04 April 2014

Power of Knights

Even after too much online blitz, I sometimes review a batch of my games. Sometimes I look at the openings and make efforts to refine my repertoire. If I improve the quality of moves I make in the beginning of the game before I start thinking, I may reach better positions. Sometimes I review the tactics that I missed.

My database software, ChessBase 11, easily guides me to master games that shared the opening that I fell into (or played deliberately). One of these games (Kallio -- Anastasian, Batumi 2002) caught my eye with its spectacular finish.

Black to move

32...h1Q 33.Rxg7+ Qxg7 34.Rxh1 Nb3+ 35.Kb1 Nbd2+ 36.Kc2+ (36.Kc1 appears to save the game) 36...Nc4 37.Qc6 (hastening the end) 37...Qg2 38.Kb3 Na5+ 0-1

After looking through these moves several times, then going back through the game as a whole, I returned to the diagram position and began to ponder.

I liked 32...Nb3+ and wondered why it was not as good as the move played in the game.

White has two choices.

1) If 33.Kb1, then 33...Ned2+ 34.Kb2 Nf3+ (here I first considered 34...Nf1 to aid the pawn's promotion) 35.Kxb3 Nxe1 36.Rxg7+ Qxg7 37.Qxh2. White has exterminated the promotion threat, but leaves Black a rook ahead.

2) If 33. Kd1, the position seems complex.

Black to move

Checking my ideas with an engine, I learned two things. First, my 32...Nb3 is superior to the move played in the game. Second, I failed to find the correct continuation from the second diagram. Perhaps you can do better.

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