1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Bd3?!
Richard Reti in the book Masters of the Chess board comments on this move best.
"Although white controls more territory, Black has the better bishop after the exchange on d3. As white is consequently inclined to be weak on white squares, correct play by his opponent will make it impossible for him to break through with f4-f5, which ordinarily be the form of attack indicated. It seems, therefore, that in this variation of the Caro Kann Black has rather the advantage."
Better is 4.Nf3 going for the short system or if you prefer the sharp stuff the complicated 4.Nc3 and 5.g4 is interesting.
4...Bxd3 5.Qxd3 e6 6.Nf3 Qb6
6...Nd7 and c5 was a little safer. The queen may become harassed later.
The rest of the game the notes are supplied by Stewart Holdaway taken from the weekly Palmerston North Club chess Magazine.
7...c5 8.b3 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Bc5 10.Qf4
Even better looks to be 10.Qg4 hitting the weak g7 square. 10...g6 11.c4 dxc4 12.bxc4 Looks good for white.
The position is now equal. My plan was pretty simple. Gang up on the e5 pawn.
11.Ba3 Ng6 12.Bxc5 Qxc5 13.Qd2 Qc7 14.Re1
14.c4 dxc4 15.Na3 0-0 (15...Nxe5?! 16.Nxe5 Qxe5 17.Nxc4) 16.Nxc4 Rd8=
15.c4 dxc4 16.Na3 Qd8 (16...Ngxe5 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Nb5 and white is better) 17.Qxd8+ Rxd8 18.Nxc4 Ke7 gives black a slight advantage.
This was the position I had envisioned when I played 12...Qxc5. I thought Black must be slightly better because white has ti defend e5, is weak on the dark squares and Black will be able to put pressure on the c-file.
16.c4 dxc4 17.bxc4 Rfd8 gives black a slight edge.
Stephen was critical of this move after the game and argued he should have played. 17.c4 then if 17...d4 18.Rad1. However c3 (stopping d4) is the best move when after 18...Qb6 black has a slight pull.
17...Rac8 18.c4 d4
I have finally got the passed pawn I wanted.
19.Qe4 Rd7 20.h4
I was expecting this as I thought it was the only way for White to get counter play. However, I didn't realise how strong it was.
Stopping all those nasty Ng5 ideas.
21.h5 Nge7 22.Nb1 Rcd8 23.Na3 a6 24.Nb1 Nf5 25.g4 Nfe7 26.Nbd2
26.Qd3 leaves black with only a small advantage.
I was convinced I wa winning now. But...
27.a3 Nd4 28.Kg2 Nec6
The losing mistake but black was already on top. Better is [29.g5 hxg5 30.Nxg5]
29...Rxd4 30.Qe3 Rxg4+ 31.Kh3 Rg5 32.f4 Rxh5+ 33.Kg4 Rf5 34.Rc3 Qe7 35.b4 g5! 36.fxg5 Rxg5+ 37.Kh3 Rh5+ 38.Kg2 Qh4 39.Rg1 Rg5+ 40.Kf1 Rxg1+ 41.Qxg1+ Qg5 42.Qf2 Nxe5 43.Ne4 Qf5 44.Nf6+ Kg7 45.Qxf5 exf5 46.Nh5+ Kg6 47.Nf4+ Kh7
White now oversteps the time limit