Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Game of the Week

Turnout tonight was scant, but I can't complain: I swept the field tonight and took the top spot on the Route 20 Chess Club ladder from Steve McWhirter. I played the French Defense, he chose the Advance Variation, and I played an unusually error-free game with a lot of initiative. I traded off light-square bishops early, took space on the queenside and established a knight on a fifth-rank outpost which was a thorn in Steve's side for the rest of the game.

This position occurred late in the middlegame, when Steve decided he'd had enough of the knight:

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

White has just played 1.Bf2. Black to move.

Highlight to reveal answer:

Black's best move is 1...Rd8. If 2.Rxc5??, then 2...Nxf3+ 3.Qxf3 Rxf3 4.gxf3, and black has a queen against a rook and a bishop, better pawn structure and dominance over the d-file. White's best shot at even chances is 2.f4.

In the actual game, I played the second-best 1...Rxb2. Steve initiated the exchange on d4 with 2.Bxd4 cxd4 3.Rxc8 Qxc8 4.Qxd4, and I launched a mating attack with 4...Qc2 (threatening 5...Qxg2#). Steve could have obtained a draw by repetition with 5.Qxa7+, but instead he played 5.Qd6+?? and resigned after 5...Ke8.


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