Friday, 27 March 2020

Project 30: What Did I Miss? (1)

The third year of our Project 30 events drew to a close last week. Some events had to be postponed due to the current emergency but they will be rescheduled when the smoke clears.

I enjoyed my games in the Rapidplay Championship and the KO event even though every round brought hard work against tough opponents (I have junior chess stars Jessica and Evie to thank for the round-by-round pairings).

The highly competitive nature of the games brought out many good moves and ideas but the occasional blunder or missed opportunity was always waiting in the wings, ready for an instant appearance at the most inopportune of moments.

Here are a few of the opportunities I missed in this year's Project 30 games.

The first example is from round one of the KO tournament.

David Baillie - SM
Black to play

Black is the exchange up (rook for knight) and has the safer of the two kings. Dave's last move, 32 Rf1-f3, was to defend the weak pawn on e3. White's position is about to collapse under the pressure. 32 ...Nhf6 looks to be Black's best move now, just improving the position of the knight before resuming the attack on White's weak points.

However, I thought it would be a good time to simplify the position, to reduce the potential for any tactical counterblows and to head for a steady endgame win.

32 ...Rxe5 33 dxe5 Qxe5

White to play
If Black can bring the knight from h5 back to f6 his advantage will be obvious. There is an extra pawn and all of White's pawns are isolated and potentially very weak. His king is also a real cause for concern due to the lack of defensive cover. Dave was also very short of time on the clock...but he played his next move instantly, which changed the course of the game. What had I missed?

The answer will be given tomorrow.

No comments: