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‘A serious error’ #chess

April 12, 2014

I always enjoy Mickey Adams' Daily Telegraph column. Time and again there are little, priceless, snippets in his game commentary. Today's article, featuring a nice positional won by Lawrence Trent against M Colpe in Hamburg this year, was particularly good.

He criticised black's next move in the position below. Alas, if I were black, I too might have played it.

Black to play: what would you play?

 

Solution

 

 

If I were black, I would probably the move Mickey recommends, 18…Nc6, to develop a piece and connect the rooks. I would though consider the move black played, 1…b5?, which Mickey says is 'the shot in the dark is a serious positional error, weakening squares on the queenside for no reason'.

 

Alas, it wasn't obvious to me why Mickey so criticised the move: I can see why now, having played through the game and understood it, but prior to that, I would think it had some sense to it, expanding on the queenside and preparing to biff the Nc3. However, the Nc3 is not well placed, and biffing it probably just moves it to a better square.

In fact, the reason 18…b5? is bad is that it weakens c5: and white's knight can go on the circuit Nc3-e2-c1-d3 (or b3)- c5 from where it is impregnable, due to b7-b5. And if, as in the game, the black B moves to c4 to swap off the N when it reaches either b3 or d3, then all that has happened is a black piece, the B, which had a role of defending the Pe6, is swapped off for a white piece, the Nc3, which didn't have a function on that square: net effect, an advantageous exchange for white.

 

 

The game finishes with some tactics: a typical conclusion after the slow build up of pressure.

 

From → Chess

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