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Daily Chess Puzzle

January 12, 2018

Today’s problem is from my first classical time limit game of 2018.

Since the start of 2018, I have decided to adopt the style of only saying which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

For today’s puzzle, I would ask my readers to critique the following sequence of moves. 

The context is that it had been an up and down game: as White, I got nothing from the opening; Black made some inaccuracies, giving me a Carlsen-esque slight pull and then after another slip, a significant advantage, which, embarrassed by a choice of good moves, I chose the one which through away all the advantage. As the time control loomed, Black had the initiative, and I feared losing; but I managed to simplify to this Queen ending, which I knew I could draw, and then quickly did. So, as the players deserved, a draw.

My engine showed that we missed something.

What did the players miss in this sequence of moves?

Position after 34 Q*d3

pink1

34… Qc1+

pink3

35 Kg2 Qc4

pink4

36 Qd2 Qb3

pink5

37 Qc1 g6 38 Qc8+

pink2

Allan Beardsworth v Joshua Pink, Bramhall 2/1/18

Solution

36..Qb3? was a mistake; it attacks the a3 pawn, and is the move I expected, and I immediately defended the threat and also aimed at c8 by playing 37 Qc1.

But go back to the position after 36…Qb3:

pink5

Just as with yesterday’s puzzle, if I could only put into practice what I know in analysis, and perhaps the most important thing I always forget: I should ignore threats.

Purdy on threats, In Search of Chess Perfection, pg 289
You must see all real threats. That means you must also see the unreality of real threats…. When in doubt, you can always save time by remembering it is really your move. Try then the following way of thinking:
Imagine the threat could not possibly be executed. Then what would be my best move? Try out each attractive move separately, considering each one as follows. Visualise the whole position as it would be after this move of yours, and then work out whether the opponent would gain by executing his ‘threat’.

and also I know full well Purdy’s notion of jump-checks and jump-biffs, and if it were analysis at home, I would see the jump-mate Qd8.

So, after 36…Qb3, the d-pawn is pinned, and 37 e4! wins it!

pink6

Black’s best is then 37..d4 38 Qd4 g6: I suspect I would then have had good chances to win, partly because by then Black would have been demoralised, as I had been earlier in the game when I knew a single careless move had let the advantage slip.

pink7

Position which would have been reached after 37 e4!

I wonder if I am alone in not being able to put into practise what I know in theory? I feel sure I am not alone, which is a reason why chess is such a tough game: which makes it worthwhile.

My new year’s resolution should have been, and can still be: to not ignore what I know.

I know what a big part of my problem is: emotions, during the game, which make me dispense with logic, and fear sometimes rules. Below I have sketched the broad “evaluation” of the game (an approach I first saw in one of Lev Alburt’s books). Any opening advantage White might have had went on move 2, as I played some random moves (if Carlsen can do it, why can’t I? Ans: I am not Magnus); I started to fear I was worse, despite it actually being equal; I started to get better and then very better; one poor choice by me, one good choice by my opponent, and he had the initiative; I feared he would have a winning blow; I managed to bale out into a totally level Queen ending/ Then, safe in the knowledge I couldn’t lose, I played out the remaining moves for the draw that was due, not seeing the one and only chance Black had inadvertently given me.

Graph.JPG

Chess is far easier to analyse afterwards, with Fritz, Komodo and their friends, then it is playing over the board. That’s why we play it.

FEN

2q3k1/p4ppp/1p6/3p4/1P5P/P2QP1P1/5P2/6K1 b – – 0 34

 

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