10 April 2012

ChessBase 11 and Pattern Training

As I work through the combinations in Chess Informant 111, I return to each problem several times. I found the key move at the beginning of most combinations the first time through, but did not accurately find every move in the combination. The one that gave me the most difficulty was from a game between two USCF Candidate Masters (also known as Experts in the USCF rating system). The game was played in the Berkeley International 2011. Chess Informant has only the concluding combination, but The Week in Chess has the full score of all the event's games.

After perhaps half an hour of playing through the combination and the variations in the Informant annotations, I felt that I understood each move. Then I went in search of the entire game, finding it in Big Database 2011. Playing through the game, I quickly became cognizant that White employed an attacking maneuver similar to one that I used in a recent correspondence game on Chess.com (see "Problems in the English Opening").

Gaffagan,Steven (1995) - Gutman,Joshua (2124) [B52]
Berkeley op Berkeley (6), 04.01.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.a4 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Re1 g6 7.c3 Bg7 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 0–0 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Be3 d5 12.e5 Ne4 13.Bxc6N Nxc3 14.bxc3 bxc6 15.h3 Bf5 16.Nh4 Bc8 17.Bg5 Qc7 18.Qd2 Rb8 19.Nf3 Re8 20.Bh6 Rb3 21.Rac1 Qb6 22.Qg5

The beginning of the maneuver that I employed against Vladimir Grabovitz.

Black to move

22...Qa5 23.Qh4

Freeing the g5 square for the knight. It is not possible to protect both pawns, but the battle is on the kingside in any case. As in my game, Black's king has few defenders. White's e-pawn thrust cuts the Black position in two.

23...Qxa4 24.Ng5 Bh8

White to move


25.Qf4 is stronger

25...Qa3 26.Rce1 Rxc3

The position here is where the Informant combination begins.


Hiarcs 12 must think for several minutes at 15-ply before it recognizes that 1) this move is best, and 2) that White has an advantage. But, when it first gets to 16-ply, the engine views the position as equal.

27...Rxe3 28.Bxe3 Qa5

Things seem a bit murkier after 28...Qb4, and Informant offers a couple of lines.

29.Rc1 Qc7 30.Ng5 Bg7 31.Qh7+ Kf8

White to move


This is the move that gave me the most trouble. The Informant annotations give the simple 32.Nf3, which I tried against Rybka 4: 32... e6 33.Bg5 Re7  34.Bf6 Ke8 35.Qxg7 Bb7 36.Ng5 and Rybka gave up. 32.Ne4, a clearance sacrifice is also given in the annotations.

32...fxe6 33.Bh6 Rd8 34.Qh8+ Kf7 35.Qxg7+ Ke8 36.Bg5 Bb7 37.Qxg6+ Kd7 38.Bxe7 1–0

Researching the Pattern

After recognizing the pattern of bishop, knight, and queen in attack, I created a position search in ChessBase 11.

The search turned up 1137 games--far more than I will have time to examine. But a quick glance through a couple dozen turned up some nice attacking games. Often an exchange sacrifice is necessary to eliminate a pesky defender. Try these combinations.

Black to move
Averbakh -- Smyslov, Moscow 1939
Was Smyslov's 17...f4 the strongest move?

White to move
Kupper -- Olafsson, Zurich 1959
Kupper played a nice combination.

White to move
Bisguier -- Larson, Zagreb 1965
A nice win by Bisguier!

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