Monday, February 06, 2012

How to Cook a Pawn

Okay, who knows the position?
White to move, answer below

At the recent Portsmouth Open, I lost a game to Kira Storm, a game in which I fell to a very pleasing combination (about which I wrote in my event report, which should appear in the next Chess Horizons magazine).  Our postmortem suggested that I might have scraped a draw even after that combo, but my fall was of Chevy Chase caliber.

I have a longstanding aversion to doing computer analysis of games -- maybe because it seems too dry and tedious.  I also have a longtime little-moving rating -- I wonder if there's any connection?  Anyway, somewhat out of my normal routine, I recently did some such analysis of certain junctures in the Storm game.  I was impressed to discover a tactical idea lurking in an unplayed variation, a type of tactic which I have traditionally (and often over-optimistically) trusted my chess powers to reveal.

However, I was even more excited to feel a bit of a connection to the above position after the computer revealed something we had both missed:

Kira Storm -  Ken Ho
15 January 2012
After 16 Nf3-e5:

My plan was to exchange pieces and increase the pressure on White's d-pawn.

16...Nf4 17 Qe3 Bxe4 18 Qxe4??


What can I say, one good massive oversight deserves another.  Kira would have preferred 18 Qxf4 had he seen what was possible, and I of course would have preferred to have played 18...Qxd4! (winning White's d-pawn) instead of the text, since 19 Qxd4 is answered by 19...Ne2+ and 20...Nxd4.  I'll probably never get another chance to play such a move ever again (sniff)....

The position at the top of this blog entry is Alekhine-Euwe, World Championship 1937 (16).  Neither player noticed 27 Qh8+!  (Euwe had just played 26...Bd7-c6) Kxh8 28 Nxf7+ and 29 Nxe5; the game was eventually drawn after 27 a3??.

Seeing how the computer program chess analysis was able to wake me up to some tactics that I totally overlooked brought home the point that it can seriously help reinforce the book-learning to which I've been contentedly clinging for years.  From here forward I will be rather more interested in taking the Silicon Beast for a postmortem stroll.  Time will tell whether my rating moves upward in tandem. to cook a pawn?

Under low pressure.  When it's ready, stick a fork in it.

1 comment:

RickM said...

The big thing I learned from running my games through a computer engine (which I no longer have) is that win, lose or draw, the game is never over as quickly as I think it is. The individual tactics that an engine points out are important to learn, but that overarching lesson is the most important thing, I think.

Rick Massimo