Michael Sheerin(1824) v Scott Crockart(2111)

Michael Sheerin played board 1 against The Strand Team new comer Scott Crockart with FIDE rating 2111. Michael plays through the game.

Belfast & District League

Michael Sheerin(1824) v Scott Crockart(2111)

1. d4 d5 2. Bg5 Pseudo Trompowsky Attack- my opponent took several minutes before playing his reply but we very soon reached a standard early middlegame position.



...c6 3. c3 Bf5 4. Qb3 Qc7 5. Nf3 Nd7 6. Bh4 Ngf6 7. Bg3 Qb6 8. Nbd2 Nh5 9. e3 Nxg3 10. hxg3 h6 11. Be2 e6 12. O-O Be7 13. c4 O-O 14. c5 Qc7 15. Bd3 Bg4 16. Nh2 Scott told me afterwards that he overlooked this natural reply on my part. Black's kingside pawns are slightly fractured but this is not terminal and he is later able to have active play on the semi-open file.


...Bf5 17. Bxf5 exf5 18. Qd3 g6 19. b4 b6 20. Nb3 a5 21. a3 Qc8 22. Rfc1 a4 23. Nd2 b5 24. f4 I begin to go astray with this move; giving myself a fixed weakness with no immediate prospects of counterplay.



...Nf6 25. Rf1 Re8 26. Rae1 Kg7 27. Qe2 Bd8 28. Qf3 Ra7 29. Re2 Rae7 30. Kh1 This appears to be an aimless move, but I saw no proactive plan to improve my position hence what is effectively a pass (perhaps unsurprisingly the engine gives Black a significant plus here).


...h5 31. Kg1 Bc7 32. Rfe1 Rh8 33. Qf1 With this move, I begin a slow untangling manoeuvre. I will be happy if my King can make it to the relative security of the locked queenside.


…Rh6 34. Nhf3 Bb8 35. Ne5 Re8 36. Rf2 Reh8 37. Qd3 Ng8 38. Kf1 f6 39. Nef3 R6h7 40. Ke2 Nh6 41. Kd1 I was happy to complete the King March: now my main worry is the weakness on e3.


….Ng4 42. Rfe2 Re8 43. Nf1 Re6 44. Nh4 Re4 45. Nd2 Rxe3 A good example of my recurring tactical blindness so far this season. I completely overlooked the move, which appears to win a clean pawn for White (at the very least).


46. Qxe3!? I was understandably quite demoralised at this point, but after some consideration felt that the Queen sacrifice would be the best practical choice in attempting to muddy the waters. I was also conscious of Scott’s remaining time (around 15 minutes) when making this decision.

…Nxe3+ 47. Rxe3 Kh6?? The engine dislikes this move, preferring instead Bc7. White is now firmly in control.


48. Re8 Qb7 49. R1e6 Rf7 50. Ndf3 Kg7 51. Nxg6!? I am still winning with this move but Ne5!! was more directly crushing. The point is that after fxe5, I have Rxg6+ followed by Rgg8, with unstoppable threats.



…Kxg6 52. Nh4+ Kh7 53. Nxf5 Bc7 54. Nd6 Bxd6 55. cxd6 Kg6 56. R6e7 Rxe7 57. dxe7 Kf7?? Scott had just over 3 minutes remaining at this point, which I think explains this blunder- Kf5 instead is winning for Black.


58. Rh8 Qxe7 59. Rh7+ Ke6 60. Rxe7+ Kxe7


61. Ke2?? In my own time pressure now, I make a bad error of judgement. If I simply play f5 myself, the King and Pawn ending will be a textbook win, with an eventual g4 breakthrough and Black’s nullified queenside majority.

…f5 Scott instantly replies with f5 himself and no further progress can be made by either side. Draw agreed 1/2-1/2

On the whole, an up-and-down affair with mistakes from both players, however it’s my hope that there are still some instructive moments arising upon further analysis.


Michael Sheerin