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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Desperation exchange sac almost nets half-point
Playing the black side of a Benko Gambit, I drifted astray and was constrained to passive defense. When White was on the verge of suffocating my position, I found a way to exchange a rook for a knight and pawn, and suddenly I had some play. I had to play accurate defense for a long while to reach the Promised Land, but like Moses I came up a little short. The game was fun and instructive, though. Enjoy!



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

7) Image 8) Image 9) Image

10) Image 11) Image 12) Image

My analysis:

1) 18...Nxb6?! allows 19. axb6 Nb5 20. Ba4 and the b6-pawn will be a perpetual thorn in black's side. Better is 18....Na8 and Houdini considers 19. Nxc8 Qxc8 20. Bg5 Qd8 21. Re1 Nc7 22. Bxd7 Qxd7 23. Nb6 Qd8 24. Rb1 Nb5 to be equal. The exchange of a couple of pieces have relieved black's cramp, black's dark-squared bishop is very strong in combination with the b5-knight, and white's good-looking b6-knight doesn't accomplish much.

2) 20...Bd7 followed by 21....Bb4 to exchange off White's knight is the best plan, as it gets rid of White's only means of exploiting the hole at b6. In fact, Black's pawn structure will be healthier, as White's backwards b2 pawn will be a liability for a long time. Black played 20...Nc7 instead, which allowed White to respond 21. Ba4 and the opportunity disappeared.

3) Here Black played another second-best move, 23...Nd4. The knight looks nice on d4, but White's position is too sound so it doesn't accomplish much. Instead of maneuvering pieces, Black should undermine white's center with the bold pawn break 23....f5!?. Of course white cannot play 24. exf5 because of 24....Bxf5 skewering the b1 rook, so Houdini suggests 24. Nb5 fxe4 25. Qc4 (25. Qxe4? Bf5) Be5 26. Be3 Kg7 27. h3 Rf6 28. Rfd1 Bf4 and the board is on fire!

4) Black accepted passivity with 25...Qb7 and his position began deteriorating. Coach Houdini suggests a bold exchange sac which yields complete equality: 25...Qb5!? 26. Qxb5 axb5 27. Nd7 Nb3 28. Rfd1 (28. Bc3?! Bxc3 29. bxc3 Nd2=) Ra8 29. Nxf8 Kxf8 30. Bc3 Bxc3 31. bxc3 c4! and black will have full equality after collecting the a5 pawn. Black's knight is very strong, and white's rooks have little potential in the relatively closed position, especially because the weak c3-pawn will require their vigilant watch.

5) Black tried more piece-maneuvering with the second-best 26....Nb5, and after 27. Bxg7 Kxg7 28. Rfc1 f6 29. b4 the pawn break busts open the queenside for White's invading army. Instead 26....e6, undermining black's center, would have kept the balance: 27. Rbe1 exd5 28. exd5 Rfe8 and White's d-pawn is weakened, and he can't do much with the open e-file.

The big difference between White and Black in this game lay in the pawn play: White used his pawns to grab territory and to break open the queenside at the right time, while Black missed his opportunities to undermine white's central hegemony with pawn breaks.

6) 32....Qb8 33. Rc1 Na7 34. R6c2 Nb5 (offering to repeat with 35. Rc6 Na7) 35. f3 Rc7 36. Rc6 Re8 puts up the stoutest resistance. Black's choice, 32...Rfb8 is simply leaves Black too cramped and too passive.

7) White's big threat is another pawn break: the march of his h-pawn into the heart of Black's kingside. Black must take immediate measures against it with 33....h5.

8) With 43. Rc8! White's rook can sneak around to the h-file, eat the h7 morsel, and win the game. White missed this winning possibility here and on the next couple of moves, in fact.

9) 45...Nd4! would have justified Black's exchange sac, as the knight threatens both the c6 rook and a deadly fork on d2. After 45. Qe3!? the obvious 45....Nxc6 is a terrible blunder (46. dxc6 Qc7 47. Qb3+ Kf8 48. Qb7 +-); instead, Houdini suggests 45....Qa1+ 46. Kh2 Qd1 47. Rc8 Qh5+ 48. Qh3 Qe5+ 49. Kh1 Qxe4 50. Rh8 Qe1+ 51. Kh2 Qe5+ with draw by perpetual check from the points e1, e5 and h5.

10) White needs to play the intermediate 45. Rc4, shielding the e4-pawn, and then move to c8 to assault the h-pawn from the rear. Instead White played the immediate 45. Rc8?, allowing 45...Qxe4 46. Rh8 g5=. But of course the adventure was not over in this unbalanced position!

11) Black can secure the draw with 55....Qe1+ 56. Kh2 and now the exceptionally clever 56....Nd4! interferes with the rook's control of h4. White must give back the exchange with 57. Rxd4 Qe5+ 58. Kh1 Qxd4, and Black can check perpetually on h4 and e1. Black's choice, 55...Nc3, is too slow.

