Almost a great win

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What should I have done on move 17?

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Almost a great win

Post by Bernardonff on July 28th 2009, 2:36 pm

Couple of days ago I decided to do a long game on ICC with a better player (my rating is 1538 and his is 1830). It was great. I was up a pawn, but lost in the middle game. I have a lot of ideas about the game (i wrote them on the pgn bellow) but I am not sure why I lost it. Actually, this game keeps going back to my mind with a clear question: If I am up an isolated pawn and with a better position, should I trade everything and try to win with the extra-pawn or should I keep pressuring the poor guy?

Comments and answering the pool bellow will help...


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Re: Almost a great win

Post by BobbyBlunder on July 28th 2009, 4:00 pm

Good chance to test the thinking process and compare efforts. So here goes...

White has a material advantage but his King is marginally less safe than Blacks. Things feel a bit loose right now and in the absence of direct threats can we improve the position of the pieces? What is the worst place piece? Bc1 is not doing much and we might consider Ba3 to strengthen the grip on black squares. Maybe Nb5-d6 might be possible after bishops are exchanged. Bg2 protects the King but otherwise has a limited role.

The danger must be a lack of forces on the queenside in the long run.

I have a fairly active style and it seems that white has an advantage on the K-side. The plan I would suggest is to build up on the k-side and the center in the long run and use the b-pawn to lure black's forces to the q-side.

To Do List
Nd6 to encourage Bd6 use the pawn on d6 as a disruptive influence.
Play f4-f5-f6 to weaken the black squares around the King. If Black plays ...f6 take on e6 which will increase the activity of the Bg2. (Two Bishops)

The attacking units will be f5 as a line opener, Bc1, Ng5, Qd3 and Rf1 will move towards the King in time perhaps looking at g7 or h7 as the focal point depending on circumstances. This should give White a local superiority on the K-side.

As 17 .... Nc6xe6 looks like a threat I would play 17 Nd6 now. Not easy to round-up the pawn or so it appears.
The game might go 17 Nd6 Bxd6 18 ed and Ba3 with possibly d7 and Ne5 in the air. White's pieces look active while the Nb6 and Be8 look poor.

In summary the way I see it is that Black is likely to be outnumbered on the Queenside because of Bg2. So the pawn is used as a decoy to build play in the center or the King-side. Because the advantage of the pawn probably cannot be held in the long-run better to exchange it for the advantage of the two bishops and play on the black squares where White would be better.

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Re: Almost a great win

Post by BobbyBlunder on July 28th 2009, 4:02 pm

in the final paragraph It should read "In summary the way I see it is that White is likely to be outnumbered"

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Re: Almost a great win

Post by BobbyBlunder on July 28th 2009, 4:13 pm

The problem with 17 Nd6 is possibly 17 ... Nc8. The Nb6 does not look like a great piece and I would be loathe to exchange it off.

How about 17 Nbd4 as you played with a view to Be3 to secure the d4 square and then prepare f5. Play Rb1 to hold the 'b' pawn as a decoy and look to attack the King but with a slower build up than the Nd6 line.

What I don't like about your follow up is that you ended with inactive minor pieces (Nf3 and Bg2) and the exchanges eased the cramping effect of your space advantage.

In general I would be looking to trade the pawn for a different type of advantage because it is hard to prevent Black building up on the queenside.

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Re: Almost a great win

Post by HangingKing on July 28th 2009, 6:27 pm

I think you have to continue to defend since in my opinion black has all his pieces activated, while your g2 bishop is quite useless for the moment (after 16.)
And it is difficult to move it since it has to protect the king anyway.

Thus your pawn up is, is balanced by a bad bishop, IF we consider that the battle takes place on queenside.

I obtain myself this kind of position but not using the same opening, with symetric english (with the botvinnik/petrosian system).

Generally the salvation (for me), comes from f pawn advance on the king side, which indirectly allows the passed rook to invade and support a promotion of one of the pawns on c,d,e.

For the other idea, i join with BobbyBlunder, about Nd6 move.
And i would go further, why not think about exchanging 2 knights to bring e5-f4 pawns diagonally to d6-e5 ?
You can exchange on Nd6 and Ne5 since the square is now free.

Later in the game i would consider 20.Nb5 and eventually goes to Nd6 but without the dark square bishop it's not the same joke !

Also there is the possibility of earlier Rf1 -> Rf2 -> Rc2 pinning on the queen.

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Re: Almost a great win

Post by Bernardonff on July 30th 2009, 2:02 pm

Thanks for all the comments. Awesome to see that I must study more the importance of piece activity. Fo example, I never noticed that the Bg2 was so bad, because usually he is in an open diagonal, but in this game he is really only a tall pawn. Because of Nc8, I would also go with Nbd4.

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Re: Almost a great win

Post by HangingKing on September 29th 2009, 10:42 am



When talking about major blunders after a well conducted game, here it is.
I play 40. d7 instead of Qa8+ and mate next move.

I was able to concentrate all the game, was very proud of my fork against the blacks bishop & rook (move 27.), and my passed centered pawn, but eventually i blow up every effort in a stupid move.

I do this far much often, and i am unable to predict the moment i will fail and correct this behavior...

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