With the North Island Championship not too far away I thought it might be interesting to look at game from last's year's tournament. Anthony Ker is the current NZ champion including Rapid and Lightning formats and is also the current North Island Champion. It would be interesting to note if anyone else in New Zealand's long chess history has had as many national titles at one time.
Stuart,P (1996) - Ker,A (2342) [A86]North Island Championship Tauranga (3.1), 16.07.2008
1.c4 g6 2.g3 f5 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Nf3 e6 7.0-0 d6 8.b3 Nbd7 9.Bb2 c6 10.Qc2 Qe7 11.Rad1 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.e3 e4 14.Ne1 Ne5 15.f4 Neg4 16.Qe2 Be6 17.Nc2 Rfd8 18.Rxd8+ Rxd8 19.Rd1 c5 20.h3 Nh6 21.Kf2 Nf7 22.Rxd8+ Nxd8 23.Qd2 Nc6 24.Bf1
White's queen must be challenged. It cannot be allowed a dominating position pressuring down the only open file. One interesting aspect to note is for such a closed position only minor pieces will be left on the board after the coming exchange.
25.Qxd7 Nxd7 26.Na4 Bf8
With a closed position black can get away with this move for now abviously wishing to avoid exchanges.
27.Be2 Kf7 28.Nc3 Nf6
White has an outpost on d5 and black on d3. The position is very much equal.
29.Na4 h6 30.Ba3 b6 31.Bb2 g5 32.Nc3 Bg7 33.Kg2 g4 34.h4?!
Closing the position does not help white. Black has a possible square for his knight on h5 attacking a weak g3 pawn. Also hxg4 is no longer in the air where white could have split black's pawn's at a convienent moment or atleast tie white down to this idea.
On the other hand it does make black's life a little harder to get the break through needed for victory.
Possible is 34.Nb5 h5 35.Nc7 Bd7 36.Bc3 a6
Such a move is surprisingly inferior letting Ker increase his advantage.
35.Na4 Bxb2 36.Nxb2 Nb4 37.Nxb4 cxb4 38.Na4! Nc5 39.Nxc5 bxc5 40.Kf2 White has succeeded in blockading the postiion where black cannot make any progress. 40...Bd7 41.Ke1 Ke6 42.Kd2 a5 43.Bd1 Kd6 =
35...Nb4! 36.Nxb4 cxb4 37.Na4 Bxb2 38.Nxb2 Nc5
Black has a new outpost for his knight and white is in some difficulties
39.Na4 Nxa4 40.bxa4 Ke7-+ Black is winning a pawn and the game.
39...Ke7 40.Kd2 Kd6 41.Kc2
It is still not so easy for black to create a winning breakthrough.
41...a6!? 42.Nd1 Bd7 43.Kb2 a5 44.a4 bxa3+ 45.Kxa3 Nd3 46.Bxd3 exd3 47.Kb2 a4 48.Nf2 d2 49.e4! Ke6 50.exf5+ Kxf5 51.Ka3 Bc6 52.bxa4 Bf3 53.Kb4 d1Q 54.Nxd1 Bxd1 55.Kb5 Ke4 56.Kxb6 Bxa4 57.c5 Bd7 58.Kc7 Bf5 59.c6 Kf3 60.Kd6 Kxg3 61.Ke5 Bd3 62.c7 Ba6 63.f5 Kh2 64.f6 g3 65.f7 g2 66.f8Q g1Q 67.Qxh6 And still black has no easy road to victory but this is far from forced.
42.Kd2 Ne6 43.Bd1 Kc5 44.Be2 a6 45.Nd1 Ng7 46.Nf2 Nh5 47.Nh1 a5 48.Kc2 a4 49.Kd2 Be6 50.Kc2
50.Bd1 axb3 51.axb3 b5 52.cxb5 Kxb5 53.Be2+ Kb6 54.Kc2 Nf6 55.Nf2 Nd7 56.Kb2 Nc5 57.Bd1 Nd3+ 58.Nxd3 exd3 59.Kc1
A very interesting decision. Black closes the position to keep a far advanced pawn on a3.Black may have ideas of a sacrifice on c4 to try and promote his far advanced a pawn to a queen.
51.Bf1 Nf6 52.Nf2 Ne8 53.Nd1 Nd6 54.Be2 Nb7 55.Bf1 Na5 56.Nf2 Bc8 57.Be2 h5
58.Bf1 Bb7 59.Be2 Nc6 60.Bf1
Probably the only move to really try and complicate things the problem is it should still only be enough for a draw.
Another move that is not so forcing is 60...Ne7 but their is just no easy way through. 61.Bg2 Ba6 62.Bf1 b5 63.cxb5 Bxb5 64.Bxb5 Kxb5 65.Kd2 Kc6 66.Nd1 Nd5 67.Ke2 Nb6 68.Kd2 Nd7 69.Kc2 (69.Ke2 Nc5 70.Kd2 Nxb3+-+) 69...Nc5 70.Nf2 Kd5 71.Nd1 Nd3 72.Kd2 Kc5 73.Kc2 Ne1+ 74.Kd2 Nf3+ 75.Ke2 with a probable draw.
61.exd4+ Kxd4 62.Bg2! This move ensures white of the draw and black has to be careful not to over extend. 62...Ke3 (62...e3 63.Bxb7 exf2 64.Bg2 Ke3 65.Kd1 f1Q+ 66.Bxf1 Kf3 67.Kd2 Kxg3 68.Ke3 Kxh4 69.Kf2 g3+ 70.Kf3 Black is lost.) 63.Nd1+ Ke2 64.Kc1 Ke1 (64...Kd3? 65.Bf1+ Kd4 66.Kd2 Black is just a piece for a pawn down.) 65.Kc2 Ke2=
61...Nf3 62.Nd1 Ba6 63.Kc2
Better is 63.Nf2 Black is still hard pressed to make any progress. 63...b5 64.cxb5 Bxb5 65.Bxb5 Kxb5 66.Kd1 Kc5 67.Ke2
The losing move.
64.Be2 This is still holding.
After the better 65.cxb5 Bxb5 66.Nf2 Be2 67.Kd2 Bf3 68.Bxf3 gxf3 69.Ke1 Kb5 If white could pass he would draw but he is required to move under current FIDE laws so black wins.