"...a Chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Attacking failure

When I say I need to work on my attacking skills this is the kind of game I think of.  Here I am attempting to review the game since I noted in my last post that this seems to be a big weak link in my training.  I used the engine to analyze it.  I feel mixed about this.  A lot of people say you should analyze without the computer but of course the nice thing about the computer is that it is actually much more objective than I am.  One of the things that I mentioned I wanted to be able to do was compare my game thinking with a more objective evaluation.  Perhaps the engine is a crutch here but perhaps it's valuable as well.

This game was played at 90-30 against the Chessmaster character Trudy.  It's a good example of me misjudging an attacking situation as much more crushing than it actually was.  In actuality I have a strong advantage but nothing like a "mate in x".  Also the ending of the game is a good example of something I have seen written about by strong players and that's the difficulty of switching gears particularly when you are on the offensive and need to switch to the defensive.

Trudy - Nathan

Result: 1-0
Site: ?
Date: 2014.10.11
Game analysis
Engine(s): Houdini_4_Pro_CA_x64A
Analysis time: 0:43:33
[...] 1.b3 ♘f6N
1...g6 2.♗b2 ♘f6 3.g3 ♗g7 4.♗g2 d6 5.d4 c5 6.d5 ...1/2-1/2, Adams Michael 2610 - Shirov Alexei 2710 , Hastings 1992 It (cat.14)
1...e5 2.♗b2 ♘c6 3.e3 d6 4.g3 f5 5.♗g2 ♘f6 6.f4 ...1-0, Ponomariov Ruslan 2704 - Pomes Marcet Juan 2371 , Albox 6/ 4/2005 It (open) (active)
1...d5 2.♗b2 ♗g4 3.g3 c6 4.♗g2 ♘d7 5.h3 ♗h5 6.♘f3 ...1/2-1/2, Adams Michael 2630 - Anand Viswanathan 2725 , Las Palmas 1993 It "Gran Canaria" (cat.16)
1...c5 2.♗b2 ♘c6 3.e3 d5 4.♗b5 ♗d7 5.♘f3 ♘f6 6.O-O ...0-1, Morozevich Alexander 2721 - Rashkovsky Nukhim N 2525 , Moscow 1992 Memorial M.Tal
2.♗b2 g6 3.♘f3 ♗g7 4.c4 O-O 5.e3 d6 6.d4 ♘bd7 7.♘c3 e5 8.♗e2 ♖e8 9.O-O e4 10.♘g5?! I was actually prepared for this. Perhaps because it's the only agressive looking reply to f4.
10.♘d2!?10...♕e7 11.h3 a5 12.a3 c6 13.♕c2 b6 14.b4 ♗b7 15.b5 c5 +0.33
10...h6 I'm looking forward to her knight being stuck on h3 already looking to play g5 as Houdini agrees in the variation to move 11 to complete the job. She can of course get the knight out, but it will take some shuffling of her pieces to do it. (10...♘f8 11.♕c2 ♕e7 -0.28) 11.♘xf7? I had looked at this but written off as a blunder and Houdini agrees. (11.♘h3!11...g5 12.♔h1 +0.01) 11...♔xf7 12.♘b5?! A second blunder, here of a tempo. I think the game up to this point gave me a false sense of security that I was well ahead of the computer and from here on out was starting to look for more directly winning lines. (12.f3!?12...♔g8 13.♕c2 -1.46) 12...a6 13.♘c3 c6 I was worried about the results of her playing d5 here and maybe plopping a knight there but decided it didn't really work out for her. 14.♗g4 ♘xg4 15.♕xg4 Here my big debate was between Nf6 with a double attack on the queen, or Qg5 hoping to trade queens since I'm ahead material. I ended up deciding on the Nf6 because I wanted to release the light squared bishop and I wanted to have the Nf6 so I could play d5 and it seems I have reinforced my pawn on e4 and with it a space advantage. 15...♘f6 16.♕e2 d5 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.♖ac1 ♗g4 Here's where I really started thinking in terms of an attack on her king. 19.♕d2 ♕d7 20.♗a3 ♗f3 Here is what they call "count the pieces" or "local superiority". I've got my queen, my bishop, and my knight all able to attack the kingside quickly. She's got a rook defending. It seems like she lacks defenders here, so it seems like an important condition for an attack is given. Of course the pawn that can slide into f3 to support the attack is another big help. I feel there should really be something here and am really trying to find it. 21.gxf3 exf3 22.♔h1 I hadn't considered this move though I had noticed that she had a tempo to spare here. 22...♕h3 23.♖g1 ♘g4 24.♖xg4 ♕xg4 I went over Smyslov-Stahlberg from round 4 of Zurich 53 today and there winning the exchange as the result of an attack on a king was considered sufficient reward and was winning. Maybe I should have been happy with that. Still, considering I was a piece for a pawn up, seems like I lost ground rather than gained it if the attack doesn't pan out. 25.♖g1 ♕h3?? At this point I am thinking I am still good to go and that all I have to do is get a rook onto the h-file and I'm won. Obviously, Houdini doesn't think so. Still, at this point if I play the way it wants me to I'm still 2.5 to the good.
25...♕f5!26.♖g3 g5 27.♗c5 ♖ac8 28.a4 ♗f8 29.h3 ♖e6 30.♕d1 ♖f6 31.b4 -2.48
26.♘xd5!26...g5 27.♘c7 ♖ad8 28.♕c2 ♖c8 29.♕c4 ♔g6 30.♕d3 ♕f5 31.♕xf5 ♔xf5 +0.42
26...♖ad8?? At this point I'm starting to realize that it might be a bit more work to wrap this up than I thought just a move ago, but I still see this as totally won for me, and just a question of getting a rook onto the h-file. I am just assuming that the computer is only left with futile shuffling of the pieces and that I can proceed totally unhindered in my designs. I believe I glanced at pieces the queen attacked but totally neglected to register that the rook on g1 is actually an active offensive pieces as well as defending against mate on g2. Interesting though that if I just play to trade off queens I still have a significant advantage according to Houdini.
26...♕f5!27.♕xf5 gxf5 28.♘xd5 ♖ad8 29.♘f4 ♖c8 30.♗c5 ♗f8 31.♗xf8 ♖xf8 32.h3 -1.59
27.♕xg6 ♔g8 28.♕xg7#
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  1. I am not sure if you need some comments, but probably it should not make you any harm when I provide it.

