Sunday, July 10, 2016

Queenstown Club 2016 Round 5

The next game we are going to analyze was played in Round 5 of my recent tournament. While it is relatively short, we can still learn from it the importance of identifying threats against you, especially when the activity takes place on opposite wings.

Checkerboard 5 vs Opponent
Queenstown Club 2016 Round 5

1. c4 Nf6
2. Nc3 e6
3. d4 Bb4
4. Qc2 d5
5. e3 O-O
6. Bd3 Nbd7
7. Nge2 b6
8. O-O dxc4
9. Bxc4 Bb7
10. e4 e5
11. d5

11. dxe5 Nxe5 White must lose tempo retreating the bishop.

11... Bc5 (D)

Position after 11... Bc5

12. a3?

Preparing to push b4 chasing the bishop and expanding on the queenside. However, White underestimates a potential threat on the other side of the board...

Most players would reply 12. h3 but after c6 (12... Bd4?! 13. Nxd4 exd4 14. Nb5 winning the pawn.) 13. dxc6 Bxc6 The e4 pawn is under significant pressure from Black's light-squared bishop. The best defense here would be to develop with threat: 12. Bg5 h6 13. Bh4 c6 14. Rad1 (D)

Position after 14. Rad1

With the bishop developed, White can connect his rooks and maintain pressure on the d-file.

12... Ng4!

Taking aim at f2. In the process of realizing his plans on the queenside, White has left few defenders on the other wing.

13. Ng3

Defending f5. 13. h3? Nxf2 14. Rxf2 Bxf2+ 15. Kxf2 f5! Opening the f-file. White will have an exposed king and a weakness on d5.

13... Qh4! (D)

Position after 13... Qh4

This was what White missed. Now he must give up a pawn to survive.

14. h3 Qxg3
15. hxg4 Qxg4
16. Be3

White relieves the pressure against his king at the cost of ruining his pawn structure.

16... Bxe3
17. fxe3 Nf6
18. Rf5 Bc8
19. Rf3 (D)

Position after 19. Rf3

Black is up in material with a better pawn structure. The game was eventually won after a few more mistakes by White.

So what can we learn from this game?

  1. When White brought his pieces to the queenside, he stripped the other wing of defending pieces. Thus, the best way for Black to respond was a counterattack on the kingside.
  2. Tactics is not just about looking for threats against your opponent; you need to be aware of threats against you!
  3. Development with threat is an effective way to save tempo.

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