Friday, August 17, 2007

A fork in the road...

White, with content, plunked his rook on d1 and awaited an exchange of rooks that seemed like a foregone conclusion to him. I could have cooperated with him had it not been for my super ego telling me to look out for roadside bombs. So, I tamed his eagerness by spending a few minutes in deep thought at this junction, wisely resisted inertia created by a flurry of quick exchanges leading to this position. It was time for a reassessment of the situation.

I imagined the position devoid of rooks with our kings on their respective first ranks. That's fine but the sight of White's B and C pawns confronting my lone pawn on C6 augured well for him but not for me. I would end up with a position like Diagram 2 where White enjoys a passed pawn, better king position, and a helpless black pawn on a3. Now, the correct winning plan here is to use the passed pawn--be it the C or A pawn-- as a diversionary tactic while the attacking king mops up the rest of the black pawns in the center and wings. The push g4 and f5/g5 will serve White very well.

So, I decided that it would be safer for me to step on a rattlesnake than to play 29...Rd1+. What were my options? Well, for one thing, the Black king's position prevented the immediate invasion of the rook via D7. If 30.Rd6 became an option, then 30...Kc7 will temporarily hold the position while the black rook sought counter play somewhere else. I decided that I could mine my way up the G file, and create pressure there. I played 29...Rg8 with the intention of pushing my G pawn to either g6 or g5. Either way, I could see the pawns on g2 and h5 becoming a serious liability for White.

After three moves, we've come to Position 3. My rook stands proudly on G3, putting serious pressure on the G2 pawn, rather than cowering in Black's backyard. More importantly, it created a demarcation line along the third rank, a line that the White king could not cross. Defending the G2 pawn became a matter of national importance for White. Against this backdrop, the advance of the B and C pawns was effectively stymied. Without the help of their king, these pawns will fall prey to the enemy once they advance. I think this position beats Position 2 hands down. Don't you think? The game result is of secondary importance to exemplifying the deductive, mental process that occurred here. The position required, first of all, a correct strategic assessment and then some hard lines of analysis. I will forego the latter, and leave that task to you. BTW, our friend Fritz9 played 29...Rg8 himself.


Blogger Ryan said...

A nice illustration of an important idea. All too often I don't give enough thought to how an exchange will affect the position. It's easy to exchange first and worry about it later; but later can be too late!

5:11 AM  
Blogger Ted Teodoro said...

It was very tempting to take in D1, but I have been down that road before and lost. So, a mental alarm system came to life at this point, and made me think it out more carefully. Seemingly harmless exchanges can mess you up pretty good. Such is Chess!

5:34 AM  

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