Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Game of the Week

This week's game is one I began watching shortly after it began, so there's no transcript. Instead, a couple of positional problems:

Route 20 Chess Club
Freeport, Illinois, Sept. 29, 2009

Black to move.

Highlight to reveal answer:
1...Ndxe4! A possible continuation is 2.Qf3 c4 3.dxe4 Qxe4+ 4.Qxe4 Bxe4. In the actual game, Steve played 1...Bg6, and Bill answered with 2.e5.

When the dust settled, the game was headed toward an ending that reminded me of a heavyweight boxer trying to fight off a swarm of angry bees. About a dozen moves after the previous position, Bill faced a flying wedge of black pawns:

Black to move.

Steve considered playing ...e3. Good or bad?

Highlight to reveal answer:
Black has an overwhelming positional advantage and is best off playing a quiet king-centralizing move such as 1...Ke6! If black plays 1...e3?, white can play 2.Bxe3 without fear. The "obvious" follow-up 2...dxe3?? is answered decisively by 3.Kxf3! Black is still winning, but his huge positional advantage has been thrown away. In the actual game, Steve played 1...Bh5 instead and went on to win with a neat bishop-bishop-pawn checkmate.


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