Wednesday 18 April 2012

Reader feedback

Today, I got a mail from Anders Johansson , Swedish chess amateur player and big chess fan, and he wrote something about position from a game Bejtovic-Engman witch is published in the post with title "Playing chess and calculating variations".
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I´ll copy the whole mail and put some diagrams for readers to follow his thoughts without difficulties. Of course everything begins with: 11.Qc2, f6 

Anders Johansson schack
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OK - here we go:

The first move I considered was 12.N5g4. It feels like it might keep everything protected. For instance, 12...f5 is no problem since f2 is protected. Furthermore, after 12...h5 13.Qxe4+ Qxe4 13.Bxe4 I noticed Black's underdeveloped queenside - the rook at a8 might be an important target.
So at first it seems the pawn at e4 is in really deep trouble. But after the simple 12...Bxg4 13.Nxg4 f5 White is forced to play the knight back to e3 to block the battery of queen and bishop. The position with the 'entombed bishop at g2' did not inspire any further investigation. The tentative conclusion is '12.N5g4 doesn't work' - let's move on.

Next I considered the very forcing 12.Nxd5 - it needs to be crossed of the list of candidate moves. By the way, this modus operandi might not be a common one with my higher rated friends (I don't know - I haven't checked, and, by comparison, I've done a miniscule amount of work on my calculating process). At first I was once again happy to notice 12...Qf2+ 13.Kd1 Qxg2 14.Qxc5 which, besides the threat of mate at e7, creates an escape route for the White king. This in combination with the latent threat to the Black rook in the a8-corner (which carries through from variation 12.N5g4 above) means I need to check this line further. It seems there is a simple move (again); 12...cxd5 (no threat of mate after 13.Qxc5) and White's whole position is hanging, starting with 'the entombed bishop at g2'. So 14.Bxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4
         Bejtovic Engman Chess
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springs to mind, with the now common threat to the rook in the corner. Also, White is somewhat lucky to have the important resource Nd3 after 15...0-0, since Black's back rank seems safe (good coordination) from tricks based on the diagonal a2-g8 and Nf7. However, after the simple and strong answer 14...fxe5 (go ahead - take the rook) followed by ...0-0! every chessplayer would like to play Black's position. Tentative conclusion is '12.Nd5 doesn't work'.
The third move I considered is the even more forcing 12.b4. An immediate point is revealed in the short line 12...Nxe3 13.fxe3 Bxb4+ 14.Kf2 when it seems Black has too many threats to tend to. The queen is hanging and the bishop at b4 is in need of protection, and the threat to the rook in the corner should be the straw which broke the camels back. The Black position feels overworked. More natural is to take the offered material and 'don't push the river - it flows by itself; 12...Bxb4 13.Rxb4 Qxb4 14.a3 Qd4 15.Bb2 Qd6 16.Qxe4+ (I am a bit confused here because according to moves witch Anders gave 15...Qd6 is not possible - Jasmin Bejtovic) and even though Black needs to put his king somewhere. It's not so easy to judge from afar. I will stop here considering it the most playable so far.

The fourth candidate is 12.Qxe4 and after what I've learned so far White is more than OK after 12...fxe5? 13.Nxd5. Also 12...Nxe3 is easily dealt with by 13.Nd3+ (check) with beautiful coordination.  A third possibility is 12...Nxf4 which I actually don't know how to answer, but I know I don't believe it shouldn't work for Black.
        Bejtovic Engman Chess
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 White should probably take the material (either Qxf4 or gxf4) and welcome 'tripled pawns'; however, I am lazy and I expect criticism for 13.Nxc6.
In aswer to the question in the previous note 12.Qxe4 Qxe4 13.Bxe4 Bxe3 can be answered strongly by 14.Nxc6 and now 14...Be6 can be met simply by 15.Nxb8 Bb6 16.Na6. Even if Black should play ...0-0-0 followed by ...Kc8-b7 note that Na6-b4! would be a complete answer, saving the knight due to the pin on the long diagonal. It might be a little "too much fantasy" to point out the pin on the long diagonal after the lazy man's suggestion 12.Qxe4 Nxf4 13.Nxc6 Qxe4 14.Bxe4 Bb7 15.Nd5 (enticing the weird knight at f4) and now 'the cooperative 15...Nxd5' can be answered by 16.Na5 with another pin on the long diagonal (since there is also a threat from the a5-knight to the bishop at b7). I have nothing to add to the nice variation given above by Mladen Gajic and I am quite OK with leaving some questions unaswered. However, I was hoping to avoid the issue of the tripled pawns but just realized that after the Main Line 12.Qxe4 Qxe4 13.Bxe4 Nxf4 is again a possible move. This time I will take the bull by the horn and take the material (no Nxc6 business); so 14.gxf4 fxe5 15.fxe5 Bxe3 16.dxe3 and now ...0-0. As the americans say when in basketball someone 'lays up a brick' and scores from it: "It's not pretty, but we'll take the points!" Likewise, the tripled pawns might not look so great here, but we'll take 'em. After just 17.Bf3 Be6 18.b3 they don't look that bad at all.

That´s it. I have to admit that he took it very serious and his variations are worth considering. I am looking forward to get more feedbacks about future positions. There is some football on telly and after that I´ll publish my analysis about above position.

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