Bolton Easter Chess Congress 2016 – Nxe4 :)

I took part in my second chess congress today and scored 3½ points from 5 games.

Friday win, loss,
Saturday win,
Sunday draw, win

That’s how it went.

The Saturday win was against a child. I thought I had checkmate in about 2 moves, but he kept sacrificing material to stay alive and wriggled around for about 7 moves. I think he will make a good player, as he saw all the threats, …, he just needed to see them sooner, and that will come with experience.

But the game I enjoyed the most was Sunday’s. My opponent was a little higher rated than I am, so that made it a tough game. He had the advantage in the middle game, according to some computer analysis, so its also pleasing to fight back, and without any great blunder, claw things back little by little.

The game went to a rather unusual endgame, king and two knights plus lots of pawns each. My king seemed to defend the root of my pawn chains in a V shape where his king could not be on both edges of the board (top of the V) to defend the roots of his chains, and that advantage gave me a win.

The position above occurred in the game. I had played Nc5 and regretted it, when he had replied Nc8. He threatens to take my d pawn with check. If I push it, he can fork me and capture it. If I push my b pawn which is the next closest to queening, I am not much better off with an identical situation in mirror image.

I calculated Nxe4, which I think surprised Eric from our club, who was watching.

My idea was, that it
it protects against an immediate Nxd6 by black,
it allows white to play Kc5, preventing the black knight checks and 7th rank protection.
it neutralizes blacks king side pawn majority,
it leaves black with a blocked f pawn and no semi-passed pawns.

I calculated black then needs 4 king moves to clear a path for queening and another 3 pawn pushes to advance his pawn to the eighth rank. 7 moves in total. White needs Kc5 and 3 pawn pushes to queen his b pawn, a total of 4 or five if you count the capture Nxe4.

A grand master once said not to look for the best move, but to look for an executable plan.
It might not be best play, nor the computer move. But Nxe4 reduced the complexity of calculation to something my brain could handle and gave me a way to actually win my won position.

Paranoia Nightmare scenario

newdiagram

My nightmare scenario that I was trying to avoid was that my knight would be distracted on Black’s side of the board, and that he could then exploit his king side majority. Trying to turn that into an illustation was not easy, as there are many variations, and the worry is that he will execute a variation that you didn’t see. In practice there would have been unforseen checks (which I have to show to keep the diagram legal chess), so it was not perhaps as dangerous as I imaginined. Some of the moves above are rubbish, but they give you an idea of my worries!

Oh, Francis Moan played in the Bolton Chess Congress. I didn’t get to speak to him as he was playing at the time. Nice to see you are well Francis.

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