This has to be winning, right?

Mar 29, 2009, 7:27 AM |

In a couple of games recently I've had positions that by any positional measure had to be winning for me. Here are two positions where material is even, but everything else seems to be in my favor.



White's advantages include a protected passed pawn on the 6th rank, a better minor piece, a rook on an open file, a more active queen, and a slightly safer king. How does white take advantage of this? The pawn is currently blocked, the bishop is already eyeing one of the weakest pawns, there isn't a good entry point for the rook on the open file and the queen isn't going to go harass the king on her own. One possibility is to use the queen to support the rook going to c6 trying to pick up the queenside pawns. In the game I chose to play h4 intending to open lines around the king. At this point my opponent panicked and bailed me out of having to figure out converting the positional advantages, the game continued ... Nxd6 exd6 Qxd6 Qh6+ Kg8 Qe3 Kf7 Rd1 Qxd1 Bxd1 etc.



In this position, white is dominating the open file, and has a much better minor piece. Black's knight is tied down to the defense of d6 and e7, the knight is not only inactive compared to white's bishop, it interferes with white's rooks, keeping white from playing Re8 challening the e-file. Even now no real good plans jump out at me.

I know that white is winning this game from positional considerations, but I struggle finding the dynamic continuation. If black just plays ... a6, how does should white proceed? I'd be interested in hearing opinions. In the game, my opponent made it easy on me with ... g5 Qh3 h5 g4 and now the attack against the king is unstoppable.