Wednesday, March 17, 2010

King Safety versus Activity

Recent Starbucks game, time controls were 10/5. I'm curious what people think of white's play at moves 15 and 16. We had a nice debate about it after, and we both thought we were right. :)

I haven't Fritzed this yet, I'm sure there are mistakes we didn't notice. Obviously there was one I noticed so I got lucky, as before that my position was worse. He probably should have played e5 instead of Bg5. Smith-Morra is sort of a fight for who plays e5 first.

Oh, and GO DUKE!

(show chess board)(hide chess board)

32 Comments:

Blogger Temposchlucker said...

At first glance bishop h5 seems strange. Nd4 seems more promising. Saves you the worrying about the next move.

3/17/2010 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr_Toad said...

One reason for Bg5 being bad is that it pushes the bishop onto an excellent square, g6, from where it is attacking White's weak pawn at e4.

It would have been better for White to have piled up his pieces onto the backward d-pawn IMHO.

3/17/2010 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Spree K said...

It's probably not the best for White. In the long run, this type of move can be seriously weakening. For instance, f4, f3, h3, and h4 are all theoretically at least weakened.
Nevertheless it wouldn't be a big deal if there was actually a point to the move. Its only purpose is to force the bishop to a better square. I would have preferred 16. Qe3.

3/17/2010 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Spree/Toad: one of the reasons I liked it for black was that, even though my Bishop putatively is locked in by his pawn on e4, that pawn is protected by a queen who shouldn't be wasting her time protecting pawns. So as you say, g6 is better for my B than g4.

Tempo, yes perhaps Nd4 even earlier would have been better. I hadn't even considered it at that point.

3/17/2010 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think g4 is a bad move...I only see the downsides...

A) Weak king
B) Weak squares
C) Your bishop is still strong
D) He has no decisive attack to warrant the move.

3/17/2010 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I finally acted like a pussy and put it through an engine. My opponent's moves are fine by the computer's lights. My moves were not best. While I played Bh5 without thinking, hoping he'd push g4, my engine actually liked that, and preferred Tempo's move (Nd4) right away, or second best Bxf3. I didn't even notice the fork on the queen/bishop earlier on. Pretty bad oversight.

OTOH, I like what I did, and was happy when he moved his pawns in front of his K, and in a real game that's usually my reaction when my opponent makes moves like that when all the heavy pieces are still on the board.

3/17/2010 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger CMoB said...

After looking at the game i wanted to add something as well, but Tempo allready beat me to the punch. Overall, you handled the Sicilian Defence quite well. Isn't it great?

3/17/2010 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

These are my thoughts, not the computer…

I would have exchanged 15 … Bxf3 16 Qxf3 Nd4. This leaves you with the superior minor piece an shields the weak d6 pawn. You will likely follow up with …f5 with initiative.
White played 16. g4 to preserve his Knight. I like it. It does come at some cost (weaking his kingside pawns). But I think more important is it kills your play by clamping down your f5 break. Meanwhile, White keeps control of the d4 square thereby fixing d6 as a permanent weakness for you.

I think White should have doubled on the d-file straight away, and not wasted his time on the c-file. I think he could have forced you into some passivity. Later, 19 Rd5? is simply a blunder. Good spidey-sense on that one.

Bill

3/18/2010 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger J'adoube said...

Well, I'm a little late to the commentary, but I saw Nd4 as a big threat. The problem for White is that he is actually playing a piece down because of the pin. Furthermore, it's not just the Queen who is pinned, but the Rook behind it as well. Moving the Queen off the pin is a bad idea because Black should take immediately and double the pawns. White really has no choice but to play h3, I think.

Oh and...Duke sucks.

3/18/2010 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Bill has a blog!!! An amazing chess... hey wait...backgammon blog!?

Great to see you posting nonanonymously Bill. Your comment seems on target, as usual.

I hadn't even really considered f5, for some reason. I think I was still in the anti-gambit mindset (even though he had already regained his pawn), not wanting to open up the position too much (and also wanting to keep the pin on the Knight rather than recapture his pawn with my B, a case of inertia-based thinking which is always a bit dangerous).

