Saturday, June 30, 2012

Is Queen really the strongest?

Today i want to invite you to solve a study, which i saw in the lecture of GM Eugene Perelsteyn at

SOLUTION: Black king is almost mated if white can clear the e pawns. Hence his first move is obvious 1.e6! black must take the pawn 1...Qe6.The queen attacks the bishop and hence white has no time to push his e pawn. 2.Bf5! Its obvious to us now that the e pawn must not be allowed to move and hence black plays 2...Qe5! Its now time for white to tighten the noose around the black king.
We can see that if black were given the move he would happily escape with Kc2. Hence we must shut that opportunity with 3.Kd1! Blacks move is obvious now. the queen cannot move and the king is also boxed in. 3....e6. if black would have moved the a pawn then white would have simply snatched the pawn with Ne7 when black would run out of moves. But now the Bishop is attacked and white decides to defend it with 4.Bg6 (4.Bh7 would have been bad as it allows 4...Qh2 attacking the Bishop) the only way for black to continue now is to keep attacking the bishop and he plays 4...Qg7!

Now its time to include our knight in the game with 5.Ne7. the Knight is taboo and the threat is now to play e5 but black himself plays 5...e5! as the door slams shut on the Bishop its now the turn of the knight to harass the black king with 6.Nc6! the threat now is not only Nb4# but if black were to take the B then Ne5 wins with queen. So is it all over for black?
Good players are the one's who are ready to think from both sides! Here its important to find blacks only saving move with 6...a5! What we witness now is great camaraderie between the white Knight and the Bishop. the Knight sacrifices itself to let the Bishop win the laurels with 7.Ne5! the knight has to be taken 7...Qe5 and now its zugzwang time with 8.Bf5!!

I wouldnt be wrong if i say that many players would stop their calculation when they reach this position thinking its game over! And i can say that because i myself stopped here! But you would be very careless if you didnt check what happens to 8...Qe4! though this move loses, if you didnt see it, it means you are not alert to your opponents possibilities! And now comes the final point of the problem. taking the queen though leaves white with a pawn to the good, the active black king ensures that white will have nothing more than a draw and hence the right move is 9.Kc1!! after which black has only one move to play 9...Qf5 10.gf5 g4 and white king is just in time to stop the g pawn with 11.Kd1 when the f pawn queens!

It was amazing to see how the combination of the Knight and Bishop really outclassed the Queen!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Too close for comfort!

White to play and win

The two knights anf the rook form a mating net around the black king but unfortunately one of whites knight is falling. So white must be tricky! He starts off with 1.Kg5 Re5 (Rh4 2.Rg3 Kh2 Kh4 loses) 2.Kf4 Rh5 3.Rg3! Kh4 (Kh2 4.Nf3 Kh1 5.Rg1#)


Just have a look at this position. It might seem that black is now fine but the fact that his rook is close to the king doesnt let his king escape and now with 5.Rg1! black simply has no way to save to the game!

 White to play and win

Using the knowledge acquired in the last problem we can surely try to solve this one! Its obvious that white must start with 1.Bf6! Kf7 2.fe6 Ke8 and now a cheeky move 3.Ra2! threatening Ra8# 3...Kd8( ef6 4.Kd6 leads to a forced mate.)
It seems as thought black king is excaping but now white makes a wonderful sacrifice 4.Be7!! Ke7 (Kc7 5.Bf8 Rf8 6.e7 and that ending is losing for black) 5.Ra7 Kd8 (Ke8 6.Kd6 is again a similar pattern) Is now white left with any ammo? the little pawn comes to the rescue 6.e7!! Ke8 (Kc8 7.ef8=Q Rf8 8. Ra8+-) 7.ef8= Q Rf8 (Kf8 doesnt change much)

Again the black rook is too close to be good! and hence White king moves in with 8.Ke6 and black must decide whether he wants to resign right now or after a few moves!

A pattern that is worth remembering!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Game 1

GAME 1 World Championship 2012.

Each World Championship match brings with it 2 different types of personality battling out on the board!
In this Match between Anand-Gelfand, though the two have almost identical age, their playing styles highly differ!
Anand The agressive tactician and Gelfand the the cool strategist make this duel mouth watering for chess fans! But Gelfand who has always been so loyal to his openings, shocked the world by playing Grunfeld Defense which he has never played since the last 10 yrs! So lets have a look at Game 1

1.d4 I am of the opinion that Anand has played d4 just so that Boris thinks that he is facing the queens pawn openings in this world Championship and then Anand will revert to 1.e4 from game 3 where he will try to rip apart Boris's Najdorf! Well we need to wait for game 3 to see if i am right!
1...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 Grunfeld it is! It must be a surprise for Anand because Gelfand rarely plays this!


4.Nf3 Bg7 5.cd5 Nd5 6.e4 Nc3 7.bc3 c5!


