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Tactics, Tactics, Floating in the Air

  • IM Silman
  • | Sep 19, 2012
  • | 10887 views
  • | 30 comments

IMPORTANT: [At the end of the puzzles, you should click MOVE LIST so you can see my instructive notes and variations. If you are having trouble solving a problem, just click SOLUTION, and then MOVE LIST. Even if you solve everything, DO click MOVE LIST or you might miss an important bit of prose.]

darkpower25 (1231) – Yankees22095 (1221), Chess.com 2012 (a move every 3 days)

1.f4

After 1.f4 Black has many ways to challenge white’s system. He can play 1…d5, which takes us into a reversed Dutch Defense. Or if Black is a hyper-aggressive player, he might try From’s Gambit with 1…e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3, when a theoretical minefield would follow. Note that 4.Nc3?? is a tad unfortunate: 4…Qh4+ 5.g3 Qxg3+ 6.gxf3 Bxg3 mate.

1…Nc6

White has to make a decision. Should he transpose into a King-pawn opening with 2.e4 or stick to Bird themes (a theme started with 1.f4) with 2.Nf3 (going after that e5-square!)? After the latter move (and I suspect most true Bird Defense aficionados would choose 2.Nf3), Black has to be careful that he doesn’t continue with a system of development that leads to problems due to the c6-Knight blocking its c7-pawn (as would be the case with 1.f4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d5). Thus 2.Nf3 d6 trying to crack the center with a quick …e7-e5 would make the most sense. 1.f4 Nc6 2.Nf3 g6!? would also be interesting.

2.e4 

darkpower25 said: “I believe that the idea behind the Bird’s Opening is to control the center by occupying the f4 and e4 squares with pawns.” 

This isn’t really true. Yes, if Black allows White to play 1.f4, 2.e4, 3.d4, etc. then he will indeed happily take the center. But the general idea of the Bird’s is something a bit more straightforward: White is trying to dominate the e5-square via f4, Nf3, b3, and Bb2.

2…e5

Also possible is 2…d5, transposing into a Nimzovich Defense (1.e4 Nc6) where white’s early f2-f4 drastically cuts down on white’s options.

After 2…e5 we’ve transposed into a rare line of the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6) which in one major source is called “The 1…Nc6 Defense.” A very original and imaginative name! Actually, 2…Nc6 probably doesn’t deserve a name since it transposes into other openings (for example, it might become a Vienna Game after 3.Nc3) and other lines of the King’s Gambit. White’s most common replies are 3.Nf3, 3.Nc3, and 3.Bc4. 

3.fxe5?? Nxe5?? 

4.Nf3

darkpower25 said: “I no longer think that this is the best move because it does nothing but develop the Knight. I guess that it does some things though like attack his Knight forcing him to move it or defend it.”

What do you want a move to do? Developing a piece, getting closer to being able to castle, and threatening the enemy piece sounds pretty good to me! So 4.Nf3 is a perfectly good move, though 4.Nc3 is probably a bit more accurate since White then threatens to eat the center with d2-d4, and he doesn’t have to worry about 4...Qh4+ since after 5.g3 the e4 is protected.

4...d6

Other moves are 4...Nxf3+ and 4...d5!? 

5.d4 Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 Nf6 7.Nc3 

darkpower25 said: “Protecting my e-pawn, here I made the mistake of reacting, as I looked at the move more, I realized that it preemptively protects my pawn in the event of my Queen being driven away by …Bg4, although not a move without any thought behind it, there were probably much better moves lying around.” 

Actually, you do react (repeatedly) as the game progresses, but here you play (but don’t have confidence in) a very good, logical, and solid move.

7…b6??

A very bad move. Instead, 7...c6 or 7...Be7 were both completely playable.

 

8.Bg5?? 

Missing the knockout, which was seen in the previous puzzle.

8...Bb7 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Bc4 

Instead of this, White has two very interesting, and far stronger, possibilities:

10...Be7 11.0-0

Also possible was 11.e5:

11...b5?? 12.Bd3 

Unfortunately you fell victim to the old, "He attacks my Bishop and I must defend it" psychological trap. It turns out that you could have labeled his 11...b5 as a decisive loss of time:

12...h6

He needed to castle while he could. Leaving your King in the center is known to be bad for your health. 

13.Bxf6 Bxf6??

13...gxf6, though ugly, was forced. 

