You need all your pieces - Even if you're World Champ!
Last post, I showed you a brilliant game in which Atrur Yusupov missed a spectacular win due to his oversight of missing the b3 Bishop in his attack. Today, let us view it from the opponent’s persective. And to prove that it is not only us mere mortals who commit such sins, I have here the game of a World Champion, probably the greatest player of his times. Our dear Garry K misses out on factoring in all of the opponents attacking pieces to prepare a defence, and is taught a lesson.
In the following game, Kasparov overlooked an almost elementary attcking move, Bb7-c6-b5, where it is a lethal attacking piece. Blessed with the analytical capacity to beat Deep Blue, he instead focuses only on the active attacking pieces, probably expecting Queen checks leading to a perpetual and pays the price.
Kasparov resigned, not wanting to give his opponent the pleasure of 36. Bf6 Bxd3+ 37. Ka2 Bb1+!
One thing to remember is, including all your pieces sometimes includes pawns too! Pawns are more than just cannon fodder. They can be used to harass enemy pieces, controlling enemy squares, being the sacrifical ram to open up positions, supporting a mate (think pawn f6 and King g8), or sometimes even delivering the decisive checkmate! In the book, Jacob Aagard points out 2 games, one a correspondence in which Black clearly had too many stamps (seen from his doggedness to play despite the depserate position), and another in which Ivanchuk (we can’t get enough of him can we!) cleverly uses pawns as a thorn in the attack before altogether forgetting them and ultimately drawing the position. Get the book here to review those positions.
I’ll leave you with a small puzzle, to find the best defence in the position. Ponder over it for 10 minutes to see what your intuiton says about it. The solution is given, but more important is to see if you can keep your focus on defence and not be frightened by White’s possibilities.
NOTE: Only one person, out of 10 extremely talented players to whom Jacob Aagaard presented this puzzle was able to stay focused and find out the real intent between all the checks (to bring another piece to the defence). So don’t feel bad you didn’t get the answer, feel good that you now are smarter than all those people who don’t read this post.
I hope my posts have convinced you the importance of including all your toys in the Nursery Party. If not, get Jacob Aagard’s book, and see for yourself. Next post, I’ll be here with Principle #2. Until then, see ya!