Sunday, October 7, 2012

Positional Play

When there are no tactics, positional play is the main factor. You try to strengthen your own position and weaken your opponent's position. To do that, you need to know the elements that distinguish a strong position from a weak one. To know more of this technique, go to Positional Play in Chess

Akiba Rubinstein is still remembered today for being a brilliant positional chess player. He is known to accumulate small positional advantages and increase them to achieve victory -- usually in end games. To know more of this chess master, go to Rubinstein

In the posted game, annotations were made by Dr. Emmanuel Lasker in his magazine Lasker's Chess Magazine [1906].

Ostend, 1906
Queen's Pawn Game: Sarratt Attack

1. d4, d5
2. Bf4, e6
3. e3, Nf6
4. Nf3, Bd6
5. Bg3, Qe7?!

Lasker prefers 5....c5.

6. Nbd2, Nbd7
7. Ne5 ....

If 7. Bd3 or 7. Be2, then 7...e5! with a good game for Black.

7. .... Ne4
8. Nxe4, dxe4
9. Qd2, Bxe5
10. dxe5, Nb6
11. Bb5+ ....

White's idea is to allow the entrance of the white pieces via the d6-square as well as restrict his queen bishop (i.e. if he plays 11...c6), or exchange the bishop, whose retention is necessary to guard the weak pawn on e4.

11. .... Bd7
12. Bxd7+, Nxd7
13. Qd4, f5
14. exf6, Nxf6
15. Qa4+ ....

 A brilliant idea by Rubinstein. If the queen interposes, White will exchange, castle to the queenside and play Rd4. The fall of the e4-pawn is then certain.

If 15. Bh4 e5, 16. Qa4+ Qd7, 17. Qb4 0-0-0, Black gains control of the d-file.

15. .... Kf7
16. O-O-O, a6
17. Bh4, Qe8
18. Qc4, Nd5

Black cannot avoid the loss of a pawn unless he plays 18...Qc6, which would ruin his pawn position completely.

19. Qxe4, Qc6
20. Qf3+, Kg8
21. e4, Nb4
22. Qb3, Resigns

Dr. Lasker wrote "The play of White is apparently simplicity itself. But there are several moves among the twenty-two made that betoken the instinct of a real master."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Karpov Tames the Caro-Kann

Bugojno, 1978
Caro-Kann Defence

1.e4, c6
2.d4, d5
3.Nd2, dxe4
4.Nxe4, Nd7
5.Nf3, Ngf6
6.Nxf6+, Nxf6

So far, the moves played were standard lines of play in Caro-Kann.  Now, Karpov tries an innovative move.

7.Ne5, Bf5
8.c3, e6
9.g4! ....

Now, the game has become more exciting....

9. .... Bg6
10.h4!, h5
11.g5, Nd5
12.Nxg6, fxg6

Karpov managed to create a double-pawn, thereby creating a weakness in the opponent's king side.

13.Qc2, Kf7
14.Rh3, Ne7
15.Bc4, Nf5
16.Rf3, Qd7

If 16....Qe7, 17. Rxf5+ gxf5, 18. Qxf5+ Ke8, 19. Bxe6 .... Black's position becomes constricted.

17.Rxf5!+, gxf5
18.Qxf5+, Ke7
19.Qe4, Re8

If 19. Qe5, Black responds with 19....Qd6 neutralizing the attack. 

20.Bf4, Kd8
21.Qe5, Rg8
22.O-O-O, g6
23.Re1, Bg7
24.Qb8+, Ke7

If 24....Qc8, then 25. Qxc8 Kxc8, 26. Rxe6 .... and White gets a superior position.

25.Rxe6+, Resigns

Further play is pointless. If 25....Kf8 (or Kf7), then 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8, 27. Bd6 mate.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kasparov's King's Indian

Luzern, 1962

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, c5
4. d5, exd5
5. cxd5, d6
6. e4, g6
7. f4, Bg7
8. Bb5+, Nfd7
9. a4! ....

Strengthens the queen side against pawn attack (i.e. 9....a6, 10. Be2 b5, 12. a3 b4!).

9. .... Na6
10. Nf3, Nb4
11. 0-0, a6?!
12. Bxd7+!, Bxd7
13. f5! ....

13. .... 0-0

If 13....gxf5, 14. Bg5 Bf6, 15. Bf4 0-0, 16. e5! dxe5, 17. Nxe5 ... and White has the advantage.

14. Bg5, f6
15. Bf4, gxf5?

If Black decides to protect the d6 pawn by 15...Qe7, then White may respond 16. Re1! ...

16. Bxd6, Bxa4
17. Rxa4, Qxd6
18. Nh4!, fxe4
19. Nf5, Qd7

If 19...Qe5, then 20. Qg5! ... and White's attack will be overwhelming.

20. Nxe4, Kh8

If 20....Rae8, then 21. Qg4 Kh8, 22. Nxc5! ...

