Friday, January 2, 2009

Going Through Games

The idea that I'm now in the year 2009 has not yet hit me.

Today, I found out about something, rather than sitting in the study where the desktop computer is, I setup my laptop on the dining table instead and started to key in moves (and feeding in the book annotations) from a master game. I found that a quiet time is good for a bit of self-study, even if it only lasted for something like 15 minutes. Every little bit helps I guess.

I didn't realise just how hard this effort turns out to be, constantly having to translate moves and variations from book to computer. At this rate, I figure that I'll probably take about 1 week just to go through 1 game and at this rate, it'll take me over a year to go through just one book.

I noticed my memory and concentration is getting a bit poor of late. The coupling of work (I work till 7pm these days) and household chores only seem to make my concentration worse. Nevertheless, I hope to go back to chess and relearn everything again. *sigh*.

I'm particularly interested in how not to just make moves but how to make good moves. Take for example the following position (see image on right) in this game.

In this position, it is White to play (I was White).

How would you evaluate this position? And what should be White's next move and what kind of plans should White develop?

Surprisingly, I played a move which 6 months ago I would not even consider and I got quite a bit of shock that the computer too thought it to be the strongest move. In fact, this was the critical moment of the game.

Once you've calculated it out, you can highlight between the brackets to see what I played.

[The strongest move was 1. a4! Breaking Black's position. Now Black is in a terrible mess. The beauty of White's position is that all of its pieces are on very good squares. I shan't bore you with the rest of the game but suffice it to say, Black didn't last very long. One continuation was 1... b4 2. Qd3 Kb7 3. cxb4 Nxb4 4. Rab1 and Black is in terrible danger and close to collapsing. Taking with 1.... bxa4 2. Rxa4 and White simply doubles up on the a-file and Black's King is in terrible mortal danger.]


  1. The kings are castled on opposite sides, so a queenside pawn storm suggests itself. Specifically, 1...a4! 2.bxa4 Qxa4 gives Black a clear advantage. 1...a4 2.b4 cxb4 3.Qxb4 seems like a better try but after 3...Rb1 Black still controls the open file with better chances

  2. Rats. Just set it up on my analysis board and instead of 3.Qxb4 White should play 3.Nxb4 when 3...Rb1 is met by 4.a5. But White is still winning after N -> d2 -> b3 -> xh5.

  3. Hello likesforest,

    Black has to do something about that b-pawn and he has 2 main options. Taking it or pushing it. Taking it is very dangerous.

    Letting White take the b-pawn is also incredibly dangerous because after 2. axb5 and either Nxb5 or axb5, the a-file is opened. So I figured Black has to push the b pawn instead to try to close the position.

    I looked at the board for sometime and found the key move in the position was 2. Qd3! attacking the weak a6 pawn when Black plays b4.

    Why Qd3? That's because it forces Black to defend a6 with Kb7. Qd3 is also another good move, because White can also play f6 with the possibility of Qf5. A multipurpose move. Once Black plays Kb7, White can now take on b4 and then once the Knight recaptures (capturing with the Queen won't be smart because Rab1 is coming anyway), Rab1 pins the Knight and now the followup move f6 is deadly.

    Black's weakness is that his pieces are all defending the dark squares. So White must invade on the light squares.


  4. 2.Qd3 is a beautiful concept. Well played and explained.

  5. The game of chess goal is to mate the opponent's king before you are. So a4 is the logical move here since it makes paths towards the enemies king open and so white has chances to mate the opponent's king.