Friday, April 15, 2016

Lesson in initiative

There are all kinds of lessons to be learned from my failures at CT. The following position was not exactly an error, but it took me 3:55 m to get to the right answer, and actually I guessed it right. It revealed a main weakness in my approach to this kind of positions.

Black to move and win
r5k1/ppp2ppp/3q4/1BQn4/3n1r2/PN5P/1P3PP1/2RR2K1 b - - 1 1

My mind is easily confused by this kind of positions:
  • A lot of pieces of both colours, close together
  • A lot of mutual threats
  • The attack and the counter attack are close together
  • Pieces of different value are exchanged
When the pieces are further apart, it is easier to see their aura.
With mutual threats, I have trouble with the administration. Especially shifting the focus from the attack to the counter attack is a gruesome experience for my mind, in general.

Usually with a counter attack, the one who starts with capturing a piece gains wood, as long as he doesn't run out of pieces to capture. But here the captures are combined with duplo attacks, and I easy loose track of the captures and the threats.

After fast checking a few moves, the move 1. ... Nxb3 jumps into the eye. This move does two things:
  • It captures a piece
  • It performs a duplo attack

White needs 3 tempi now to equalize. 2 tempi to save the 2 pieces from the knight fork, and 1 tempo to recapture a piece.

2.Qxd6 usually this is the way to save the two pieces from a duplo attack. Since black has to take back the queen first, the rook on c1 gets the tempo it needs to escape. But since white needs another tempo to recapture the piece he is behind, white still needs 2 tempi.

2.Qxd5 isn't better. 1. ... Nxb3 cleared the line of attack of rook d1 to Nd5, which becomes outnumbered. But recapturing the knight on d5 isn't enough, since it gives the initiative back to black, who can continue to execute the duplo attack.
2. ... Qxd5 taking advantage from the fact that the rook on d1 is overworked.
3.Rxd5 Nxc1 and black remains a piece up.

There are a lot of positions of this kind that happen to confuse me.Analysis of the chain of tempi and who has the initiative has made this position dead simple to me. Now I must make this analysis of tempi a habit, until it becomes easy.


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