Friday, October 22, 2010

Prospect Moves to 3-0

Prospect avenged last year's loss to Schaumburg by a score of 48-20. From a coach's standpoint, I think the match produced a number of teachable moments.

Wehmeir v. Royce, 3rd Board

There are many positions in which a passed h-pawn or a-pawn is less desirable than a central pawn, but this is not one of them. Knights have a very difficult time handling pawns on the edge of the board by themselves because the opposing king is capable of controlling the squares that the knight needs. Consider the following position:

White has a substantial material advantage, but the game is only a draw, If White had a bishop, the win would be easy because the bishop could control a square in front of the Black pawn from a distance, but the knight can only control the squares in front of the pawn from squares that the Black king can reach in one move. After 1.Nc1+ Kb2, the White knight can not reach any of the defensive squares it needs, so White must play 2.Nd3+ when either b4 or c1 will be available to the knight. It may like Black can even make some progress with 2...Kc2 3.Nb4+ Kb3 4.Nd3, but if Black tries to advance the pawn with 4...a2??, White has 5.Na1+ forking the king and pawn. If Black had a central pawn, the White knight could find a square that the Black king could not reach in a single move, but with the a-pawn White will never get the chance to advance his own pawns.

In Wehmeir v. Royce, White's a-pawn is not so far advanced as to make the game a draw because Black has time to bring his king over to help. However, if Black makes the mistake of leaving his knight to stop the a-pawn alone while using his king to attack the pawns on the other side of the board, Black could find himself in the kind of position we saw in the first diagram. White's best chance here is 31.Kc3! Ne6 32.Kc4.

Instead White played 31.c3? Nc5 which merely drove the Black knight where it wanted to go. Even worse the pawn on c3 prevents the White king from getting up to where it can support the advance of the a-pawn. If 32.Kb3 Na5+ and Black controls all the squares that the White king needs to advance.

Hanley v. Dixit, 5th Board

Every tactic is founded on the idea of forcing your opponent to do two things at the same time in the hopes that only one of the threats can be met. However, no matter how dangerous an opponent’s threats might be, they can be ignored if a more dangerous counter-threat can be found. Even if one of your opponent’s threats is checkmate on the next move, he must deal with a check to his king before he can deliver the final blow.

In Hanley v. Dixit , on Black’s 8th his double attack threatened two pieces and White dealt with one of the threats by delivering check. However, on Black’s 10th and 18th moves, his double attack threatened a piece and a checkmate. On both those occasions, White failed to find the check that would have allowed him to escape unscathed.

No comments:

Post a Comment