12) White has just blundered with 60. Qe6? (60. Qe8! Kg4 61. Qxg6+ and White mates in 14, according to Houdini). Now 60....Kh6 and the Black royal family coordinate to keep white's h-pawn from promoting (61. Qh3+ Qxh3 62. gxh3 Kxh6 -+; 61. Qd7 and Black simply waits with 61...a5, and White must eventually abandon the the little h-fellow lest Black's a-pawn score on the opposite wing). However, Black missed his chance, played 60....Qh8?, and White's win became very easy.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:19 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Blitz Blunders and Brilliancies
When I play blitz, sometimes I impress myself, and sometimes I depress myself. But there's always something to learn!

1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

My analysis:

1) 14. d5! is the thematic move in this IQP position, as it releases all the energy of White's superior piece development and coordination. After 14.... exd5 15. Nxd5 Nbxd5 16. Bxd5 Bc6 17. Bxc6 Rxc6 18. Qa4 a5 19. Rad1 Black is in a world of hurt. I was happy to nail this one!

2) After Black's imprecise defense, White has exchanged his g5 bishop for a pawn. Time to reset the material balance via 16. exd7 with a positional pull? No way! I went all in with 16. Nxg5!, and the threats to Black's king and to his e6 square are too much. After 16...Bxe6 17. Nxe6 fxe6 18. Rxe6 Nc4 19. Bxc4 Rxc4 20. Qxd6 White was up 2 pawns with a comfortable position. White was able to coast to victory in another 20 moves.

3) Here I missed the opportunity to pick up 2 pawns with a temporary rook sac: 1. Rxe6! fxe6 2. Bxe6+ Kh7 3. Bxc8

4) The simple 1. Rc3 skewers the c8 rook and wins the game. I actually saw and played this one.

5) Here I played 1. Rad1?? on the general principle of putting my rook on the same file as Black's isolated pawn and (behind it) queen. Tactics always trump general principles, though, as 1...Bg4! so abruptly proved.

6) Black does not need to fear the discovered check, so he should jump on the opportunity to play 1...Bxc3! winning. Let's take a look: 2. Ne6+ Nxe3 3. Nxd8 Nc2! 4. Rac1 Bxe1 and Black is up a piece (5. Rxc2 Rxd8). I missed the opportunity and played the overly cautious 1....Nxe3 2. Rxe3, with only a minimal advantage. Somehow I managed to win anyway--that's blitz for you.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:49 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Emotion and Evaluation
Possessing a rook and 3 pawns against a bishop and knight in a recent blitz game, I managed to blunder away the strong advantage by allowing a perpetual check. After picking up some clock time with checks, though, my opponent repositioned his rook; he must have felt like he could safely play for the win. After all, he was able to check me at will, right? And there's no more powerful feeling than that! However, I defended against the perpetual, placed my rook behind my outside passer, and it was all over in a heartbeat. Lesson: the rush of emotion that comes from throwing checks at your opponent's powerless king should not color your evaluation!

This Alapin Sicilian was a blitz game, so it contains plenty of mistakes, er, learning opportunities.



1) Image 2. Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

7) Image

Analysis:

1) On the eighth move White already has a winning position: 8. Bxf7+! Kxf7 9. Ng5+ Ke8 (9....Kf8? 10. Ne6+; 9....Kf6? 10. Qf3#) 10. Qb3 and Black is hopeless. I leave the variations as an exercise for the reader. Unfortunately I did not see this possibility and played the mundane 8. a4.

2) Black has gone from lost to winning in the space of 6 moves due to White's horrendous piece blunder. Now he should apply the policy of simplify, simplify: 16....Qxd1 17. Raxd1 Be6 and Black can coast to victory. Or he could get super-ambitious and try to skewer the e4-pawn with 16....Qe7?, after which the simple 17. Bd6 skewers the f8-rook and white is back in the game!

3) 26. f4 and 27. Kxg3 wins simply, but I would have no part of that! Did I play 26. Rad1 because I preferred a bigger challenge?

4) Black is threatening 30....Rc8, 31....Rc2, 32....Ne2+, 33....Nd4+, and 34....Nxf3+, a plan which leaves White in dire straights. Thus White is obliged to play 30. Red1, which allows him to trade off the dangerous Black rook. Moreover, this is the right plan for White in any case, as his extra rook is rather redundant, while Black's is valuable both in the attack and in defense. After the erroneous 30. Rd7? the right plan would have brought victory within Black's grasp; unfortunately for him, he cowered at White's seeming threat to the b7-pawn and lost his opportunity by playing 30....Rb8?

