Friday, March 17, 2023

Rats! (2)

 This is the position of the previous post after 1.O-O g5 2.Bg3 h5

White to move

r1bqk2r/ppp2p2/2np1n2/2b1p1pp/2B1P3/3P1NB1/PPP2PPP/RN1Q1RK1 w kq - 0 3 

Now white has only one move to save the day. Stockfish has no trouble to find it. But can your opponent?

The point being that white must find a series of only moves, while the black pieces are much easier to handle. Black has simply more potential threats than white, hence white has more possibilities to go astray. If whites counter attack doesn't follow through, he must defend. But his pieces are not ideally placed for defence. Bishop c4 can attack, but not defend, for instance.

When Stockfish smells a rat, your opponent is already too late. Stockfish isn't the right tool to find potential rats.


  1. Here! the situation is easy for the defender: The Bg3 is in danger, there are only 2 moves possible: h3 and h4. h3 open lines by g5-g4 so there is only h4 to play.

  2. Aox has the right idea for the next move.

    GM Stockfish has h4 as the best move (+0.26; 6+ hours of analysis). What is interesting is that the next “best” Stockfish moves are b4 (-1.11), Nxg5 (-1.60) and h3 (-2.19).

    Remember the old adage that “An attack on the wing is best met with a counterattack in the center”?

    Reading through Nimzowitsch, there are two general considerations when “challenging” a pin by pushing the pinning piece back (i.e., ...h6, followed by … g5). The White Bishop is forced into a “barren wilderness” on g3 (biting on the “granite” at e5), and the question will be if White can take action in the center that will counter the attack on the wing AND (eventually) free the WBg3. (I presume that means White does not get completely run over on the kingside in the meantime.)

    I am at a total loss in understanding b4. I presume it has something to do with a White followup of c3 and d4 (countering with action in the center), but after Black retreats BBb6, I fail to see the point. The threat remains to trap the WBg3, and White must still play h4. I kept looking along the a7-g1 diagonal and “seeing” the BBb6 threat to the White King by pinning the f2 pawn. In essence, the WBg3 is somewhat “hanging” even though it is "protecting" the f2 pawn.

    At least Nxg5 attacks the “weak square” f7 (2:1) and creates a fork threat of the Black Queen and Rook.

    h3 seems too passive; Black continues to assault the White kingside, trying to open lines to the White King.

    All in all, it is a good demonstration of the dynamic nature of present-day chess compared to the 1930s.

    Or, maybe not.

  3. I try to sketch the bigger picture. How the LoA landscape totally alters when one of the parties castles "prematurely". The Art of Attack is not about Stockfish finding the correct moves. Since for Stockfish the castling is NOT prematurely. It is about giving your opponent the chance to go astray. Giving your opponent enough leash to hang himself.

    The landscape where Stockfish is of no help since it smells no rats. Objectively there are no rats. But since your opponent isn't a computer, there are subjective rats. Your opponent is human after all. This is pre-calculation phase of the game. Before the tipping point is reached. It has its own patterns, apparently.

    Mastering mates is where the game is already tipped over. I study the mates, while asking "how came this about?". It is about awareness of your pieces working together to reach out to the squares around the enemy king.