Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Names omitted to protect the guilty

Checkmate is a little death: "shah mat," the king is dead.  (Pedantic footnote: Wikipedia says I'm wrong.  But please don't let facts spoil the following shtick.)

And when we think our own king is about to die, we may experience a series of emotions analogous to Kübler-Ross's five stages of grief. I deny that I'm getting mated (skepticism is healthy!), I'm angry that I'm getting mated (this gets the adrenalin flowing!), I'm desperately trying to avoid getting mated (seeking any possible escape), I'm depressed about getting mated (but hey, it's only a game), and then I finally accept reality and congratulate my opponent for her good play.

And whenever we have to deal with a surprising move, we may go through a miniature version of this drama: "I'm not losing this pawn, I'm angry at myself for blundering this pawn, I'll find a way to avoid losing this pawn, I'm depressed that I have to lose this pawn, ...hmm, maybe I can lose the pawn and stll draw this position."

In any case, these are typical emotions I try to manage during play: perhaps your experience is different! ;-)

With this in mind, let's look at a game from last weekend's Evanston event:

Black to play

Black played the inventive 1...Rd3.  White ate the free rook with 2.Bxd3, which Black answered with 2...Ng4, reaching this position.

 White to play

White to play sees that there's no way to prevent both 3....Nxe3 and 3...Qxh2 mate, and therefore resigned.  Your thoughts?

In chess, unlike life, the bargaining stage may be more productive than the acceptance stage.


Chris Falter said...

looks like 3. Nf5! discovers protection of h2 while attacking the black queen. Then 3...Bxf5 4. Qh3! and white is up the exchange.

Bill Brock said...

Definitely a big improvement on resigning!

But taking your line a bit further, 4...Qxh3 5.gxh3 Bxd3 6.Rfd1?! (not the best move, but the most natural try to keep the extra Exchange) 6...Bxb2! makes my head hurt, and Houdini likes Black.

6.hxg4 is a better move, but then Black gets the Exchange back and is not worse.

There is a line that is better and easier for White.

Bill Brock said...

Going back to the first diagram, NM George Umezinwa points out the funny 1...Rd3 2.Bg5!

Bill Brock said...

And from the second diagram, 3.Nf5! Bxf5 4.Qe2 (or 4.Qf3) is very nice for White.

Anonymous said...

As the white player in that game, I feel obliged to note that Bg5 was exactly the move I had been contemplating before my opponent played 1...Rd3.