Defender of Dark Squares
I've been thinking a lot about the role of defenders in Chess. As a result of a blog entry (https://www.chess.com/blog/blohmoremoney/the-defenders-strange-heroes) I wrote about being careful not to willingly exchange defenders of your position, I can now recognise the reason for my opponent losing.
I was on the White side of a Ruy Lopez where I have just played 24. Nf5 where the Knight can not be taken due to Qg5 leading to mate
Should Black play 24. ... Bd8 or Bf8?
My opponent played 24. ... Bf8 which I believe is the decisive mistake.
I reason that White's dark squared Bishop on h6 actually gets in the way of the Queen accessing h6. The Bishop has no useful clearance and is happy to be exchanged for Black's counterpart.
More so, exchanging Bishops weakens the dark squares around the Black King, with a coordinated attack at g7, and the Knight on f5 can even be sacrificed in order to open up the g-file for a White Rook.
Stepping on your own Toes
After the exchange of Bishops, I reached the above position with White to move.
I spent much time considering how best to continue, knowing that White should have large advantage.
I looked at 26. Qh6 gf 27. Ng5 to reach the following position in analysis.
I couldn't find a way to improve here, as after 27. ... Rc2 28. Rf1 Qd8 29. Bxd7 Qxd7 20. Qxf6 Rfc8 the Black Queen does a fantastic job defending f7 and h7 (by playing ... f6).
Hence I discarded this line. What I failed to see was that instead of 27. Ng5 there was the simpler 27. Bxd7.
The beauty of 27. Bxd7 is that Black has no time for 27. ... Rc2 given the g5 square is vacant for White's Queen to give check and take the Knight with a check.
27. ... Qd8 isn't possible as the Bishop simply escapes by capturing on f5.
Hence 27. ... Nxd7 28. Ng5 Nf6 29. Qxf6 and White has a very large advantage.
Instead I played 27. Bxd7 and after 27. ... Rxf3 Black still fights on, thought White is clearly better.
How to crash through?
With White to move, I looked at the very tempting and forcing 28. Qh6 gf 29. Kh1 f6 30. Rg1+ Kf7 31. Rg7+ Ke8 32. Rxd7 Qxf2
I can't play 33. Rxb7 because of 33. ... Qxf3+ and perpetual check. So I discarded the move. But in analysis, it jumped out what I missed.
Can you find what I missed from here?