Friday, June 23, 2017

White to Move (Not a problem - a combination)

Position after 15...Qf5

This is from a recent CCCR game in which I had White. Within the first ten moves I had already dropped a pawn so already I'm in some trouble. From this position I played 16. Qc6 with no idea other than crudely attacking Black's sole weakness, the c7 pawn. Black responded with 16...Qd7, covering his c-pawn and offering an exchange of the queens. Why not if he's a pawn up?

Position after 16...Qd7

From this position I found a combination that would win back a pawn for me and perhaps more. I don't think this is so deep an 1800 or 1900 player wouldn't find it, but it was deep enough for me and probably one of the best combinations I've found - at the very least it saved my game.

White continues 17. Qxd7 Nxd7 18. Nd5! and Black's c7 pawn is threatened yet again. Of course 18...c6 is out of the question because of the rook fork. And 18...Rac8 is no good because of 19. Bxc5! exposing a double attack on the bishop at e7. Black's best move (which my opponent played) is 18...Bd8.

Position after 18...Bd8

I played the bishop sacrifice 19. Bxc5! Rxe1+ 20. Rxe1. Black could play 20...Kf8 here covering his e8 square and I guess the position would be roughly equal. Considering the position I started out at move 16 I'd certainly have nothing to complain about, having restored material equality and being left with a slightly better pawn structure. My opponent, however, decided to grab the bishop by 20...dxc5?! Unfortunately that will leave him a pawn down with a worse position.

Position after 20...dxc5

21. Re8+! and now Black's next two moves are forced. 21...Nf8 22. Ne7+ Bxe7 23. Rxa8 f6 24. Rxa7.

I'm not sure if this position is winning for White but with the material advantage and the a-pawn set to run down the board it looks pretty good. After several more moves my opponent dropped a piece which sealed the deal.

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