Thursday, 30 August 2018

Is this +3

White to move
I was doing some chess study with a friend this morning and he showed me a position from one of his games (A Morra Gambit). He was interested in my assessment, as he felt he was better during the game, but couldn't find the right followup and went on to lose.
We applied some rudimentary positional assessment to the position (king safety, material, pawn structure, space, central control, open lines etc) and came to the conclusion that White was better (despite being a pawn down).
But it is one thing to assess the position, but another to then use that assessment to come up with a plan. In the actual game 15.Bb5+ was played, which isn't a bad move. Black played 15 ... Kf8 (15 ... axb5 16.Nxb5 is crushing) and White is still better. There were two other moves we also looked at, which I categorised as the 'Tal/Nezhmetdinov' move, and the 'Fischer/Capablanca' move. The tactical try was 15.Nb5 with the idea of playing Rc7 after 15 ... axb5 16.Bxb5+ Kf8. The positional try was 15.Ne4, exchanging off a defender, and opening the position further.
And according to the chess engines, it is 15.Ne4 which is the strongest move in the position. The assessment is +3 (and a bit) for White, which indicates that a tactical win isn't that far off. Nonetheless I was still surprised by this. I guess it shows that even if you can recognise the strength of a position, you still still need to find the winning moves.

1 comment:

Nigel Cooper said...

In the Carlsen-Nakamura game, was 65...g5 the key mistake Nakamura made to enable Carlsen to win the game? Had he played g6 instead and just sat and waited, he might have drawn?