    1) in my opinion you lost NOT because of your "lack of proper attacking skills".
    2) you probably missed the move your opp played, because you were obssesed with checkmate scenario.
    3) I agree you should NOT use enginge BEFORE you tried your own. After you have written the variations you were considering - it is nothing wrong to compare it with engine (especially when you want to see where the tactics went wrong).
    4) The use of engine is VERY helpful thing. However you should know how to use it and when (in what conditions) it should not be trusted (at least not like the absolutelly final and best assessment).
    5) You gained an advantage, but it was not a mating attack.
    6) You are right - strong players know when they should "take back" (or step back) and go into defending mode instead of attacking.
    7) For weaker players it may be quite difficult to distuinguish (differentiate) between winning attack, mating attack and an attack that give a small plus (just a little better position)
    8) Be careful of the variations provided by the engine(s) - because most often they are too complex and difficult to understand - especially if they are not tactical ones
    9) It may be hard to change your gears after you have convinced yourself that your attack is crucial and you have just crushed your opponent
    10) If you gain an advantage against engine or strong player - take notice and try to start looking at the possible WAYS of crushing you (by tactical and positional means)

    If you need to comment or ask about any of the above points - just let me know

  2. One way I have used the engine to help me recognize critical moments while still making myself not do work is go through the game with the engine running BUT make it so I CAN'T see the engine's move choices I can only see the engine's evaluation. When the evaluation goes up or down about .30 or more I STOP the engine, And then analyze that position on my own. THEN i check out the engine's move choices and compare. But this way I use the engine to help me recognize critical moves but still make myself do some analytical work. Has helped me a lot!

  3. @Tomasz: I'm very happy to have your comments. Posting the blog is one way of looking to talk to people about my games and what not. I think you make some good points that I will consider.

    @Tommyg: That's a good idea and I will try it sometime.

  4. It's OK to use TommyG idea. You can use the engine to see the critical points during the game. However you should be able to find out by YOURSELF why tactics is possible at specific moments. At quite high level you should be able to learn HOW to refute the engines' recommendations, but up to now - you have to learn how to spot the tactical mistakes (yours and your opponents).

    I quit chess, but I like reading chess blogs - especially these one that the authors share valuable and interesting ideas, comments and express their thoughts. Thanks!

  5. i dont think there is anything bad in using engines, they show us where we should have a closer look.
    A blundercheck with fritz and a good engine will show within seconds that the biggest blunder of black was 26...Tad8
    Now the 1.question is Why was than an error?
    Its a mate in 2
    Because g6 is attacked twice and defended only once
    How did that happem?
    Qd3 was attacking g6 and g6 was alreay "critical ( attacked once , defended once )

    Conclusion :
    change the thinking process
    1) While your opponent is thinking -> look for critical squares
    2) After your opponent made his move -> analyse opponents move

    If you do that then you will never make the same error again