Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chess: 3 Weak Squares

This is a game I played with Pure Chess at Scholar level. It's an interesting game, with me totally dominating Black's position. It's the finest game I've played so far. Just don't expect me to repeat this performance anytime soon!

1. e4 c5
2. g3 d5
3. Bg2 dxe4
4. Bxe4 Nf6
5. Bg2 

Oh, dear. 5 moves into the game, and I lost initiative already. There goes my hope for a good game.

5. ... h6
6. Nf3 e6
7. O-O Bd6
8. c3 O-O
9. d4 Nbd7
10. Be3 Ng4
11. Nbd2 Nxe3
12 fxe3 

A natural recapture. I moved a pawn from f file to e file, thus opening up my rook for attack on Black's King.

12. ... Re8?

This is strange. About the only thing I can think of is that Black has no concept of long range planning. By moving his rook there, he's setting up attack on f pawn. Right now, White can't attack that pawn, but after a few exchanges, things will be different!

13. Ne4 Bf8
14. Rf2 f5!

The situation is now clear. Black has no plan to save that pawn for defense after all. Black is using that pawn as an attacker!

15. Ned2 a5
16. Qc2 Ra6
17. Raf1 Qb6
18. Nc4 Qb5
19. Nce5 

A knight here is a very strong position. Notice that no pawn can attack that knight. It's a comfy perch that will make Black's movement difficult. It's also the first attacking piece so far. We are now moving into the middle game.

19. ... Nxe5
20. Nxe5 g5?

You should not voluntarily give up the pawns protecting the King. Just because you don't see anything wrong with the current position, does not mean it won't change in the future!

21. g4?

Ill-advised attack on my part. I failed to calculate the consequences of my gambit of trying to open the f file.

21. ... cxd4
22. exd4 Bg7
23. gxf5 exf5

I look at this position and stared in horror! My King has no pawn protection in view of 3 Black's pawns! About the only salvation is the fact that my pieces are consolidated while Black's pieces are scattered all over the board. If only I can attack on the Queenside while preventing Black to consolidate his pieces over to the King!

24. c4 Qb6
25. Bd5+ Kf8?

An unfortunate move for Black, lining up his King opposing my double Rook!

26. c5 Qf6?

Lining up his Queen to my double Rook?

27. Bxb7 Ra7
28. c6!

Looking at this position, I'm very happy! Black has 3 major problems that he needs to take care of. There are 3 pressure points

  1. The f5 square. Attacked twice, defended twice, defender wins. Attacked 3 times, defended twice, attacker wins.
  2. The d7 square. Possible King-Queen fork by the Knight.
  3. The c5 square. Possible King-Rook fork by the Queen.

Notice that I'm not looking at the position by the pieces. I'm evaluating the position by weak squares. This is not a common view, but I think squares are more important than pieces!

28. ... Rxb7
29. cxb7

Black attempts to solve problem #3 by trading his Rook for my Bishop. This is unfortunate for Black since I now have two attacks: the Bishop, and the b8 square promotion. As we play along, notice how Black's position crumbled rather quickly.

29. ... Be6
30. Rxf5 Bxf5

Black has solved problem #2, but his problem #1 remains.

31. Rxf5 Qxf5
32. Qxf5 Kg8

And now, I see a winning combo. I realize that in order for me to promote the pawn, I need to remove the Rook from the 8th rank. I know just how to do it! We are entering the Endgame phase. Black did not survive for long.

33. Qf7+ Kh7
34. Qg6+ Kh8
35. Qxe8+

And I have the Rook. I wasn't calculating mate, but since all moves are forced, it's a mating combination.

35. ... Kh7
36. Qg6+ Kh8
37. b8=Q+ Bf8
38. Nf7#

Yes! Mated the King in the corner! Notice that Black does not make obvious blunder. About the only inaccuracy that I can see is lack of long-term planning by Black. Overall, a great game that I do not expect to improve any time soon.

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