Positions from My Youth V

Positions from My Youth V

Only Chess

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15 Dec 20

The game between Dick Greenwood (1400, White) and me (~1250, provisional) from the Edison (NJ) First Sunday of the Month Quads on June 2, 1974 illustrates the proverbial impetuousness of youth (or at least of one particular youth).

Here are the moves through White's seventh.

Here's the position reached after 7.Qf3.

I'd imagine that few would be shocked by the assessment that Black has the advantage. The reader might wish to examine White's earlier play to try to pinpoint his error(s).

After 7.Qf3, how would you proceed as Black?

7...Qd7 seems logical, as it would protect the bishop, maintain control of d4, and apparently leave White no good way to prevent 8...e5, which would give Black a space advantage in the center.

But is Black's control of d4 real? After 8.d4, 8...Nxd4 would expose Black's b-pawn, and 8...Qxd4 would hang Black's bishop.

If White tried 8.d4 (after 7...Qd7), how should Black respond?

After 7...Qd7, 8.d4 would lose material outright to 8...Nxd4, because 9.Qxb7 would get White mated after 9...Nxc2+ 10.Ke2 Qd3.

In the game, Black answered 7.Qf3 with 7...Qa5+ (Evading attack, with tempo. If now 8.Bd2, then 8...Qe5+, forking king and b-pawn.) 8.c3 Nd4. (See next diagram.)

What might happen if White now captured the pawn at b7?

The game might continue as shown in the following chess movie (which starts with 9.Qxb7).

After 8...Nd4, the game continued 9.Qd1 O-O-O (If now 10.b4, then 10...Qe5+ gives Black time to retreat his knight.) 10.Nf3. (See next diagram.)

How should Black proceed?

At first glance, it might appear that Black's knight needs to retreat or exchange itself for White's.

What if Black were to play 10...e5 (taking advantage of the pin of White's c-pawn)?

White might answer 10...e5 by 11.b4, being that ...Qe5+ is no longer possible. The next chess movie examines this idea, starting with 10.Nf3.

However, after 10...e5, White might calmly reply 11.Nh4, which apparently threatens 12.b4 and might prove Black to be overextended. 11.Nh4 might also follow 10...Nc6, so perhaps Black is best advised to eliminate this possibility by 10...Nxf3+ 11.Qxf3, which is what happened.

Black then played 11...Qe5+, to weaken the d-pawn by inducing an interposition. (See next diagram.)

If White replied 12.Be3, could Black win a pawn and retain that material advantage?

No. After 12.Be3, 12...Bxd3 13.Bxd3 Rxd3 would allow White to immediately regain the pawn by 14.Qxf7. However, after 14...e6 (If now 15.O-O, then 15...Bd6. White therefore prepares castling by chasing Black's queen off the h2/b8 diagonal.) 15.Qf4 Qd5 16.O-O Bd6, Black would retain some initiative. Nonetheless, Black might have been at least as well off if he had played 7...Qd7 with ...e5 to follow, rather than complicating by 7...Qa5+.

White actually played 12.Qe3. (See next diagram.)

If Black now played to win a pawn by 12...Qxe3+ 13.Bxe3 Bxd3, what might happen?

White's only potential way to regain material would be to take Black's a-pawn. Doing so immediately by 14.Bxa7 would leave the bishop trapped after 14...b6 and subject to capture after ...Kb7. White can temporarily deflect Black's king by 15.O-O-O (If Black's bishop now moves off the f1/a6 diagonal, then 16.Ba6+ wins.) 15...Bxf1 16.Rxd8+ Kxd8 17.Rxf1, but 17...Kc8 18.Rd1 e6 (Intending to block the file by ...Bd6 prior to consuming White's bishop.) leaves White without recourse.

After 14.Bxa7, perhaps even clearer is 14...Bxf1 15.Rxf1 b6, so that Black can later obstruct the d-file by ...Rd6.

Black did play 12...Qxe3+, but after 13.Bxe3, he didn't take the d-pawn! This rendered his previous tactical play fruitless. After Black's 13...h5 (To inhibit g4... and thereby safeguard the bishop's post, but clearly inferior to winning a pawn.), the game continued as given in the next chess movie.

The above chess movie reached the following position (after 17...Re6).

How should White proceed?

18.Bc4 seems good. For example, 18...Rxe5 19.Bxf7 Bc5 20.O-O Bxe3 21.fxe3 (Preventing 21...Rxe3 owing to 22.Rxf5.), and Black's compensation seems insufficient.

White actually played 18.Bd4. See the following chess movie for the continuation, starting with this move.

The above chess movie reached the following position (after 26...Bc5).

What is Black's threat?

Black threatens 27...Rg8 followed by taking at g2. Thanks to Black's 26th move, White would not have the move f3... to shield g2 from Black's light-square bishop.

How can White defuse that threat?

White would need to unpin the f-pawn, which can be accomplished by moving the White king to the h-file (either square).

White actually played 27.Rfd1, to which the reply, naturally, was 27...Rg8. (See diagram.)

The game continued 28.Kf1 Bxg2+ 29.Ke1 Bf3 (Threatening 30...Rg1 mate.) 30.Kf1 (Now, Black seems to have nothing better than a draw by repetition by 30...Bg2+, etc.) 30...Bxd1 31.Rxd1 Re8. (See diagram.)

What is Black's threat?

Black threatens 32...Re4, hitting the bishop and the c4-pawn.

What should White play?

White should play 32.Rd5, hitting the f5-pawn and threatening to take the bishop with check.

White actually played 32.f3 to prevent 32...Re4. Black then belatedly appreciated the weakness of his f5-pawn and played 32...Rd8 to offer an exchange of rooks. There followed 33.Rxd8+ Kxd8 (Intending to answer 34.Bg5+ with 34...Be7, protecting the h-pawn.) 34.Ke2 Kd7 (This allows White to effectively gain a tempo by 35.Bg5 Be7 36.Bxe7 Kxe7, for Black's 34th move will have been useless. Better seems 34...Be7 at once.) 35.Be5. (See next diagram.)

What is the likely result if Black were to play 35...Bd6 and White exchanged?

The answer is suggested by the game's finish, as shown in the following chess movie (which starts with 35.Be5).

(A list of the threads I've initiated at this forum is available at http://www.davidlevinchess.com/chess/RHP_my_threads.htm .)