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  1. Standard membermchill
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    11 Feb '21 05:533 edits
    I'm playing black here and reached the following position recently in an OTB game, fortunately I won. Apologies for the notation here, I don't know how to place a diagram in the post box.

    1. e4 c6 2. Bc4 d5 3. exd cxd 4. Bb4 Bd2 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bxd7 N(b)d7 7. d4 e6 8. Nf3 Be7 9. Qe2 0-0 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. Be3 a6 13. Qf3 b4 14. Qg3 ...

    Please try to ignore the inaccuracies by both sides up to this point, but I've lost game after game in similar kingside positions with the white bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal, and the white queen on the g file. White's threat is Bh6. The engine gives 14....b4 here, which is all well and good, however once white's knight moves out of harms way, the same threat remains. I thought 14. ... Nh5 was a decent resource, but the engine gives this a question mark. So, how does black defend here? 15.
    Bh6 g6 loses the exchange, and defending the g7 pawn with only the king loses immediately. I can't find a resource in my book. It's black to move. Any ideas??
  2. Joined
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    11 Feb '21 06:361 edit
    You can play b4 and after Ne2 Rfc8 which moves the rook out of the way so that it is neither blocked in after Bh6 if you defend with either Bf8 or Ne8 nor attacked if you play g6.

  3. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '21 09:561 edit
    @mchill said
    I'm playing black here and reached the following position recently in an OTB game, fortunately I won. Apologies for the notation here, I don't know how to place a diagram in the post box.

    1. e4 c6 2. Bc4 d5 3. exd cxd 4. Bb4 Bd2 5. Nc3 Nf6 6. Bxd7 N(b)d7 7. d4 e6 8. Nf3 Be7 9. Qe2 0-0 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. Be3 a6 13. Qf3 b4 14. Qg3 ...

    Please try to ignore the in ...[text shortened]... only the king loses immediately. I can't find a resource in my book. It's black to move. Any ideas??
    First of all, you should try to improve your notation, which has several errors.
    Sloppy notation does not help a player think clearly.

    If I were Black, after I noticed White's first several blatant errors, I would conclude
    that White has no understanding of what he's doing. I would feel that I don't
    have to try hard to win; I most likely would just have to wait for White to self-destruct.
    White's opening was aimless, and aimless players usually lose against me.

    Unless Black plays extremely badly, there's no way that White's 'attack' with
    only a queen and bishop should succeed against Black's secure kingside.
    So why are you already worried about defending? Just relax and enjoy the position!
  4. Standard membermchill
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    11 Feb '21 11:03
    @duchess64 said
    First of all, you should try to improve your notation, which has several errors.
    Sloppy notation does not help a player think clearly.

    If I were Black, after I noticed White's first several blatant errors, I would conclude
    that White has no understanding of what he's doing. I would feel that I don't
    have to try hard to win; I most likely would just have to wait for ...[text shortened]... secure kingside.
    So why are you already worried about defending? Just relax and enjoy the position!
    Just relax and enjoy the position!

    OK - Now that I'm relaxed, could you please enlighten this inferior talent (with the poor notation) how to defend against the threat of Bh6 and mate on the next move?
  5. Standard membermchill
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    11 Feb '21 11:06
    @Ragwort

    Thank You. Much appreciated.
  6. e4
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    11 Feb '21 14:55
    Black to play:


    Not liking 15...Rfc8. I'd go for 15...Ne4 (which is surely the idea behind 14...b4.)

    Then After White moves the Queen f7-f5 - which is why I like to keep the Rook on f8.
    Later If White does not 0-0 and challenges the e4 Knight with Ng3 do not
    take it as it opens the h-file. how about Qa5 which may squeeze out b3
    and then Rac8 hitting a genuine backward pawn on an open file.
  7. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '21 18:242 edits
    @mchill said
    Just relax and enjoy the position!

    OK - Now that I'm relaxed, could you please enlighten this inferior talent (with the poor notation) how to defend against the threat of Bh6 and mate on the next move?
    My point is to encourage you NOT to panic and adopt such a defensive state of mind.
    Even if Black did NOTHING, White's Bh6 is parried by Ne8.

    Examine the original position. Is Black behind in development?
    No, Black's slightly ahead in development because White has not castled yet.
    Has Black weakened his king's defenses?
    No, then why should such a superficial White 'mating attack' succeed?

    Do you assess Black's position as WORSE in the position after 14 Qg3 ?
    You should not.

    The pawn structure shows that Black should play for a queenside minority attack.
    So (as Greenpawn suggested) here's a sample variation:
    14 ... b4 15 Ne2 Ne4 16 Qg4 (if persisting in the Bh6 idea) f5 17 Qf3 (for instance)
    Rac8 or Rfc8

    White has yet to commit to castling. If 18 0-0-0, Qa4 wins for Black.
    Black clearly has the initiative.

    In my view, if this position was played out between two strong players, White
    should consider himself fortunate not to lose. Between two weak players
    (anything can happen), the game's outcome may likely be decided by later blunders.

