Sunday, November 28, 2010
Analysing Difficult Positions
This game is complicated. I am Black. In this online game, White threw everything except the kitchen sink to conjure up an extremely powerful attack on Black's king.
It is Black's turn.
If this was a blitz game, there is no way anyone could see the motifs and the correct move.
If Black can hold on to his position he would win. In razor sharp positions, where a single move can lead to a win or a loss, it is vital to be able to understand the "truth" of the position.
How would you analyse this position? If you were Black, what would you play?
In this game, I lost because I failed to understand the position.
If you do not want to know the answer, STOP READING NOW!! :)
The way to tackle this problem was to first of all, understand how to go about analysing this.
Think for a moment, if this was White's turn, what would White play?
The answer is obvious.
2. f7! Now White is threatening mate on g8 so the next move is forced.
2. ... Bg7 (any other move is instant mate after 3. Qxh6#)
With this in mind, we know that once the h6 pawn falls it is checkmate.
So what would White play as a followup move?
3. Rh2! with the intention of 4. Rxh6 Bxh6 5. Qxh6# (again!)
Ok. So how do I stop the Rook from sacrificing itself on h6? What this means is that Black has only 2 moves to prevent checkmate.
The Black Queen is way offside. The light-squared Bishop on c4 is hindered by the d4 pawn. True, it can temporarily sacrifice itself with Bd3 but after Rxd3, Black can save the situation since it requires 2 moves by White to reposition itself back on the h-file. This can be saved but is there a better solution (remember the axiom "if you find a good move, look for a better one")?
The Rook on a8 takes 3 moves to reposition itself to the h-file. This is far too late.
How about 1.... b5 trying to pin the White Queen and stopping f7? The problem comes again.
2. Rh2 and now preparing 3. Rxh6+ Bxh6 4. Qxh6 Kg8 5. Qg7# (another mate!)
So what is left? It's the Black Queen.
Is there a way to stop the Rook from entering the h-file with the Queen? Well, given that the Black Queen is on a light square, it needs 3 moves to get to the h-file but the problem is that if the Queen retreats to b7 or c8, White will play f7 and the 7th rank is totally cut off for the Black Queen. It's starting to look grim for Black.
What now? Now that we've identified the threats and possible solutions. Let's look at this position now, with a fresh pair of eyes.
So we know that the Queen retreat doesn't work, the Rook takes too long to lift itself and the c4 Bishop (short of sacrificing itself for tempi) cannot go back in time and b5 pawn moves doesn't work either.
Now imagine if White has a chance to play Rh2, where would you put the Black Queen if you have free rein? If the Queen is on the 1st rank to give check to the White king, then after ....Qf1 it is Black who is now giving checkmate. In other words, if we can find a way to get the Queen to f1 in 2 moves, we can stop Rh2.
The solution to this predicament has to be 1. ....Qa4!! intending .... Qd1+ Kg2 and then Qf1# (if White tries Rh2).
So the correct move to stop this is 1.... Qa4!!
Shocking, isn't it? :)
Posted by tanch