5) White's dangerous outside passer plus Black's weak marketing, er, lack of promotional material means he should just take the perpetual with 43...Bg3+ 44. Kd2 (44. Ke2?? Nc3+; 44. Kf1?? Rxd1+) Bf4+ 45. Ke1 Bg3+, etc. The inexplicable 43.... Rc8? allowed the winning continuation 44. Rb6 Nc3 45. Rd4 Na2 46. Rc4.

6) Even a winning endgame can require clever precision: 50. Rd5! and the tempting 50....Nc3+ looks like a winning fork, but the calm 51. Rxc3! provides instructive zwischenzugs (51....bxc3 52. Rxd8+; 51....Rxd5 52. Rc8).

7) Black can claim the immediate draw by repetition with 61....Re2+, but instead played the adrenalin rush 61....Rd8??. After the simple defense 62. Rc2 he was dead lost. The rest of the game is too simple to analyze.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:39 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Yet another tricky rook and pawn ending
I was dead lost--if my opponent could navigate tricky shoals. He couldn't, and we split the point. I also gained, and then threw away, a wonderful middlegame opportunity on the white side of a Caro-Kann.



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image

Analysis:

1) Black was playing for pressure against f2, and probably anticipated 21. exf6 Rxf6 22. Bg3 R8f8 with an initiative. But White decides to play chess, not checkers: 21. e6! Qe7 (otherwise 22. e7 +-) 22. Qa6 and white is for choice.

2) As soon as I glanced at this position post-mortem, I instantly saw 24. Rab1 Bxa3? 24. Rb7! and Black totters on the precipice. For example, 24....Rc8!? (any queen move is followed quickly by e7, and it's over) 25. Qxd5 Rfd8 26. Qf3! and White will either pick up the bishop on a3 or launch a difficult-to-stop mating attack with 27. Qh5. So Black must play defense with 24...Be5, but White still has good winning chances with 25. Bxe5 fxe5 26. Rxe5 Rxf2 27. Rxd5 (27. Kxf2? Qf6+) Rdf8 28. Rxa5 Re2 29. Ra8 Rxe6 30. Rxf8+ Kxf8 31. Rf1+ Kg8 32. Qd5.

White did not spot the rook maneuver, so he essayed the meek 24. Qc7?!

3) Opportunity only knocked once for White, and now Black is threatening to obtain an advantageous endgame. However, White can hold the balance by sacrificing the exchange: 26. Bxa5 Bxa1 27. Rxa1 Rfe8 28. Re1 d4 29. Bb4 d3 30. e7 Kf7 31. Rd1. In the ensuing position, the bishop + pawn on the 7th rank give full compensation for the exchange and less advanced d-pawn. White didn't spot the defense, and entered a substantially worse endgame with 26. e7 Rfe8 27. Rab1 Bxa3 28. Bxa5 Rxe7 29. Rxe7 Bxe7.

4) And here we have reached the treacherous rook and pawn endgame. To retain drawing chances, white needs to defend along the 4th rank: 42. Rb4 Rc6 43. Rb5 Rc4+ 44. Ke3 Ke5 45. Rb7 f4+ 46. Kd3 Rd4+ 47. Ke2 Ra4 48. Rxg7. Instead, White threw away drawing chances with 42. g4? Ra4 43. Kg3 fxg4 44. fxg4 Kg5 45. Rd2 Rxg4+ .

5) Black needs just one more accurate move to sew up the win: 64. ... h2! 65. Ra3 g3 66. Ra2 g2 67. Kh3 Re1 68. Rxg2 Re3+ 69. Rg3! Rxg3+ 70. Kxg3 Kg1 and the h-pawn marches to victory. But these rook and pawn endings are subtle, and Black ran aground while trying to navigate the twisting channel: 64...g3?, after which White can secure the draw with 65. Kxh3 g2 66. Rb2 (not 66. Kg3?? Rb1 67. Rxg2 Rb3+ 68. Kf2 Rb2+ -+ -- more rook engame subtlety!) Ra1 67. Rxg2 Ra3+ 68. Rg3=. The players agreed to split the point after 65. Kxh3.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Wed May 29, 2013 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:26 am
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post How to Build a Beautiful Attack, Then Waste It
Playing white in the Spanish, I got everything I could hope for, and used it to develop a beautiful attack. Then in time trouble I missed multiple winning opportunities. Finally--and this is the worst part--I indulged some hand-waving in place of analysis: I was up 2 pawns, so any endgame should win, right? Not when my bishop is bad, and my opponent can construct an effective blockade!



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

7) Image 8) Image 9) Image

Analysis:

1) If Black had interposed the usual 7...b5 8. Bb3, then after 8....O-O White would normally play the prophylactic 9. h3 before 10. d4 in order to prevent 9...Bg4. Since Black omitted 7...b5, however, White can play 8. d4 immediately, because 8...Bg4 drops a pawn: 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Nxe5. I guess Black can avoid the material loss with 10....Bxf3, but after 11. Qxf3 dxe5 12. Rd1 White is in excellent shape, while Black's pawn structure is in ruins. So Black chose to exchange on d4, but after 8...exd4 9. cxd4 Bxf3 10. gxf3 White had a strong center and a g-file ready for use in a kingside attack.

2) White is for choice after 19. b4 with the idea of tying up Black's queenside and corralling his offside knight. Probably best is 19...cxb3 20. axb3 b4, but after 21. Bd3 there can be no question of White's superiority. Instead Black played 19...Nb7?!, which ends Black's queenside hopes and shifts the battleground to the kingside, where White has all the potential.

3) 27. f5!? initiates the hand-to-hand fighting. White has gathered his pieces, but he must make a pawn break in order to execute a successful attack.

4) The first missed opportunity. 28. Qh4 would have threatened 29. f6, and already Black is in dire straights. For example, 28...Qd8 29. Bg5 f6 30. fxg6! and the threat of mate on h7 wins. It seems Black must give up a piece with 28....Be5 (28....Bxd4 29. Bxd4+ +-) 29. f4 Qd8 30. Qxd8 Rad8 31. fxe5 just to survive. White played 28. Nf3 instead, with the idea of bringing the knight to g5. It's not a bad idea, and it doesn't spoil the attack--it just isn't the strongest. Plan on seeing that last sentence a few more times as we continue.

5) I examined 30. f6, an interesting pawn sac that Black cannot accept because of 30....Bxf6? 31. Rxh6+ Kg7 32. Qxd7 Nxd7 33. Rh7+ Kf8 34. Rxf7#. However, I evaluated 30....Qxg4 incorrectly because of this variation: 31. fxg7+ Kxg7 32. Rxg4 hxg5 33. Bxg5 and White's attack has dissipated. But White has a powerful zwischenzug that I missed: 31. Nxf7+!! Kh7 32. Rxg4 Bxf6 33. Bxh6 Rg7 34. Bg5+ Kg8 35. Nh6+ Kh7 36. Nf5+ Kg8 37. Bxf6 and white is up heavy material. White's choice, 30. Qh4, is not a bad idea, and it doesn't spoil the attack--it just isn't the strongest.

6) White can finish with a nice mating attack starting with 36. Qxg5, which threatens mate in two (37. Rxh6+ Bxh6 38. Qxg8#). So Black must defend his back rank with 36....Rd8, but White concludes matters with 37. Nxg7 Kg8 38. Qxh6 Rxe4 39. Ne6+ Rg4 40. Rxg4+ Kf7 41. Rg7+ Ke8 42. Qh8#. Instead I played the routine 36. Nxg5; I simply did not notice how it would pin the bishop. Also, the subconscious mind does not easily consider a move which seems to put the queen in peril (even though it doesn't really, as the h6 pawn is pinned). Nxg5 is not a bad idea, and it doesn't spoil the attack--it just isn't the strongest.

7) 39. Qxf6 Bxf6 40. Rxh6+ Rh7 41. Rxf6, picking up a bishop, shouldn't be hard to see. Moreover, Black is still in hot water, as White threatens mate in one with 42. Rf8. He cannot even defend with something like 41....Rxg1+ 42. Kxg1 Re7, as White mates with 43. Rf8+ Kh7 44. f6 Rd7 45. e5+ Kh6 46. Rh8+ Rh7 47. Rxh7#. The coordination of White's bishop and knight to trap the Black king on the h file is quite pretty! However, White missed this opportunity, too, and played the mundane 39. Nxg7, which is not a bad idea--it just isn't the strongest.

8) While the attack is over, White has emerged with a 2 pawn advantage. The best route to victory is 42. Rhg6, and exchanging on g6 come to nought: 42...Rxg6 43. fxg6 and the knight is imprisoned. So Black might try 42...Re8, but after 43. f6! he is not long for this world. Instead I thought: I'm up 2 pawns, so anything wins. Just trade as much material as possible. But after 42. Rxh7+ Kxh7 43. Rxg8 Kxg8 44. Kg2 Kg7 45. Kf3 Kf6 black's king was extremely well positioned for a blockade.

9) White's winning chances look slim because his bishop is so bad (walled off by its own pawns). I was looking to sac a pawn or two to break through, but the eventual h6 accomplished nothing. So I should have sac'ed the bad bishop instead: 55. Bxc4!? bxc4 56. Kxc4 Kxh5 57. a4 Ne5+ 58. Kd4 Kg5 59. b5 and Black is in trouble. For example, 59....axb5 60. a5 Nd7 61. a6 Nb6 62. Kc3 Kg5 63. Kb4 and the a pawn decides.

So Black probably has to accept the loss of the pawn with 55...Ne5 (55...Kxh5 56. a4 bxc4 simply transposes to the winning line above, and 56....bxa4 57. Bxa6 a3 58. Kc3 is no better). Then 56. Be2 followed by Bd1 and a4 gives white excellent winning chances, particularly because of the vulnerable a6 pawn.

I missed this last opportunity, though, and the game eventually petered out to a draw.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:25 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Puzzles from blitz
1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image

Analysis:

1) Black has bravely sac'ed a piece for 2 pawns, even though it was somewhat unsound. But playing defense ain't easy. Here I rejected 1. f3 g3+ because it looked like Black's g pawn would land like an artillery shell in my kingside. But in fact, White can prevail with 2. Kxh3 (duh!) g2 3. Rg1 Bxg1 4. Rxg1 and 5. Rxg2, which leaves Black only a rook and a pawn to compensate for the 3-piece deficit. So Black must continue 1...Nf2 2. Kg2 gxf3+ 3. Kxf3 Ng4 4. Kxf4 and White is probably winning.

2) White has dropped another pawn, but I could have gotten close to equality by giving up the exchange for a pawn: 1. Rxf2 Bxf2 2. Nxf4 h4 3. Kg2 Ba7 4. Nxh4. Instead I played the senseless 1. Kg2? f3+ and was in dire straits.

3) Black has just captured the knight, so in true checkers spirit I grabbed the offending pawn immediately with 1. Bxe2. Of course, this is chess, and White has no need to capture the pawn right away. Instead, he can pick up 2 pieces for a rook via 1. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 2. Kxf2, and then grab the pawn at his leisure (for example, 2... Kg6 3. Rh1 Kg5 4. Kxe2). White would be a little worse, but the position is tenable.

4) White is down 3 pawns, but he can improve his position and fight on with 1. Rh1 Be3 2. Rxh5+ Kg8 3. Kg3. Black is probably winning, but he's got a long way to go with good technique to reach the promised land. Instead I played 1. Ng3? and was utterly lost.

Good learning opportunities!

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:43 pm
Profile
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post The tides rise and fall...
...just like my fortunes in a chess game! Today you will see me seize opportunities to gain an advantage, then make 2 bad mistakes in time trouble to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I'm not too worried about the time trouble because I will have much more time available in OTB tournament games than I do in internet 15/10, but my fun quotient probably drops a little in these time scrambles.

This game features my favorite response to the Marshall Gambit, 9.d4, which almost always makes Black stop and think for a few minutes. Although theory says it is not especially promising, at the club level it often provokes an unprepared Black to confusion and unforced errors.



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

Analysis:

1) White nabs a pawn with 13. b4! Nc6 14. Nxc6 Bxc6 15. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Bxe4 17. Rxe4.

2) White nabs another pawn with the simple fork 21. Qb3+ Kh8 22. Qxb5. Black's pressure down the a-file after 22....Qa8 provides some dynamic compensation, but white should be able to consolidate and chalk up the victory. Alas, my technique is not as solid as it should be.....

3) 26. Re4! only seems like a winning fork, as black can respond 26....Ra5 to prevent 27. Rxf5 (27....Bxf2+! and 28....Raxf5). However, it would relieve some of the pressure against the c-pawn compared with the game continuation of 26. Be3 directly.

4) On his previous move (Rh3) white provoked the weakening ...h6, so 29. Rf3 is a sensible move that brings black's kingside initiative to a halt (29....g5?! 30. Rh3! and black's loose kingside deprives him of any compensation for the 2 pawns). 29. Qe2?! doesn't throw the win away, but it surely doesn't help.

5) White has back-rank troubles, so he needs to tend to safety rather than try to hang onto every single last pawn. If he gives up a pawn but remains safe, he still has winning chances. 30. Qd2??, on the other hand, lands white in scalding water after 30.... Rxa2 31. Rxa2 Qxa2 32. Qc1 (32. Qxa2?? Re1#!). White should have played 30. Qd1 (30...Rxa2 31. Rxa2 Qxa2 32. Rd3 and if white can force the rook exchange, he'll have the favorable queen ending).

6) Black didn't miss the finishing tactical flourish: 32....Qc2! (33. Qxc2?? Re1#) 33. Qf1 Rd8 and white resigns in view of the impending 34....Rd1.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Last edited by chrisfalter on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:22 pm
Profile
Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post How to Commit Errors
I've noticed recently that I am occasionally losing half and full points due to impulsive moves. I scan the position, and .... oh wow, there's the winning move! Mouse click. Wait.... oh, no. Dear Lord, no. "gg"

Speaking of errors, here's a few positions from recent games where I or my opponent went astray. Enjoy!