J'adoube: h3 allows Nd4 right away (in a multi-move tactic I would either see or not see in a blitz context, definitely not calculate). Hence, before kicking out the Bishop white should have just taken on c6 (or something) before worrying about the pin. At least that takes away one of the tactics based on overloading the pinned piece.

Good "seed of tactical destruction" there. Pinned piece, always look for way to attack it again! Tactics 101.

Tell UNC I said good luck in the tournament of losers. :P

3/18/2010 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Chess Sets said...

Definitely an interesting choice of move. I have to agree with the first commenter actually. And as was said in braveheart I believe...

"Protect the King"

3/18/2010 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger J'adoube said...

Well, just thinking out loud here...If you play Nd4 after h3, then White plays RxN. You must play Bxf3. White plays Qxf3 with your d4 pawn loose and an uncovered attack on your c6 Knight after White plays e5. Don't know for sure how this all plays out - doing this in my head...

Duke sucks.

3/18/2010 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Hank said...

J'adoube --

About that "c6 knight" that you describe as being potentially subjected to an uncovered attack at the end of that sequence... Isn't that the same knight that went to d4 initially, and then was taken off the board by White's rook on the second move of your hypothetical sequence?

If the sequence that we're talking about is:
15.h3? Nd4! 16.Rxd4 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 exd4 (recapturing the rook) -- then that is Rybka's recommended continuation but it ends up with there being no more knights left on the board. Black is up an exchange but White has some compensation in the form better pawns. Rybka's evaluation at 17 ply is about -0.94 (advantage for black).

Best regards,
Hank

3/18/2010 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Oops. I guess the tactic makes my positional comments irrelevant.

3/18/2010 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger CMoB said...

Btw, since people always associate the Sicilian Defence with massive amounts of theory and are put off because of that (including yourself, as i recall you saying it at some point), did you know there are ways of cutting down on Sicilian Defence theory? Take the Alapin for example (or 2.c3). After 2.c3, you can play Nf6 (Black's best try i think). In the Morra line, after 2...cxd4 3.c3, you can play Nf6 instead of dxc and you transposed into the main line of the Alapin. And you've just killed two birds with one stone :)

Just thought you might want to know. You decide yourself what to do with the info.

3/19/2010 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger chesstiger said...

I would have gone for Bxf3, Qxf3 Nd4 which seems to be second best if i read BDK (and others)comment correctly. The only worry black has is his backward d-pawn on which white can base his play.

But what do i know, i am an even bigger patzer then BDK. My slump is continueing for three months now. Giving good positions away by one move and such, one would stop chess alltogether if it was not for the love of the game i have.

3/19/2010 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger LinuxGuy said...

ChessTiger, I think you'd get more moral support if you posted a game after you played it.

Bill addressed the gist of his question. Let's just assume White played BxNc6 first, then after g4...Bg6, Black will look to play ...h5, then White needs to either allow the trade on g4 (hxg hxg) or push g5, when Black can aim for ..f6 or ..f5.

g4 doesn't look good overall, but there are often ways of making these things work if only a piece were here instead of there sort of thing. Probably, White doesn't have enough initiative setup to play it.

3/19/2010 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger J'adoube said...

Hank, you're right. My Chess Eye failed me but I also knew that the b7 pawn was under attack. It's interesting that my moves followed Rybka's line - what did it say if White does not play h3? The problem for White is that Nd4 will be played so is there some other move White could been played to improve his position? Moving the Queen is out of the question since Black would certainly take the N on f3 and White would have to cripple his pawn structure with gxf3.

3/19/2010 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

As I said, that tactic is one I would never calculate out in a blitz game. I'd either see it or not see it. In this case obviously I didn't see it :)

3/19/2010 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Hank said...

