Windows Of Chess Opportunity

Windows Of Chess Opportunity

Silman
IM Silman
Aug 18, 2016, 12:00 AM |
23 | Middlegame

In an amateur chess game, opportunities abound. Unfortunately, these opportunities are often missed. Positional gains are snubbed, tactics are missed, a winning endgame is agreed drawn, and mutual fear leads both players into a deep, dark abyss. 

In this article, I’m going to offer up six puzzles. An opportunity (big or small, tactical or strategic) may or may not be waiting for you. The answers appear below. Do not look ahead until after ALL the puzzles are pondered.

Puzzle 1

Black has just played 18...Qd5 threatening both 19...Qxg2 mate and 19...Qxa2. What can White do?

Puzzle 2

We have a typical French Defense position. Black has many moves to consider. Instead of looking at all of Black’s possibilities, let’s concentrate on just two moves: 13...Bxe3 and 13...Bb7. Which one would you choose and why?

Puzzle 3

What is White’s most logical move?

Puzzle 4

Black didn’t play the opening very well, but you have to work with what you have. What would be the most logical development for Black?

Puzzle 5

White realized that he had an opportunity to get the knight to a better square. White played 17.Ne1. What (if anything) does this do? Is it a good idea? Is there a more accurate way to do this?

Puzzle 6

In this position, Black played 16...Bb4 attacking White’s e1-rook. However, White was happy to move the rook to d1. In response, Black returned the bishop to c5. Was 16...Bb4 a waste of time?

Solutions

Answer To Puzzle 1

Q: Black has just played 18...Qd5 threatening both 19...Qxg2 mate and 19...Qxa2. What can White do?

Do you see the difference between 19.Qf3 and 19.f3/19.Qg3? One basically gives up and hopes that White can somehow hold on while the other two moves offer a pawn in the hope that White can create an initiative of some sort. This form (19.Qf3) of “resignation” is usually done without the player knowing that a mistake is being made. The player's little world is, “I see a threat so I have to stop it.” 19.f3 and 19.Qg3 see the world differently: “I see the threats, and mate has to be stopped, but how can I activate my pieces and, perhaps, put some heat on the enemy king?” In a nutshell, you should always be trying to improve your position, even if it means a small sacrifice.

Answer To Puzzle 2

Q: We have a typical French Defense position. Black has many moves to consider. Instead of looking at all of Black’s possibilities, let’s concentrate on just two moves: 13...Bxe3 and 13...Bb7. Which one would you choose and why?

Answer To Puzzle 3

Q: What is White’s most logical move?

Answer To Puzzle 4

Q: Black didn’t play the opening very well, but you have to work with what you have. What would be the most logical development for Black?

Answer To Puzzle 5

Q: White played 17.Ne1. What (if anything) does this do? Is it a good idea? Is there a more accurate way to do this?

Answer To Puzzle 6

Q: In this position, Black played 16...Bb4 attacking White’s e1-rook. However, White was happy to move the rook to d1. In response, Black returned the bishop to c5. Was 16...Bb4 a waste of time?

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