Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leone-Moskwa Analysis

29.Rc1 would force 29...c5 after which 30.Rb1 picks up the Black b-pawn.

Prospect v. Meadows: Gambit Play

On 3rd Board, Rolling Meadows Jonathan Phillips played the Evans Gambit (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4!? against Caleb Royse. This is a dangerous opening where White sacrifices a pawn for rapid development. I know that it's dangerous because I lost against it last weekend.   However, White got in trouble when he moved a piece twice with 9.Ng5? before he had moved them all once.

It is always fun to attack something that seems to be under-defended, however, you should always assume that your opponent is going to see the threat and respond to it.  If your opponent is forced to put his pieces on awkward squares where they inhibit his development, that may be good reason to violate the general opening principle of "move every piece once before you move any piece twice."   In fact, White frequently has the opportunity to make those kind of moves in the Evans Gambit.  In this case however, Black meets the threat with a move that he was eager to make anyway, 9...0-0.  White would have been better completing his mobilization with 9.d4.

Just a Pawn

One of the things that makes chess so frustrating is how a minor oversight can have such dire consequences.  On 3rd Board, Meadows' Ben Kusnierz had played very solidly against Echo Genc for twenty-three moves before he missed a knight fork that netted Echo a pawn.  Unfortunately for Ben, the loss of that one pawn left him with two isolated pawns which soon became targets.

Prospect v. Meadows: Imbalances

Prospect finished its season with a 46-22 victory over Rolling Meadows that featured a very interesting material imbalance on 1st Board, where Prospect's Robert Moskwa reached an ending with two knights and six pawns against Anthony Leone's rook, bishop and three pawns.  There is nothing strange about unusual imbalances in high school chess, but they are usually accidental rather than intentional.  Unfortunately, the short time controls can make it very difficult to find the right path in unfamiliar waters.

What should White do here?

Hint:  As I often say, a basic principle of the endgame is "Pieces before Pawns."  I.e., pawns that are pushed before the pieces are in position to support them often become weak.   Therefore, unless you are in a pure pawn race, it is usually better to improve the position of your pieces before you try to advance your pawns.  The converse of that principle is that your opponent's pawns may become weak if you can get him to advance them before his pieces are ready to support them.

I will post the analysis later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

King, Rook and Rook's Pawn v. King and Rook (Analysis)

Take a crack at the positions before you look at the solutions.

King, Rook and Rook's Pawn vs. King and Rook

Consider the following two positions which were inspired by Robert Moskwa's recent game with the World Under 8 Champion, Awonder Liang. White has just checked the Black king with his rook and Black has the choice of moving away from the White king and pawn with 1...Kd7 or towards them with 1...Kb6. The only difference is that the White rook is on c4 in the first and c3 in the second.  Both positions are theoretical draws if Black makes the correct choice. See if you can figure what the right move is in each case before you look at the analysis in the next post.

Battle of the Titans

Coach Neil Mott of Rolling Meadows reminded me that I have been somewhat remiss in updating my blog and he particularly expressed an interest in seeing the showdown between the two top players in the conference, Buffalo Grove's Matt Wilber and Prospect's Robert Moskwa.  I wish it were a more exciting game than it was.  Robert achieved a solid position with the Black pieces out of the opening but over optimistically snatched what only looked like a free pawn on his 17th move.  He quickly found himself down a pawn in a cramped position which is the last thing you want against a player of Matt's abilities.  Matt kept tight control of the position and ground out the win.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Chess Drives You Nuts

This is the position after Echo Genc's 17.exf7+ against Schaumburg's Charles Jaris. Jaris played 17...Rxf7, which is objectively the best move. However, if Black had played the weaker 17...Kh8, what would have been White's winning move?