Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Game Corner: Ebb and Flow

This game was submitted by Zack R. for analysis. Thanks Zack.

1. d4 e6
2. e4 Nc6
3. c3 d5
4. Bd3 dxe4
5. Bxe4 Bd7
6. Be3 Nf6
Anytime you can develop your pieces and force your opponent to move back, it is advantage YOU!
Black is up .2 of a pawn positionally. Or (-.2). When White has an advantage it will be shown as a (+).

7. Bc2 Be7
8. Nf3 h6
9. O-O Bd6

The double move of the bishop puts Black down (+.5) positionally (half a pawn). Simple mistakes lose chess games too.

10. Nbd2 Ne7
11. h3 g5

After Black's move 11. .....   g5
Black voluntarily opens up his King side for a pawn storm, but with no support from his army. All of Black’s pieces are sitting at home cramped together. Now Black is down (+1) - with the correct next move, that is.

12. Ne4 ……..

Wrong knight – Ne5! Is the move.

12.  ………   Ned5
13. Bd2 Bb5

Black’s last move chases White’s rook to a better square. (+1.5)

14. Re1 Nxe4
15. Bxe4 Bc6?!
The un-natural move of Nf6 was needed. Then after 16. Bxb7, you have Rb8 followed by 17. …….Rxb2 and Black gets the pawn back with a dangerous rook in enemy territory. Black would be down (+1.3) instead of (+2.6) with the actual move.

16. Bd3 Qf6

A passive move by White and a strong move by Black makes the positional advantage wither to (+.6). The energetic c4! - drives the advantage to almost (+3) for White!

17. c4 Nf4
18. Bc2 O-O-O
19. Bc3 Bxf3
20. Qxf3 Qe7?

Black retreats when the offense he wanted on move 11 can now materialize. The Queen has entered the attack zone, the knight and bishop are poised on good squares – and both Black rooks have semi-open files to control (g and h).

Black gets back in the game after 20. ….g4!, 21. Qe3, gxh3 22. d5, e5 23. Bxe5, Bxe5 24. Qxe5, Qxe5 25. Rxe5, Nxg2, - and White is only up (+.4) positionally.

21. c5 Nxh3??
The final losing move.

This is why chess is such a great game. There was lots of back and forth of advantage in this struggle.

White didn’t make bad moves, but didn’t seem to find any “good” moves, and that would let Black back in the game. If Black had stayed aggressive and looked for opportunities, the outcome might have been different.

This is a good game to play over to try and understand positional advantages such as;
Your opponent is cramped
Lost tempos by double moves by the same piece
Gained tempos by opponent ‘forcing’ your pieces to better squares, or developing while making your opponent back up
Rooks on opponents back ranks
Weak squares made by unsupported pawn advances
Many pieces near or directed at the enemy king
Open and half open files rooks can easily get control of


  1. Very nice post. Thank you!

  2. Vince Valente's comments:|

    "I thought it was a good analysis. But just a couple of observations;

    1. at move 15, I believe the analysis suggesting black play Nf6 was a little light on the variation.
    If black plays 15...Nf6, 16. Bxb7, Rb8, 17. Be4, Nxe4, 18. Rxe4, Bc6, 19. Re1 and only now is Rxb2 possible.
    Black had to move his bishop off the b file before his rook can capture on b2.
    Another comment I would make is that black should have castled before moving his minor pieces again in the opening and, given that black kept his king in the center for so long, a good plan for white would be to open the center files by advancing his pawns to expose the black king in the center.

    After the above variation where black gets his QR on white's b2 square, i think black has at least equal chances. Both of his bishops are aimed at the white king, and although his kingside white squares are weak white doesn't have an obvious way to take advantage of that since he doesn't have his light squared bishop.

    Further, white has to be wary of an attack against his g2 square if black can open the g file and point a rook and / or queen at that square combined with blacks QB pointing right at it. it's still a game, and, given my eccentricities, i'd probably prefer black."

    Thanks Vince! - MN