Judgement is crucial in middle game

Judgement is crucial in middle game

During the middle-game stages of a chess game, the manouevring of pieces plays a crucial part. It is here that judgement and experience come into play. It helps the player to know which files and diagonals need to be controlled. Sometimes even retreating pieces and starting afresh on a new diagonal or file can change the entire complexion of the game.

In the game which follows, the Opening phase is rather an interesting one where the players keep exchanging pawns very frequently. The Queen side is soon almost devoid of  pawns. White however gains the bishop pair advantage and it is the retreat of the light squared bishop which attacks Black’s queen that leads to White’s victory.

White: Yuri Shulman (2480) –  Black: Tomas Oral (2455)

Ostrava  1998

Queen’s Gambit

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 0–0 9.Be2 cxd4

The Queen’s Gambit is one of the most analyzed Openings in chess and the players are following previously played games

10.cxd4 Qa5+ 11.Bd2 Qxa2

The queenside is almost clear of pawns now
12.0–0 a5 13.Bg5 a4 14.Re1

White played a new move here. The usual continuation is 14.Ra1  or 14.Bb5
14...Bg4

If 14...Qe6 15.d5 Qd6 (15...Qxe4   16.Bb5 Qf5 17.Bxe7 a3 18.Bxf8 Bxf8 19.Bc4 Qf6 20.d6) 16.e5 Bxe5 17.Nxe5 Qxe5

15.Bxe7 Re8 16.Ra1 Qe6 17.Ba3

If 17.Bb4   17...Nc6 18.d5 Qxe4

17...Qxe4 18.Ng5 Qf4

If 18...Qxe2 19.Rxe2 Bxe2 20.Qc2 Nc6 21.Qa2 Nxd4 22.Qxf7+ Kh8
19.Bc4

A good move. It is to be noted that both the bishops are trained on Black’s King side
19. .. Nc6

It is an interesting position with lot of possibilities. If 19...Be5 20.Bxf7+  (20.Nf3 Nc6) ( And if 20.Qxg4 Qxg4 21.Bxf7+ Kg7 22.Bxe8 Qxg5)
20.Nxf7

An interesting knight sacrifice!  White can also continue 20.Rxe8 Rxe8  21.Qc1 Qxc1+  22.Rxc1 Nd8

20. ..Rxe1+

Black goes in for exchanges, which helps White. If 20...Bxd1 21.Nd8+ Re6 22.Rxe6 Kh8 23.Re8+ Bf8 24.Nf7+ (24.Rxf8+ Qxf8 25.Bxf8 Rxd8 26.d5 Rxf8 27.dxc6 Bc2 28.cxb7 Be4 29.Ba6 Rb8 30.Rxa4 Bxb7 31.Rb4 Ra8) 24...Kg7 25.Bxf8+ Kf6 26.Re6+
21.Qxe1 Bxd4 This is the most natural looking move but puts Black in an inferior position. Black could have tried out 21. ..h5  22.Bd6 Qf6  23.Be5 Qe7 though this too does not help his cause.

Diagram 1

22.Bc1

This retreating move is the best one for White!. If 22.g3   22...Bxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Qxc4 24.Nh6+ Kg7 25.Nxg4 (25.Qe3 Be6 26.Bb2+ Kf8 27.Rf1+ Ke8) 25...Qxg4 26.Bb2+ Kh6 27.Qf7 Nd4 28.Bc1+ g5 29.Qf6+ Kh5 30.Bb2 and White is better
22...Qf6

If 22...Qc7 23.Rxa4 Bxf2+ (23...Rf8 24.Nh6+ Kh8 25.Nxg4 Ne5 26.Be3) 24.Kxf2 Qb6+ 25.Kg3 And if 22...Bxf2+ 23.Qxf2 Qxc4 24.Nh6+ Kg7 25.Bb2+ Kxh6 26.Qh4+ Bh5 27.Qxc4 And if 22...Qb8 23.Bh6 and White is better in all variations.

 23.Nh6+ Kh8 24.Nxg4 Bxf2+

More in desperation than anything else. It is a lost game for Black.

25.Qxf2 Qxa1

Black cannot save the game anyway. If 25. ..Qxf2+  26.Nxf2 h5  27.Bb2+ Kh7
26.Qb2+ 1–0 Black is forced to lose the queen as the double bishops are threatening checkmate.

Diagram 2

White to play and checkmate in two moves 1.Qd8+ Kxd8 2.Rf8 checkmate. The sequence is forced and Black does not have any choice.

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