Gaining a good position is important

Chess basics always stress that if you have gained material (pawns or pieces), the position should be simplified by forcing a spate of exchanges. The extra material more or less is usually sufficient to coast towards victory.

There are however times where it is more beneficial to return back the extra material to ensure a quicker route to victory. In the game which follows Black sacrifices a rook in the middle-game but quickly gets into a disadvantageous position. White interestingly returns back the rook at a favourable time and converts the advantageous position into a winning one!

White: Michael Oratovsky (2465) – Black: Eran Liss (2540)
Rishon Le Ziyyon ,1997
English Opening
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Nc7
Decides to move back the knight
7.0–0 e5 8.a3
White can consider 8.d3 here
8. ..Rb8

Black can play 8. ..Bd6 or even 8. ..Bg4. If 8...f6 9.Rb1 Be7 10.b4 cxb4 11.axb4 Bxb4 12.Nxe5 fxe5 13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.Rxb4 leads to too many exchanges and resulted in a draw in a previous game
9.Rb1 a5
Black weakens the queen-side with this pawn advance. He could have gone on with his development by playing 9. ..Bf5 or 9. ..Bg4
10.d3 Bd7 11.Nd2 f6
If 11...b5 12.a4 b4 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxd5 Nd4 15.Nc4 Bh3 16.Bg2 Bxg2 17.Kxg2

If 12.Nc4 b5! 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Nxa5 Ba8
12...Be7 13.Nc4 Ne6
If 13...0–0 14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 and White is better
14.f4 exf4 15.gxf4 0–0
If 15...f5 16.Nd5 0–0 17.Bd2 b6 18.Bc3 Re8 19.e3
16.f5 Ned4 17.Bf4 Nxf5
Hurrying to grab the pawn and give up the exchange which does not look like a good idea. Black can play 17...Rc8 18.Bd5+ Kh8 19.e4 Be8 20.Nb5
White does not mind grabbing the rook for his bishop
18. ..Qxb8 19.Nb6
White can play 19.Bd5+ Kh8  20.Bxc6 bxc6  21.Qd2 Bd8. If 19.Bh3 Ne3

Not exactly the right move! Black could have played 19...Be6 20.Bd5 Bxd5  21.Ncxd5 Qe5 22.e4 Nfd4 23.Nd7 Qg5+ 24.Kh1 Rf7 25.Nxe7+ Nxe7 26.Rc1 And if 19...Ne3 20.Nxd7 Qd6 21.Qb3+ Rf7 22.Bd5 Ng4 23.Bxf7+ Kh8 24.Rf2 Nxf2 25.Qe6
20.Nxd7 Qxd7 21.Qb3+ Kh8
If 21...c4 22.Qxc4+ Kh8 23.Bh3

Diagram 1


White returns back the exchange!
22. .. Qxf5 23.Qxb7
The Queen invades the seventh rank
23. ..Bd6 24.Qxc6
White is a piece up now!
24. ..Qf4 25.Ne4

If 25.h3 Qe3+ 26.Kf1 Bh2 27.Ke1 Bg3+ 28.Kd1 Bf4 29.Kc2 Qd2+ 30.Kb3
25...Qxh2+ 26.Kf1 Bf4 27.Qxc5 Rb8
Even though the Black queen and bishop have infiltrated, they feel the lack of pieces to assist in the attack. White has no problem as he has everything well defended
28.Qg1 Qh6 29.Qh1 Bh2 30.Bf3 f5 31.Nf2
Things are difficult for Black but he should have played 31.Ng5
31...Qd6 32.Qg2 g5 33.Bc6
If 33.Qxg5 Rg8

33...g4 34.Qd5 Qf6 35.Kg2 Qg5 36.Qe6 f4 37.Ne4 Qh5 38.Qf6+ Kg8 39.Qe6+ Kh8 40.Qf6+ Kg8 41.Ng5 1–0
Diagram 2

White to play and win
1.    Rd1
Iit is all over for Black as the attack is on the queen and the knight which is already pined by the queen.
1.    ..c5 2.Rxd6 Rxd6

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