Retreating is never a good option

Retreating is never a good option

It never pays to be a bit over defensive and retreat your pieces often in a game of chess. It is easier to try and play actively rather than get into a cramped and passive position with your pieces hovering around in your own territory without much scope.

In the game which follows, Black retreats his knight and queen a few times and soon lands in a passive position. White also fails to play accurately but it does not matter as Black hardly has any game plan and cannot create any counter play.

White: Timur Ivanov (2425) – Black: Sarhan Guliev (2470)
Moscow 1995

Dutch Defence

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 f5
Black decides to get a Dutch Defence set up.

5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 Be7 7.Bd3 0–0 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.g4
This move looks aggressive and interesting but White was better off after castling.
9. .. Na6

Here Black has quite a few continuations possible. If 9...fxg4 10.Bxe4 gxf3 Bxh7+ Kh8 12.Rg1. And if  9...b5 10.cxb5 cxb5 11.gxf5 exf5 12.Nxb5 Na6 13.a3 Qa5+. And if 9...Qa5 10.gxf5 Bb4 11.Kf1 Bxc3 12.bxc3 e5 13.Nxe5 Bxf5 14.f3 Bh3

10.a3 Qa5
Here Black could have exchanged off the knights with 10. ..Nxc3
11.Ke2. White decides against castling and moves his King.
11. ..Nxc3+

If 11...fxg4 12.Bxe4 gxf3+ 13.Bxf3 dxc4 14.Be5! Bf6 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 (15...gxf6 16.Rag1+ Kh8 17.Rg3 Bd7 18.Rhg1) 16.Ne4 Rf8 17.Rhg1 Qf5 18.Bg4 Qd5 19.Ng5
12.bxc3 Nc7 13.Ne5

A good spot for the knight to be anchored. If 13.c5 Ne8 14.Rhg1 Kh8 15.Rg2 Nf6 16.Rag1 Ne4
13...Ne8. Retreating! If 13...Bf6 14.Rhg1 Ne8 15.Rg2

14.Rhg1 Nd6 15.gxf5
Here better appears 15.c5Nf7  16.c4 Nxe5  17.Bxe5 Bf6
15. ..exf5 16.c5 Ne8

The knight retreats once again to the same square. If  16...Ne4 17.f3 (17.Bxe4 fxe4 18.Rg3 Bh4  19.Rg2 Bh3) 17...Nxc3+ 18.Kf1 Na4 19.Rxg7+ Kxg7 20.Qg2+ Kh8 21.Bh6 Bf6 22.Bxf8 Be6 23.Bh6 Rg8

17.Bg5. Once again 17.c4 was more active and offered more scope for White to attack
Diagram 1
17. ..Qd8

As a matter of interest Black has retreated most of his pieces in this game
More aggressive is 18.h4
18. ..Bxg5 19.Rxg5 Qf6

If 19...g6 20.h4
20.Rag1 b6
Worth a look is 20. ..Qh6

21.Qa4 b5. If 21...bxc5 22.Qxc6 Qxc6 23.Nxc6 cxd4 24.cxd4 Rf7 (24...Be6 25.Bxf5 Bxf5 26.Ne7+ Kh8 27.Nxf5) 25.Ne5 Re7 26.Bb5 and White is better
22.Qa5 Kh8 23.R1g3

Once again White could have taken a break on queen side with 23.a4 bxa4  24.Qxa4 Rb8
23. ..Kg8 24.Kd2 Kh8 25.Be2

Once again White is slow on the attack. More promising is 25. Rh5 Kg8  26.a4 bxa4 27.Qxa4 Rb8
25. ..Qe6

Black should have played 25. ..a5  26.a4 Rb8
If 26.Bh5 Nf6 27.Qc7 with advantage for White

A big mistake! Black should have thought of 26. ..Rb8  27.Kc2 Rb7
27.h4 Qe7 28.h5 Qd8 29.Qxd8 Rxd8 30.h6 Rf6
If 30...g6 31.Rxg6 hxg6 32.Nxg6+ Kg8 33.Nxf8+ Kxf8 34.h7 And if  30...gxh6 31.Rg8+ Rxg8 32.Nf7 checkmate

31.hxg7+ Kg8 32.Bh5 h6 33.Bf7+ Rxf7 34.Nxf7
Diagram 2

White to play and checkmate
1.Bxe7+ Rxe7  2.Rg6 checkmate.