Topic 22 (Advanced) – Game Analysis 1

 

Before I get into the analysis, I first have to finish up Topic 21 by giving you the solution to the strategy puzzle.

 

Black to Win

 

This is pretty easy.  Black is up a rook, so he can afford to make a counter-sacrifice!

 

 

This should give black the win.  Alternatively, he can go for white’s passed pawns:

 

 

The extra rook should enable black to emerge from this sacrifice in fine shape, with proper play.

 

 

Now, on to Topic 22!

 

In this and likely multiple ensuing topics I’ll be analyzing some games that I played recently in the Kung Fu Chess Masters Cup. I’ve actually lost 11 games in Cup play so far (through Round 3), so I may even analyze a game or two that I lost.  So, I present to you my analysis of:

 

Kung Fu Chess Masters Cup Round 1 11-12-2006

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1

 

I suggest you download the Round 1 Games and the Round 3 Games which you can watch using Epikur's Movie Player.  This will let you watch the game in real time in addition to reading the diagrams in this Topic.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  11 seconds

I got my pawn to f4 before Hawked’s pawn reached e5, allowing me to win the e5 pawn.

 

 

A key weakness of Hawked is that he always plays the same opening.  Since I was quicker than Hawked in attacking the center with my first pawn, I could exploit his opening by playing a stonewall.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   14 seconds

 

Since I made the first capture, as long as I keep trading on e5 I will win a piece.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   21 seconds

 

We’re still trading on e5.  I play the pawn to e4 because I need to clear the column so my rooks can attack e5.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   28 seconds

 

Hawked wisely decided to stop trading on e5, conceding the pawn. That brings us to the end of the opening, and into the exciting middlegame!

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   33 seconds

 

Thanks to my opening, I have an extra, passed pawn on e5.  As long as I don’t screw up, this advantage is easily enough to win the game.

 

For now, Hawked is still on the attack.   He is unfortunately threatening my a3 pawn, which forces me to play my rook to a1.  He also plays his rook to f4, where it controls a large swath of the board.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   44 seconds

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  56 seconds

 

I maintain my pawn advantage, but Hawked has solid positioning.  His rook on f4 is very dangerous, as are both of his knights.  However, his attack has stalled and Hawked missed an attacking opportunity on the queenside:

 

Missed attack:

This pawn move would have allowed Hawked to threaten a devastating combination attack (shown).

 

Devilant could not capture the pawn with his b pawn, because this would leave him with isolated pawns (see Topic 9 for more on isolated pawns).

 

 

At this point I could defend the attack by playing my bishop to c5, but this move would have kept me on the defensive.  Instead, after some thought, I unleashed an attack of my own.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   64 seconds

Devilant unleashes a devastating attack.  What action!

 

 

You may notice that both my attack and the one Hawked missed involve playing the a-pawn forward.  I covered using outer pawns in attacks in Topic 20.  This is yet another example of how to use your pawns.

 

I am now threatening two combination attacks.

 

Attack 1

The knight move is a necessary block to stop Hawked’s queen from countering the combination.  For more on blocking, see Topic 19.

 

 

Attack 2

This combo is currently defended by Hawked’s knight, but I was ready to execute it if the knight moved.

 

 

Also note how useful my knight is.  It is allowing me to threaten attacks on both sides of the board simultaneously. 

 

Now, Hawked obviously must move his knight away from c4.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   73 seconds

 

 

 
I’m now threatening to take the knight with my bishop and defend with my pawn, so Hawked is forced to capture my a pawn, leaving himself with isolated pawns.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   78 seconds

 

After capturing both the knight and pawn, I have achieved a dominating position.  However, I made a pivotal mistake that could have cost me, if Hawked had seen it.  I left my e5 pawn undefended.

 

Missed attack

With this attack, Hawked not only recovers the pawn, he also wins my knight.  Close call for me!

 

 

I left this combination open for Hawked to take advantage for only 2 seconds, and fortunately for me, Hawked missed his opportunity.

 

In fact, not only did he miss it, Hawked even made a killer mistake!

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  80 seconds

I correct my mistake by playing my queen to d4.  Hawked missed the 2 second window in which he could have won my knight and pawn.

 

 

Hawked makes the mistake of capturing my bishop with his knight instead of with his queen.  This is a terrible mistake for two reasons.

 

First, he cannot move his knight back to d5 because I can play my pawn to c4 and catch it.  His knight is now trapped in the corner of the board, away from the action.

 

Hypothetical Move

Hawked abandons his knight’s strong position.  It cannot safely return to its prior post.

 

 

But the second and most important reason this is a mistake, is because I now have the opportunity to execute my combination attack on Hawked’s rook!

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   103 seconds

 

I win a pawn and trade my knight for Hawked’s rook.  This is in addition to the pawn I won in the opening, so I have two extra pawns, a rook for a knight, and Hawked has isolated pawns.

 

My advantage is so big that there is very little I can now do that would lose the game.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  115 seconds

 

Hawked plays his rook to g6 to defend his pawn, so I opt to play my h pawn forward, rather than capture.  This gives me a second passed pawn.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   130 seconds

 

The game winds down.  My goal now is simply to trade off my major pieces and use my pawn advantage to win, if I can’t straight up checkmate Hawked right away.  At this point, Hawked’s king is trapped on the e column—my rook and queen control the d and f columns.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  142 seconds

 

As I move my rook to f5, Hawked seizes the opportunity to move his King out of danger.  A quick checkmate is no longer an option.

 

At this point I actually miss the free pawn on g5.  Instead, I opt for a trickier idea of moving my rook to d6.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  162 seconds

 

Once on d6, my rook will block Hawked’s queen and rook from protecting the c pawn.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  168 seconds

 

I have all my pieces defended, but Hawked tries the desperation combination anyway before finally resigning.

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1  174 seconds

 

Devilant v. Hawked Game 1   177 seconds

Hawked resigns, as I can play queen takes queen and defend the queen with my pawn before his rook recaptures.

 

Despite the auspicious opening game, I would go on to lose the overall match against Hawked 5-4. Oops.

 

I haven’t come up with any puzzles worth giving, so this Topic will be the first since Topic 14 not to feature a Strategy Puzzle.

 

Topic 23 (coming soon!) will likely continue this series of Masters Cup game analysis.