    I try to encourage students to develop an appropriate sense of danger.
    On one hand, many students are so fixated upon their own plans and dreams
    that they overlook their opponents' potential plans.
    On the other hand, some students seem so insecure that they are terrified of
    pseudo-threats and imagine that their opponents can perform magic.

    My general point is that Black already has a better position after 14 Qg3.
    White already has made several errors and seems likely to continue doing so.
    Why should Black be so terrified of losing to a sudden attack out of nowhere?
  8. Standard membermchill
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    11 Feb '21 19:312 edits
    @duchess64 said
    My point is to encourage you NOT to panic and adopt such a defensive state of mind.
    Even if Black did NOTHING, White's Bh6 is parried by Ne8.

    Examine the original position. Is Black behind in development?
    No, Black's slightly ahead in development because White has not castled yet.
    Has Black weakened his king's defenses?
    No, then why should such a superficial White ...[text shortened]... to continue doing so.
    Why should Black be so terrified of losing to a sudden attack out of nowhere?
    Why should Black be so terrified of losing to a sudden attack out of nowhere?



    Because he's mentally inferior.

    I won't ask again....goodbye
  9. Standard membermchill
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    11 Feb '21 19:32
    @greenpawn34 said
    Black to play:

    [fen]r4rk1/3qbppp/p3pn2/3p4/1p1P4/4B1Q1/PPP1NPPP/R3K2R b KQ - 0 15[/fen]
    Not liking 15...Rfc8. I'd go for 15...Ne4 (which is surely the idea behind 14...b4.)

    Then After White moves the Queen f7-f5 - which is why I like to keep the Rook on f8.
    Later If White does not 0-0 and challenges the e4 Knight with Ng3 do not
    take it as it opens the h-file. ...[text shortened]... about Qa5 which may squeeze out b3
    and then Rac8 hitting a genuine backward pawn on an open file.
    Thank You
  10. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '21 20:125 edits
    @mchill said
    Why should Black be so terrified of losing to a sudden attack out of nowhere?



    Because he's mentally inferior.

    I won't ask again....goodbye
    It's *possible* to lose to a sudden attack out of nowhere, but not likely in that position.
    Were you too complacent? No. Were you already in extreme time pressure? Not likely.

    Unfortunately, you are misperceiving my objective evaluation of the position,
    objective discussion of plans for each side, and objective reassurance that
    White's 'mating threat' should be harmless as some kind of *personal attack*.
    Your ego should not be so fragile that it fails to tolerate such objectivity.

    It reminds me of a situation where someone's afraid to leave home at all because
    one expects instantly to get run over by a motor vehicle in the street. That does happen.
    But, with proper awareness, that risk can be minimized. So I really would encourage
    that person to leave home and not remain in excessive fear for the rest of one's life.
    I shall not coddle that person by pretending that one's excessive fear is reasonable.

    "I've lost game after game in similar kingside positions with the white bishop on
    the c1-h6 diagonal, and the white queen on the g file. White's threat is Bh6."
    --Mchill

    Work on recognizing basic tactical themes.
    If you really still believe that Bh6 is a dire threat, then I don't know what to say.

    "Because he's mentally inferior."
    --Mchill (referring to himself)

    But you don't really believe that. If you did, would you be striving to reach an 1800 level?
    So why did you say what you don't really mean? Due to emotion, not reason?

    In general, strong players assess positions less emotionally and are less insecure
    about acknowledging their errors in analysis or comprehension. (I would be glad
    to learn some things that I don't understand well now from a much stronger player.)
    Weak players tend to remain weak on account of psychological in addition to technical factors.

    In some opening variations, there's a race between White and Black in attacking each other's kings.
    These variations require strong nerves. Sometimes I have faced and withstood
    apparently irresistible attacks because I calculated (or hoped) my attack was quicker.
    So sometimes I have mated my opponent one move before I would have been mated.
    Sometimes I have miscalculated and lost too. I don't recommend that everyone try these variations.

    In my view, a successful style depends upon a balance between aggression and and caution,
    which I refer to as risk management. As far as I can infer, you seem too timid.
  11. Zugzwang
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    11 Feb '21 20:341 edit
    @mchill said
    Why should Black be so terrified of losing to a sudden attack out of nowhere?



    Because he's mentally inferior.

    I won't ask again....goodbye
    On one occasion, I was winning a blitz game and became disconcerted when I
    accidentally touched a piece, meaning that I had to move it when I did not intend.
    My position was still better, yet, being upset at myself, I began making a series of
    errors (which were inexplicable later) and ran my position downhill until I lost.

    Afterward, an observer (who had been respectful toward me earlier) took me
    aside and scolded me at length (in Russian), with many colourful expressions.
    It was just one game, I said. I have played much better before and will do so again.
  12. Joined
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    22 Mar '21 00:192 edits
    I haven't seen mentioned 15...Kh8, which would be my preference because it dispels the threat of 16. Bh6 without having to disrupt Black's harmonious piece setup. With a big space advantage on the queenside, I'd be inclined to dull the play on the kingside so that the only sector of consequence is the queenside.
  13. Zugzwang
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    22 Mar '21 02:441 edit
    @fmdavidhlevin said
    I haven't seen mentioned 15...Kh8, which would be my preference because it dispels the threat of 16. Bh6 without having to disrupt Black's harmonious piece setup. With a big space advantage on the queenside, I'd be inclined to dull the play on the kingside so that the only sector of consequence is the queenside.
    Is White's Bh6 really worth worrying about?
    Of course, 15...Kh8 preempts the potential 'threat', but is it necessary or premature prophylaxis?

    Clearly, Black should play on the queenside.
  14. Joined
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    22 Mar '21 20:12
    @duchess64 said
    Is White's Bh6 really worth worrying about?
    Of course, 15...Kh8 preempts the potential 'threat', but is it necessary or premature prophylaxis?
    This prompted me to look further at 15...Rfc8 16. Bh6:

    A) 16...Ne8 17. c3 (17. 0-0-0 or 17. Rc1 would lose a pawn to 17...Qa4; 17. Nf4 [threatening 18. Bxg7 Nxg7 19. Nh5] would lose material after 17...Kh8) 17...bxc3 18. Nxc3 (18. bxc3 would give White a backward c-pawn and would concede the b-file after 18...Rab8) 18...Rab8 19. Bc1 (19. Rb1 or 19. b3 would lose material to 19...Rxc3) 19...Bb4 20. Bd2 Nd6 (heading for one of several inviting light squares), and Black has strong pressure.

    B) 16...g6

    B1) 17. c3 bxc3 18. Nxc3 Rab8 19. Bc1 Bb4 20. Bd2 (20. Qe5 Ne4 [threatening 21...Bd6] 21. Bh6 f6 22. Qf4 Nxc3) 20...Bxc3 21. Bxc3 (21. bxc3 Rb2) 21...Ne4 22. Qd3 Qb5 23. Qxb5 Rxb5 24. Rc1 Nxc3 25. bxc3 Rb2, winning a pawn.

    B2) 17. Qd3 Qb5 18. Qxb5 axb5 19. Kd1 Ng4 20. Be3 Bg5! 21. Bxg5 (21. Kd2 Nxf2!) 21...Nxf2+ 22. Kc1 Nxh1 23. Be3 b3! 24. c3 Rxa2 25. Rb1 b4 26. Kd2 Rc4.

    These lines convinced me that by expending a tempo, 15...Kh8 would lose much of Black's initiative, so I didn't even analyze it. In contrast, 15...Rfc8 defers making a purely defensive move until White has expended a tempo to threaten mate.

    Between 16...Ne8 and 16...g6, the former constrains White's queen to maintain the pin until the bishop has retreated from h6. This isn't true of 16...g6, which lets White's queen reach the d3-square to try to buttress the queenside. (That 16...g6 weakened Black's kingside didn't seem significant.)

    The value of 16...Ne8 in deferring White's queen's arrival on the queenside seems well worth the temporary displacement of Black's knight.

    This distinction seemed to be reflected in the continuations. Black's play after 16...Ne8 seems fairly straightforward, but 16...g6 17. Qd3 seems to require sharp tactics from Black in order to make progress.

    So, it seems to me that 15...Rfc8 was correct, and that 16. Bh6 is best met by 16...Ne8.

    But Black would have retained an edge after any of these continuations. So, in that sense, Black's decision at move 15 wasn't critical.
  15. Zugzwang
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    23 Mar '21 02:013 edits
    @fmdavidhlevin said
    This prompted me to look further at 15...Rfc8 16. Bh6:

    A) 16...Ne8 17. c3 (17. 0-0-0 or 17. Rc1 would lose a pawn to 17...Qa4; 17. Nf4 [threatening 18. Bxg7 Nxg7 19. Nh5] would lose material after 17...Kh8) 17...bxc3 18. Nxc3 (18. bxc3 would give White a backward c-pawn and would concede the b-file after 18...Rab8) 18...Rab8 19. Bc1 (19. R ...[text shortened]... ge after any of these continuations. So, in that sense, Black's decision at move 15 wasn't critical.
    "My point is to encourage you NOT to panic and adopt such a defensive state of mind.
    Even if Black did NOTHING, White's Bh6 is parried by Ne8."
    --Duchess64 (to Mchill, earlier)

    "So, it seems to me that 15...Rfc8 was correct, and that 16. Bh6 is best met by 16...Ne8."
    --FMDavidHLevin

    "These lines convinced me that by expending a tempo, 15...Kh8 would lose much
    of Black's initiative, so I didn't even analyze it. In contrast, 15...Rfc8 defers making
    a purely defensive move until White has expended a tempo to threaten mate."
    --FMDavidHLevin

    Thanks, my intuition told me to press on with the initiative and avoid unnecessary prophylaxis.
    I would be inclined to play 15...Ne4 (as Greenpawn suggested) before Rfc8.
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