The Alterman Wall

Alterman,B (2564) - DEEP FRITZ [A03]

1.f4 My idea was to get the Stonewall set-up, with all the pawns remaining on the board. Another way to achieve the same formation would have been with 1.d4 d5 2.e3, but then 2...Bf5 gives Black a comfortable game, without the need to build a kingside fianchetto. After 1.f4, White's biggest danger is 1...e5. In that case I intended to play 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4. Nf3 g5 5.d4 g4 6.Ne5, offering Black the ending ensuing after 6...Bxe5. In other words, to give back the pawn in order to swap queens. 1...d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 g6 4.Be2 Bg7 5.d4 0–0 6.c3

This is not a new formation. I've played a lot of lightning games with the same set-up, and the location of the bishop on e2 (instead of d3) is of no significance. White's main objective is to keep all the pieces on the board, since the more pieces remaining on the board, the more calculations are required for the computer after each move, decreasing its ability to focus on the crucial lines. The calculations become very complicated for the computer under such conditions. 6...Bf5 7.Nbd2 In order to eliminate any possibility of capturing on b1. 7...e6?! The first evidence that it is playing without a plan. Natural was 7...c5. After the text move the possibilities of Bf5 are limited. 8.h3 Ne4? A mistake. He should have kept this square for his bishop. Fritz's colleague, Deep Junior, tends to play 8...h5? in such positions. However, this also would have been a serious mistake, as it desperately weakens the kingside. 9.g4 Ng3? Losing a pawn. After the alternative, 9...Nxd2 10.Nxd2 Be4 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.h4, White has a clear positional advantage thanks to the pair of bishops, the strong center, and the excellent attacking possibilities on the kingside. All these factors caused Fritz to evaluate this position as bad for Black. But I'm sure this was the least of evils, since at least the material is balanced. Still, his main problem was that he erroneously considered the pawn sac as satisfactory. 10.Rg1 Nxe2 11.Kxe2! Be4 12.Ng5 Na6 The machine's evaluation at this point was only +0.31 in White's favor. Why this assessment? First, he is motivated to deprive his opponent from castling; second, White's bishop looked extremely poor in this structure; third, his assessment assumed that he might open up the position quickly, by attacking White’s center. But this evaluation is mistaken because White's pawn formation is immune, and the king finds a satisfactory shelter in the center. 13.b4! Closing the queenside and preventing 13...c5. Furthermore, this limits the scope of Na6. 13...c6 More chances are offered by 13...b6, in order to play 14...c5. 14.Bb2 Qe7 15.Ndxe4 dxe4 16.Nxe4 Rad8 17.Qb3 Fritz’s evaluation is +0.50, but Black has no compensation whatsoever. 17...Qh4? Facing the plan g4-g5, followed by h4-h5, Fritz does everything to prevent it, but his queen is ensnared into a trap. 18.Rh1! A surprise, Fritz expected 18.Nf2. 18...Rfe8 19.Rag1 With the threat of 20.g5, followed by 21.Rg4 and 22.Ng3. 19...f6? [19...Qe7 was forced. Now the Black queen finds herself in real trouble.] 20.Nd2 Nc7 21.Nf3 Qh6 22.h4

White is winning. Not only does he have an extra pawn, the black queen is completely paralyzed. 22...Rf8 23.Bc1 In order to enable e4, with f5 to follow. 23...Rde8 24.a4 My main idea was 24.e4 f5 25.g5 Qh5 26.e5, but then Black could play 26...b5 and he would have an active knight on d5. My intention was to avoid even the slightest counter-chance. 24...Nd5 25.c4 Nb6 26.e4

A picturesque and unprecedented position where all the pawns are on the fourth rank! This illustrates White's complete domination. Interestingly, I didn't notice this curiosity during the game! 26...f5 27.g5 Qh5 28.e5 The black queen is completely offside. There is no need even to try winning her. Amazingly, Fritz’s evaluation is a mere +0.56 despite his catastrophic position. But in a few moves he is going to feel all his problems. 28...Rf7 29.Be3 Rd7 30.Kf2 Red8 31.Rd1 Na8 32.b5 With the absence of the black queen, White starts activities on the queenside. The idea is to create weaknesses there, most likely on c6. 32...Bf8 33.a5 Be7 After [33...Nc7 34.bxc6 bxc6 35.Qa4 Black loses another pawn.] 34.b6 Now the knight is also out of play. 34...axb6 [The try to close the game doesn't work either: 34...a6 35.d5 cxd5 36.cxd5 Rxd5 37.Rxd5 Rxd5 38.Rd1] 35.axb6 Kg7 36.c5

Fritz evaluation: -2.34. 36...Kf7 37.Ra1 Rb8 38.Qc4 [38.Nd2 followed by Nc4-d6, would seal the game at once. But, convinced that the game is over, I started to play recklessly.] 38...Bd8 39.Nd2?! I shouldn't allow the following sacrifice, but of course the endgame is also totally winning. 39...Bxb6 40.cxb6 Nxb6 41.Qe2 Qxe2+ 42.Kxe2 Kg7 43.h5 Nd5 44.Ra7 Rbd8 45.Nb3 b6 46.hxg6 [The simplest was 46.h6+ Kf7 47.Rha1 and the weakness on h7 will eventually tell.] 46...hxg6 47.Rha1 Kf7 48.Nd2 Ke7 49.Nc4 Rxa7 50.Rxa7+ Rd7 51.Ra1 The idea is to put my knight on d6, but I completely overlooked his reply. Fortunately, the damage is not irreversible. 51...Nxf4+ 52.Kf3 [52.Bxf4 Rxd4 53.Ra7+ followed by 54.Nd6 was also winning.] 52...Nd5 53.Bc1 I wanted to keep my bishop, in order to defend my pawns and to preserve attacking chances. 53...Nb4 54.Nd6 Nc2 55.Ra8 Rd8 56.Ra7+ Rd7 57.Ra8 Rd8 58.Rxd8 Kxd8 59.Bb2 Black loses a pawn now. 59...Kd7 60.Nf7 Ke8 61.Nh8 Ne1+ 62.Ke2 Ng2 An interesting defensive resource!63.Bc1! The winning move. [Bad was 63.Nxg6? Kf7] 63...Kf8 [After 63...Nh4 64.Kf2 Kf8 65.Kg3 Kg7 66.Kxh4 Kxh8 White wins by 67.Ba3 Kg7 68.Bd6 Kf7 69.Bc7 b5 70.Bd6 and the white king penetrates through the queenside.] 64.Nxg6+ Kf7 65.Nf4 Nh4 66.Kf2 Ng6 67.Nxg6 Kxg6 68.Bd2 Kh5 69.Kg3 Kg6 70.Kh4 b5 71.Bb4 f4 72.Kg4 f3 73.Kxf3 Kxg5 74.Be1 Kf5 75.Bb4 Kg5 76.Bc5 Kf5 77.Be7 Kg6 78.Kg4 Kh6 79.Bg5+ Kg6 80.Bd2 Kf7 81.Kg5 Kg7 82.Bb4 Kf7 83.Kh6 Kg8 84.Kg6 Kh8 85.Kf6 Kg8 86.Kxe6 Kh7 87.Kd7 1–0