The Whole Board

This one is a bit of a stinker by any technical standard; it does feature several creative flourishes in the notes however, found afterward by the silicon genius. The lesson for today is short and simple: be situationally aware at all times, using the whole board. The hidden key to springing a tactic can often be found in a different quadrant than the one on which you’re focused. It is a Game 30 and I’m playing as black.

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Bc5 4. h3 O-O (4… c6 {Black can effectively play the white
side of the Italian Game in which h3 is useless.} 5. Nf3 d5 6. exd5 cxd5 7.
Bb5+ Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Nbxd7 9. Nc3 e4 10. dxe4 dxe4 11. Qe2 O-O 12. Ng5 h6 13.
Ngxe4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Re8 15. O-O Qh4 {Black has to be careful to make the most
of white’s knight problem.}) 5. c3 a6 {This wasn’t necessary; the real benefit
of a6 comes from being able to preserve the bishop from being exchanged for
the queen’s knight. White may choose Nd2-f1 instead and allow black to delay a6.}
(5… d5 {Both lines given here give black a great game.} 6. exd5 c6 7. dxc6 (
7. d4 cxd5 8. dxc5 dxc4 9. Qxd8 Rxd8) 7… Nxc6 8. Nd2 b5 {Exploiting the
weakness of the f2 square.} 9. Bxb5 Bxf2+ 10. Kf1 {?! Not markedly different
than capturing the bishop, though this is a bit unexpected.} Ne7 11. Kxf2 Qb6+
12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 Qxb5) 6. Nf3 d6 7. Nbd2 Nc6 8. a4 h6 9. b4 Ba7 10. Bb2 Be6
11. b5 Na5 12. Ba2 Bxa2 13. Rxa2 {…Nh5-f4 is good here because the dark
square bishop is off its home diagonal. This one of the reasons the bishop
infrequently visits b2.} c6 14. bxc6 bxc6 15. Nh4 Nxe4 {Wins a full pawn.} 16.
Nxe4 Qxh4 17. Qf3 d5 18. Ng3 e4 19. dxe4 dxe4 20. Qh5 Qxh5 (20… Bxf2+ {! A
beautiful temporary sacrifice. One would need to see that f3 is under black’s
control. I considered it, because it’s forcing, but didn’t understand it’s
true value. The rook is shut out too.} 21. Kxf2 Qf4+ 22. Kg1 Qxg3) 21. Nxh5 c5
{The plan is correct, control c4, but there’s no reason to make two pawn
moves when the knight is immobilized.} 22. O-O c4 23. Re1 f5 24. Bc1
Rfd8 25. Ng3 g6 26. Bxh6 Rd3 {I thought to win a pawn here on c3 and secure a
passer. In my initial evaluation I underestimated his defensive resources.} 27.
Ne2 Nb3 28. Nf4 Rxc3 29. Nxg6 Kh7 30. Ne7 Kxh6 31. Nxf5+ Kg5 32. Nd6 {An
interesting sacrifice. White has many resources available despite being down
material.} e3 {I missed a resource and this is a blunder. I did see the knight
fork, but what I didn’t see was the ability of the a7 rook to interfere with
the plan.} 33. Ne4+ Kf4 34. Nxc3 exf2+ 35. Kf1 (35. Rxf2+ {Doesn’t even
warrant an exclamation mark, should have been easy to see for both of us.}
Bxf2+ 36. Kxf2 {White has two connected passers in the vicinity of his king.
This is tricky for black.}) 35… fxe1=Q+ 36. Kxe1 Re8+ 37. Kf1 Be3 38. Nd5+
Kg3 39. Re2 Rf8+ 40. Ke1 Bd2+ {Visions of checkmate danced in my head!} 41. Kd1
Rf1+ 42. Kc2 {It may be simpler to just win material with the pin…} Rc1+ 43.
Kb2 Bc3+ {? Bishops enjoy their checking distance too! What a terrible
blunder!} 44. Nxc3 Rg1 45. Re4 {?} Rxg2+ 46. Ka3 Kxh3 47. Rxc4 Nd2 48. Rc6 Rg3
49. Kb2 a5 50. Rc5 Rg2 51. Kc1 {?? Loses to the fork} Nb3+ 52. Kd1 Nxc5 53. Nd5
Nxa4 {!? Allowing yet another fork seems fitting somehow.} 54. Nf4+ Kg3 55.
Nxg2 Kxg2 56. Kc2 Nb6 57. Kb3 a4+ 58. Ka3 Kf3 59. Kb4 {Black must remember not
to get the pawn to the 7th rank before preparations are taken.} Ke3 60. Ka3 Kd3
61. Kb4 Kc2 62. Ka3 Kc3 63. Ka2 Nc4 64. Ka1 Kb3 65. Kb1 Na3+ 66. Ka1 Nc2+ 67.
Kb1 {Remember the bishop and knight endgame? The winning side must start by
controlling the corner.} a3 68. Kc1 a2 69. Kd2 a1=Q 70. Kd3 Qa6+ 71. Kd2 Qd6+



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