C80 Hoffer,M-Acor,C – Open Ruy Lopez

Hoffer, Michael – Acor, Corey

C80 Open Ruy Lopez – Tampa G/60 Open, August 21, 2010 [Notes by Hoffer]

For the 4th time in 5 weeks, I'm in a last round face-off with a tough opponent for all the marbles.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1 Nf6

Corey chooses a quiet retreat. ECO recommends the more energetic 6…Nc5 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Be7 9.d4 Ne6 10.c3 0–0 11.Nd2 c5 12.dxc5 Nxc5 13.Nb3 Qxd1 14.Rxd1 Nxb3 15.axb3 Be6 16.b4 Rad8 17.Bf4 Bb3 18.Re1 Bd6 19.Bg3=


White has quite a few interesting alternatives after 6…Nf6, so I spent quite a bit of time mulling over the variations in my head trying to decide which line would encourage Corey to press too hard in trying for a win. a) 7.Nxe5 Be7 8.d4 with the edge to White; b) 7.d4 e4 8.d5 b5 9.Bb3 Na5 10.Bg5 (10.Nc3 Nxb3 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Rxe4+ Be7 13.d6 (13.axb3!?) 13…cxd6 14.Bg5 f6 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Nh4 Rosanes,J-Anderssen,A, Breslau 1862 16…Bb7 (16…Qb6!?) 17.Qh5+= Neumann) 10…Be7 11.d6!? White has initiative – Korchnoi; c) 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Be7 9.Qe2 Be6 10.d3 0–0?! (Better is 10…Nd7) 11.Nxf7! Bxf7 12.Qxe7 Qd4 13.Qxc7 (13.Nc3!±) 13…Rae8 14.Rf1 and White is on top. Wedberg-Sellberg, Stockholm 1976.

7…Be7 8.Nxe5 0–0

8…Nxe5 9.Rxe5 0–0 10.Bb3!?


While 9.d4 may be objectively better, I decided to saddle Corey with a structural weakness, albeit temporary. Our position now resembles the Exchange Variation he played against me about a month ago, only here I did not have to relinquish the white-squared Bishop.

9…dxc6 10.d4 c5 11.dxc5!

The thing that really attracted me to this move was I felt Corey might overextend himself by going after my f2 square, which I realized would give me a terrific opportunity for the initiative. The only other real option is: 11.Qe2 cxd4 12.Qxe7 Qxe7 13.Rxe7 dxc3 14.Bb3! (14.Rxc7? Rd8 advantage Black.) 14…Bd7 (14…cxb2 15.Bxb2! with the Harrwitz Bishops.) 15.bxc3 and White's active 2 B's give him compensation for his doubled pawn.

11…Qxd1 12.Rxd1 Bxc5 13.Bg5 Ng4?!

Better is 13…Bg4 14.Rd3 and White is ahead.

14.Ne4! f6?!

Better is 14…Ba7!? 15.Be7 Bf5 16.h3 Bxe4 17.hxg4 Rfb8 18.Rd7 and White has the initiative.

15.Nxc5 fxg5 16.Bb3+ Kh8 17.Ne6


17…Bxe6 18.Bxe6 Nxf2?!

Better is 18…Nf6 19.Re1 (19.f3!?) 19…Rad8 20.Bb3 Rde8 21.Kf1 and White has the edge.

19.Rd7 Rae8 20.Bf7!?

20.Re1 b5 21.Rxc7 and White has the upper hand.

20…Re2 21.Rxc7 Ne4?!

21…b5 22.h3 g4 23.hxg4 Nxg4 24.Bh5 Re4 25.Ra7 where White maintains the advantage.

22.Rf1 b5

22…Nf6!? 23.Bh5! virtually forces a set of Rooks off the board 23…Rd2 24.Rd1 Rxd1+ 25.Bxd1 Rb8 26.c4± and Black is pushed into passive defense, which nearly always loses.

23.Bh5 Rxf1+ 24.Kxf1 Rf2+ 25.Ke1 Rf8 26.Rc6

Trying to be sure not to botch a great position, I felt as indecisive as Brett Favre, wasting a lot of time here deciding between two equally good moves. It seemed to me the Rook at c6 is more effective in restricting Black's Knight, cutting out any counterplay from rearing its ugly head. The alternative was 26.Ra7 g6 (26…Nc5 27.b4+-) 27.Bf3 Re8±


This places too many Black pieces on White squares, eliminating any hope of defense for Black. Now White may set up x-rays and discos with his Bishop, already eyeing a8 for promoting the a-pawn into a Queen. Better is 26…Nf6 27.Be2 Ra8 28.Kd2±

27.Bf3! Nf6 28.Rb6 Re8+ 29.Kd1 g4 30.Bc6 Rd8+ 31.Kc1

The time control was sudden death at game 60. Running low on time, I decided to shield my King from all checks (corn, rice, and wheat) to avoid blundering in zeitnot. Technically more precise is bringing the King to the center for the endgame with: 31.Ke2 Kg8 32.Rxa6+-


31…Kg8 32.Rxa6 b4 33.a4 bxa3 34.b4+-

32.Rxa6 h4

32…b4 33.a3 bxa3 34.b4+-

33.Ra8 Rxa8 34.Bxa8 Kh7 35.c3 Kg6

35…Ne8 36.Bc6+-

36.Bc6 Kf5 37.Bxb5 Kf4

37…Ke5 38.a4+-

38.Bc6 Ke3

38…Ng8 39.a4+-

39.a4 h3

39…Ng8 40.a5 Ne7 41.Bd7+-

40.gxh3 gxh3 41.a5 Ng4 42.a6 Nxh2 43.a7 g5 44.a8/Q g4

44…Kf2 45.Qa7+ Kg3 46.Qg1+ Kf4 47.Qxh2+ Kf5 48.Qd6 Kg4 49.Qe6+ Kh4 50.Bd7 Kg3 51.Qe3+ Kg2 52.Bc6+ Kf1 53.Kd1 h2 54.Qe1#

45.Bh1 Kf2 46.Qc6

The only issues remaining are to avoid any silly promotion for Black, stalemate, or running out of time. I had less than one minute; more than enough with a 5 second delay.

46…g3 47.Qc5+! Ke2 48.Qe5+! Kf2 49.Kd1 Kg1

49…g2 50.Qxh2!+-

50.Qxg3+ Kxh1 51.Qxh3 Kg1 52.Qg3+ Kh1 53.Ke2 Nf1 54.Qg4

Not 54.Kxf1??= stalemate.

54…Ng3+ 55.Kf2

Not 55.Qxg3??= stalemate.

55…Nh5 56.Qg2# Mate, with 10 seconds remaining on my clock. 1–0

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