Monday, July 03, 2006

The Way is the Goal

Again, not the solution is important here, but the way it can be found.



White to move. No check. No capture. Looking for threats. All black pieces except the Queen look safe, so the Queen a5 is the only significant target. The only piece that can attack her is the dark-colored Bishop. But how? Bd2 is too slow. A possible initial candidate move, but not a threat and therefore to be studied later, if ever.

Bb6 would be the only forcing threat, but is not possible (yet). Assume that it has been enabled by «Superman». Then the black Queen has only two escapes: Qb4 and Qh5. Is there any move that protects b6 and prevents the queen escape? Yes, Nd5 is «Superman», so the top initial candidate has been found, threatening to win the Queen. Black is forced to capture the Knight. (The Queen has as new escape, a4, but now the Knight has a fork on c7, winning the Rook.)

Principal Variation: 11.Nd5 exd5 12.exd5 (threatens to win the Queen by discovered check) Nce7 13.d6

Black to move. No check. No capture. No threat. From White's point of view, the position is quiet and ready to be analyzed positionally.

Initial assessment: this PV is at least winning back the Knight. If the Pawn is lost on e7, the material balance has not changed since 3.c3, but the compensation has improved markedly: Open e-file with Queen x-ray to black King. Big lead in development and in space. If White manages to hold the wedge on e7, he has a winning position. Therefore, 11.Nd5 is safe and makes a final candidate move.

Can a quiet move like 11.Bd2 compare with this? Surely not.

Decision: 11.Nd5 is to be played. Sanity Check positive: No other piece is attacked (Nd5 has passed safety check before). White plays 11.Nd5!

The Superman Trick: It may help whenever a threat cannot be made with the first move. Sometimes a quiet preparation is required. But even then it is better to look at the forcing moves first, assuming that «Superman» has enabled them. If they still are not sufficient, it is a waste of time to search for «Superman».

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