Need to keep guard against complacency

Need to keep guard against complacency

The balance in a position during any chess game is dynamic and the equation can change after a slightly careless or even a weak move. Extreme caution is required when the position appears equal as one can get into a false sense of security and opt for a benign looking move or try to set up a combination or trap to force and change the dynamics of the position.

In the game which follows, Black equalizes in the early middle-game but then commits a series of mistakes which tilts the game in White’s favour. Thereafter instead of trying to offer stiff resistance, Black tries to trap White in a small trick, which backfires and he ends upon the losing side immediately.

White: Jonathan Speelman (2625) – Black: Nikolaj Borge (2455)
Yerevan, 1996

Queen’s Gambit Accepted
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4
Accepting the gambitted pawn
4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0–0 a6
Black can also play 6. ..Nc6

White can also look at 7.Nc3
7. ..Nc6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.Qe2 cxd4
Black could have castled here
10.Rd1 0–0

If 10...e5 11.exd4 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qe5 Qd6
11.exd4 Nd5

The players are strictly sticking to opening theory
12.Bd2 b6

Here 12.Qd6 looks better

Here White can look at 13.Ne5 seriously and if  13.Nxd5 exd5 14.Bb3 Bg4
13...Ndb4 14.Ne4 Na5

Both the knights have gone off to the corner of the board. If 14...Bb7 15.Neg5 Nxd4 16.Nxd4 Qxd4

15.Bxb4 Nxb3 16.Bxe7 Qxe7 17.Ra3 Na5 18.Re3 Bb7
The position is equal now

19.Nc3 Qd6 If 19...Qb4 20.d5 Bxd5 21.Nxd5 exd5 22.Rxd5 Qxa4
20.Ng5 h6 Black immediately wants to push back the knight. If 20...Qf4 21.Re5 Nc6 22.g3 Qf6 White loses material. 23.Nxh7 Kxh7 24.Ne4 Qg6 25.Rg5 Nxd4 26.Rxd4 Bxe4 27.Rxg6 Bxg6 and White is better

21.Nge4 Bxe4 Black should have retreated his queen 21…Qe7 or21. ..Qc7. If  21...Qb4 22.Nf6+ Kh8 (22...gxf6 23.Qh5) 23.Rh3.
…… 21...Qe7 22.d5 exd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Rxd5]

White is better now
22. ..Rfd8 23.d5 exd5 24.Nxd5 Kf8
A mistake! Black should have moved his King to  24...Kh8
25.g3 Qc6 Another mistake! Black should have tried to get his knight into play with 25. ..Nc6

Threatening Qe7+
26...Re8 27.Qd3
Now White is threatening 28 Qh7
27...Kg8 28.Rg4
White had a better move in 28.b4 to push back the knight and virtually make it out of play

28. ..Re6 If 28...Re5 29.b4 and White remains better
29.b4 Nb7 30.Qd4
Here if 30.Rc4 Qxa4 31.Rc7 Nd8

Diagram 1

Another mistake! Black is trying to set up a trap and in the process ends up in a losing position

If 30...g6 31.Re4 Rae8 32.b5 (32.Nf6+ Kf8) 32...axb5 33.axb5 Rxe4 34.Qxe4 Qe6 (34...Rxe4 35.bxc6) 35.Nf6+ Kf8 36.Qb4+ Qe7 And if  30...f6 31.Qd2 f5 32.Rc1 Qxa4
31.h4 A good move!

31. .. f5 There is no defence for Black now. If 31. ..Nxd5  32.hxg5 h5  33.Rf4
32.hxg5 White gives up the rook to set a checkmating net
32. ..fxg4 33.gxh6 If 33.gxh6 Qd7 34.Nf6+  

Diagram 2
Black to play and win
1. ..Rxe3  2.Qxe3 c4  3.Qf3 Bc5+ and White cannot escape defeat

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox