Friday, May 30, 2014

Taking Advantage of Blunders

When your opponent blunders and loses material, he often has compensation in the form of a gain of time or better piece placement. Consequently, it is important to be very accurate when attempting to reel in the point after gaining material. In the following game, my opponent blundered in the opening. After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Nxe5 Qe7 6. Nc4?? c6 7. Ba4 b5 8. d3 we reached the following position with black to move. How should black capture?

8...bxa4 or 8...bxc4, which is best?

I chose 8...bxa4 on the general grounds that the bishop seemed dangerous on the same diagonal as the king. This is wrong. Concrete analysis is needed. From that it is clear that the knight on c4 is a much more dangerous piece as it threatens to land on the weak d6 square. Further, after bxc4 it will take some work to get the bishop on a4 back in the game.

I won in the end, but a better opponent could have equalized as the following analysis shows: hypernova2-sputnick, 45 45 game on the ICC.

Lessons to learn:
  1. 1. Don't make decisions on general grounds alone; rely on concrete analysis instead.
  2. 2. Consolidating and winning after gaining material is not always easy; it requires work.

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