Tuesday, October 19, 2010


As promised in my last post, I would start writing about chess again.  So here it is; a post that's completely about chess. 

A few weeks ago I did a lecture for one of my chess classes.  I showed one of my favorite games that Judith Polgar played back in 1988 at the tender age of 12.  It's short, but full of wonderful tactics and ends with a spectacular queen sacrifice.  When I show the game I bring up a few different themes in terms of development, removing the defender tactic and square weaknesses.

J. Polgar

Position after 12...Qb6

It's easy to see from the little arrow that Black is threatening White's bishop.  I typically ask the students what the threat is, and how to defend against the threat.  Most students can see that the bishop is hanging, but I'll get various answers on how defend. Answers range from moving the bishop to guarding with a4.  Some students will come up with Polgar's move 13. Nc3. With a more advanced class, the students will be able to explain that the move not only defends the bishop, but completes White's development by connecting the rooks on the back row.  With a group that hasn't quite gotten the hang of opening principles it's an excellent example of how to complete one's development.

After 13...Bxe5 14. Rae1 Bxc3 15. bxc3 this gives me a chance to discuss the tactic: removing the defender.  Even though Black erred in going this route it's still a good example of how remove a defender, leading to the win of a piece.  However in this particular position 15...Qxb5 is a blunder. This leads into the last lesson of weak squares.  Exchanging off the fianchettoed bishop protecting the king is dangerous if one is not getting the same color square bishop in return.  Polgar punished Black with 16. Qh6. No matter how Black defends she can't stop White from mating.

Here's the complete game with the crushing queen sacrifice on move 17.


I did that lesson on a Tuesday, and on Thursday I would play a game with another female where we would both be giving up our fianchettoed bishops for some other then the same color squared bishop.  It was the race to see who could mate first on g2 or g7.  Admittedly the game was sloppy on both our parts leading up to the crucial position.  This was one game where Caissa blessed me with kindness.

Position after 27. Qd2??

Here is where Caissa truly smiled on me.  Move order is the difference between life and death in this position.  Black played 27...Nxf1+? which causes the game to continue 28. Rxf1 Bxf1 threatening mate in two with 29...Qh3+ 30. Kg1 Qg2#.  I defend against the mate with 29. Qh6. creating my own mate threat of 30. Qg7#

However if Black reversed the move order by playing 27...Bxf1!, it leaves White with the unpleasant choices of 28. Rxf1 Nxf1+ forking the king and queen or  29. Qxe3 Qh3+ 30. Kg1 Qg2#.  Fortunately that move order did not occur so I was able to play 29. Qh6 to reach the position below.

Position after 29. Qh6!

Once again Caissa smiled on me as Black played 29....Kf7?? allowing me 30. Nd6+ forking her king and queen.  She could have defended with 29...Qh3+. After 30. Qxh3 Bxh3 31. Nd6 Bd7 we'll end out in a complex position with White having two pawns for being down the exchange.  Given that we were playing cracktion and both were under 8 minutes who knows how it would have gone.  I'm not sure Caissa would have given me another second chance.
Here is the entire game.  It was rather sloppy  I probably should have been punished by Caissa for my play, but maybe she was just being kind knowing how the last two rounds would go for me, two ugly losses after an ugly win.



LinuxGuy said...

I didn't see Qh6, but saw how ...Qf5 and ...f5 (only tries) would lose. Figured she was going to sac that e5 pawn, and you saw the bishop sac coming with Nc3. I am surprised the other person played into, knowing that it's Judit that they are playing against. Apparently, they couldn't figure out the trap.

In your game I didn't find Bc3 either (instead of Qd2), saw Bd4? instead.

Black__Knight said...

Nice chess blog. Keep up the good work. I wanted to jump on you list of followers but you don't have one. you should get one.

Polly said...

Welcome Black Knight! You can still follow even though I don't have a public list. There had been been some problems with the follower gadget not working properly and causing the blog to crash. It's probably been fixed. I just haven't done anytthing with it.

Noreen said...

Polly, I would like to get in touch with you about Dean Ippolito's Simultaneous Chess World record attempt. I would appreciate it if you could respond to me at noreen@deanofchess.com. I believe we've actually met at the USATE (I frequently work at the results desk), and I think Fred Wilson may have introduced us at some point.