January 2009

One of the tactical methods is space clearance.  According to the book of IM Paul Littlewood,  ” Chess tactics”  it appears, when:

“Square or diagonal needs to be cleared of your own or opponent’s pieces, before a winning combination can occur on that square or diagonal.” You should imagine the position without the obstructing piece on the way.

I played a blitz game today and got a little example of it,  Black to move:


The answer ( if necessary) is in the comment.

I recently played a correspondence game, where the final part was quite interesting.  It was “Marshall attack” thematic game, where I played White,  successfully defended in the middlegame and went into N vs. B endgame with a spare pawn. 


You can use books in these games,  so I looked at Averbakh’s “Chess endings” – “Bishop vs. Knight”.  What he says about the situation like mine is that you should maximally improve the position of your pieces and pawns. You shouldn’t hurry to create, especially to advance, a passed pawn. The most important is weakening of your opponent’s pawn configuration to create points of entry for your king penetrating into enemy’s terrytory and creating another passed pawn.

34. f3 f6 35. Kf2 Kf7 36. Ke3 g5 37. Nb1 – knight is going to c3. 


37. … Ke6 38. Nc3 Kd6 39. Nb5+ Kd7 40. Nc3 Kd6 41. f4


Crafty wants to play b4 right away,  I do it on the next move – 41. … g4 42. b4 axb4 43. axb4 f5? – the idea is to lock the game, it doesn’t work. Crafty’s estimate drops from 1.95 to 2.50,  it wants to play Bf5. I didn’t like g4 either,  it makes the bishop really “bad”.


44. Kd2 Be6 45. Kc2 Kc6 46. Kb3 Kb6 47. Ka4


47. … Bf7 48. b5 Bg8 49. Kb4 – with the threat Na4+ 


49. … Kc7 – loses right away, but there is no survival – 49. … Be6 50. Na4+ Ka7 51. b6+ Kb8 52. Nc5 Bf7 53. Kb5 Be8+ 54. Ka6 Bc6 55. b7 Bxb7+ 56. Nxb7 

50.  Kc5 – 1:0.


I recently played an interesting thematic correspondence game, so I decided to showcase it. It was Sicilian defense,  Moscow variation, I played White.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Qxd7 5. c4 – Maroczy bind


5. … Nc6 6. Nc3 e6 7. O-O Nf6 8. d4 O-O-O – it always surprises me when Black in Sicilian castles queenside.


9. a3 cxd4 10. Nxd4 d5  – important moment! This is a very typical move when playing against Maroczy bind,  designed to destroy White’s center. It succeeds with that goal, but it’s the White who takes advantage of the opened lines.


11. cxd5 exd5 12. Nxc6 Qxc6 13. exd5 Nxd5 14. Qg4+ 


14. … Kb8 –  computer suggests 14. …Qe6 15. Qf3 Qf6  with estimate 0.96, now after 15. Nd5 it’s 2.49. 15. … Qxd5  16. Bf4+ Ka8 17. Rad1


17. … Qa5 18. Rxd8+ Qxd8 19. Rd1 Qe8 20. Bc7!


20. … Be7 21. Qxg7 b6 – it makes things worse


22. Qe5 Kb7 23. Re1


23. … Bf6  24. Qxe8 Rxe8 25. Rxe8 Kxc7 26. Rf8 Bxb2 27. Rxf7+


27. Rxf7+ Kb8 28. a4 h6 29. g4 Bc1 30. h4 a6 31. Rf5 Kb7 32. g5 hxg5 33. hxg5 Kc6 34. g6 – Black resigned ( 34. … Bb2 35. Rf7 ).


This game was played in the online correspondence “Marshall attack” thematic tournament, I played White.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 O-O 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bf6.  My opponent plays non-standard move, usual move – Bd6, then Qh4.


13. Re1 Bf5 14. Be3 Re8 15. Nd2 Qd6 16. Qf3 Nxe3 17. fxe3 Bg6 18. e4 Re7 19. Rad1 Rae8


20. Bc2 Qc7  21. Bb1 c5 22. Nb3 cxd4 23. cxd4 Qc4 24. e5 Bxb1 25. Rxb1 Bg5 26. Qg3


26. …Bh6 27. Rbd1 Qc2 28. Qf2 Qxf2+ 29. Kxf2  Rd8 30. Nc5 Rc7 31. a3 Rc6 32. b4 Rd5


I thought how I can support advance of the pawn and saw that King can help here.  It looked risky, but as Russian proverb says: “He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne”.  33. Kf3 Bg5 34. Ke4!


34. … Rd8 35. d5 Rh6 36. Kf5 Be7 37. d6 Rh5+ 38. Kg4


38. … Rh4+ 39. Kg3 Bg5 40. d7 Rc4  41. Nb7 Bh4+ 42. Kf3 Bxe1 43. Nxd8 Rc3+ 44. Ke2


44. …Bh4 45. Nb7 Kf8 46. d8=Q+ Bxd8 47. Rxd8+ Ke7 48. Rd3 Rc2+ 49. Kf3 Ke6 50. Nc5+ .  It makes the win much harder.


50. . … Kxe5 51. Nxa6 f5 52. Nc5 h6 53. Rb3 g5 54. Nd3+ Kd4 55. Ne1 Rd2. Just as these moves were played 2 women in our Olympic team had spare knight each and didn’t do too well. One drew, another allowed passed pawn and almost lost,  swindling a draw in the end. My position didn’t excite me either, though Crafty still evaluates it as 3.16.


56. Kg3 Ke4 57. Rc3 h5 58. h3 f4+ 59. Kh2 Re2 60. Rc8!  This is it. Knight is untouchable  – Rxe1 Re8+ and black pawns become an easy target.


60. … Ra2 61. Rg8 g4 62. hxg4 hxg4 63. Rxg4 Rxa3 64. Rg5 Ra6 65. Rxb5 Kd4 66. Rf5 Ke4 67. Rg5 Ra2 68. b5 Rb2 69. Re5+


69. …Kxe5 70. Nd3+ Kd4 71. Nxb2 Kc5 72. Nd3+ Kxb5 73. Nxf4   1-0