Every move Counts
In the below game, we can understand the true value of each tempo. A position that had been deemed harmless and archived by geeks who analysed positions a few tens of years ago changes into a violent battle when Black loses a little bit of time.
Our young Ukranian protagonist smells blood and lunges into an attack, forcing Black to make concessions. Due to these, Onischuk cannot cope with the deadly second wave of attack even after Eljanov took some time off to shift gears, develop completely and come back with renewed hostilities.
Black is facing a threat to his Queen, and has lost a tempo. Had he been a good boy and moved the Queen back to d6 or c6, there might not have been these repercussions. But Black moves his Queen in close proximity of White’s pieces, and Eljanov takes full advantage to develop his position with tempo after tempo.
26. a4 is one of the key moves in this position. It allows to play Bishop a3, and removes all counterplay associated with Qc5. When I first analysed, I did seem perplexed, as to why not Bxg8?? You might have guessed by the double question marks that the move is really, really bad. In brief, after Qf4-g5-c5+ and Rf2!. Black just pulled off a 180 and is taking a dump on White’s battered ego, or as it is known in chess terms, -/+.
13... Qxg2 seemed to be an option for Black. Why did he not choose the poisoned pawn and instead retreated like a coward? Because Qxg2 is actually a pretty bad move. I will write a post about it soon, but in the mean time, here is the a short explanation. Conceptually, Black has nothing to compensate for White's many advantages and if he takes on g2, he allows White's strong attack to bolster further by bringing in more pieces. At this point, there is no hope for Black after pawn grabbing. There are many variations after Qxg2,but energetic play will win the game for White.
And White is a piece up.
That brings us to the end of Principle #2 - Momentum. When in posession of a dynamic advatage such as time or development, just screw your static features such as material and pawn structure in favour of edge of the seat attacks and initiative filled plans. Do not look back, that is not the direction you want to be moving in. So next post we will move forward and tackle the next principle. Until then, if you want to get the book and skip ahead, I highly recommed you to do so, because what I post here is only the tip of the iceberg. Due to constraints, I skim over or sometimes skip posting variations and many thrilling games, but do not let that stop you. Get Jacob Aagaard’s book, and wait up for the next post!