My Thinking Process

My Thinking Process‎

WIM energia
27 | Strategy

Once again, it is great to see many readers coming up with creative ideas to solve the positions. Please, keep posting your ideas and comments, I read them all, even if I do not address all the continuations suggested.

In Position 3 my natural instincts dictate to play for checkmate. In a blitz game, I might push my pawns on the kingside, my opponent would push hers on the queenside and the game would be decided in time trouble. It's a good thing that I don't let my natural instincts rule all of my chess decisions, or I might not be a master!

Let's look a little deeper.  At first glance, one sees a typical Sicilian on the board with the kings castled on opposite sides. In addition, Black is underdeveloped, as the a8-rook and the c8-bishop do not participate in the game. He needs three moves: b5, Bb7, and Rc8 to finish his development. Let's first take a look at the idea of a kingside attack.

How I would approach a kingside attack in this position? The first consideration to take note of is the fact that the center is not fixed, meaning that White must always pay careful attention to Black's potential to counterattack in the center.  With that in mind, there are couple of candidate moves I would consider. The first try would be the immediate g4.  However, in this case Black immediately has the reply ...e5 which is unpleasant.  Therefore, I would move on to Qd2. The idea is still the same-- g4-g5, but now after ...e5, White has the response f5 prepared. I would then also see that on Qd2 Black could start the queenside attack with b5, threatening b4 and Qxa2. One sample line could be 1. Qd2 b5 2.Kb1 then 2...b4 trapping the knight. So even though White has a spacial advantage and a lead in development, it seems Black has resources to combat an immediate White kingside attack.

Since the kingside attack doesn't seem to be getting anywhere, I'd move on to other options. 1. e5 does not seem to give much-- giving up d5 square does not feel right, plus having isolated pawn on e5 doesn’t please me at all. 1. Qb6 is another idea to trade queens and to steer the game into the endgame. This would go against my natural instinct of most Sicilian endgames favoring Black, but on further review I would see that there is no good way for Black to develop the c8-bishop as Bd7 runs into e5 and there is no Nd7 possibility as Bc7 would collect the d6 pawn. Meanwhile, White can improve slowly with g4-g5 or a4-a5 or Bf3, etc. On the other hand, there is no clear plan for Black. This should be enough to determine that Qb6 is stronger than the other continuations.

Please note, that due to my active, attacking style moves that trade queens come harder to appreciate than they do for more positionally-oriented players. This is just example of my thinking process, each player is unique and has his own unique thinking process. Lets look at the way game continued.

The next position is not as clear cut as the previous one. It seems that the White and Black knights don’t have much room to maneuver. The a7-bishop is the worst piece at the board. Once again, here I will present my thinking process… White is better because of e4 square, misplaced Ba7 and more space. Also, Black will have more weaknesses than White in the endgame. First of all, I would try to get my knight to e4 and consider moves such as Nd2 or Nf1-Ng3. Nf1 does not work tactically due to Nxh3. On Nd2 there is the unpleasant Nd3 with the double-threat of Nxf2 or Nxb2. Since, the moves do not work right away I would spend some time on the moves that will make them work, such as Bxf4. In the process I found that Nd3 is a threat with the idea of Nb4 followed by bringing the g6-knight to f4. To fight Nd3 there are two candidate moves: Rd1 or Ra3. Re1 keeps control over e4 square, while Ra1 does not do much. Ra3 has the other idea of moving to b3, attacking weakness on b7. Thus, the move is multitasking: it brings a new piece into the game while preventing the opponent from realizing his plan.

The positions for the next week:




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