25 June 2008

Ninety Minutes

I resolved last week to spend ninety minutes per week playing against Fritz and/or Hiarcs from positions in Fred Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Chess Combinations and Sacrifices. Finding Reinfeld's idea is merely the first step. In most of the positions in his book, the player to move gains a material advantage but there is still play needed to bring home the point.

I play these positions at game/15. Some are over quickly; others require most of the allotted half an hour. I played nine this week, finding Reinfeld's idea in all of them. I carried six to the win, one was lost no matter what I played (see "Frustration"), and I failed in two.

One of the failures came from Problem 322. A simple discovery wins a knight. After some play I found myself in the following position.

White to move

I played 1.Kc6 and was able only to draw. In post-game analysis Hiarcs 10 suggested 1.Nc4 with the idea of playing the knight to a5. I should have seen that, but was in too much of a hurry to promote the d-pawn. In the original effort, Hiarcs was able to trade the a-pawn for my b-pawn then sac the rook for the d-pawn for a draw. After 1.Nc4 the rook sacrifice must occur with a white pawn still on the board.

I played the position from here and began with 1.Nc4. Hiarcs resigned after the ninth move.

I have completed Reinfeld's problems 320, 321, 322, 75, 76, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Number 3 is a loss despite the tactic. I failed on 322 and 4. I'm still running post-game analysis on 4 to see where I missed a win.

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