1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image

Analysis:

1. Eager to execute my knight fork, I played the immediate 1....Nd3?! 2. Rxd3 exd3 but then was forked in return by 3. Ne5! Qe8 4. Nxd7 Qxd7, which took me from a little better to a little worse. Better is to prevent white's fork first with 1....Bf5, whereupon the threat of my the knight coming to d3 (either with a material-winning fork or as a terrorizing octopus planted in the heart of white's position) is all the stronger.

2. The c5 pawn looks very well protected by its brother on d4, but it's just a mirage: 1...Bxc5-= and 2. dxc5?? is not possible because the d-pawn is pinned. In the resulting position, Black's bishop is far better than White's. Instead I played the awful 1...Bh4, which should have lost the game as we shall see.

3. Somehow my opponent missed 1. Rxh5+! Kg7 (the g-pawn is pinned by the Qd3) 2. Rxh4 Black resigns.

4. It looked to me like 1. Nf4+ would cause my superior endgame to slip away with the demise of the central pawns (1...Kf5 2. Nxd5 Bxd4 and the e-pawn must fall as well). However, white has a nice zwischenzug: 1. Nf4+ Kf5 2. e6! (threatening to promote) Ba3 3. Nxd5 Kxe6 4. Ke4 and now white has made serious progress: the d-pawn is unassailable, his king's positions is superior to black's and the black queenside pawns must struggle to survive.

5. I acceded to what looked like an inevitable draw and shook virtual hands...in a winning position! I was afraid to play 1. Nc2 because I feared giving up my h-pawn, which might give Black serious counterplay. What I missed in my analysis is that if Black's king wanders down to h3, White's e-pawn becomes a far more serious threat. For example, 1. Nc2 Kf5 2. Nb4 Kf3 3. Nxd5 Kg3 4. e6! Bf6 5. e7 Bxe7 6. Nxe7 +-. So Black's king must hang back, which means the a7 pawn must drop: 1. Nc2 Bf4 61. Nb4 Bg5 62. Nc6 h5 63. Nxa7 Bh4 64. Nc8 Bd8 is one plausible line. In any case, white has made serious progress and likely is winning.

This analysis is partly the brainchild of the ficsgames.org analysis engine. These computers inspire humility, do they not? Fortunately, the humble can improve by paying attention to their silicon masters. :wink:

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:27 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Beautiful queen dance results in fantastic mating combinatio
The title of this post honors my wife! But it also refers to a game I played yesterday with the gambit variation of the Sicilian Alapin, and it was the most fun I've had playing online chess in a very long time.



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

My analysis:

1) 9. d5!? gambits a pawn for excellent compensation. The most common response is 9....Na5 10. Nc3 Nxb3 11. Qxb3 and white's pressure, combined with black's lack of development, have resulted in a very positive score for white in the databases. On the other hand, the databases say 9....Nb4 10. Nc3 has yielded excellent results for black, but it seems like 10....e6 11. Bg5!? Be7 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. d6!? gives white plenty of play in relatively unexplored terrain.

2) Black has an extra pawn, but white has a lead in development. Moreover, black's extra pawn is very weak, and reduces the action of his light-squared bishop. White should ignore the recapture of the pawn, which leads to a sterile equality after queens are traded, and castle kingside with 14. O-O.

3) Black should have preferred king safety to clutching desperately to his extra pawn. The open lines and lead in development are sure to give white the opportunity to punish greed. In fact, the opportunity is immediate: 15. Ba4+! and now black's best is probably 15....Bd7 16. Re1+ Be7 17. Qxg7. Black will be down the exchange with weak kingside pawns, but the 2 bishops may give him drawing chances. But black wanted to hang onto his material--terrible idea!--and played 15....Ke7.

4) White has many tempting ideas, so I thought for a long time here. The best of the lot is 16. Qb4+, which I played. If black tries to block the check with 16...Qd6, he loses his shirt after 17. Bg5+ f6 18. Qxb7+ Bd7 19. Bf4 (the bishop is immune because of the threat of 20. Qxd7#) Qe6 20. Rfe1. So black tried to escape to f6, but there is nowhere to hide after white's next move....

5) 17. Qh4+ and black is forced to flee to g6 (17...g5 18. Bxg5; 17....Ke5 18. Qf4#; 17...Kf5 18. Bc2 Ke5 19. Qf4#).

6) This is the position that I spent the most time analyzing in my long think. The first idea that came to my mind was 18. Bc2+, but with 18...f5 black survives and even consolidates with his extra pawn. Probably this is the continuation black was relying on when he played 15....Ke7. But when I played 18. Qg3! instead, it was the decisive step in the queen dance:
  • 18...Kh5 19. Bd1+ Bg4 20. Qxg4#
  • 18...Qg5 19. Qxg5#
  • 18...Kf6 19. Qg5#
  • 18...Kf5 19. Bc2+ Kf6 20. Qg5#
18. Qg3 was one of those hard to see moves because the queen steps back and checks at a distance, rather than moving in closer. But once I played, black saw the variations and resigned, rather than be mated in just 2 more moves.

