Wrong rook move could spell danger

Chess Checks

Wrong rook move could spell danger

Rooks are always powerful in a game of chess when they are placed in open files as they then have liberty to move. The rooks invariably enter the warfare last, after most of the other pieces have taken up positions and they have freedom to move. However an error in judgement while deciding on the files they are positioned in could result in a loss.

In the game which follows, White loses his grip on the game after a wrong rook placement. However in mutual time trouble there are mistakes from both sides before Black clinches the game.

White: Joseph Gallagher (2545) – Black: Igor Efimov (2530)
European Championship, 1997
Caro-Kann Defence
1.e4 g6 2.d4 c6 3.Nc3 d5
The Caro-Kann defence
4.h3 Bg7 5.Nf3
White can consider 5.e5
5. ..Nh6. Black had a better option in 5. ..dxe4 or 5. ..Nf6
6.Bf4 f6. Tough to understand this move! Black can play 6. ..dxe4  or 6. ..0-0
7.exd5. Here 7.Be2 or  7.Qe2 appears better
7. ..cxd5 8.Nb5 Na6 9.c4 0–0 10.cxd5
White can also think about 10.Nc3
10. ..Qxd5 11.Rc1
White played a novelty here. Previously played was 11.Nc3  Qf5
11...Kh8 12.Bc4 Qe4+. The White King is still on the original square and this check is always on
13.Be3 Nf5 14.0–0. Things are getting dangerous and hence White decides to castle immediately
14. ..Nxe3 15.Qe2 Bh6 16.Rfe1 Bd7
If 16...e5 17.Bd3 (17.Nd6 Qc6 18.Nxc8 Nxg2) (If 17.dxe5  fxe5  18.fxe3 Bxh3 ) 17...Qd5 18.Nc3 Qf7 19.fxe3 exd4 20.Nxd4 Nc5
17.Nc3 Qf4 18.fxe3 Qg3
The Black queen has infiltrated into the enemy camp and he also has a bishop pair but White still appears better as his pieces are better placed and co-ordinated
19.Ne4 Qb8. Retreating back a long way but then he has little choice!
Preparing to meet 20...Bf5 with 21.Ng3
20...Kg7 21.Bxa6
Not exactly the right continuation. He should have seriously considered 21.Rc3
21...bxa6 22.Nc5 Bc8 23.Rc3! Qd6

Diagram 1
24.Rb3. Suddenly shifting files which is difficult to understand
If 24.Rf1 Rb8 25.Ne5 Qd5 26.b3 Rd8 27.Ned3
24...Rb8. Black immediately invites the exchange of rooks
Once again White could have played 25.Ra3
25. ..Rxb3 26.axb3. White has lost his advantage now
26. ..e5 27.Qg3
He could have played 27.Nc4
27. ..Re8 28.Rf1
Another mistake! Once again he could have played 28.Nc4
28. .. Qe7. Black had a better move in28...Qd8 and he could have destroyed White’s centre with  29.Nc4 exd4 30.Rd1 Bxe3+ 31.Nxe3 Qe7 to be in the driver’s seat
29.Nc4 exd4 30.exd4 Kh8 31.Nd6 Rd8 32.Nxc8 Qe3+ 33.Kh2
If 33.Qxe3 Bxe3+ 34.Kh1 Rxc8 35.Ne6 f5 36.d5
33...Rxc8 34.Qd6. The position appears equal again
34. ..Re8
34...f5 is unclear
35.Rxf6 a5 36.Ne6. A horrifying blunder! Probably both sides were in the time-trouble because last part of the game has been replete with inaccuracies.If 36.Rf3 Qe7 37.Qxe7 Rxe7 38.d5 Re5 39.Rd3 Bf4+ 40.g3 Re2+ 41.Kh1 And if 36.Rf7 and White is better.
36...Rxe6 37.Qxe6 Bf4+

Diagram 2
Black to play and checkmate in two moves
1. ..QxBf1+  2.Kxf1 Bh3 checkmate.

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