 15.h3 Qa5
Now that my queen had visited both sides of the pond I decided there was more breathing space on the other side! Here it also exerts pressure on the a3 pawn.
It seems difficult to find a concrete plan here. 16.e5 concedes the d5/f4 squares to one of Black'sknights, so perhaps 16.Rfd1 continuing to build pressure in the centre first was better.
16...Be8 17.Qe3 Rac8
Here I felt I'd achieved a good sense of harmony with my pieces and rooks on the open and semi-open files.
18.Rfc1 h6 19.Ne2 Na4 20.Rxc8 Rxc8 21.Bc1 Nc3
Here, I'm not sure if 21...Qe1+ leads to anything substantial, as White will soon play Rb1 and Bd2.
22.Bd2 Nxe2+ 23.Qxe2 Qa4 24.Be3 b5!
And now ...Bxa3 followed by ...b4 is a possibility.
25.Qb2 a6 26.Bd2 Bd8 27.Qb4 Bb6
It would be wrong to take play 27...Qxb4 as 28.axb4 frees up White's position and the rook wins a6. If 28...Bb6 then 29.Nf3 is a big plus for White.
Here my opponent is down to 14 minutes left on his clock. This is bad because, although White wins the a6-pawn, the loss of his central d4 pawn will collapse his centre and any advantage there. Betterwas 28.Nf3 first.
If 29.Bxa6 then ...Bxd4 30.Bxc8 Bxa1 and the e4 pawn falls.
And now there are serious cracks emerging in the White position, with the e4 pawn now out on a limb and Black's rook threatening to enter. If White pushes with 30.e5 Black will have two pleasant choices of 30...Nd5 or 30...Bxd3 keeping the bishop pair.
30.Bxb5 axb5 31.e5 Ne4 32.Rb1?
White is down to 5 minutes left. But 32.Rc1 may be OK. 32...Rc4 33.Rxc4 bxc4 gives Black a worrysome passed pawn.
32...Nxd2 33.Nxd2 Bxd4
Black's bishop and rook will now dominate in the race to win pawns.
34.Rxb5 Rc2 35.Ne4? Re2 36.Nd6?? Re1+ resigns