Of course for Gelfand this move was very natural. It was met with a sneaky check on b5! That might lead us to think that why not first 0-0 and then break with c5!  7...0-0 and believe me when i say there is a huge difference!! after 7...0-0 8.Be2 c5 whats the big deal is what many would ask! we the point is after 9.0-0 cd4 10 cd4 Nc6 11.Be3 logically defending the center. And now of course d4 must be subjected to more pressure and hence 11...Bg4 It might seem that white center is too saturated but....
     Analysis variation (W)

White now plays the brilliant 12 d5! Ba1 (Ne5 13.Ne5 Be2 14.Qe2 Be5 15.Rad1+/- it might seem that the position is equal but on closer inspection we realise that whites central majority is easier to mobilise than blacks queenside majority and hence white holds a significant edge.) 13.Qa1 Na5 14.Bh6 white wins back the exchange and forces the small weakening of the kingisde with f6.
What was all this analysis for? Well it was to prove that 7...c5 was necessary and black cannot 0-0 first and then play c5 trying to avoid Bb5+. Back to the game now

8.Bb5+ Nc6 (8...Nd7 is one option. But i think what black needs to do is to put pressure on d4. and once the N is forced to develop on d7 instead of c6, i think Bb5+ has done its job! Also playable was 8...Bd7 but after the B exchange we see that our light squared B was in no way helping to defend the d4 square but his Light squared B was indirectly attacking our center by putting pressure on N on f3 who was defending the d4 pawn! Well so much for the strategy with the little check! Gelfand chose the Principled 8...Nc6

9.d5 this is rarely played. the much more common move is 9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3 cd4 11.cd4 Bg4 and now white can make use of his move Bb5 to play 12.Bc6 bc6 13.Rc1
     Analysis variation (B) 

This position could have been reach and after this 13...Qa5 14 Qd2 Qd2 15.Nd2 we reach such a wonderful imbalanced ending. black has a weak pawn on c6 but to compensate for it he has two Bs and pressure on d4. Such endings if studied in depth can really help one to improve his game!

9...Qa5!? ( 9...a6 was an option but after 10.Be2 Bc3 11.Bd2 Ba1 12.Qa1 Nd4 13.Nd4 cd4 14.Qd4 f6 15.h4! was seen in Gustafsson-Lagrave when white has a dangerous initiative.)
10.Rb1 defending the Bishop and putting the rook on a better file cannot be bad. its downside though is that the a2 pawn is undefended.
10...a6 (snatching a pawn with Bc3 was an option 11.Bd2 Bd2 12.Qd2 Qd2 13.Kd2 a6 14.Bc6 bc6 15.dc6 and we reach a similar ending as in the anand game but black has no 2 Bishops and hence white can try for an advantage here.)
11.Bc6 bc6 12 0-0! Anand gives first priority to king safety and i think it is a very logical move. the ball is now in Gelfands court and i am sure you need nerves of steel to make the next move that he made!


12...Qa2! such pawn snatching in such a huge game and that too with your king in the center! Phew! Gelfand i think must have seen it at home or he was in extremely good form because the next few moves that he made virtually took the game to a position from where only he could press! Gelfand's philosophy: i have taken a pawn, anand will attack me tooth and nail but with grim defense i will hold my fort and in the worst case anand will win a pawn which means that the material will be equal as i have already snatched the a2 pawn! this is exactly what happened in the game.

13.Rb2 Qa5 14. d6!


What a move by Anand! he has prevented Gelfand from castling and at the same time ed6 will be met by Qd6 with a very dangerous attack for white. It might seem that black is dead but on closer inspection, one will see that if black could control the d7 square one more time then he can safely 0-0. and hence we find Boris's next amazing defensive move
14...Ra7! beautiful defense ( Qd8 also defended the d7 square but after 15.Bf4 black cannot 0-0 as it is met by de7 Qe7 and Bd6 winning an exchange.)
15. Bg5 (15.Bf4 was another option because we are controlling the all important c7 square. but then cant black just 15...0-0 and yes i think black should be alright after that. With Bg5 Anand is forcing black to take on d6.Also after 15.Bf4 pinning the d pawn with 15...Rd7 gives black a adequate game.
15...ed6 16.Qd6


Gelfand now produces two accurate moves which leaves anand struggling! 16...Rd7! aking the queen to go away so that black can 0-0 17. Qc6 so finally Anand's efforts have been rewarded with a pawn! but wait a second arent the number of pawns just equal? dont you forget that black had risked everything to snatch a pawn on a2 and this is the reward for his courage! though white has recovered his pawn, he still faces the unpleasant task for facing the two strong Bishops.
17....Qc7 18.Qc7 Rc7 this position is a tribute to the modern day sharp battles. Scintillating attacks are often countered with brave defense and the result is that the excitement peters out and what is left is a chessboard with only bruises and fights of the past few moves!


To say that this position is equal would of course be a mistake. black holds the advantage due to his two strong Bishops. But lets just say that Anand was alert enough not to let blacks advantage turn monsterous, he kept his cool and achieved a draw. Here are the last few moves.
19.Bf4 Rb7 20 Rc2 0-0 21 Bd6 Re8 22.Nd2 f5 23 f3 fe4 24.Ne4 Bf5 And a draw was agreed.

Game 1 was exciting! Both the players were surprised. First Anand must have been surprised by Gelfand's choice of Grunfeld and then Anand stunned Gelfand by the surprising 9.d5. But i overall think that Gelfand played better in this game and with him being white in Game 2 the Madras Tiger might just be feeling a tad uneasy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pillsbury's Brilliance



Its an Endgame but believe me when i say that its white to play and win!! Dig as deep as you can!

Click on the video and watch the solution to the problem.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012