I hope you enjoy analyzing this after the fact as much as I enjoyed playing it!

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:00 pm
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post I am too much like a Cyprus bank
For those of you who have been playing a little too much chess, the Cypriot banking system has been imploding due to their failing investments in seemingly profitable Greek businesses. Yesterday I learned a little something about Greek gifts that initially look profitable, but can turn quickly into a loss.

Image

In this Caro-Kann Panov Attack, black has misplaced his bishop on d6 (instead of e7). This permits white's knight to jump into g5. Hmm...is it time for the Greek gift?

12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Ng5+ Kg8 14. Qh5 and white's attack looks fantastic....until black gives white a taste of Cyprus banking by playing 14...Bf5. White should instead have developed with 12. O-O.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:47 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post How to handle a lost position
In this Alekhine Defense turned French Defense, I had achieved a fine position as black right up to the "oops" moment (I have way too many of those!). Instead of just resigning, I looked for ways to give my opponent more problems. If he could solve them correctly, he would win....but maybe he would slip, given the opportunity? In fact, after much interesting but sloppy play I reached a promising queen endgame...and promptly lost on time. Ugh. Nevertheless, the game had plenty of action and learning opportunities, so I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Much of today's analysis is courtesy of the analysis engine at ficsgames.org.



1) Image 2) Image 3) Image

4) Image 5) Image 6) Image

7) Image 8) Image 9) Image

10) Image 11) Image 12) Image

13) Image

Analysis:

1) After 8...cxd4 9. Nxd4 N7xe5 black's one-pawn material advantage outweighs white's slight lead in development.

2) I could see that white's threat to bring a horse to c5 or b6 spelled trouble, but I thought that I could find some tricky defensive moves to hang onto the 2 bishops and the extra pawn. Bad idea. Much easier is 16...Bxb3 17. cxb3 f6 and Black's extra center pawns claim a lot of space. Black's bishop is momentarily walled off, but it should be able to enter the game (or trade itself for a knight on c5) eventually.

3) 22...Rad8 is the only move worth considering in this position; it protects the d4 pawn through the bishop and prevents a winning knight fork on d7--you noticed that the black queen and f8 rook are at a forking distance, right? Good for you....I didn't! 22....Re8 made the rooks look nice so that's what I played, to my quick chagrin (23. Nd7).

4) Even after the mistake, Black can stay roughly equal with the spectacular 23....Bxh2+! 24. Kf1 (24. Kxh2 Qd6+ 25. Kg1 Qxd7 -/=) Qh4 25. Nxf8 Kxf8. I erred, however, with 23...Rxe1 24. Rxd1 Qf4 (again, 24...Bxh2+ is better).

5) Greed is almost always punished! White wanted to collect the exchange right away with 25. Nxf8?!, but after 25...Qxh2+ he was ruing his indulgence in the deadly sin. Better and simpler is 25. Qxf4 Bxf4 and then 26. Nxf8.

6) Black goes astray with 26...Bf4? when 26...Qh1+ 27. Ke2 Qxg2 is pretty equal:
  • The knight cannot escape because of 28. Nd7 Qg4+ with a fork.
  • So the desperado knight can grab a pawn with 28. Nxh7 but then 28....Qg4+ 29. f3 (29. Kd3? Ne5+; 29. Kf1 Qh3+ repeats) Qg2+ 30. Kd1 Qxf3+ 31. Qe2 (31. Re2? Bf4!) Qxe2+ 32. Kxe2 Kxf3 =

7) Who needs a queen when you can threaten checkmate? 27. Re8!! f6 (...Bxd2?? 28. Ng6#) 28. Ng6+ Kf7 29. Nxf4 Kxe8 30. Nxd4 and white is up a whole piece. The key to this combination is recognizing black's back-rank weakness.

8) Black should have played 31...Ne5, because now white has the devastating 32. Qf8+ with 33. Qxf7+ and 34. Qxf4 to follow. Fortunately for me, he missed it!

9) White just played 41. Qh1 and threatens to break the bind with 42. Rf1 or Qf1. In this critical situation, black has a dynamic attacking move which holds the balance: 41....d3! (threatening 42....Qxc2#) 42. cxd3 Qxb2 43. Qh7+ Kb6 44. Rxe3 Qxb3 and it's still equal. The next phase of the game is a beautiful example of the power of the queen and knight; because of the constant threat of knight forks, white's king can run but not hide from black's checks. It's worth a few minutes to play through the next 20 or so moves to see the coordination in action. If you have any questions or comments about the sequence, by all means make a comment!

