Gary Trudeau v Denis Cowley
Cornwall v Devon 2017/18 (Bd.11)
Relatively few players seem to play the four pawns 'attack' against the Alekhine any more. Chess openings theory moves on! I think this is indicative of a certain maturity having been reached and the consensus is apparently that whilst the four pawns is playable it doesn't really offer white more than other meeker lines do.
In my opinion definitely black's best move here. At no cost to himself black gets to inflict some damage upon the white pawn structure. Some players do play other moves here - Nb6 and e6 are occasionally seen - but on general principles this piece trade has to be the best.
I'm tempted to award this a question mark but will refrain from doing so. The great majority of players play d6 here and understandably so since that creates immediate tension. Capablanca preferred d5. White could continue routinely here with Nf3 but I realised that after his last move the only decent developmental move for black's f8 bishop is c5 so let's deny him that possibility
To enable creating some thrust on the k-side with his next move.
If I'd been playing black here I would have preferred to play this knight to c6. Stockfish analysis engine gives an equal evaluation for both moves.
Obviously done to create c5 as a transfer point for his bishop and - especially - knight. Black's best chance of creating good play for himself in this position consists of playing ...f6 at the right moment but after 15.Nd4 he's not going to be doing that for quite a while.
An excellent post for this knight.
Why? I don't see the point of this. 16...Na4 looks decidedly better and then Stockfish amazingly gives Rb1 for white! As a non-silicon player I would have preferred Bc1.
Black was evidently having a below-par day. f6 was much better. Pushing the f pawn two squares allows white a strongly supported passed pawn in the middle of the board.
I was ambivalent at this stage about whether to go whole-heartedly for a k-side attack or not. At any rate this flexible rook move keeps options open and encourages black to show his hand.
I was still vacillating!
I was slightly startled by this, what? he feels he has to start evacuating his monarch already? Oh come on, surely white's assault isn't that strong yet! Prophylaxis is one thing but there is also exaggerated caution in chess! Black's king position on this square proves to be his undoing.
And suddenly out of nothing white has - according to Stockfish - a completely winning position! The silicon gives ...Kg8 as relatively best for black here - and that would definitely suggest something fishy with his 23rd move.
Sets a trap but this is pretty transparent and sets the stage for a very elegant finish ...
Notes by Gary Trudeau