1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 a6 9.0-0 b5 10.Bd3 0-0 11.Qe2 Bb7 As usual in the Caro-Kann exchange variation, an isolated queen's pawn position has arisen - black will aim to target the isolated pawn while white will aim to create play with the extra space it provides him.
12.a4 Though this is a natural enough looking move and has been played a few times before, somehow it doesn't look right to me having a rook or a knight hanging out on a4.
12...bxa4 13.Rxa4 a5 14.Bg5 h6 15.Bh4 Nbd7 16.Raa1 Qb6 17.Rad1 Rac8 Black's position is comfortable, and he may even have an edge already.
18.Ne5 !? White decides to sac a pawn for some play. I don't know if there's anything better, as it is hard to see what white can do otherwise.
18...Bxc3 19.bxc3 Rxc3 20.Nc4 White's idea: he hopes to trap the c3 rook and win the exchange.
20...Qc6 21.f3 Ra8 22.Be1 An important moment. Black cannot move the rook to b3 because he loses the a5 pawn. I looked at 22...Rxd3 23. Rxd3 Ba6 for a while, but concluded that white has good drawing chances after 24. Nxa5.
22...Nd5 ! Black me ets the threat by defending the rook with a knight which will arrive on c3 with a fork regaining the exchange.
23.Bxc3 White is not tempted by 23. Qb2? Rxd3 24. Rxd3 Qxc4 25. Qxb7 Rb8!, and white's queen has no way of getting back to defend the d3 rook.
23...Nxc3 24.Qd2 Nxd1 25.Nxa5 ?! White is not savouring the task of playing the rest of the game a pawn down, and enters into some tactics, trying to win back black's dangerous looking past a-pawn.
25...Qd5 ! Much better than 25...Rxa5 26. Qxa5, after which theoretically black should have a winning material advantage, but in practice stands only slightly better on account of his vulnerable knight on d1 and his back rank difficulties.
26.Nxb7 Qxd4+ !
27.Kh1 It seems as if black has walked his queen into a discovery, but...
27...Nf2+ !! This allows black to trade his trapped knight on d1 with white's strong bishop on d3. Black emerges with his extra pawn, and white winds up with a trapped knight of his own on b7.
28.Qxf2 28. Rxf2 loses the queen to 28...Rxa1+.
28...Qxd3 29.Rc1 Qd5 30.Rb1 The only way of saving the knight: 30. Qb2 Rb8 31. Rb1 Nc5 and the knight falls.
30...Ra2 31.Qf1 Ra7 32.Qc1 ! White find a clever resource (the check on c8) to hang onto the knight.
32...Kh7 33.Nd8 Ne5 Black attacks the knight again with extra threats of Nd3 and Nxd3.
34.Qc2+ f5 35.Rd1 Nd3 ! I though that Nf2+ was so good, I wanted to do it again! White can't take the knight because of back rank mate.
36.Kg1 The only way to stop Nf2+.
36...Qd4+ 37.Kf1 Ra1 38.Rxa1 White must take or else get mated on f2.
38...Qxa1+ 39.Ke2 Nf4+ No matter where white puts his king, black forks it and the d8 knight.
40.Ke3 Qe5+ 41.Kf2 Qd4+ The knight finally falls. 0-1