Continuing my tribute to the late Peter Keffler, this fascinating struggle from the 1960 West of England Championship was awarded the Best Game Prize by Dr. Jim Aitken, former WECU and Scottish Champion, whose annotations these are, taken from the souvenir bulletin.
White: Y. P. Keffler. Black: D. G. Wells.
Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be2 e6 7.Be3 a6 8.f3 Qc7 9.Qd2 Be7 10.0–0–0 Na5 11.g4 b5 A game of attack on different wings now seems well under way; but for once appearances are deceptive 12.b3 White probably considered this apparently weakening move as a necessary preliminary to his combination, and in fact an immediate 12.g5 Nd7 13.Ndxb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 would be drastically refuted by 14…Nb3+ which mates or wins the queen. 12…Rb8 13.g5 Nd7 14.Ndxb5! An interesting exchange combination that can arise in a number of Sicilian positions. Here the 3 united passed pawns and strong bishop pair give White good long range chances. 14…axb5 15.Nxb5 Qd8 16.Nxd6+ Bxd6 17.Qxd6 Qe7 18.Qxe7+ Kxe7 19.Rd2 e5 20.Rhd1 Nc6 Preparatory to …Rd8. An immediate 20…Rd8 is refuted by 21.Bc5+ Ke8 22.Bd6 followed by Bxe5. 21.a4 Rd8 22.Bb5 Bb7 23.a5 Ba8 24.Ba4 Rbc8 25.b4 Ndb8 26.Bc5+ Ke8 27.Rxd8+ The rook exchanges should have been avoided if possible as they relieve the pressure on Black considerably and so jeopardise the win. I think 27.Rd5 threatening 28.Rxe5+ would win quickly, as after 27…Nd7 28.Bd6 Black is terribly tied up, and 27…f6 28.gxf6 gxf6 29.Bg1 is also much against him. 27…Rxd8 28.Rxd8+ Kxd8 29.Bb6+ Kc8 30.b5 Nd8 31.Be3 Ne6 32.Bb3 Nd7 33.Bxe6 fxe6 34.c4 Kc7 35.c5 Nb8 36.Kc2 Nc6! correctly fearing that the White pawn mass will win against normal lines, Black finds an ingenious piece sacrifice to break them up – an idea that as the next move shows deserved a better fate. 37.bxc6 Kxc6 38.h4 Kb5 39.h5 Kxa5? Missing his chance. 39…g6! leaves a dead draw, as White can never break through. Black probably thought the position was blocked anyway, overlooking White’s 42nd move. 40.g6 hxg6 41.hxg6 Bc6 42.Bh6! Be8 43.Bxg7 Bxg6 44.Bxe5 Kb5 45.Bd6 Bh5 46.f4 Kc4 47.f5 Still trying for a swindle. If now 47.c6? Bf3! draws. 47…exf5 If 47…Bf3 not 48.fxe6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Kd5 and Black will draw, but 48.f6 Bxe4+ 49.Kd2 Bg6 50.c6 wins. Fine’s rule for the ending B+2 disconnected passed pawns vs B is very relevant – “if the pawns are 2 or more files apart, they win; if they are only one file apart, they draw”. 48.exf5 Kd5 49.f6 0–1
This is one of Peter Keffler’s game endings that I gave last year, but is worth another look. How does he beat Dr. Aitken (W)? Black to move.
In last week’s position Spassky won after 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.g6+ Kg8 3.Ng5 fxg6 4.Qf3 forcing 4…Qxg5 5.Bxg5 dxe5 6.Rac1.