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Time out: remember to have fun!

Posted by pablito15 on March 16, 2010

Chess is a game of ups and downs, we will all have moments of great pride and also a feeling of disappointment unique to chess. There’s nothing quite like that odd mixture of exhaustion and desperation that comes after putting everything into two hours of calculation, then blundering. That is why it’s important to savour the good moments, to remember to have fun, and also remember that after a bad result hopefully a good one is just around the corner.

The reason I bring it up is that, every so often we have a game that reinvigorates us, and I’ve been lucky enough to play two such games recently. They are both correspondence games, one against Andreas & one against Mr. Carl Gorka (surely an FM in waiting) whose blog you can see listed on the right there. Both games stray from the theory a little, which is probably why they’re fun!

Game #1: Paul V Andreas
Evans Gambit
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Be7 6. d4 Na5 7. Be2 exd4 8. Qxd4 Nf6 9. e5 Nc6 10. Qh4 Nd5 11. Qg3 g6 12. 0-0 Nb6 13. c4 d6: and we have arrived at your standard Evans gambit position with white to play:

14. Bh6?!

I tried something a little different, though in keeping with the themes of the opening: 14. Bh6?!
preventing castling. (Rd1 is normal) Andreas refuted it well; Be6! I followed up with: 15. c5? :

15. c5?   (Making too many assumptions about dxc5)
Another poor move, but one nice thing about the Evans is that white has the luxury of making some
average moves and staying in the game, black does not!

… dxc5 16. Bb5!? (realising that Rd1 was not as strong as I thought) Qd7?!:

16. Qd7?! or “How to commit Evans Gambit Suicide, Step 1” by Andreas! 😉

When I first saw this move I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt (it does set up QS castling after all). The continuation makes it clear why this move, though not weak in itself, makes things tricky for black.

17.  Nc3 Bc4?

17. Bc4?
Looks logical, black is two pawns up and looks to liquify any danger in the position. It is however
the third time the bishop has moved before castling and the “chess logic” so prized by the
old masters who played the evans brings black down in a blaze!
White to play & “win” (“win” at GM level- he’ll end up at least a couple of pawns up with
a great position against perfect defense) in all variations:

18. e6!! A “clearance sac” for the ages, made possible by the position of black’s queen.

(The correct continuation for black was 0-0-0, when the game is won. If black castles in the Evans, it’s all over!)

…Bxe6 19. Ne5!  Qd6??

19. Qd6?? Again bringing the poor queen into a narrow valley about to be hit with artillery!!

What a position!! e5-e6 catches a few unfamiliar players by surprise, the only problem is you either need to be Morphy, or be on “correspondence time control” to get the winning sequences right!

20. Rd1!

(logically better than Ne4, as if black puts a piece between the Queen & Rook [which he must], white can bring the knight to e4 anyway, when he will have to two pieces into the middle with tempo) The game hasn’t finished yet, but being too excited about it (and also being pretty sure it is essentially finished) I’m posting this anyway! :->

The game finished; 20… Nd5 21. Ne4 Qd1

22. Nxc3     1-0

Andreas is right not to continue after bxc3, Bxc3+ when the beauty of the h6 bishop & cramped King position comes into play: black can play either Bd7 which is followed by Rxd5, or give up the Queen.

Other games with the Evans gambit:

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1018648 Kasparov – Anand, 1-0 (1995)

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1043992 Fischer – Fine, 1-0 (1963)

Black fails to castle in both 😉

To sum up, particularly between 15 & 1800 chess is tough on the ego, you’ve reached a stage when you know a great deal about the principles of time, space, pawn structure, are capable of some brilliant sequences, but can still lose to anyone. The road to improvement is surely to assume your mistakes, not blame tiredness noise your pet iguana hungry at home ruining your concentration, learn from them, and work hard for the next one!

16. Qd7?! or “How to commit Evans Gambit Suicide, Step 1” by Andreas! 😉

When I first saw this move I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt,the continuation

makes it clear why this move, though not weak in itself, makes things tricky for black.

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