Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A stupid loss of tempo

Yesterday I played as White against my old friend Martin. I came better out of the opening but my positional advantage was only minimal when we came to this position after the eleventh move of Black.


White to move.

My small advantage is a faster connection of the Rooks and better prospects of taking the e file, hoping to invade the seventh rank. Going for this plan, I should have played 12. Re1 or 12. Bxg5. I rejected the latter because I did not want to give his Queen a tempo.

I played 12. Be3 with the vague idea of taking back with the pawn, opening a battery on f7. But after he took the Bishop I came to the conclusion that this attack can easily be parried, leaving me with a wrecked pawn structure. So I took with the Queen, he attacked the Queen and I lost one more tempo. The advantage has gone, and after another twelve moves the game was drawn.

Somehow I was not able to keep books of the tempi. His Bishop g5 has used 2 tempi so far, mine at c1 has used none. Whether I wait for the Bishop being taken or take myself on g5 does not matter, I always gain tempo. The only thing to avoid is giving a tempo by moving the Bishop on e3 or f4. Which I did, unfortunately.

After Bxc1 Rxc1 my Rook has lost a tempo because it will not remain there, but this loss is fully compensated by the tempo loss of the black Bishop.

A second fault in this position was not ruling out the attack battery plan on f7 at once. If this plan is not feasible, then Be3 has no purpose at all.

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At 6:17 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Hey there -- discovered your blog the other day; I also happen to be a Christian from Switzerland.

I completely agree with your assessment. 12. Bxg5 seems reasonable. You exchange an undeveloped piece for a developed one. And thanks to the g6-pawn you end up with a potentially good White-square bishop against an as-of-yet useless bishop on Black's side.

What program do you use to create your diagrams, by the way? Those diagrams are very pleasing to the eye!

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Hi Christian: Shredder, available at

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Phaedrus said...

Hi Mousetrapper,

According to the tempo counting system I use, Re1 is the move to be played.

Your development would be complete as soon as you have connected your rooks, and have at least one them placed on the open file.

After 12 Re1 Bxc1 helps you to connect your rooks. Your a rook would not be misplaced on c1 as it guards your c-pawn. This makes it even more difficult for black to develop his pieces, because he does not have the option of playing Bc8-f5 anynore since this would simply drop the b-pawn.

According to my countingsystem (see my post taking deevelopment into account) you would be three moves op in development after Re1 Bxc1. Black would have to play a queen move, defend his b pawn, play his bishop and play a rook to the e-file to complete his development.

I tihinmk that this system of tempo counting is superior to Nimzovich system.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Well spoken, Phaedrus. Your counting system is excellent. I'll try to use it from now on!


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