Tactics practice

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:02 am

This was my game from the 4NCL on the Sunday. It was very disconcerting both to play this game and to analyse it afterwards. I'm not sure if it should be a lesson in how it is possible to survive even the most horrible looking position, or a lesson in how games don't win themselves and even if your position looks overwhelming you usually need to calculate some precise tactical sequence at some point. I've lightly annotated it, with diagrams for three key positions. A useful exercise might be to play through the game and try and decide which moments are the most critical and where you might have spent most time trying to find a winning plan, something I manifestly failed to do. :(



Arguably, things started to go a bit wrong as early as move 11. My opponent had managed to get into a tangle out of the opening and had been forced to play 9...Kf7, but instead of castling queenside and piling down the g- and h-files with my rooks, I tried to exert a bind with my knights (11.Nh3). I correctly pushed my h-pawn to h5 on move 13, but then played the tempting 14.h6+ when there were better moves. In passing, it turns out that 15.Ng5+ (either) wins, but only because of the follow-up of Qa3+ and Qxa7 (I had seen the check on a3, but hadn't bothered to look any further and had not seen Qxa7). Anyway, after those preliminary moves, we reached the following position after 16.Nf4.



I must confess I sat there admiring the undeveloped nature of Black's kingside, the way his h8 rook was entombed and how his king had no moves, and I made the mistake of thinking that my position would win itself. A few moves later, none of the other Black pieces have moved, but Black's queen in tandem with a c5 pawn push, had been buzzing around my queenside like an annoying fly and settled on c2.



This was the point where I should have won with the obvious tactic of 21.Nxd5. However, I started seeing phantoms around the reply 21...Qe4+, completely failing to realise that the knight on d5 can move backwards and block the check. The resulting position is completely winning. In the game, I played 21.Qd3, offering an exchange of queens and trusting that I would still win the e6 pawn at some stage as Black tried to unravel.

This may be why I missed the tactics that Black made possible with his very first move after the exchange of queens. He played 22...Ne7 to reach the following position. This is the tactical exercise. Can you see the win that White missed here? It is a delightful three-move sequence to reach a position where Black is completely helpless.



White to play and win.

The rest of the moves are given without comment, other than to say that I did win the e6 pawn in the end (though passing up a much clearer winning plan) and ended up in a complicated B vs N ending where we both traded blunders (48...h4? and 62.a6??) so the resulting draw was probably a fair result. Still can't believe I messed that up though! :roll:

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Mar 24, 2014 9:54 am

Hummm, I see we've got some basic classical education about that opening to give Richard next time we see him :) nn - Nimzowitch with Qb6 - a6 isn't it? Overall I wouldn't worry that much - this is far from the first game he's tricked his way out of a bad position in!

If 14 h6+ Kf7 15 Ng5+ wins, then surely 14 h6+ is a reasonable move? 14.. Kf8 isn't precisely pleasant. Taking time out to snatch a7 isn't the first thing that would occur in that sort of position as not at all thematic and relatively easy to miss.

I'm not actually that sure if 21 Nxd5 is a trivial win either, because 21 .. Qe4+ 22 Ne3 QxQ 23 PxQ (to hold e5) might well give black some positional compensation with the d5 outpost etc. You're quite a bit better anyway of course.

Missing that opportunity on move 23 looks rather more annoying to me because that's essentially the sort of thing that you've - pretty consistently really - been playing for all game.

Guess you'd won the match by then but are you sure black isn't even winning the final position?

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:34 pm

In the final position, Nh2-f3 etc etc should save White?
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Simon Brown
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Simon Brown » Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:54 pm

The final position is a draw. WK on the nearest W square to the pawn on the a-file, then as soon as the BK goes off to help round up the N, the B is distracted from guardng the intervening black square. W has to be careful not to land on a white square on the edge, so 73 Nh2 Be5 74 Nf1? loses to Bf4, but 74 Nf3 is OK.

Neat and unusual tactic at move 23, but you should always consider such things when the BK is so short of legal moves.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:33 pm

Thanks for the comments. Martin, I just realised today why my opponent's name sounded so familiar. I played him in a 4NCL match back in May 2013 in round 9 last year:

http://www.4ncl.livechess.co.uk/div3_20 ... d9.htm#t12
http://chesstempo.com/gamedb/game/3436457

It is somewhat embarrassing that I failed to realise that... :oops:

[Even more so when you see it was the same opening and same colours]

As Simon said, the final position is drawn but there are plenty of tricks if Black gets his king to b3 and the White king to b1. The knight needs to be careful where it goes. I was short of time so could well have lost that, and I had blundered earlier with Kg2 (Black probably is winning at that point), but I've tried to draw a discreet veil over all that.

BTW, is my opponent in this game the same Richard Cowan who has posted here in the past?

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:13 am

That seems entirely possible but not entirely sure. Looks like you'll get to ask him in 2015 ;)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:09 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Thanks for the comments. Martin, I just realised today why my opponent's name sounded so familiar. I played him in a 4NCL match back in May 2013 in round 9 last year:

http://www.4ncl.livechess.co.uk/div3_20 ... d9.htm#t12
http://chesstempo.com/gamedb/game/3436457

It is somewhat embarrassing that I failed to realise that... :oops:

[Even more so when you see it was the same opening and same colours]

As Simon said, the final position is drawn but there are plenty of tricks if Black gets his king to b3 and the White king to b1. The knight needs to be careful where it goes. I was short of time so could well have lost that, and I had blundered earlier with Kg2 (Black probably is winning at that point), but I've tried to draw a discreet veil over all that.

BTW, is my opponent in this game the same Richard Cowan who has posted here in the past?
As long as you don't let your knight get zugzwanged, just park your king on a2 and keep it there :)
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:46 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
As Simon said, the final position is drawn but there are plenty of tricks if Black gets his king to b3 and the White king to b1. The knight needs to be careful where it goes.
As long as you don't let your knight get zugzwanged, just park your king on a2 and keep it there :)
I was talking about this position (Black to move):



If Black plays Ka4 instead of what he played (Bd4), then I was unsure whether to go to b1 with the King (that does draw) or start moving the knight. Turns out (using endgame tablebases) that it doesn't matter.

http://www.shredderchess.com/online-che ... abase.html

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:40 pm

This seems like a good thread to post a short game that I played last week at the GLCC blitz event. I'm posting it because I missed a tactic during the game. Rather than say what I missed, I'm going to just give the whole game and see if anyone can spot the missed tactic? My opponent pointed it out to me afterwards, so that is one reason why it has stuck in my head... :mrgreen:


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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:44 pm

21.Re5+ looks rather strong.

Lewis Martin
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Lewis Martin » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Yes, agreeing with Jack. Seems to be a forced mate in 4.

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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:46 pm

Hi Chris,

" I'm posting it because I missed a tactic during the game."

Jack got in the big one. (check all checks).

I see two other ideas. (well one really - the other I knew.)
11.Nxf7 is a known trick in this opening when Black tries to hang onto the pawn.

And my 17.Rd8+ (instead of chasing a b-pawn - chase the King) 17...Kc6 18.Nxd5+ looks good and messy.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Tactics practice

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:16 am

Heh. It was clearly a bit too obvious! Thanks for the other suggestions, Geoff.

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