10) White has rejected my attempts to draw by repetition, and now I could have made him regret it by 56. ... Qe2+ 57. Kd5 Qxd3+ 58. Ke5 (Ke6 Qd6+ and ...Qxf4) Qe3+ 59. Kf6 Qxf4. I rejected the idea because I didn't see a good continuation for black after 59. Re4, but in fact it ends badly for white: 59...Qc3+ and then....
  • 60. Kf4 Qg3#
  • 60. Kd5 Qc6#
  • 60. Ke6 Qc6+ 61. Kf7 (61. Ke5 Qd6#) Qxe4

We had long since been playing on a 10-second increment, a condition highly conducive to patzer oversights so as this.

11) 59..Qh5+! brings about a winning pawn endgame, as black's extra pawn is an outside passer. However, the situation is complicated by white's e-pawn and well-positioned king.

12) Pawn endgames are a lot trickier than they look! Black casually played 61...Kc6?, opening the door for white to promote with check on e8. Winning is 61. ... Kc7 62. Kg5 b5 63. Kf6 h4 64. e5 h3 65. e6 h2 66. e7 h1=Q 67. e8=Q Qc6+ 68. Qxc6+ Kxc6 and this pawn endgame is a trivial win.

13) 63. Kf6! and now white promotes with check, giving him drawing chances.

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Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:36 am
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Rook

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:43 pm
Posts: 226
Rating: 1700
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Why I love IQP positions
The isolated queen pawn (IQP) has yielded many exciting kingside attacks for me. It seems that a lot of amateurs, even very strong ones, do not know how to defend against the superior piece coordination and space that the IQP affords. Essentially the defender must carefully neutralize the IQP initiative and draw down to an endgame, where the IQP can become a weakness. But this is not always an easy task.

In this game I played yesterday against an expert (rated 2067), all I did was make the typical developing moves and jump on my opponent's mistakes. In 21 moves it was all over.



1. Image 2. Image 3. Image

4. Image 5. Image 6. Image

7. Image

My analysis:

1. Black played 8...Bb4+?! 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2, which gives up the key dark-squared defender. It also puts the white queen on the nice d2 square, from which it covers important squares on both sides of the board, and clears d1 for a rook. 8....Be7 conforms much better to the needs of the position.

2. How should white defend the hanging queen pawn? Not at all! It's not hanging! 11. O-O Nxd4 drops a knight (12. Nxf6+ Qxf6 13. Nxd4, and if 13....Qxd4 14. Bxh7+! Kxh7 15. Qxd4 +-). So I just castled kingside.

3. Black has just played 12...Ne7? with the idea of establishing a strong blockade on d5 (13....Ned5). However, white can seize the opportunity to launch a winning kingside attack with 13. Nxf6+ gxf6 14. Qh6! threatening mate on h7. 14....f5 loses immediately to 15. Ng5, so black has to defend with 14...Ng6. The fact that he has not been able to blockade on d5 is now the least of black's worries. A better plan for black would have been to launch a queenside initiative with 12....Rc8 or 12....a6.

4. 15. h4 followed by 16. h5 to chase black's knight is the plan. White's attack practically plays itself.

5. I considered 17. Nh2 with the idea of bringing the knight into the attack (Ng4 and Nf6). However, black can fight back with 17....f5 and 18....f6. There is no question of white's superiority, especially in view of the g4 pawn break, which weakens black's house even more. However, I did not see a convincing win for white, so I played 17. Re1 instead. The idea is to bring the rook into the attack, which should end the game quickly.

6. Black has just played 17...Qa5, presumably with the idea of trading f6 for white's annoying h5 pawn. However, white has 2 good choices:

  • 18. Qxf6 works because 18...Qxh5 is fatal (19. Re5! and the black queen will drop when the rook comes to g5). Down a pawn and having poor shelter for his king, black cannot last long after the relatively best 18....Qd8 19. Qh6.
  • 18. Re4 was my choice--just calmly prepare the deadly 19. Rg4+.

Even though he's probably lost long-term, Black could have kept fighting with 17....Bc6, which prevents the rook's entrance via e4, at least for the moment.

7. Time for the kill: 19. Qg5+ Kh8? (19....Ng6 20. hxg6 is the only way to survive, although not for long since white's rook is immune [20....fxe4?? 21. Qxa5]) 20. Qf6+ Kg8 21. h6 and mate on g7 next move. Black resigned.

By the way, 18...e5 would have kept the white rook from g4, but it would have lost anyway after 19. dxe5 fxe5 (19...Rxe5? 20. Nxe5 fxe5 21. Qg5+ +-) 20. Qg5+ and mates or wins the knight as in the game.

_________________
Good chess and God bless,

Chris Falter


Wed May 29, 2013 11:30 am
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