14.d5??

Ignoring the classic rule: "If his King is in the center and your King is castled, rip open the center and ravage/smash/kill/rend the enemy monarch." hmmm... that doesn't sound quite right, but it's in the ballpark.

14...Bxc3??

14...0-0 leaves Black with the preferable position.

15.bxc3??

Once again you abide by the "I have to" rule (he takes and I have to take back). Instead, 15.Qxf7 mate makes a nice impression.

15...0-0 and White no longer has anything and the game was eventually drawn.

LESSONS FROM THESE EXAMPLES

* It’s important to know the basic ideas of your openings. In the case of the Bird’s Opening, you simply must be tuned into white’s desire to dominate the e5-square.

* Even when one is aware of the evils of reacting to the enemy’s moves, it’s still hard not to react! You ARE going to botch this at first, but you need to repeatedly pick yourself off the canvas until you finally start making inroads into this psychological disease.

* Tactics are usually fueled by undefended pieces, vulnerable Kings, and double attacks (i.e., one move attacks two units at the same time).

* As you can see from this game, if you aren’t aware of basic tactical pitfalls and themes, you’ll find that it’s hard to even get out of the opening alive!

HOW TO PRESENT A GAME FOR CONSIDERATION

If you want me to look over your game, send it to askjeremy@chess.com

I need your name (real or chess.com handle), your OPPONENT’S name (real or chess.com handle), both players’ ratings, where the game was played, and date. If you don’t give me this information, I won’t use your game! BTW: I’ve noticed that many people are reluctant to give me their opponent’s name. This is very strange! Showing the names of both players is the way chess games are presented in databases, books, magazines… everywhere! Permission from the opponent isn’t necessary. If permission was necessary, everyone who ever lost a game wouldn’t allow their name to be on it!

Comments


  • 17 months ago

    p2kpradeep

    In the first puzzle, whats wrong with 8. ...d6+ 

  • 19 months ago

    g-levenfish

    I still like it when you annotate an entire game!Your in depth analysis is always wonderful! I wish I could come up with some of the moves you seem to have no trouble finding!

  • 19 months ago

    TJOSE

    Good stuff.

  • 19 months ago

    Time4Tea

    This is a really interesting analysis - thanks for the great article!  Smile

  • 19 months ago

    OutengtHe

    he isn't ridiculing anyone bob... i am going to lose my sanity if i see one more of these comments on silman's articles

  • 19 months ago

    ultrajohn

    this is nice. thanks!

  • 19 months ago

    mottsauce

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 19 months ago

    dokter_nee

    Incredible tactics. High level stuff. Check all the variations, it's quite deep.

  • 19 months ago

    flby55

    As someone new here how do submit a game for review??

  • 19 months ago

    Sutirtha11

    Sir, I sent you a game but you did not review mine why and this article is also great

  • 19 months ago

    Marksman357

    how to defeat birds opening?

  • 19 months ago

    elindauer

    I like this article.  Nice depth and good practice with tactics.

  • 19 months ago

    IM Silman

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 19 months ago

    robotjazz

    @

    ChessTempoDB

    Is this aimed for total patzers? Lol, no wonder chess.com loses popularity day by day...

    I don't see an IM in front of your name, why don't you go read a book and let the rest of us enjoy IM Silman's articles

  • 19 months ago

    bob_franklin

    If this site is losing popularity, maybe it's due to people like you ridiculing those who aren't as adept at this game as you are. Have you considered the possibility that novices deserve tuition as much as anybody else?

  • 19 months ago

    ChessTempoDB

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 19 months ago

    asterocomet

    Very interesting

  • 19 months ago

    OutengtHe

    maybe darkpower was talking about the plan in the bird where white plays 2.nf3 3.g3 4.bg2 5.0-0 6.d3, etc? like kamsky has played a few times

  • 19 months ago

    tesasembiring

    Great lessons, is this for Raul Bruno???

  • 19 months ago

    kcsmith169

    Very entertaining, as usual, and it's great that you invest time helping the lower rated players so they can improve and continue to find new aspects of the game to appreciateCool...now if we could just clone you multiple times so on Mondays you could address the under 1000 crowd, on Tuesdays the 1001-1200s, on Wednesdays the 1201-1400, and so forth...and on Sundays the 7th you could rest just before you got to the would-be mastersWink

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