1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4 A combative defence to the Four Knights Opening, but Ben chooses a line which very often leads to a draw.
5.Nxd4 exd4 6.e5 dxc3 7.exf6 Qxf6 8.dxc3 Qe5+ 9.Qe2 Qxe2+ 10.Kxe2 c6 11.Bd3 d5 12.Re1 Bd6 13.Kf1+ Be6 14.h3 0-0 15.Be3 c5 The first new move of the game, according to my database. [15...Rfe8 16.Rad1 Bc7 17.a4 a6 18.b4 f6 19.a5 Be5 20.Bd4 Bf7 21.Re2 Bxd4 22.cxd4 Bg6 23.Bxg6 hxg6 24.Re3 Rxe3 25.fxe3 Kf7 26.Ke2 Ke6 27.Kd3 f5 28.Rf1 Rh8 29.c4 dxc4+ 30.Kxc4 Rd8 31.e4 fxe4 32.Rf4 Rd7 33.Rxe4+ Kf5 34.Re5+ Kf4 35.Kc5 g5 36.g4 g6 37.Re6 Kg3 38.Re3+ Kg2 39.Kb6 Rxd4 40.Kxb7 Rxb4+ 41.Kxc6 Rb5 42.Ra3 Rb8 43.Kd7 Rh8 Â1/2-Â1/2 was Horvath,I (2265)-Mathe,G (2355) Hungary 1989]
16.Rad1 h6 17.Be2 Rad8 18.Bf3 Be7 19.Bf4 b6 Steve offered a draw here, a perfectly reasonable thing to do. However, when playing against Ben, achieving a level endgame and drawing it are two quite different things.
20.Bg4 White simplifies the position still further. He is angling for a rook-and-pawn ending. As Mike Gough always used to say, Ben always wins rook-and-pawn endings!
20...Bxg4 21.hxg4 Bf6 22.Be5! Bg5 [22...Bxe5 23.Rxe5 gives White a big initiative in the ending. Black politely refuses the invitation.]
23.g3 f5?! [23...f6 24.Bf4 Kf7 should be a nice easy draw. Black becomes a little ambitious.]
24.gxf5 Rxf5 25.Kg2 [25.f4 Rf7 26.Kg2 Bf6 27.Kf3 Bxe5 28.Rxe5 Rfd7 is rather drawish, so Ben gives Black a chance to go wrong...]
25...Kf8?? ...which he takes. [25...Bf6 26.Bxf6 Rxf6 27.Re5 (27.Re7 Rf7 ) 27...Rfd6 is level.]
26.f4! Bf6 [26...Be7 loses a crucial pawn to the shot 27.Bxg7+! Kxg7 28.Rxe7+ but the move played blocks his rook's retreat and White is able to trap it and win the exchange. ]
27.g4 Bxe5 28.gxf5 Bxf4 29.Kf3 [Probably a reflex action, attacking the loose bishop, but 29.Rd3 -- (29...d4 30.cxd4 cxd4 31.Re4 Be3?? 32.Rexe3 and the d-pawn is pinned) followed by 30.Red1 wins the d-pawn.]
29...Bg5 30.Re6 [Now 30.Rd3 can be met with 30...d4 31.cxd4 cxd4 32.Red1 Bf6 33.c3 Rd5! 34.Ke4 Re5+ 35.Kf4 Rb5 36.cxd4 Rxb2 with some counterplay for Black.]
30...Kf7 31.a4 h5 32.Rc6! Cleverly covering the c-file so that Black cannot play ...d5-d4 and then switch to attacking the c2 pawn from c8. He also threatens to win the a7 pawn with Rc7+ and to unhinge the black queenside with a4-a5. Ben soon eases his way to victory.
32...d4 33.cxd4 cxd4 34.Rd3 Bf6 35.Rc7+ Kf8 36.Rxa7 Rd5 37.Kf4 Rc5 38.Rb7 Rxc2 39.Rxb6 Ke7 40.b4 h4 41.a5 Kd7 42.Kg4 Rc3 43.Rxc3 dxc3 Does Black dare hope for salvation? [43...dxc3 Now 44.Re6 c2 45.Re1 Bb2 wins the rook and draws.]
44.b5! No! White has foreseen this position and simply takes the c-file to stop the pawn.
44...Bd8 45.Rc6 Bxa5 46.Kxh4 Bd8+ 47.Kg4 Bf6 48.Kf4 Bd4 49.Ke4 Bf6 50.Kd3 Be5 51.Rxc3! The king and pawn ending will be an easy win for White with his passed pawn.
51...Bxc3 52.Kxc3 Kc7 53.Kc4 Kb6 54.Kb4 Kb7 55.Kc5 Kc7 56.Kd5 Kd7 57.b6 Kc8 58.Ke6 White captures the g7 pawn and queens his f-pawn. 1-0