by Lim Chong
Games between Jimmy Liew and Christi Hon have always been fascinating due to their long-standing rivalry. Both made their way up the chess ranks around the same time and for many years were the country’s top two players. This encounter took place at the Selangor Open 1983 and the score then was 6-2 in Liew’s favour.
(White: Jimmy Liew; Black: Christi Hon)
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. g3 b6
Black commits a subtle opening error. The idea behind 3…Bb4+ is to exchange the black-square bishops as a prelude to staking a claim in the centre. Black’s white-square bishop is better off on c8 where it can support his counterplay, starting with the move f5 after White has played d5.
6. Bg2 Bb7 7. 0-0 Bd2 8. Nbd2 0-0 9. Qc2 d6 10. Rad1 Nbd7 11. e4 e5 12. Rfe1 Rfe8?!
This makes it hard for Black to play f5. A better plan is 12…Ne8 with the idea of g6, Ng7 and Ne6, but White could counter this by moving his knight to d5 via b1 and c3.
13. b3 a5 14. d5 Nf8 15. Bh3! Bc8 16. Bxc8 Raxc8
In this type of position, Black tries to mount a kingside attack while White opens up the queenside with a3, b4 and c5. In the next few moves, both try to hinder each other’s plans while promoting their own.
17. Nf1 N6d7 18. Ne3 g6 19. Kg2 Nc5 20. Nd2 Nfd7 21. a3 Nf6 22. b4 Nb7 23. Nb3?
The knight is better placed on c3 where it defends e4 and can be moved to b5 where it can attack Black’s c-pawn if necessary.
Intending 24…axb4 25. axb4 Ra4 26. Ra1 Rb4! 27. Qc3 Rb3 28. Qxb3 Ne4 and Black has more than adequate compensation for the exchange.
24. Ra1 Rf8 25. f3 Nh5
With the idea 26…Qd7, followed by either 27…Qa4 or 27…f5.
26. Nd1 f5 27. Nc3 Rf7 28. Qd2 Qf6? 29. Rf1 Kh8 30. Kh1! Qe7 31. Qh6
Threatening to win a piece by 32. exf5 Rxf5 33. g4. This would not be possible if White’s king is on g2 because Black would then play 33…Nf4+.
31… Nf6 32. Nd2 Raf8 33. Qh3 f4?
A bad move which closes the kingside while allowing White a free hand on the queenside. Black probably underestimates the strength of White’s next few moves.
34. g4 h5 35. Rg1! Rh7 36. g5 Nd7 37. Qe6
White forces the exchange of queens to eliminate Black’s possibility of counterplay on the kingside.
37… Qe8 38. Qxe8 Rxe8 39. Nb5 Nf8?
After this, Black finds it hard to stop White’s break on c5. Better is 39…Nb8 40. Nb3 Na6 41. bxa5 bxa5! and Black has some chances of holding on.
40. h4 Ra8 41. Nb3 Kg8 42. Rgb1 Re7 43. Nc1 Kf7 44. Nd3 Ke8 45. c5 dxc5 46. bxc5 Nxc5 47. Nxc5 bxc5 48. Rc1 Kd8 49. Rc5 Nd7 50. Rc6 Nf8 51. Rac1 Rb8 52. Nc7 Rb3 53. d6 Rf7 54. Nd5 Ne6 55. Nb6 Rxb6 56. Rxb6 Ra7 57. Kg2 Kd7 58. Rb5 Kd6 59. Rd5+ Ke7 60. Re5 Kf7 61. Rc6 Nd4 62. Rd6 Ne2 63. Kf2 Nc3 64. Rf6+ Kg7 65. Rf4 Rd7 66. Rf6 Black resigns. 1:0.
White played 66.Rf6 and Black resigned.
(Source: CAS website)