Some while back I wrote about the best move I ever didn’t get to play.
Here’s probably my favorite move that I did get to play.
Slater (2050) – Hardin (1950), Kentucky, 1987
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0-0 5.0-0 d6 6.c4 Nbd7 7.Nbd2 c6 8.b3 Qc7 9.Bb2 Re8 10.Qc2 Nf8 11.h3 h6 12.e4 e5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.c5 Nh5 15.Nc4 Re7 16.Rfd1 b5 17.Nd6 Bd7 18.Rd2 a5 19.a4 b4 20.Rad1 g5 21.Nh2 Ng6 22.Nf1 Bf6 23.Ne3 Ng7
Don’t ask me to explain what either player is doing positionally. As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t play positionally at the time, despite which fact my opponent has managed to get his own pieces in a tangle.
24.Nd5! I like this move because materially White gets only one pawn for the piece, and after it’s captured he has no immediate specific threat. On the other hand, the compensation isn’t too tough to figure out: that’s a deadly pawn roller on d5 and c5, and the bishop on g2 has suddenly come alive. Black is busted, but for purposes of practical resistance his goal should be to only give back material in ways that break up the pawns.
24…cxd5 25.exd5 Ree8? 26.Nxe8 Rxe8 27.d6 Qd8 28.c6 Bf5 29.Qc4 Ne6 30.c7 Nxc7 31.dxc7 Qc8 32.Qc6 Be6 33.Qxe8+ Qxe8 34.Rd8 Bxd8 35.cxd8=Q Qxd8 36.Rxd8+ Kg7 37.Bd5 1-0
It just dawned on me that it was 20 years ago that I hit my peak performance in chess – the summer of ’87, when I won various tournaments, busted a senior master, etc. The game above garnered me the highest score among Kentucky state residents in the Kentucky Open, qualifying me for a spot in the round-robin Closed championship. I have a couple more bloodthirsty games from that summer that I will post later.