Mental Domination by IM Jeremy Silman
Chess is a perfectly mathematical game where steel-cold calculation wins and emotions are irrelevant, right? Wrong! International Master and famed chess author Jeremy Silman says: "Much has been made of psychology in chess, but rarely have I seen anything about how one player can get inside his opponent's head and make him accept a false image of what's really happening on the chessboard. And, once you buy into your opponent's version of reality, defeat isn't far away. This course is all about making an opponent accept your "orders", while also showing you how you can avoid the same fate by not falling for this kind of subliminal illusion. How often does this kind of thing occur? All the time!"
Here is one key example from the course:
This position comes from a game between A.Saidy - R.Russell, National Open 1999, after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.O-O e5 8.e4 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.h3 a6 11.Be3 Rb8 12.a4 Nc5 13.Qc2 a5 14.Rad1 Bd7 15.Ndb5 b6 16.Rfe1 h6 17.f4 Bxb5 18.axb5 Qe7 19.Bf2 Qf8 20.Kh2 h5 21.Bxc5 bxc5 22.Ra1 h4 23.g4 g5.
Black's last move (23...g5) was a wonderful try since his position was absolutely awful: White has an enormous space advantage, the a5-pawn is dying (which adds a material advantage to the equation), and Black is devoid of counterplay. With 23...g5 Black offers a pawn but hopes to gain many positional and dynamic perks. Black is telling White, "I don't intend to go quietly into the night."In the actual game, Saidy (a strong, legendary IM) was gliding along happily, quite sure that he would win this game without too much trouble. Black's 23...g5 upset the applecart, and though White maintained an advantage after 24.fxg5 Nh7 25.Nd5 Be5+ 26.Kh1, black's pieces had become quite active and white's King was suddenly a bit loose. In the end, White lost when some errors allowed black's active pieces to get a bit too close.
But what SHOULD white have played? Can you figure it out?
Try making the best moves in the problem below!
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