Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2 positions from a recent game

In the last tournament I played, I lost a game that had some middlegame possibilities. I'm going to post 2 positions here from that game that I think are worth a look. Black to move:

My e-pawn is attacked three times and only defended twice. It cannot be defended again (Bd6 Qxd5+ or Nd7 Qxd5+), so I need to come up with another way to not lose the pawn outright. The game continued:

16. ... c4

17. dxc4 Na5

18. Qa4 Bxa3

19. Qxa3 Nxc4

20. Qb3 e4

There was better play for black (discussed below), but the e-pawn has been secured! White could have played somewhat better in that line, but it is the next move where he gives me an opportunity:

21. Nd2

At this point I returned the favor, making a bad move of my own. One of my first ideas is to play Ne5 and then Nd3, hoping to establish a powerful outpost. Unfortunately, Ne5 loses material to Nxe4. To alleviate the pin on the b2-g8 diagonal I played Kh8. I foresaw Nxc4 dxc4 and thought I was ok there. Unfortunately, I overlooked that Qc2 attacks the e4 pawn a third time and soon it will be lost.

On to the improvements! (Analysis from here out is Fritz assisted.) In the first position, black has a nice tactical possibility. It requires some deep calculation, but I'll admit that during the game, I didn't even really consider the idea:

16. ... Nh5!

Obviously Nxe5 is out due to Bxh4. Black needs a lot of faith to start calculating:

17. Bxe7 Qxe7

Where he's just placed his queen on the file with the doubled rooks!

18. Nxe5 Nf4

19. Re3 Nxe5

20. Rxe5 Qh4

Now black is mounting a strong kingside attack. The last piece can join in quickly with Rd6 and Rg6.

In the second position (after 21. Nd2), black also has a tactical continuation. I didn't want to trade the knights because I thought my Knight was better than his, but I overlooked this possibility:

21. ... Nd2

22. Rxd2 Qf4 (fork!)

23. Bxf6 Qxd2

24. Rd1 Qe2

I fear that even if I had seen this line, the resulting position would not have been clear to me. Fritz evaluates it as clearly winning for black (-1.50), but it looks like murky ground to me, especially in an over-the-board game.

Hopefully I can use this game to help me learn to look for tactical possibilities. The manoever of the knight to f4 in the first position and the queen fork in the second were totally overlooked!

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