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A Slight Advantage in the Queenless Middlegame

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | Aug 1, 2013
  • | 9295 views
  • | 15 comments

A slight advantage doesn't mean you're necessarily going to win the game. It just means that your opponent has the more difficult problems to solve, and his mistakes will probably hurt his position more than yours will. In a queenless middlegame, prosecuting such a small advantage requires that one presents one's opponent with difficult choices - especially with regards to transposing into various pure endings. As the game goes on, simplification happens naturally, and the defender needs to be able to determine which kind of simplifications lead to the safe haven of the draw, and which lead to further trouble.

A typical example is the following, my game against GM Gata Kamsky from 2010:

Our main game features world champion Viswanathan Anand, against GM Jon Ludvig Hammer. At the point the queenless middlegame began, the game was basically equal. However, Anand was slowly able to gain a slight advantage. As simplification carried the game forward to a minor piece ending, White's advantage remained slight - consisting of a better bishop and some space advantage on the queenside. But with the battle restricted to only one side of the board, White's chances of winning still did not seem high.

Anand-Hammer in a later game

Finally, perhaps due to time pressure, Hammer misevaluated the exchange of a further pair of minor pieces - a seemingly surprising exchange of the white knight for the black bishop, leaving Black with apparently a total blockade, as well as vulnerable white pawns on the kingside should White "try anything". But Anand had seen that the black knight would end up fatally restricted. Unfortunately a double blunder (perhaps also due to the rapid pace of the game) marred the finish.




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Comments


  • 11 months ago

    g-levenfish

    Great games and very instructive!Thanks.

  • 14 months ago

    Achutegui96

    Very instructive, Thank you.

  • 14 months ago

    dittopacaya

    Muy buen artículo, necesitamos más...

    Really good article, we need more...

  • 14 months ago

    ARTSPOTLIGHT

    Brilliant game - please show more queenless middlegame.Cool

  • 14 months ago

    pflaster2

    Didn't help me at all.I know everything --'

  • 14 months ago

    elyar91

    thanks for nice article.

  • 14 months ago

    Pete_the_Pirate

    today I learnt.

  • 14 months ago

    Elubas

    Nice article. I really liked the annotations, especially in the Anand-Hammer game.

  • 14 months ago

    mystro123

    Great article

  • 14 months ago

    DayIngham

    Some of the most clear and accessible annotations I've read.

  • 14 months ago

    Riedemann

    great article! thnx www.diegoriedemann.cl

  • 14 months ago

    Chesspuzzles

    ur article is simple and points out very important things.. ur notes inside the game after moves is very very useful and better than writing notes outside the game itself. thank u

  • 14 months ago

    Serasas

    Really interesting and useful article, thanks

  • 14 months ago

    ferdinandplebie

    thank you IM Smith,a very usefulGM knowledge 

  • 14 months ago

    h_poorsepahy

    Thank you IM smith. I learned many things from this article. Smile

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