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Even though @zrylam has not made the Bf8 move as was anticipated, I am quite confident that it is going to be coming soon. It seems that the d6-pawn is going to be a major point of contention as I think that we are both going to start throwing are forces in that direction.
Ultimately, I think it is going to put me down a pawn, as our forces clash and a series of exchanges takes place. However, I think that I might be able to pull off a positional advantage that might allow me to avenge my wandering d6-pawn and win a pawn back.
I am thinking of playing 21.Qd2, and then following it up with one of my Rooks. (I think the Queen on the d2 square is best, because the dark diagonals opens up some options)
Anyway, I have until tomorrow night to make my move official. Does anyone have any other suggestions, or are @zrylam and myself about to head into an inevitable blood bath as we scrap it out over a pawn?
21.Qd2 seems to let him win the exchange after 21...Bf8 22.Rad1 Bxd6 with a possibility of a discovered attack on the queen. That's why I'm reluctant to let the Queen stay on the front in the d-file. Let me analyse it more later...im in a hurry at the moment. Although your logic of using dark squares is good, the question is - is that a sufficiently good enough compensation for the pawn after Black's dark squared bishop is at d6?
Firstly, I can't see opportunities for White to make good use of the dark squares without the dark squared bishop. After Qd2, the game becomes dangerous - as @zrylam said, the d6 pawn is overextended. At the same time, Black does not have a lot of control of dark squares, whereas the possibility of Q+B battery or the cooperation of dark sq bishop + light sq queen is useful for White.
I'm not going to post analysis on this move, since there is a lot - I managed to get into 3 brackets of red text...but suffice to say, White can look for counterplay. I say counterplay because I think White is putting a lot of pressure on Black, but he has to defend now in order to maintain it and press for an attack. However, you know the problem with overextension - supply lines.
To this end, I won't post analysis anymore until I feel that both sides have a good chance of winning. I'm afraid I may have found one or two forcing sequences for both sides. If I post it here, then its not fair for zrylam, as he doesn't seem to have anyone supporting him. Not only that, but the fact that reaching a conclusion that White or Black can force a game to a specific end does not sit well with me. Let anyone else feel free to submit analysis...I just feel that presenting an analysis with forcing lines with few to no options is grossly unfair - people can come and correct and improve, and we may get a judgement and a resignation due to it - and I don't like posting part of an analysis.
Well, I've searched for other alternative options and, so far, pushing the Queen up seems to be my best bet. It maximizes her value by increasing her mobility and the number of squares that she can defend/attack. It also links up my Rooks.
So, however the chips may fall with my lonely pawn out there, I think that strategically my best option right now is . . . . 21.Qd2
Can I play the winner in a game like this?
hey...isn't black just rounding up white's d6 pawn?!
21...Bf8 22.Rfd1 Rc8! (tempoing the bishop) 23.Ba3 (or 23.Rac1) 23...Rc6
You can also insert BXN at any time.
21...Bf8 22.Rfd1 Rc8? is met by 23.Bb4 Rc6 24.Ba5. And BxN would be a terrible trade for Black, not only giving up the bishop pair but also handing over Black's most active piece.
Wow the discussion is getting interesting, more people are coming in...maybe I'd better keep my silence =)
Btw, if I had Black here I would probably try 21...e4, although I haven't really analyzed the position (too lazy for that). My idea, though, would be to meet 22.Nd4 with Bd5, or 22.Ne1 with f5. Of course, I'm not sure how well that will hold up under scrutiny.
After much thought I have decided to play 21. ...a5
I'd like to see White commit to something before I start to squeeze him off the board.
Looks like the battle over the d6-pawn is temporarily being put on hold. I could continue with my plan to bring the Rook over to the d1 square, however, I do not like the idea of @zrylam pushing his b-pawn up the b4 square. That move would cut off my ability to move my Queen to that square to support my Bishop and it would also cut off an exit route for my Bishop. On top of all that, he will be making in-roads into my territory that will interfere with my pawn movement (of the a & b pawns) and will be hindering the movements of my other pieces
I am thinking that the best response to his 21...a5 move is to play 22.b4. If he exchanges, then it will improve my postition. If he pushes the a-pawn then it will leave his b-pawn in a weak postition. I can hold off on my Rook move till he plays his bf8 move. Unless someone can come up with something different, I think that 22.b4 will be the move that I will make. I will make it official tomorrow night.
Sorry let me correct myself - The position is mostly unclear after 22.b4. Some go into Black's favour, some into White. I haven't covered all the possibilities, mind - im tired. But I still think despite the lack of demonstrative lines to look at, I think Black will still end up slightly better.
In your big blue line, why doesn't white take the bishop on move 11? Also if the queen goes to d3, black can pin the queen and the knight with the pawn
Nice lines and analysis by @ScarredEyes, it is very much appreciated. Looks like the game can go in many directions still, so nothing is guaranteed. For now, it looks like there is no objection to my idea of pushing my up my b-pawn and blocking @zrylams advancing pawns on the 'a' & 'b' files ( See comment # 112 for my logic for this move).
So my official move is . . . . .22.b4
I swear I posted here that stubborn_d0nkey's ideas are good..they are...and I found a refutation for e4, as well as an interesting knight sacrifice ending up with White having 1 piece too short for a good compensation...but d0nkey's idea is correct until I can show a damning refutation. Bringing up de ol' anaalysis board...
Aaand I can't find it anymore =( Ah well, I'll just wait until Black moves, then I'll start again
I have a few alternatives to consider, however I immediately rejected a4 as it looks too passive and blocks in my light-squared Bishop. I may lose some fans for my decision but I've never been big on Bishop pairs...
22. ...Bxf3 lock it in, Bill!
@zyrlam Personally, I liked your position better...I've always been a fan of latent aggression. However, you've just traded your most powerful piece for a knight that could barely get anywhere. It needs at least 4 tempi to get to a good position without obstructing the d-file, which would end up with a bad position.
That would've been a fair exchange...if you can take advantage of the doubled pawns. i.e. going into an endgame. I'm not sure if that's sufficient compensation for exchanging a very active bishop for a knight that's blocked in by your pawns that aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and the counterplay associated with using too many tempi with relocating the knight. If I remember correctly, your dominance of the light squares were very annoying, since they made me rethink so many different lines.
I suggest 23.Kxh8!!, removing any means of Black producing counterplay by assassinating the figurehead. It's waaay stronger than 23.gxf3, the second best move in this position.
Always good comments and interpretations by @ScarredEyes (see comment #119). As much as I would like to somehow get my King all the way over to the other side of the board and let the two Kings fight it out 'Mano a Mano' by playing 23.Kxh8, I think I will have no choice but to play 23.gxf3 and avenge my faithful steed.
While @zrylam may be giving up a Bishop for a Knight (I also prefer to have Bishops in an end game) he has cracked the walls of my fortress and exposed my King. Worse than that, he has doubled up my pawns, again, . . . . for the third time this game . . . . arrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!
If anyone can come up with a different option, it would be greatly appreciated. However, I have a feeling that I will have no choice but to eventually lock-in the gxf3 move tomorrow.
I believe gxf3 is forced. The bishop is still on the same diagonal, and you have no threat so there are no opportunities to be gained by taking advantage of the extra tempo. It's even controlling the d1 square. An alternative may be an immediate bxa5, with a follow-up of a rook-lift to a3 with the a1 Rook (which may be slow) or a follow-up of a6 and Ba5 or even simply, Bb6. Both, however, seem very slow (with the exception of the risky Bb6), and in the time it takes to do that is enough time for Black to play Bf8 and Bxf8.
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