Positional superiority matters most

Positional superiority matters most

Material balance can be deceptive and it is never an indication of the direction a chess game can take! At all times and after every move, it is the position which is supreme.

Of course many a time an equal appearing position can lull a player into false sense of security and just one weak move suffices for the game to crash like a pack of cards.

In the game which follows, the position is fluctuating and just when it appears that the game might be heading for a draw with each player having a queen, rook and identical pawns, Black commits a mistake. Thereafter there is no saving grace for Black and he immediately ends on the losing side.

White: Rustem Dautov (2597) – Black: Dirk Paulsen (2331)
Altenkirchen, 1999

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 0–0 7.Rc1 dxc4 8.Bxc4 a6 9.a4 c. Generally the usual continuation is 9...c5 10.0–0 cxd4
10.0–0. If 10.e4 b5 11.Bd3 bxa4 12.Qxa4
10...b5. Black has a go on the queen side

If 11. Bxf6 Nxf6  12.Bd3 Bb7 And if 11.Bb3 Bb7 12.Qe2 b4 13.Nb1 c5 14.Rfd1 cxd4
If 11...bxa4 12.Nxa4
White had a better option in 12.Qe2 Rc8  13.Rfd1  and even 12.Qc2 also looks good  
12...Bxf6. If 12...Nxf6 13.Ne4
13.Qc2 g6. 

Black could have played 13...h6 14.Ne4
14.Ne4 Be7 15.Rfd1 bxa4 16.Qxa4 Qb6 17.Qc2 a5 18.h4 Rfc8 19.h5
If 19.Nc5 Nxc5 20.dxc5 Qc7
19...c5 20.Ne5 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Bd5
Black enjoys the bishop pair advantage. If 21...c4 22.Bxc4 Bxe4 23.Qxe4 Qxb2 24.hxg6 hxg6 25.Rb1
22.Nd6. Almost forcing Black to part with a bishop for knight. If 22.hxg6 hxg6 23.Rd2
22...Bxd6. The correct  response.
If 22...Bb3 23.Nxc8 Rxc8 24.Qb1 Bxd1 25.Rxd1
23.exd6 Qxd6. If 23...Bb3 24.Qc3 Bxd1 25.h6 f6 26.Qxf6
24.Bxg6. White suddenly decides to sacrifice his bishop.

The correct continuation here is 24.hxg6 hxg6  25.Bxg6 Qe5  26.Bd3. If 24.e4 Bb7 and Black is better

24...hxg6. If 24...fxg6 25.e4 (25.hxg6 Qe7 26.e4 Bb7 27.gxh7+ Qxh7) 25...Ra7 26.exd5 exd5 27.hxg6 hxg6 28.Rd3
25.e4 Kh7. Black cannot move the bishop as he then loses the queen. If  25...gxh5 26.Qd2 f6 27.exd5 Rd8 28.Qh6 exd5 29.Qg6+ Kf8 30.Qh6+
26.hxg6+ fxg6 27.Rd3 Qe5
If 27...Bxe4 28.Rxd6 Bxc2 29.Rxc2
28.exd5 exd5

The game is more or less evenly balanced with both players having double rooks and queen each
29.Re3 Qf6 30.Rce1 Rc7
If 30...Ra7 31.Re6
31.Rh3+ Kg8 32.Ree3
A mistake! White should have played 32.  Rf3 or even 32. Rhe3 for that matter
32. ..Rf8

If 32...Rb8 33.Reg3 gives advantage to White
33.Reg3 Kg7 34.Rf3 Qd6 35.Qd2
If 35.Rxf8 Qxf8 (35...Kxf8 36.Qc3 d4 37.Qxa5) 36.Qd2 with an equal position

If 35...Rxf3 36.Qh6+ Kf7 37.Rxf3+ Kg8 38.Rg3 Rg7 (38...Qe5 39.Rxg6+ Rg7 40.Re6 Qf5 41.g3  ) 39.Rh3 Kf7 40.Qh8 Qd7 41.Rf3+ Ke6 42.Qh4
36.Rxh8 Kxh8 37.Qh6+ Kg8 38.Rg3

Diagram 1
38...Rg 7A blunder! Black could have offered more resistance with 38. Qe5 Rxg6+  39.Rg7. If 38...Rc6 39.Rh3 Qe5 40.Qh7+ Kf8 41.Re3
39.Rh3 Re7
If 39...Kf7 40.Qh8
40.Qh8+ Kf7 41.Rf3+ 1–0

Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Qd8+ Kf7 2.e6+ Qxe6+
If 2...Kxe6 3.Qe8+ 3.Bc4 and White wins.

Diagram 1
Diagram 2

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