Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LCCC Week 27 – 13 and Installment 4 of The Amateur’s Mind

There were ten players in attendance tonight on a hot, sometimes rainy night. But it was cool and dry inside LCCC where some good chess and conversation was had.
Chess games of all kinds were played – from speed to G/60 min, with lots of mingling of players.
Two new players made their first showing at LCCC. Welcome Gus (Octavio) S. and Tim R. Glad to have you join us on Monday nights.
Starting position of the lesson: Alekhine - Marshall, 1925
Now on to the new installment. Your humble scribe posted the review of the 1800 player’s assessment and play before the 1700 player's – which will be shown now.
Sorry for the mix up, but it won’t kill the lesson.

Three installments have been posted. We are taking a position (see diagram) from an Alekhine – Marshall game in 1925. First we showed how Alekhine masterfully turned White’s small opening advantage into an 18 move crush.
We then showed how a 1500 and a 1800 turned that same position into a probable loss against IM Jeremy Silman. Silman wrote this article for Chess Life back in 1993 and it is re-printed here for your enjoyment.
IM Silman’s notes are marked with [JS] and the student’s [rating] show his thoughts. In this installment we will see how an [1700] player approached this same position.

[1700] White has a pawn majority on the kingside. Black’s pieces are farther advanced, but with a bit less development. White’s pawn majority gives him a space advantage on the kingside so Black would be advised to castle on the queenside. White will castle kingside and play f4.

[JS] White realized that Black should not step into the brunt of White’s onrushing pawns. This is excellent. However, like the student before him (1500), White fails to see potential weakness of the dark squares in the center. This seems to be a typical weakness of the amateur player. He can see tactical threats to win material or go after the king, but he has real trouble seeing that a SQUARE can also be a target.

1.  O-O    Be6
[1700] If I play f4 he can check me with Qd4, but he has to move his queen because he can easily lose it to a bishop discovery on b5. He could also check me on c5, where his queen might be a little safer. But I can just move out of the way and continue my attack.

[JS] The student tended towards excessive optimism. While confidence is important to have, you also need a touch of realism. Like the 1500 player before him, he is not really giving the possibilities of his opponent a thorough examination.

In general, the initiative in open positions will go to the player who is the first in control an open central file. In the game by Alekhine, he went ahead with his pawn expansion ONLY AFTER stopping any counter-play on the d-file.

2. f4      ..........
[1700] It looks risky for Black now.

2.  .......    Qd4+
3. Kh1   O-O-O
4. Bc2    ..........
[JS] Incredibly, we reached the same position as the 1500 game, and the student soon blundered.

4.  ......     Bc4
5. Re1     Qf2
6. Qc1     Rd2
White resigns. 

Next is the final installment where we see how a 2100 player looks at and handles the same position. 
Was Alekhine better than 2100? We will soon see. Vote now in the comment section.

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