Friday, February 15, 2008

Too greedy for material

The thoughtful comments on this position (thanks Christian, Phaedrus and Sciurus) tell me that I should reconsider it. I think this is also worthwhile because Shredder rates it as +2 pawn units with a couple of candidate moves, even without an immediate material win. Only after a depth of 14 half-moves he spots a tactic.

My impression over the board has been in the range of one pawn unit of positional advantage, and I spotted a plan to materialize it.


White to move.

The game went as follows: 1. Bf5 Bxf5 2. Qxf5 g6 3. Qd7 Na5 4. Qxc7 and I win a pawn according to my plan. But it has a hole because Black can play Nb3 with counterattack, reducing my advantage to a meek 0.8 pawn units. My opponent played passively 4.-Nc4 covering the pawn, and after 5. exd6 Nxd6 I win another pawn because of the overworked Queen f8.

Now I try to figure out how Shredder may come to its 2 pawn units of positional advantage. My bishop pair accounts for 0.5 pawn units. My center pawn outpost may be worth another 0.5 units. The poor Nh5 gives me at least another 0.5 units, the worse Nc6 and Qf8 may be 0.25 each, so we get a total of 2 pawn units.

A good plan would have been the minority attack a4, as pointed out by Sciurus. Opening the game would have accentuated the superiority of my bishop pair. Actually, I control the center and I have more material power on queenside, thus I should attack there. Very logical.

But I have missed a tactic here. The poor Knight on h5 has no squares and I could fetch it with g4 were not the Bishop on d7. But this Bishop can be overworked with 1. Be4! If now Rad8 to unpin the Knight, 2. g4 gets the piece. Very nice. But Shredder took a while to find it.

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