GM Rogers v Leo Wilkinson at the Redcliffe Open – What year?

Redcliffe Open GM Ian Rogers v Leo Wilkinson.
GM Rogers won the event unbeaten and Leo finished =5th.

1. c4 f5 2. g3 { 2. e4 is more fun but I had decided to try to play positional
chess in this tournament.} 2… Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. d4 { Why not
5.0-0? Well, 5.d4 contains a small positional trap. If Black now unsespectingly
castles White plays 6. d5! at a time when Black cannot reply …e5. After 6.
d5! White has a space advantage and the likelihood of a superior pawn structure
if Black plays …d6} 5… d5 { The Stonewall Defence is out of fashion at the
moment and for good reason – the ‘hole’ created on Black’s e5 square is a
serious positional weakness which is not compensated by his control of e4 and
potential kingside chances. From now on White’s strategy is clear – focus his
pieces on Black’s e5 square and exchange any Black pieces that could challenge
White’s control of that strongpoint. From the foregoing discussion it can
readily be deduced that i prefer 5…d6 to d5.} 6. b3 c6 7. O-O O-O 8. Ba3
Bxa3 9. Nxa3 { White has managed to exchange Black’s good Bishop and now his
Queen’s Knight speeds towards e5.} 9… Ne4 10. Nc2 Nd7 11. Nce1 Qe8 12. Nd3
Rf6 { Black is dreaming of a kingside attack against a White kingside devoid of
weaknesses. A better plan would be to mobilise his stagnant queenside with b6
Bb7, Rc8 and an eventual c5.} 13. e3 Rh6 14. Nfe5 Ng5 15. Rc1 Nh3+ 16. Kh1 {
Now what? Positionally, Black’s cause is almost without hope. He lacks even a
single well placed piece (except perhaps his King) and his pawn structure
contains that gaping hole on e5. Yet Black could live with all these problems
if only he would forget about his ill-fated kingside attack and start worrying
about factors relevant to his position. Psychologically this would be very hard
to do and maybe Black thought he would then be crushed slowly. This is totally
the wrong attitude. White is not threatening any immediate tactical
breakthrough so Black will have sufficient time to put his house in order. I
would suggest 16…Ne5 17. Ne5 Ng5 followed by Nf7.} 16… Nf6 17. Nf4 Ng5 {
17…Nf4 18.ef would leave Black with a hopelessly weak backward e pawn.} 18.
Kg1 Nh5 { Black should still try 18…Nf7 and 19…Nd7. Now events proceed by
force.} 19. Nxh5 Rxh5 20. f4 Ne4 21. Bxe4 fxe4 { 21…de 22. c5 followed by
Nc4 and Nd6 is no better for Black.} 22. g4 { Black has one embarrassed rook
and one chronically shy rook. I’m not sure which is worse.} 22… Rh3 23. Kg2
{ Hoping for 23…Re3 24. Qd2} 23… Rh6 24. g5 Rh4 25. Kg3 Rh5 { I’m now sure
I’d rather be the shy rook than meander lost up and down the file!} 26. h4 {
White calmly consolidates his positon as Black can do nothing constructive
(note that 26…b6 fails to 27. Nc6) Black finds relief by suiciding on the
kingside.)} 26… h6 27. c5 g6 28. Ng4 { Black resigns. I can’t remember
another game of mine in which a single positional theme (control of the e5
square) dominated proceedings for a complete game. I must try to play
positionally more often!} Notes by GM Ian Rogers.
For a comparable game see Petrosian – Kortchnoi, Leningrad 1946 URS U/18 Championships. Petrosian swaps off Black’s good Bishop via a3 (this time on d6, Leo’s was on e7) and then transfers his knight back from a3 to c2 to e1 to d3 and then to e5. Instead of Leo’s rook going to f6 and h6, Kortchnoi’s Queen sticks it’s nose into the Kingside just a little bit too hard and gets trapped. It took a young Petrosian to defeat Kortchnoi’s aggressove plan and a young Rogers to defeat Leo’s aggressive plan. Good stuff!

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