Friday, March 28, 2008

Crappy Traps

Before I describe my game, what are three good moves in this position? Which of the three is the strongest? Which is the weakest?

My second game of Far West Open 2008 was against a tall kid with braces who could be playing high school basketball. Cyberstalking seems to reveal that he is a 9th grader in the Texas scholastic chess scene, making his age about 14-15. My fourth round opponent is also a 9th grader and my first round opponent is in 6th grade. The total of their ages could be as little as 39, which is what I turn this year.

During the opening, the following position arose:

White's pawn structure showed up as the one I employed in as Black in game 1 and also as the one my opponent employed as Black in game 3. Three games in a row with the same pawn structure. I have frequently heard people say that this holey swiss cheese pawn structure is weak, especially the f3/f6 square which cannot be controlled by a pawn any more. Also to get here, you have to play P-K3 and P-Q3, likely a loss of a tempo in the struggle for the center. I am fond of saying that if you've played such moves, your opening is likely a failure. Practice what you preach, hypocrite!

I offered the draw and he immediately accepted. After WSO2007, I was relieved not to be scoreless after two rounds. In the postmortem, Alex seemed a very courteous and resourceful analyst. It was he who showed me the 26.Bg5! and 30.Bf4! ideas. That reminded me of the saying attributed to either Emanuel Lasker or Siegbert Tarrasch: "When you see a good move, sit on your hands and try to find a better one."

When you set a trap that your opponent can avoid, it's important to have a Plan B to at least repair your position or improve it.

In the first diagram, I chose the weakest of White's three moves with 26.Qg6+, a cheap trap trying to get Black to win the pawn with 26...Qxg6 27.fxg6+ Kxg6, but 28.Be4+ Kh5 29.Rf7 wins one of the bishops for two pawns. In the game, Black declined the pawn with 26...Kh8 and White had little but to go for another cheap trap 27.Qxf6 Bxf6 28.Bxh6 Bxh4? 29.f6. But again, Black avoided danger by not trying to establish material equality immediately: 28...Rg8! 29.Kh1 Rg4 30.Bf4 +/- as in the game. Stronger than 26.Qg6+ was 26.Bg5!?. If Black takes, White pawns crush, so best is 26...Qe5 27.Bf4 Qf6 28.Bxb7. Also strong was the pawn-grabbing 26.Bxb7 which most likely transposes back to the 26.Bg5 line: 26.Bxb7 Rb8 27.Be4! Rxb2? 28.Bg5! hxg5 29.hxg5 Qe5 30.f6+.

1 comment:

ChargingKing said...


If you get time could you email me about how to publish my games in that player like you do.

No hurry.