Thursday, March 3, 2016

Week022916 - Some Games and Some Game Study

Sam and Jay - during an earlier league round.
Our Leap Year Day chess club meeting was a more like a baby step than a leap.

But that's ok. Sometimes life gets in the way of chess.

Seven players were present. Some played some games - while others reviewed some games.

Here is one of the reviewed games from our LCCC League files:

We join this game late in the action and time pressure from the running game clock is always a factor.

To set the stage, Sam - playing Black, needs to win to keep his team's hopes alive in the league standings.

It has been a nice - well played battle, but Black just lost the minor piece advantage he held. Still Sam presses forward with the small positional advantage he still owns (-.6).

Jay (W)  vs Sam (B) - Black to move.
Sam's opponent - Jay - needs to realize here that in spite of the material being "even" once the f4 pawn falls, that she still has positional problems:

1) Her pawns are not as advanced up the board as Sam's.
2) Her king side pawns are isolated and cannot protect one another.
3) Bishops are sometimes better than knights in open board endgames.

But what should Sam be worrying about?:

1) White's queen side pawns sit on white squares and are immune to Sam's dark-squared bishop.
2) White's knight can threaten Black's queen-side pawns, keeping the bishop or king busy in defense of the pawns.
3) White's king can 'centralize' on the board, keeping Black's king away from White's queen side pawns.

This game can be drawn but it will take precise play by Jay - with time running out on her clock.

36. .........                 Ke4?

Going for the kill, but too aggressive. Sam correctly sees that the queen side is where is win is and getting his king to those pawns is the way to do it. But Jay gets to move too and her extra pawns on the king side need to be addressed first or they may be too much for the bishop to handle. 36. Bc7 was best to make sure the f4 pawn is a goner to keep his positional lead.

Now the game is even with one of several moves - Nxg6, Ke2 and even h3, and Jay finds one of them.

37. Nxg6                  Kd3
38. Kg2?                 ..........

Wrong way! Passed pawns must be pushed! 38. f5 was correct. Give Black something to think about besides offense.White would now have the most advanced - and only passed pawn on the board. The game would have remained even. Even 38. Ke2 would help with defense of the queen side pawns later.

Now Black has a big endgame advantage (-3), as the White king is too far away from her queen side pawns.

38. .........                 Kc3
39. Ne5                   Kxb3
40. f5?                     Kxa4

White's move is too late now. The knight needs to harass the bishop and move with tempos to the queen side to try and stop the queen side pawns. (-5)

41. f3?                     Kb3

For White, there is not much left. But 41. f6, Bxf6  42. Nf7, Bd8 43. Kf3 at least gets the White king back in the game. Even 41. f4 would free the king from behind his wall and restrict the bishop on g5 and e5. Time pressure is clearly a factor here (-7), and Black goes on to win.


  1. 37 Nxg7 can't be right based on the starting position given in the diagram. Either the diagram is wrong or else you missed showing a move.

  2. Thank you for the correction - and it was made!