Monday, January 10, 2011

Critical moments, or, Why do smart players make foolish choices? (Part II)

(continued from previous post)
In Round 4, Tim Ailes and I reached a typical Benko Gambit position.

Bill Brock-Tim Ailes
Black to play after 21.Ne2

As usual, all Black's pieces are pressing (or, in the case of the Nd7, about to press) the a- and b-pawns.  Black has to decide how to handle the threat of Nxd4.  Doesn't 21...Rb4 look natural?

Bill Brock-Aun Thant Zin
After 27.Qe3

Doubtless encouraged by my toothless opening, Black played 27...Qb4.  How would you respond?  (And how do you think I responded?  There's more than one good move here: I saw a "hard" one and overlooked an "easy" one that my good-natured opponent pointed out to me immediately after the game.)

I'm not trying to embarrass my creative opponents (who, aside from these lapses, played extremely well) or flagellate myself for our collective blunders.  What can we do to blunder less often?

Answers later!


Frederick Rhine said...

The problem with 21...Rb4 is 22.Be1! In the second game, Nxe6! is simple and strong (intending to meet ...fxe6 with Rxd7! Rxd7 Qxe6+). I'm guessing that you played the more complicated N(either)d5 exd5 Nxd5.

Frederick Rhine said...

"What can we do to blunder less often?"

It is said that if you study Understanding Chess Tactics by Martin Weteschnik your tactical skills will become as strong as Hercules' body odor after cleaning the Augean stables.