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The following is a position I had in a recent club game. I was playing white here and it is white to move. I found what I considered to be an interesting move and subsequent plan, however I first want to see what others think of this position. So here, what move do you choose for white, and why?
To me, it seems that white's knight and queen are both very poorly placed. White should be either trying to break open the center or expand on the queenside, as there is nothing doing on the kingside here. I would probably just get the bishop out of the way to develop the knight to a decent square, or move one of the queenside pawns to start expanding there. Overall, the position seems to be pretty even.
Plan to play for better minors and note black's doubled pawn. First some housekeeping, I'm looking at 1.Bf2 and then light square pawn moves on the queenside. I think white wants c4 but b3 and a4 look like candidates too. I like white a bit better.
I rejected h4-h5 because it gets rid of black's double pawn and there is no attack (can't bring more pieces or open more lines). I wasn't sure about 1.a4 because it leaves behind a lot of squares and I'm not that sure about the position yet :)
Here is what I think about the position:
The position is about equal. White has a slight advantage but his King is exposed, and Black's position is pretty solid with no apparent weakness.
I think c3 is necessary for White to make it difficult for Black's counterplay. Then it depends on how Black responds to this, whether Black would like to open or block the center. If the center is blocked, then White should attack the kingside. The h pawn advance, in combination with repositioning the knight to g5 are some of the ideas that come to my mind. If the center is open, the Queen must return to help with the center fight. d6 would be the ideal target of occupation. The fight may get bloody but I think White has better chance to maintain his queenside pawn structure for the endgame.
I am not sure whether my assessment is correct or not. How did the game go anyway?
In the game I actually went (perhaps wrongly, it seems) with the h - pawn push plan. The game was against a player around 1800, and I knew I was likely to get a few looks, however...
the thoughts behind this plan:
- First, I don't agree with the assessment that no pieces can get behind this push. Getting a rook to h1 might look far fetched, but in the game that's exactly what I played for. Let's look at the black position. The main thing he has going for him is his bishop pressure. Besides that his pieces are quite cramped. The e8 knight has to re-route to c7 and can there be blocked off by a4. What I'm getting at is that black will want to open up lines towards the white king to get some play. Of all the ways to do this, d4 looks the most forcing and promising, with the idea of taking away whites light squared bishop and adding the possibility of Nd5. I saw this, and tried to play moves the provoke this, not stop it, because I saw that my king was safe on g2 and that the back rank would open up for a flank attack.
- Second, try as I could, I couldn't come up with a defensive plan for black that wasn't dropping kingside pawns. It's interesting plugging h4 into my cheap engine. You probably would expect for this to not show up, and it didn't because it does allow black a lot of play on the queenside once he gets the queen and knight there. However, following lines through, forcing a Rh1, the evaluation rose to winning for white (like I said though, this engine isn't too great...) because black has trouble creating a defense.
The game followed:
Logical knight maneuver.
Another interesting choice is Nd2, but I don't like the pin it runs into with Ba5. The point of both of these is to vacate the back row and get to f3, completely securing the kingside and also in pouncing range of the black king.
17. ...d4 18. Bf2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2
Given this position, I would now definitely say that the h-file attack looks more promising.
19. ...Nd5 20. Nf3 Qd7 21. Rh1
And I'll leave the position here.
Any recommendation for either side from those 6 moves?
Wow, you made the move work without much trouble at all, fun to see ideas like this that I miss
You got the point though, that it's not about black defending his kingside, it's about where (and how fast) he can get counter play (the queenside). His moves d4 followed by Bxg2 is the opposite of creating play :) He locks the center and trades off his most active minor piece. Now he does have to defend, and seems the knight should go to e7 to help deal with the h pawn push. The idea of Qe8 and f5 is an idea too.
That said, you plan was a good way to play for a win, and looking at the position not sure how well black can avoid it because your attack seems to hit faster. Good thinking :)
Thanks! I appreciate that. I did end up managing a win with the decisive attack.
Now, finally, if anyone's interested or wants to post some thoughts, here's the game in its entirety.
I saw the h4-h5, Rh1 (eventually) plan, after reading wafflemaster's comment on h4-h5, but figured the opponent wouldn't help you speed it up with Bxg2. White's attack wouldn't have come as quickly or as smoothly if the white LSB had been left on the board.
Funny, nj, my first thought was attacking the way you did. Doubled-up pawns are usually not good, and the h-file is open with your opponents King "open" there. Kind of like a gorgeous woman-my eyes kept going there. Perhaps it's my aggressive nature. I lose often to players more patient than I, but I still would have attacked this way!
Wafflemaster, among much "trolling", (as the saying here goes) in these forums, I always enjoy your lucid, often enlightening comments.
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