Dec 23, 2009

Chess Improvement: A Slow Slav and Wit

I'm sharing two positions here from the same game. The game is against a bot on the ICC. The rating of this bot ranges from about 1750 - 1950 in ICC Elo. I try to play at least one or two such games every week, as I just don't have many OTB experiences otherwise. You may ask why a bot, and it's a good question. I find that about 1 in several of my long ICC games gets interrupted by life, and the bots are far more forgiving than a human player when I run out of the room not to return. In any event, the first is a known position that arises out of the Slow Slav. The moves are: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3 Qc7 7.Nc3 e6 8.Bd2 Nc6 9.Bb5 Be7 10.Ne5 O-O 11.Rc1 [diagram] Stop now, and from Black's perspective (mine), take a look at the positions arising after 11...Nxe5. Calculate and evaluate the positions that arise. What do you think?

Did you play 11...Nxe5 12.Nxd5 Qxc1+ 13.Bxc1 Nxd5 14.dxe5 ? Now if you could choose, which side of the game would you take, and is it a close call? Stop now and take a look. Actually, this is very close to winning, if not winning, for Black. I'll circle back around in a few days to add some narrative analysis. If you care to, you can do the same in the meantime, and we can compare notes so to speak, then. And by the way, without silicon assistance, what's Black's next move after 14.dxe5?

The last position is from the end of the same game. I show it for entirely different reasons. It's White to move. Analyze the position.

Okay, so you've probably noted that it's lights out for White. I've managed to outplay the bot to this point, but not by so much as it might appear. As bots are apt to do, rather than resign, he sacs his queen to delay the inevitable. But the point I want to make here, is that at the time the bot made the queen sac, about 30 seconds after my last move, I was still analyzing White making luft by pushing the h pawn. I had not noticed that Rxg2 was mate, which almost assuredly means that I not included it in my analysis of the prior move, or the move before that, etc. I find this oversight perplexing to put it politely. What to do about such oversights? More later.

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