21. Nxc5, Resigns

Black's position becomes hopeless after 21....Qxd5, 22. Qxd5 Nxd5, 23. Ne6 ....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Capablanca's Queen's Gambit

Karlsbad, 1929
Queen's Gambit Declined

1. d4, d5
2. c4, e6
3. Nf3, Nd7
4. Nc3, Ngf6
5. Bf4, dxc4
6. e3, Nd5
7. Bxc4, Nxf4
8. exf4, Bd6
9. g3, Nf6
10. 0-0, 0-0
11. Qe2, b6

Black prepares to mobilize his Queen's Bishop.

12. Rfd1, Bb7
13. Rac1, a6
14. Bd3, Bb4
15. Ne4, Qd5
16. Nfg5, Ne8
17. Nxh7!!, f5

Black cannot take the Knight:  17....Kxh7, 18. Nf6+ Kh8, 19. Nxd5 and the Black Queen is taken.

18. Nhg5, Resigns.

With his 18th move, White creates avenues of attack in Bc4 and Qh5.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Paul Morphy's King's Gambit

New Orleans, 1849
King's Gambit Accepted, Kieseritzky Variation, Cotter Gambit

1.  e4, e5
2. f4, exf4
3. Nf3, g5
4. h4, g4
5. Ng5, h6

An offshoot of the Kierseritzky Gambit.  White sacrifices a Knight to break down Black's defenses.

6. Nxf7, Kxf7
7. Qxg4, Qf6

Black defends the f4 pawn.

8. Bc4+, Ke7
9. Nc3, c6
10. e5!! ....

A surprise move!  Here, White intends to open the e-file for a strong attack on Black's King.

10. ..... Qxe5+

Black accepts the challenge, for he has nothing better.  If 10....Qg7, 11. Qxf4 d5, 12. exd6+ (e.p.) and Black's defense collapses.

11. Kd1, Kd8
12. Re1, Qc5
13. Bxg8, d5
14. Re8+, Kxe8
15. Qxc8, Ke7
16. Nxd5+!! .....

White takes advantage of the pin on Black's Queen at c6, rendering White's Knight immortal.

16. ..... Kd6
17. Qc7 mate

White may also mate at e6, but the current position makes a picturesque mate.

Friday, June 1, 2012

King's Indian Defense of Bobby Fischer

King's Indian Defense

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3, Bg7
4. e4, d6
5. Nf3, 0-0
6. Bd3, Bg4
7. 0-0, Nc6
8. Be3, Nd7
9. Be2, Bxf3
10. Bxf3, e5
11. d5, Ne7

All prior moves are standard lines for King's Indian Defense.  Black's last move is a preparation for the eventual f5! which is aimed at dismantling White's central pawn structure.

12. Be2 ....

White also prepares for f4.

12. .... f5!
13. f4, h6
14. Bd3, Kh7
15. Qe2, fxe4!
16. Nxe4, Nf5!

The reason for Black's 15th move.  He is seeking a good post for his Knight.

17. Bd2, exf4
18. Bxf4, Ne5
19. Bc2, Nd4!

Excellent horsemanship.  The two knights are working in tandem to render White's Bishop Pair ineffective.

20. Qd2 ....

White has no choice.  If 20. Qf2, the game proceeds as in move 21.

20. .... Nxc4!
21. Qf2, Rxf4!!

Excellent play!  if White declines the offer, another piece (Bishop) will go down.

22. Qxf4, Ne2+
23. Kh1, Nxf4

White resigns.  He has lost his Queen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Avoiding Oversights

A seasoned grandmaster, in the heat of battle, may commit an oversight:  a small but fatal mistake that would cost him the game.   Bobby Fischer, playing against so many in a simultaneous exhibition tour, clearly made a small flaw -- he forgot his King.

Fischer Simul Exhibition Tour
Houston, 1964
French Defense

1. e4, e6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, Nf6
4. Bg5, Be7
5. e5, Nfd7
6. h4 ....

Intending to keep open the h-file as an avenue of attack.

6. .... a6
7. Qg4, f5
8. Qh5+, g6
9. Qh6, Bxg5
10. hxg5, Qe7

Black protects the g7 square.

11. Nh3, Qf8
12. Qh4, c5
13. Nf4, Qf7
14. 0-0-0, cxd4
15. Ncxd5, exd5
16. e6!! ....

16. .... Qg8
17. Nxd5 ....

Black loses his Queen after 17....Qxe6, 18. Nc7+ ....

17. .... Kd8
18. exd7, Qxd5
19. Rxd4, Qxa2
20. Ra4, Qe6
21. Qd4, Qe1+

White resigned.

Black's Bishop would escape death after 22. Qd1 Qxd1, 23. Kxd1 Bxd7 ....

With his last move clearly an oversight, Fischer nevertheless played brilliantly in the entire game.  
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