06 September 2013

Building Pressure

Sometimes my play resembles a beginner's. A direct assault is favored over building pressure until the attack is overwhelming. A recent win at ChessWorld.net (readers may join this site through the site's icon on the sidebar) reveals this tendency. Despite getting a strong position, and the initiative with Black, I squandered several opportunities to increase my advantage. At a critical point, my opponent cooperated with an error when he could have equalized, or perhaps even gained a slight advantage.

Internet Opponent (2117) -- Stripes,J (2142) [C06]
www.ChessWorld.net, 10.07.2013

This position grew from a French Defense, closed Tarrasch.

Black to move

I gain a knight and get the perfect square for my bishop. What could be better?

19...Nd4! would have been stronger.

I teach my students that it is better to pile on a pin, but perhaps the ensuing sequence is not so easy to calculate. 20.Rxe4 Bxf3 21.Rxd4 Bxd1 22.Rxd1–+.


It might be better for White to get rid of the pesky bishop, even at the cost of an exchange. 20.Rxf3 exf3 21.Be3.

20...Nd4 21.Bd2

Simple and best. It may be shocking that White needs to develop pieces while his king is under assault 21 moves into a French Defense.

Black to move 

Impatiently going for the throat.

21...Qd7 would keep the White queen stuck defending h3; it also connects the rooks.


22.Rxf3 is still the choice of Stockfish 4.


22...Rf7 was the choice of the engine, which favors a little security from checks. It likes my move as well.


This move caught me by surprise, although it should not have.

I planned for 23.gxh4 Qxh4  and did not sense the need to work out the conclusion: 24.Qg2 Bxg2 25.Bxd5+ Kh8 26.f4 Bf3 27.Reb1 Bd4+ 28.Be3 Bxe3+ 29.Kf1 Qh1#.

23.Rac1 was worth considering.

Black to move

23...Nf5 was best.

I considered 23...Ng2 24.Rf1 but now my knight would be trapped. Nonetheless, a trapped piece that cannot be captured without material loss is not such a bad thing. It would have been worthwhile, perhaps, to think about the consequences of a trapped knight before eagerly entering a line that returned the extra piece.


24.Qxh4 was the only move. 25.gxh4 Bf3 was my idea, but the engine tells me that I've squandered a decisive advantage, and now White has more than enough compensation for the pawn. White might even have an advantage here.


24...Kh7 it was better to overprotect h6.

25.gxh4 Bf3?

My move was hasty and ill-considered. The bishop was immune from capture.

25...Qxh4 26.Kxg2 Rxf2+ 27.Kg1 Qh2#.


White's threats make it easier for Black to find a convincing attack. I did not falter again.

26.Qh3 Rg8–+ Black's advantage is strong, according to the engine, but a human must find the way to proceed.

Black to move
26...Qxh4 27.Bxg7+ Kxg7 28.Qe5+ Rf6 29.Qe7+

29.Qh2 Rg6+ 30.Kf1 Qxh2 with checkmate to follow.

29...Kg6 0–1

White resigned.

This game was a nice win with the French Defense. Nonetheless, it is critical if I have any hopes of improving that I remember my errors, and focus on how I might have pressed the attack. The natural tendency toward self-congratulation stifles growth.

No comments:

Post a Comment