Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prospect Beats Rolling Meadows

In its second match of the year, Prospect beat Rolling Meadows 45-23. On 2nd Board, Arun Nair lost a tough game to Rolling Meadows' Anthony Leone as a result of failing to show proper respect for his opponent's passed pawn.

In this position, Black could simply swap his d-pawn for White's passed d-pawn with 22...Qxb4 23.Bxd5. Even stronger is to round it up with 22...Rb8 23.Qd2 Qxb4 24.Qxb4 Rxb4, although White still can still capture the d-pawn due to Black's vulnerability on the 8th rank, 25.Bxd5 Nxd5 26.Rd1 Rb5 27.e4. Instead, Arun played 22...e4? in hopes of picking up the b-pawn without giving up one of his own. Unfortunately, White played 23.b5! and Black has missed his chance. To complicate matters, Black has weakened his d-pawn and restricted his knight's mobility.

I am very impressed by White's last few moves. I frequently see inexperienced players advance a passed pawn too quickly, but Anthony has improved the position of his pieces so that they can support the pawn when it does advance deep into enemy territory. Black's has a couple reasonable choices here. He can try to maintain the blockade with 30...Rb8 or he can exchange queens with 30....Qxc6. The latter choice allows the pawn to advance, but it removes the pawn's strongest supporter and offers Black the chance to bring his king over to aid in the defense.

Arun is a naturally aggressive player, however, and was unable to adjust himself to the defensive task of blocking the pawn. He chose to keep his queen with 30...Qd8?, but this allowed the pawn to get another square closer to promotion with 31.b6. The game had a few more twists and turns, but White was eventually able to promote the b-pawn because Black kept trying to find ways to win rather than ways to draw.

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