Monday, 30 March 2020

Project 30: What Did I Miss? (4)

John Garnett - SM
Black to move
Yesterday I left you with this position. Black has just sacrificed a bishop. What is best continuation from here?

24 ...Bh4! would have given Black a decisive advantage. This denies White the important defensive resource of Qf2 (as played at a key moment in the game). The threat is 22 ...Rxf3 23 Rxf3 Qxf3 and the white king will be checkmated very soon. A sample line would end with 24 ...Bg3+ 25 Kg1 Bf2+ 26 Kf1 Rg1 checkmate. It is the introduction of the bishop into the dark squares that makes all the difference.

Our final example of missed opportunities comes from the Rapidplay semi-final.

SM - Matt Jackman
White to play
This had been a wild game and now that a large advantage had been established I was looking for the most efficient way to conclude matters - especially as we were both down to the last two or three minutes on the clock. There were various ways to win - including moving the a1-rook to anywhere sensible - but I believe in the power of passed pawns and played 33 e6. After the subsequent moves 33 ...Nxa1 34 e7 Qd6 all is still going well and there are several 'finishers' available.

White to play
The one I chose was well intentioned, but not fit for purpose. I played 35 Qe6, hoping to deflect the Black queen from the defence of the back rank. The specific line I had in mind was 35 ...Qxe6 36 Rf8+ Rxf8 37 exf8=Q+ Qg8 38 Bxg7 checkmate.

However, this did not happen because Matt threw a considerable spanner in the works.

What did I miss after 35 Qe6?

Tune in tomorrow for the final part of our series.

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