Czerniak Variation 

Graham Rice
Macey Nettleton

Not Macey's Best Game from the "Legend that Was Macey Nettleton" by Geoff Peake Macey Nettleton sat hunched up in the library corner. He slowly ran his fingers through a shock of black tousled hair. There was a slightly concerned look on his face.His black eyebrows arched and puckered in concentration. From time to time he looked up from the book and stared with unseeing eyes out of a window covered with condensation and rivelets of rain. Though he looked, he was not seeing. His mind was obviously full of the book he was reading. I glanced across. There was an unmistakeable black and white photograph on the cover, instantly recognisable by any experienced chessplayer. On the front it said "Alexander Alekhine" by Kotov. I thought of going over to him and asking him about the book, but he was obviously devouring it. One did not interfere with Macey. I had found out a long time ago that it was best to leave him and wait until asked. He was a thinker.... a theorist ? a strategist ? Many would call him a "positional player", but actually he was much more than that. Perhaps he was a "loner" . He was certainly unlike any other nine year old. I thought of the quotation ..."Beauty, like wisdom loves the lonely worshipper". Now who said that I mused. Macey was an "analyst" - not just of chess. Chess was one thing that lent itself to analysis - and Macey was just the kind of person to dissect it.... and put it together again. He would look at every angle. He had a tremendous capacity for concentration. Whatever he found he would not forget. He would classify, he would categorise. He would look and look until he found meaning, real meaning behind what had happened, from simple tactics at first to pawn structures, weak squares and the more mysterious aspects of chess wisdom that remained a mystery to 99% of chess players. One thing for sure - Macey was a quick learner. You don't go from "zero" - bottom player in his first Tournament to "hero" - top player in the school inside two years unless you are a quick learner. Macey was every school chessplayer's dream. He was living proof that you can improve to become a chess giant. Macey was almost feared by the other kids. They knew he was special. Whenever the school team played a match they eagerly rushed to look to see who was on top board for the opposing team. Then they looked at him (or her) with a sort of pity. You see they knew what the opponent didn't know. They knew he or she was playing Macey Nettleton. Macey put the book down with a sigh, looked up and our eyes met. He was still puzzled. "It's chess, Mr Peake," he said, "but not as we know it !" (He was a Star Trek fan). I half opened my mouth to say something about Alekhine's chess style, or what the other great master had said about him, but I paused, as something told me Macey had not finished. I realised why Macey had a pained expression on his face - he had not "worked out" Alekhine yet. He had not classified him, not dissected hime, not compartmentalised him, not "sussed" him out. I chuckled to myself. "Don't worry, Macey, you will... you will !" Macey got up. "He deliberately sacrifices for unclear complications, provoking a sharp tactical struggle...a forcible disruption of the chess balance. He plays on material down for a long time as though nothing has happened." As he said this Macey's eyes widened. As though nothing has happened ! Then a realisation came upon his face - a revelation - "He demonstrated that material is only one of the forms of advantage. He freely sacrificed material for another advantage." He nodded, as though satisfied, picked up his book and headed towards the dining room for lunch. "I wonder what lies in store tonight," I muttered to myself. Yes the school chess match would start in a few hours time. What kind of an adventure will there be ?

1. e4 c6

Macey's "elimination" defence, which is really a Caro Kann.

2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5

White's e-pawn has been eliminated. Macey did his usual ritual of examining the pawn carefully, before gently lobbing it into the empty chess box.

4. c4

This is the Panov variation, the only line that seems to give Black any trouble. Its drawback is that White will often get an isolated d-pawn.

4. Bd3 is the Exchange variation 4... Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bf4 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 Nh5 53% Black in 20 games.

4... Nf6

Of course, Black hopes to establish a Knight on d5 any way, and so hopes for pxd5.

5. Nc3

5. c5 to avoid the isolated pawn. 5... e5! 6. dxe5 Ne4 7. b4 Nc6 8. Bb5 a5 White is strategically lost.

5... Nc6 6. Bg5

Threatens Bxf6 and take on d5.

6... Qa5

Iwas surprised by this - it is considered a little suspect, not Macey-like strategy at all. Normal is Be6!? or e6 or dxc4. Macey did not normally make "unclear" moves. If he could not work it out, he did not play it. Aah, but that was before Alekhine.....

7. Nf3

White should play Bxf6 or a3.

7... Bg4

Suddenly White's position is under pressure. This has scored 68% for Black !

8. Qb3 O-O-O!

Black is going all out for the attack, White's centre looks full of holes. Also Black covers d5 with his Rook.

9. Bxf6 gxf6

Here exf6 looks good, but Black has ideas down the g file.

10. cxd5 Nb4!

Threatening Nxd5. Now White is in danger of being blown away.

11. Bc4 Kb8

Surprisingly Black takes time out for a King safety move, but he does not want White to capture on e6 with check after Black's e6 move.

12. a3 e6

White cannot take on b4 as Black would capture White's Rook on a1. Now we see Black's plan. The White position is under tremendous pressure, and we have only had 12 moves.

13. dxe6 fxe6 14. O-O

Now White has put Black's Knight en prise by unpinning his a3 pawn.

14. Bxe6 Bxe6 15. Qxe6 Nc2+ forking King and Rook.

14... Bxf3!

opening up a path to the White King down the g file and disrupting White's pawns.

15. axb4

Now Black's Queen and Bishop are en prise.

15. gxf3 Rg8+ 16. Kh1 Qh5 Black has a strong attack.

15... Rg8!

Macey sacks his Queen !

15... Qg5 does not work. 16. g3 Qg4 17. Nb5 a6 18. Bxe6

16. g3


16. bxa5 taking the Queen is not possible, as ... 16... Rxg2+ 17. Kh1 Rg3#

16... Qh5

threatens mate in two, by Qh3 to g2

17. Rfc1

This allows White to get in killing discovered checks on the Black King if he is forced out to c7 with Qe8+ or Qxa7+

17. Bxe6! was best. This appears to save White as he gets a Qe8 check possibility. 17... Rxd4 18. Qa4 (18. Bxg8 Qh3) 18... Bc5! 19. Bxg8 Rg4! Here Qh3 allows 20.Qe8+ 20. Ne4 Qh3 (20... a6 21. Nxc5 Qh3 22. Qe8+ Ka7 23. Rxa6+ bxa6 24. Qd7+ Kb8 25. Nxa6+ Ka8 26. Qc8+ Ka7 27. Qb8+ Kxa6 28. Ra1#) 21. Qe8+ Kc7 22. Qf7+ Kb8 23. Qe8+ drawn

17... Rxd4 18. Qa4

White has the killing threat of Qxa7+, but it's just too late. Here Macey straightened his back, slightly arching his shoulders and lifted both arms, clasping his hands behind his head. He rocked slightly in his chair. It was a sure sign to all who knew him that Macey's opponent was in BIG trouble.

18. Bxe6 Bc6 threat Qf3

18... Qxh2+

!! The second Queen sacrifice!

19. Kxh2 Rh4+!

and a Rook to boot !!

20. gxh4 Bd6+ 21. Kh3 Bg2#

Every one of Black's pieces combined in the Alekhine-style attack !! "That must be your best game " blurted out Angela Dickenson after the match had finished, as she tucked into a bag of crisps."No," Macey shook his head slowly as he sucked on his straw, drinking some sort of red fruit juice. "Whaaat," said Angela,"You sacked your Queen twice AND a Rook ..EVERY piece joined in the attack ! " Macey nodded "Not my best game," he said with a naughty grin on his face. Angel was nonplussed. She looked agitated, but waited. She knew that more was coming. She had to wait like the rest of us. Macey finished the drink,making a horrible gurgling sound as he drained all the fruit juice out of the can. His eyes were sparkling - so deep, so deep, like black coals in the snow. He lifted his head and looked around, and was a little taken aback that everyone seemed to be looking at him. "You see," he explained, clearing his throat," I haven't played my best game yet."

0-1 [Geoff Peake]

Game(s) in PGN