Positional Attack With The Black Pieces

Round 2

Now that my father has passed away. I feel more inspired to play well, to honor his legacy.  He was a meticulous student himself, had great handwriting, and really applied himself when he studied something like history – it’s as if it were part of his personality that he could blend in so well with what he studied.  I still have his marked up copy of Thucydides’ book, it’s beside me right now, the 1967 edition, which is also the year I was born.  Although I read this book in college, it was hard for me to have the take-aways, which he found in the book, in order to write a book report on it.  Just called my step-mom and she said “Yeah, he liked to read (a lot).”  hehe.  He had a current fictional novel on his coffee-table that he had begun to read, and I have to admit that even I don’t have the patience to read as much as he did, but it’s good to know he was able to read up until the end!  I also read some of his Time magazines, New Yorker, and NY and LA Times newspapers while I was up there.

In Thursday’s above game with Teah (who looks around eleven or twelve years old), I decided to play very positionally, and in fact I learned this line as Black from RollingPawns, how to handle the d4 sac by White.  🙂

Naturally, I could have won an exchange with 13…Ng3, but was already up a pawn and didn’t want to give White an attack with his queen and bishop-pair – and potentially pawn/s, and rook, since I would have to weaken my kingside, and also likely need to defend awkwardly with my heavy pieces.

It would appear as if 20.Re2 were a blunder, however as I look at it now I can see that Black is threatening to play 20…c5 (21.Bxc5? Ne4 forks), 21.Be3 Nc4 fork and Black still has a lot of space and open lines to attack from.

20…RxRe2.  During the game, I thought that 20…Nc4 might have been more accurate, but I confess that is not my style as much and it’s difficult to come up with a plan that maintains Black’s advantage as much, after 21.Qc2, although 21…QxQc2, 22.RxQc2 a4 would be keeping the pressure, and bind, up.  In fact, I have ideas of ..Rb8-b5, which could threaten c4 as well, and doubling rooks on the b-file.

26.Kf1? An obvious blunder, but it appears that it is already too late for White to save this position.  I was expecting 26.Kh2, and was then not sure how to specifically proceed, but it didn’t take long after coming home from work today (I took yesterday off from work and so will probably work next Tuesday before my game then) to come up with an attacking line.  For example: 26.Kh2 Qf4+, 27.Kh1 (27.Kg1? Qf3, 28.g3 Ne4, 29.Be5 Qxf2+) Ne4, 28.Rf1? Ng5, threatening …Nf3 is a winner.  28.Rg1 Ng5, 29.Kh2 Qf3, 23.g3 (23.gxQ Nxf3+ is a cute mate)..Qe2 and threatening 24…Nf3+ should be enough.  So 29.Qa8 (29.Qa6?? c5.  29.Qa4?? c5) Ne4, 25.Rf1? Ng3+, 26.Kg1 Ne2+ (not stooping to win the exchange), 27.Kh2 Qe4 28.f3 and the attack continues.  Probably with…Ng3+, 29.Kg1 Qe2, 30.Rc1 (30.Rf2? Qe1 mates) Ne4, 31.g4 Qxf3+, 32.Kf1 Qxh3+ looks convincing enough to stop there.  If White just sits tight with Kh1 and R1, then White has a thematic attack with …Ng5-e6, …c5, …d4, …d3 and …Nf4.  By this time BxNf4 should be too late to stop both the runaway d-pawn and the king’s position, and the a-pawn is too slow.

Again, not using an engine for any of this analysis, not building up a dependency, simply going old-school so can solve these problems OTB.  Of course, this may seem a bit of overkill for a game against a class D player, but I am studying up mostly for stronger players, and besides even she jumped up 500 rating points in under four months.

When I play a game like this, trying to keep it tight and correct, I am working on building up my chess ability for the future.  Part of that ability is to keep score correctly, so in this game I kept my handwriting very neat, even writing down some clock times, kept composed there.  It’s all of these little things, which are easy to gloss over, that add up to a rating.  For example, even making your moves confidently is another little factor.  I have started screwing my pieces into the board a little, something I never used to do (Smyslov and Kasparov both did this).  You can’t be all shaky with hand-writing and move-making and get too far, as I’ve come to find out.  Time-pressure is also part of this lack of confidence.  I saw Pete’s game, for example, where he lost and showed him that he should have won by confidently sacking an exchange for a pawn, and that he shouldn’t have tried to analyze it so much, just play it, and then he got into time-pressure and blamed that for his loss.  Of course, he can play better than anyone in time-pressure, but it’s needless, and instead of defending so much from a blatantly superior attacking position, should have been knocking-out the win.

Going into this game, I’ve gotta say I was still impressed with this Yuri Balashov game:http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1024130

For him to play Qf3-d1 on one move, and then sac a piece in a deep positional combo on the next move, well it caused a big impression on me, as well as paving the theory of this line for future Grandmasters.  Moral here is that when the position calls for a quiet move, make the quiet move, when it calls for the sac, make the sac.

After I posted my analysis, I realized that 26…Qf4+ would probably have not been good since Be3 is coming anyway.  More methodical would simply be …c5, …d4 and prove that the d-pawn is quicker and doing more than the passed a-pawn.  Also, the kniight is doing just fine on e4 supporting this pawn advance for now.  OTB, it’s natural to look for a tactical cure, but truer positional chess can be confessed to in down-time like these.


3 thoughts on “Positional Attack With The Black Pieces

  1. I would probably play 13… Ng3, her queen on f1 (after 14. Qd1 Nxf1 15. Qxf1) is not dangerous and you have a clear advantage, same if she gives up the queen for the rook and knight.
    After 24. Qa8+ she is in trouble, more so after 25. Qxa5. She was holding up after 24. Kh2.
    25… Qf3 wins, I actually saw this move myself.
    Good game, you decided to attack and it paid off.
    I commented on Balashov’s game on my blog, it was a known name in my time back in USSR.

    I finally won today, beat a 2014 first grade Canadian champion. 🙂 He is rated 1583.
    He played Italian game with White pretty well, but then he missed tactics.
    I won a pawn and in a few moves after another trick I was two pawns up in the pawn ending.

  2. Thanks by the way for the opening compliment.
    Yeah, it was a first game at the 2011 Canadian Open and I drew that game against an expert.

  3. I remember a game where I lost against a 1900 player Shawn Scott, I think, and then later you showed me how to play it in your Canadian Open game, and I was a bit startled by how you handled it so correctly, giving up the minor exchange, bishop for knight. But now I know that stuff is all positional, and it’s about reducing White’s Qh5 kingside attack. haha 😀

    You’ve taught me a lot! ….especially about defense! 🙂

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