Timing vital in exchange of pieces

Liquidation means exchange of pieces in a game of chess.

 Beginners would like to exchange pieces without giving much thought but each and every exchange, though not resulting in loss of material, can lead to positional loss. Thereafter it is very difficult to find a good defence to evade defeat.

In the game which follows, for most part White is dominating the proceedings. However his decision to exchange his active rook for an inactive one results in him losing out all the advantage. Thereafter in mutual time pressure, both make mistakes and Black wraps up the game.

White: Joseph Gallagher (2545) – Black: Igor Efimov (2530)Pula, 1997Caro-Kann Defence1.e4 g6 2.d4 c6 3.Nc3 d5The Caro-Kann Defence which is a semi-open defence4.h3. Better option is 4.Nf34.. Bg7 5.Nf3 Nh6Black should have settled things at the centre with 5. ..dxe4  6.Nxe46.Bf4 f6. Black had a better move in 6. ..dxe4  7.Nxe47.exd5 cxd5 8.Nb5 Na6 9.c4 0–0 10.cxd5 Qxd5 11.Rc1White introduced a novelty here . If 11.Nc3 Qf511...Kh8. A bit on the defensive side. He could have considered 11. ..Qe4+  12.Be3 Nf5 12.Bc4 Qe4+ 13.Be3 Nf5 14.0–0Seeking shelter in castling14. ..Nxe3 15.Qe2 Bh6 16.Rfe1 Bd7If 16...e5 17.Bd3 And if  17.Nd6 Qc6 18.Nxc8 (18.Nf7+ Rxf7 19.Bxf7 Qd7) 18...Nxg2And if  17.dxe5 fxe5 18.fxe3 Bxh317.Nc3. Coming back to defend! White could have captured the knight with 17.fxNe3 Bxb5  18.Bxb5 Rc817. ..Qf4 18.fxe3 Qg3. The queen should have retreated to 18. ..Qd6 or 18. ..Qc7 rather than hovering around the King19.Ne4. A good move! White is controlling the centre and his pieces are better posted and this more than compensates for the double bishop enjoyed by Black19...Qb8. Now the queen has no choice but to retreat all the way back20.Qf2Preparing to meet 20...Bf5 with 21.Ng320...Kg7. There was no need for Black to move the King. He could have played 20. ..Rc821.Bxa6. White wants to destroy the bishop battery but better appears  21.Rc321...bxa6 22.Nc5 Bc8 23.Rc3 Qd6Diagram 124.Rb3Not exactly the right decision. It is difficult to understand why White wants to exchange his active rook with an inactive Black rook? If 24.Rf1 Rb8 25.Ne5 Qd5 26.b3 Rd8 27.Ned324...Rb8 25.Nd2 Rxb3Black has solved all his problems now and the position is equal26.axb3 e5 27.Qg3 Re8 28.Rf1Here better is 28.Nc428. ..Qe7Black misses a good move in 28...Qd8 to get out of the pin and challenge White’s position at the centre. The continuation  29.Nc4 exd4 30.Rd1 Bxe3+ 31.Nxe3 Qe7 works in Black’s favour29.Nc4 exd4 30.exd4 Kh8 31.Nd6 Rd8 32.Nxc8 Qe3+ 33.Kh2 If 33.Qxe3 Bxe3+ 34.Kh1 Rxc8 35.Ne6 f5 36.d533...Rxc8 34.Qd6 Re8Another mistake by Black. The correct move is 34...f535.Rxf6 a5 36.Ne6A horrifying blunder in time pressure and this virtually provides the win on a platter to Black. If 36.Rf3 Qe7 37.Qxe7 Rxe7 38.d5 Re5 39.Rd3 Bf4+ 40.g3 Re2+ 41.Kh136...Rxe6 37.Qxe6 Bf4+0–1Diagram 2Black to play and check-mate.1.   ..f5+ 2.gxf62.   If 2.Kh4 Qh1 checkmate2...Qf5+ 3.Kh4 Qh5 checkmate.

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