Thursday, February 16, 2006


Black to Play & Win

In my weekly Wednesday night game (where the 4 weeks in a month adds up to a tournament), I won last nights game giving me a tie for the lead with 2.5. So next week I play for the tournament win against a talented 2045 rated Russian (against whom I have beaten). It will also be my 150th USCF rated game. The tournament is surprisingly strong and I am only seated 7th/ of 14 players.

Yesterday's game, hre I, as black, have rounded the corner, but the game isn't won. There are several ways to continue and many would probably eventually win, but one move can really do damage to white.


White: Gary - 1726
Black: Chris - 1846

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 Bf5 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. a3 Bd6 7. Bg5 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Be7 9. Nf3 O-O 10. Nh4 Bg4 11. f3 Bh5 12. g3 h6 13. Bxf6 Bxf6 14. Ng2 e5 15. d5 Na5 16. Bd3 b6 17. g4 Bh4+ 18. Ke2 Bg6 19. b4 Bxd3+ 20. Qxd3 Nb7 21. Rhd1 Be7 22. Rac1 a5 23. bxa5 Rxa5 24. Nb5 Nc5 25. Qc4 ....

Another knight-centric problem!

The answer is 1. ... Na4, which blocks the pawn a3 from supporting the Nb5 and threatens 2. ... Nb2, winning the exchange. Here are the top variations after the first move:

2. Rb1 Qd7 {threat is now 3. ... RxN! 4. Q(RxN) QxQ(R) 5. R(Q)xQ Nc3+ followed by 6. ... NxR(Q)} 3. Nc3 (the only square) Rc5 and the Nc3 falls.

2. Nxc7 Nb2

2. Qxc7 Rxb5

2. Nc3 Rc5 as in the main line (note that 3. Nxa4 Rxc4 4. Rxc4 fails to 4. ... b5)
I missed a line. In fact, I think this one is black's best defense.

There's also:

1. ... Na4 2. Rd2 Qd7 3. Nc3 Bxa3 4. Rc2
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1...Na4. Qc6 neutralizes everything. keep looking!
The correct answer is 25...e4 26. fxe4 which is how the game continued, the 26... Qd7 forking the knight and the pawn on g4. 27. Nd4 Qxg4+ 28. Kf1 Bd6.
AHHH! Very good! I was completely focused on the Q-side and missed the opportunity for black to threaten both wings at once. Good shot!
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