11 December 2014

Training with Anderssen

Imbalances are the doorway to planning.
Jeremy Silman, How to Reassess Your Chess, 4th ed. (2010)

In Adolf Anderssen's well-known miniature against Carl Mayet, Anderssen missed the best move. Many ambitious players study this game because it is the first in Rashid Ziyatdinov, GM-RAM: Essential Grandmaster Chess Knowledge (2000).

Mayet,Carl -- Anderssen,Adolf [C64]
London, 1851*

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.0–0 Bg4 7.h3 h5

The infamous fishing pole.

8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Nxe5

Black to move


9...Nxe4 is clearly winning.

10.d4 Nxe4 11.Qg4?

White needed to play 11.fxg3, when the critical line appears to be 11...Nxg3 12.Re1! Rh1+ 13.Kf2 Qh4 14.Nf3+ Ne4+ 15.Ke2 Qe7 when Black has nothing to show for the sacrificed knight.

11...Bxd4 12.Qxe4 Bxf2+ 0–1

After 9...Nxe4! 10.Qxg4, we have one of the positions that I put in front of a group of scholastic players last week (see "Sacrificial Attack", problem 2). The answer I expected from the students was 10...Bxf2+ 11.Rxf2 Rh1+ 12.Kxh1 Nxf2+ 13.Kg1 Nxg4 and Black has won White's queen, regaining the sacrificed material with interest.

White to move
Analysis Diagram After 13...Nxg4
Of course, White will capture the knight leaving Black with a queen and pawn for three minor pieces.

How should Black then convert the advantage?

14...Qh4 is forcing. 15.Nf2 seems the only sensible move. 14...Qh4 is also the computer's choice.

Starting from the resulting position, I played out the game against Stockfish. I maintained the advantage until White's pieces became active. Then, my position began to deteriorate. Small human errors against a silicon monster eventually concedes the advantage.

I tried the second best move: 14...Qd3

White to move
Analysis Diagram After 14...Qd3
The imbalance that seems easiest to play against is White's underdeveloped queenside.

Rather than frustration stemming from failure against the computer, I quickly provoked the machine's resignation.

Stockfish -- Stripes,J

15.Ne3 f5 16.g3 g5 17.b3 f4 18.gxf4 gxf4

White to move


I expected 19.Ng2 and planned 19...Kd7 when I have a rook and queen against a knight. Pieces that cannot join the fight are not part of the material count.

19...fxe3+ 20.dxe3 Qc2+ and Stockfish resigned. 0-1

*ChessBase's database has Berlin 1859 for this game, matching how the game is presented in David Levy and Kevin O'Connell, Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Vol. 1 1485-1866 (1981), 280. However, Levy and O'Connell cite Leopold Hoffer and Johannes Hermann Zukertort, eds., The Chess Monthly 3 (1882), which states the game "was played during the London International Tournament of 1851" (212).

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