Friday, 17 October 2008

A move I wish I'd played

At the ANU Chess Club I normally take on the roll of the "houseman". That means that is there is an odd number of players in a tournament I'll play to avoid someone getting the bye. This often leaves me playing the last person through the door, as the club has a rule that you have to be present at 7:45 pm to be included in the draw.
This meant I played Yijun Zhang, who came running up the three flights of stairs to the club rooms 10 minutes after the start of the round. I had white and decided to start with the multi-purpose 1.Nc3 This is a particularly useful choice against junior players as (a) it confuses them and (b) it often transposes into openings they didn't intend to play.

Press,S - Zhang,Y [C29]
ANU Spring Swiss, 15.10.2008

1.Nc3 Nf6 2.e4 e5 After the game I asked Yijun whether he normally played 1 ... e5 in response to 1.e4. "No" he replied, "I play the Sicilian". 3.f4 exf4 And in an unfamiliar position he chooses a poor move. 4.e5 Qe7 5.Qe2 Ng8 6.Nf3 The trap here is that the plausible 6. ... d6? runs into 7.Nd5 Qd7 8.Nxc7! when 8. ... Qxc7 loses the queen to 9.exd6+ 6. ... c6 7.d4 d5 8.Bxf4 h6 9.0-0-0 Bf5 10.Re1 g5 11.Bg3 Bg7 12.Qf2 Nd7 13.Nd2 Bg6 14.Nb3 b6 15.Be2 0-0-0?? And here is the fatal mistake. Now I win a piece 16.Ba6+ Not 16.e6 first as 16. ... Nb8 saves the piece 16. ... Kb8(D)
17.e6+ Ne5 18.exf7 Qxf7 19.Qxf7 Bxf7 20.Bxe5+ Bxe5 21.Rxe5 Now I'm a piece up, and I checkmated my opponent on move 42.

When I get home I put the game into my database, with Fritz running in the background. When it gets to move 17 it turns out that e6+ wasn't it's first choice of move. Instead it suggested I move my queen to the most defended square in Black's position. That's right, 17.Qf6!!. Turns out that despite the fact that my queen could then be captured by a bishop, 2 knights or even the Black queen, the reply exf6+ still wins a piece.
But as I'm not Alekhine it means that (a) I'd never have found it in a million years and (b) I'm not going to pretend that I really did play it. Instead I'll just marvel at the audacity of it, and hope to find such a move in the future.


Brian Jones said...

I was always told that when you decide on a move, always look for an even better one!

Maybe you would have found Qf6!!

Anonymous said...

Or may be something like
20. ed Be6 21. Nd4 Bd7 22.e6+ (again!) ;-).

The Social Reformer said...

see the whole board

Phil Bourke said...

Come on Shaun, more effort, immortality beckons. In this day and age though it would just lead to never ending pat downs as everyone looked for the computer you must have used to find that move :)