Anthony Balshaw (2311)
Wolff Morrow (2301)

ICCF web server, 2012

1. e4 c5 The Sicilian is hands down the best try for a win as black against 1. e4 on ICCF. I learned very quickly to let go of my OTB pet defenses like the Caro-Kann in order to maximize winning chances. 2. Nf3 Nc6 The Sveshnikov is fertile ground for complex and original positions, and has the added benefit of being quite solid. I switched to it after unsatisfying results in the Najdorf, and I'm glad I did. 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 I personally do not like this variation for white. It's been my experience in several games that the doubled f-pawns for black become weapons rather than weaknesses. Their influence on the center far outweighs the structural imbalances. Better is to play 9.Nd5 first and force black to have to develop the bishop to the less desirable e7 square. Now any ideas of gxf6 would be weak instead of strong. 9... gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. O-O One of the best tries for white in this line is the following piece sac: 12. c3 Bg7 13. Nxb5 axb5 14. Bxb5 But an interesting antidote is 14... Rc8 15. Qa4 Bd7 which has left black in better shape on ICCF. 12... Bxd5 The strong est move, and statistically giving black the better game, which is why I feel 9.Nd5 is the more "correct" try. 13. exd5 Ne7 14. Nxb5?! My opponent felt he'd burned himself playing this move, and confessed to playing it in a previous game with a bad outcome. Indeed accepting the pawn sacrifice has been criticized as simply giving black excellent long-term compensation. Thus, even though the most played continuation, the move really deserves to be labled as dubious. 14... Bg7 15. Nc3 e4 16. Bc4 The alternative of 16. Be2 O-O 17. Qd2 Ng6 is rather dull for white and doesn't create any serious problems that black can't handle. 16... O-O 17. Qh5?! This move is initially preferred by computer engines like Houdini, which accounts for why it is often played on ICCF. Unfortunately it has performed an abysmal 25% for white in the past 5 years of games. Better is the more restrained 17.Qd2, though black is still for choice. 17... Qc7 18. Bb3 Bxc3! Now black's knight is strong while white's bishop is cut off from the fun by its own pawn. 19. bxc3 f4 20. c4 a5 21. a4?! Now the bishop is effectively cut off from the entire game! It's better to return the pawn in order to make the bishop an active piece again via: 21. Ba4 Qxc4 22. Bc6 21... Ng6 22. Kh1 Rae8 23. Qh3 Re5 24. Rae1 Rfe8 25. Re2 R8e7 26. Rfe1 Qc5 White is already feeling the vice slowly crushing down on him. 27. g3 f3 28. Re3 h5! Getting even more of my forces into the attack. Note how white's queenside is completely worthless, meanwhile every bit of material for black is serving a valuable purpose. This is losing by force for white. 29. Rb1 Rg5 30. Ba2 h4 31. g4 31. gxh4?? Nf4 32. Qf1 Rg2 31... f6 32. Rb8+ Kg7 33. Rb1 Qd4 34. c5 White has no moves left other than to start shedding material for nothing! This is probably the most complex zugzwang I've ever seen in a chess game. 34... Qxc5 35. Rg1 Qxc2 My opponent realized the situation was utterly hopeless. Each move he makes allows me to mop more and more material. 0-1 [Morrow]