Thursday, July 06, 2006

Don't Lose Tempo, Gambiteer!

In gambit I have often made quiet developing moves after having given the pawn. Against weak opponents you may still win with such a strategy, but this opponent was +300 Elo!

White to move. No check. No capture. Threats: 9.Qb3 against f7 or 9.e5 to open the e-file or 9.Bg5 to attack the Queen.

Positional assessment: White has given a pawn for attack. The black King is still in the center. Therefore the white plan must be to open the center as fast as possible, making 9.e5 the top initial candidate. Non-forcing moves like 9.Nc3 allow Black to improve his position in turn, so the compensation for the pawn must diminish.

Principal variations:
9.e5 dxe5 10.d5 Na5 11.Nxe5 Nxc4 12.Nxc4 - Black trades material and has the bishop pair bonus, but remains behind in development. The open e-file against the King should give White a full compensation for the pawn.
9.e5 d5 10.Bb5 - Black keeps the e-file closed, but opens the diagonal a3-f8. White has a powerful pawn center. Should be enough compensation for the pawn.

Conclusion: 9.e5 is safe and should be played.


At 7:16 PM, Blogger generalkaia said...

i have a few questions. first of all, there are checks and captures in your position. for example, bxf7+ is a check and a capture, but you don't list it. why is that?

also, you never prove that e5 is better than the other options. you just cite an opening maxim and assume it applies to the position, while other options may be better. just curious why you didn't examine the others.

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Totally agreed: never lose Tempo. But be especially aware of those hidden tempi. If you exchange a knight that has moved 3 times against a bishop which has only moved once, you lose 2 tempi.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Mousetrapper said...

Generalkaia: Important questions. See my next post.

Tempo: Right. But didn't you lose 2 tempi by moving the knight 3 times? Does the trading change anything in this calculation?

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Good point. So it actually raises the question "what is a tempo?"
Say, there is a position. From this position can arise 20 different positions by making a move. Some positions are better, others are worse. If the move leads to the most optimal position than we call that a 0% loss of a tempo. If the new position is equal to the previous position, it is a 100% loss of a tempo. If the move leads to a worse position it is a 100% loss of a tempo AND a bad move.
So the judgement of the position seems to play a crucial role.

Or is there a better way to look at it?

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Mousetrapper said...

Q: What is a Tempo? A: A Dutch chessplayer. Okay, kidding aside. Good idea to link the concepts of tempo and positional value. I never did it before, but it may hit the point. Just be aware that the optimum is not only an optimal own position, but a also bad position of the opponent. That is, if I can force him to lose a tempo I win a tempo. At start of the game, a tempo is worth about 0.4 pawns, as gambit theory tells us (see here). So every opening move should add this value to the position, otherwise it will be a loss.


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