Traxler Counter-attack, Wilkes-Barre: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!
So far I haven't posted any of my wins, and it's not my intention to do so very often, but here's one of my rare wins from a few months ago. Usually I win only through my opponent's incompetence, and it would be embarrassing to make a regular event of showing how incredibly lucky I can be in that regard. Well, that's the case for this game too-- there were a couple moves I misplayed which could have been used to pummel me, but my opponent managed to out-blunder me. Still, the game was a blast to play, because for most of it I felt like I was walking across a knife-edge in a high wind.
I played the Traxler Counter-attack variation of the Two Knights Defence, which I had never played before or had played against me. The Wilkes-Barre variation of the Traxler is a scary looking prospect when you first see it, because following this line requires sacrificing some major armor. White ends up with a huge material lead, and in the latter stages of this game (which lasted only 21 moves) my opponent must have been amazed to discover he wasn't in control even though by move 13 he was up by 1 Rook, 1 Bishop, 1 Knight, and 1 pawn! Even at the game's conclusion my only compensation to offset all that lost material was when I captured his Queen on the final move of the game (White resigned 1 move before forced mate).
The diagram at right shows the position after 9...Bg4 . Black's Bishops and Knights rule the board, and despite White's material lead of a Rook and a pawn, Black has a whopping 54 to 27 lead in total mobility. Black has 5 developed pieces and is cleared to castle long and bring the remaining Rook into play. The best move for White (10.Qa4+) results only in a dead even position evaluation by Rybka.
The position after 20...Qh4+ , one move before White resigned. What a mess! White is up by 1 Rook, 1 Bishop, 1 Knight, and 1 pawn, and Black has forced mate in 2 moves! (21.Kf5 Nxd4+ 22.Ke5 Qf4# )
Note the high scale on the mobility axis. These mobility leads for Black in an even game are among the largest I've seen since I started tracking mobility, and it's not because White has bad values, but rather because Black has unusually high values. This is the trade-off that allows Black to stay in the game despite having lost a lot of material-- the pieces that are left for Black control a lot of space and have the ability to move where they need to in order to keep pressure on White's poorly protected King. By the time mobilty draws even for a couple moves near the end of the game it doesn't matter any more because the forced mate sequence is already under way.
Incidentally, if you're wondering why White's mobility is still fairly high even on moves where White has a forced King move due to check, I have a description of how I determine mobility in the comments section of one of my blog posts. I'll write that up as a separate blog entry soon.