J'adoube wrote:
It's interesting that my moves followed Rybka's line - what did it say if White does not play h3? The problem for White is that Nd4 will be played so is there some other move White could been played to improve his position? Moving the Queen is out of the question since Black would certainly take the N on f3 and White would have to cripple his pawn structure with gxf3.

-- The threat of 15...Nd4 (Black's big "power play" in this position) is indeed the
biggest cause of worry for White, and the main reason that 14...Bg4 is so "annoying" for White. (In fact, in my database I see that strong players have actually played 11.h3, a few moves earlier - possibly to prevent that pin?)

So interestingly, the best that Rybka can suggest (at 18 ply) for White in this position is to trade off the c6 knight with 15.Bxc6 bxc6, after which the position is evaluated as dead even. And I did see h3 turning up in pretty soon after in most of the lines Rybka was analyzing from that point on, so it seems that for Rybka the problem is not that h3 is antipositional per se, but rather that it was crucial not to allow the move Nd4. (I would add the g4 doesn't tend to come up in those lines, though!)

Best regards,
Hank

3/19/2010 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

I agree with Mr. Toad about piling on the backward d pawn. On those rare occaisions when I've actually accepted the gambit and not fall into any stupid traps, I find White usuaaly gets lots of pressure on d6 and that seems to be the pawn I end out giving back.

White never seemed to get any attack going. The pin is really annoying because playing a move like Qe3 doesn't resolve the issue since the rook is on d1. Perhaps White needs to play h3 before Black gets a chance to play Bg5.

Sometimes the king side pawn storms are effective but in this position White's pieces are misplaced for such an attack and the bishop on g6 is keeping an eye on things.

3/20/2010 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I always hate it myself as people get distractic when putting forward a question, so here is an answer. If you look at the preconditions of Vukovic for a kingside attack for white, those are not met. The center is not stable enough for that.

If you think all the pieces away, the resulting ending is better for white since he can create a passer far away from the king.

So black must keep the pieces on the board and blow open the center. Only then the kings pawns can be proven to be overstretched.

3/21/2010 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

And speaking of activity! How about my University of Northern Iowa Panthers!!?? (yeah, I am an actually an alumnus of UNI! I got my masters in music there) That was a gutsy 3 point shot there at the end!

Duke and UNI can only meet in the title game I believe. :)

3/21/2010 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tommyg: congrats that was an amazing game, they really played great. Some people have said Kansas lost, I say Northern Iowa State won!

3/21/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Thanks BDK!

I think Northern Iowa (or No Iowa as CBS puts up on the scoreboard) won as well. I need to play chess with the same attitude as the kid who took that crazy three at the end of the game!

3/21/2010 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Oh Well! The University of Northern Iowa Dream was fun while it lasted! Maybe they can build on this. (kind of like Butler over the past few years)

Duke-Baylor looks like it could be a good game!!

I also think Michigan State-Tennessee should be good.

3/27/2010 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Liquid Egg Product said...

Darn your Dukies. Can't believe they smoked Baylor so bad on those offensive boards.

3/29/2010 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I couldn't believe it, Baylor choked in the last three minutes. They could have won that game, but they stopped fighting on the rebounds, and that completely idiotic technical foul sealed the deal. Lack of experience maybe?

I'll take the win, though. Next game will be really tough for Duke.

Initially I had duke in the championship, but then I thought I was being irrational so changed it to Kentucky v Kansas. :(

3/29/2010 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

I guess the admonition "when you find a good move, look for a better one" doesn't apply when filling out your NCAA tournament brackets. :-)

3/29/2010 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Liquid Egg Product said...

Ha. How many other people had the Jayhawks in the championship? At least you didn't have, say, New Mexico.

Our women did get a form of vengeance. So guess we both get a squad to cheer for.

Good luck to your men's.

3/30/2010 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger John aka Endgame Clothing said...

Duke's looking good...good luck this weekend!

John.

4/01/2010 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Congratulations on the Duke win tonight!

I think the title game will be great! I have to go to a Bachelor party Monday night so I will be missing the game.

4/04/2010 12:09:00 AM  

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