Originally posted by ChessJester
This game was played on RHP blitz and was subsequently lost into the cosmos as the transmission between players was disconnected and the ending of the game lost forever. Was black really better here?
[Event "RHP Blitz rated"]
1. e2 ...[text shortened]... Ra8-c8 21. c2-c3 d6-d5 22. Qd1-d4 Rh8-f8 23. Rf1-e1 Rf8-f4 *[/pgn]
At first glance, black seems to be keeping white's king in a cramped cage in the corner. What to do? My first stabs at trying to find an explosive tactical blow for white ended up fizzling: 1. Rxe4+ Rxe4 2. Bxc8 Rxd4 3. cxd4 fails to 3. ... Qd2, where black's queen has free reign with material threats to boot. Further tricks seemed doomed as well: 1. Rad1 Rc6 (precarious looking, but gets the rook on a useful open rank) 2. Qxd5 fails to 2. ... Rf1+, breaking the pin along the e-file and leaving the queen twisting in the wind. Both lines leave white a pawn down with an uncomfortable position. Maybe it's time for a second glance.
Pulling out the silicon monstrosity, I was surprised to find that Pocket Shredder actually favours white in this position by quite a margin! (Depth 14, Eval +1.78) It seems black's queen is not the only one who can cause havoc, despite the dangerous looking threats in white's corner. Pocket Shredder seems to like 1. Qa7! taking advantage of the myriad of hanging pawns on black's queenside and leaving the light-square bishop to its defensive duties. According to the microchips, black's best play involves rearranging his pieces hastily to avoid forced retreats when white's queen starts snapping off loose pawns with threats and checks. Play follows with 1. ... Rd8 (avoiding the threat to the rook with 2. Qxa6) 2. Qxa6 Kf8 (avoiding the check with 3. Qxb5+) 3. Qxb5 Kg8 (better than being caught on an open f-file after 4. Rf1 and subsequent exchanges), and now black will be forced to give up his corner pressure and consolidate his pieces while playing on two pawns down.
So it seems black is objectively worse in this position, which is exactly the opposite of what I first thought. Maybe I should pull a George Costanza and do the opposite of what my instincts tell me? It couldn't hurt...anyone have a chicken salad sandwich on rye? Untoasted? And a cup of tea?