Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A position from one of my games at the 2014 Club Championships of the Bergen Chess Mates in Ridgewood, New Jersey, I submitted it to Houdini3 and Fritz13 for analysis and both liked the continuation 28...Nb8. It's a line I didn't consider. I played, what seemed to me, a move that wins immediately. Can you surmise what that move was?

The line that the computers preferred, after some analyses, was more artful and mature than the move I made. It involved some hang time and treading water, teasing White with the possibility of a back rank mate. It required exact play. It went 28...Nb8  29.Kh2 Nc6  30.Rc1 g6  31.Ra1 Nd4  32.Rc1 Kg7  33.Ra1 Nb3 and Black wins. Well, that was lovely. Wasn't it? But it is something an amateur like me shouldn't be fooling around it. As Capablanca advised, go for the simplest win.

So, what move did I play? I played 28...Rd2! I thought it was a nifty move, and one that my opponent didn't expect. Play continued with 29.Ra1 Rd3  30.Ra2 Rd4  31.Ra7 Nf8 and White resigned.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Once in a while, one gets a chance to play a ( Should I dare say?) Tal-like move and get away with it. It's the 23rd move in an online game, and I just had to get to Black's king somehow while the going was good. Doubled rooks on an open E file, a wonderfully entrenched knight on E5 plus Black's pieces were underdeveloped with his king side porous as a sieve. What more do I require to win a position like this?

Quite often, when you can already smell victory, a violent, forcing move will do the trick. I looked at 23. Ng6+. But after 23...Qg6 24. Re7, it seemed that Black could hold his position together. 

So, I found this move, 23.Nc6. I hoped to lull Black into thinking that I committed a gross blunder. It didn't make any sense, did it? Black captured the knight with 23...Qc6 to which I replied 24. Re7. Mate was threatened on h7 and the Black queen had no way to come to the rescue. The knight move proved to be a true positional sacrifice by deflecting a defender away from the action and woefully unable to make it back in time. 

Play continued 24...h5  26. Qe3,Qf6  27.Qh6+ and game over very soon.