Battering bishops is fraught with danger

Chess Checks
Last Updated : 16 January 2010, 13:57 IST
Last Updated : 16 January 2010, 13:57 IST

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 The bishop pair is also easy to operate and one seldom goes wrong in handling them.
In the game which follows, both players have a bishop pair in the middle-game but White’s bishops are actively placed. What is most interesting is the finish when Black resigns as both of White’s bishops after intense war fare are back on their original squares and still exert control in getting a decisive result in White’s favour.

White: Matthew Sadler (2660) – Black: Joel Lautier (2625)
Elista, 1998 Nimzo Indian Defence
 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3
Interestingly both players prefer this variation of the Nimzo Indian
4...0–0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 b6 7.0–0 Bb7 8.Na4. Taking his knight to the side of the board
 8...Qe7. Opting for a variation which is not so common these days. The usual continuation is

 8...cxd4 9.exd4 (9.a3 Be7 10.exd4) 9...Re8 10.Bg5 Bf8
9.a3 Ba5. A rather tricky place to be in!
10.b3. This is interesting! If  10.dxc5 bxc5 11.Nxc5 Qxc5 12.b4 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Qe5 14.bxa5 Qxa1 15.Qxa8 Qc3 16.Rd1 Nc6 17.Qb7 Qxa5
10...d5 . Aiming for the centre! If 10...Bc6 11.Bb2 Bxa4 12.bxa4 cxd4 13.Nxd4 (13.exd4 d5 14.Ne5) 13...e5 (13...Nc6 14.Nxc6 dxc6 15.Qf3 Rac8 16.Rad1) 14.Nf5 Qe6 15.f4 16.Nxg7 Kxg7 17.f5

11.Bb2 dxc4 12.Bxc4. This is the best move! If 12.bxc4 Nbd7. 12...Nbd7 13.Rc1 Rfd8 14.Qe2 a6 15.Bd3
If 15.dxc5 b5
15...Bd5. Black also could have thought about 15...cxd4 16.exd4 (16.b4 Bxf3 17.gxf3 b5 18.bxa5 bxa4) 16...Nd5 (16...b5 17.Nc5) 17.b4 (17.Bb1 Nf4 18.Qe3 Nd5 19.Qd3 (19.Qe4 f5 (19...N7f6 20.Qh4) ) 19...N7f6 20.b4 b5 21.Nc5 Bb6 and the game suddenly becomes double edged with Black also having counter play

16.dxc5 b5. If 16...bxc5 17.Bc4 is slightly better for White
17.b4 bxa4. Black could have also looked at 17. ..Bxf3  18.Qxf3 Bc7
18.c6. A good advance which makes things difficult for Black
18. ..Bb6 19.cxd7 a5 20.bxa5 Rxa5 21.e4 Ba8
Incidentally both players enjoy a bishop pair which is trained on the King side
22.Ne5 Nxd7 23.Nc4. An interesting move!

23. .. Ra7 24.Nxb6 Nxb6 25.Bb5. A superb move! White is in command of things with his bishop pair more powerful than his opponent’s. Also Black’s knight is virtually out of the game as he has no good squares to land on!
25...Nd7 26.Rfd1 Nf8 27.f3. White can also exchange the rooks and win with 27.Rxd8 Qxd8

27. .. h6 28.Qc4 Rc7 29.Qxa4 Rxc1 30.Rxc1 Qg5 31.Bf1. Back to square one! This incidentally is a good move as the bishop comes back in defence and prevents any counter chances for Black

31. ..Rd2. Invading the seventh rank but it is too late now!
32.Qb3 Ng6. Desperately trying to work something out but the position is lost for Black! .33.Rc8+ Kh7 34.Bc1

Diagram 1

A strange sight! Both bishops after moving around during the game are back to their original squares in the finishing stages of the game.

34. ..Nf4. More in desperation than anything else. 35.g3 And Black resigned.

Diagram 2

White to play and checkmate
1.Bg5+ Kxf7. The sequence is forced as Black does not have any choice
2.Nd6 checkmate.

Published 16 January 2010, 13:57 IST

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