Focusing on a single piece can backfire

Chess Checks

Focusing on a single piece can backfire

There are a few games where one can witness a single piece moving many times in the opening stages of a chess game. This disturbs the balance of the game as it hampers the development of other pieces and allows the opponent to take control of the crucial squares.

In the game which follows, black is guilty of moving his king-side knight more than necessary not only in the opening stages but throughout the game. As a consequence his pieces do not come out into the game and white whips up a winning attack.

White: Gad Rechlis (2520) – Black: Ilia Botvinnik (2370)
Israel, 1998
The Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5
The Sicilian Defence
2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.0–0 Ne7 6.d3
White can try even 6.b3 or 6.g3
6. ..Ng6 7.Ng5
Aggression too early in the game.
Black immediately pushes back the knight. If 7...e5 8.Qh5 Be7 9.Nc3
He could have retreated back to 8.Nf3 but either way he has wasted a couple of moves
8. ..d6
A rather  dull looking move! Black can try out 8. ..Qc7. Previously played was 8...e5 9.f4 exf4 10.Nxf4 Nxf4 11.Bxf4 d6 And if 8...Be7 9.f4 0–0 10.Qh5 d6 11.Nd2 Qe8 12.f5 Ne5 13.f6
White could have thought of 9.Nf4 here
9. ..e5
Rather a strange advance. Black could have developed his pieces with 9. ..Be7 to maintain a slight edge.
10.f5 Ne7
He hardly has a choice now!
If 11.f6 gxf6 12.Rxf6 (12.Qh5 Bg7 13.Nd2 Be6 14.Nf3 f5) 12...Bxh3 13.gxh3 Rg8+ 14.Kh1 Ng6 15.Rf1 Qd7
Back to square 1!
12.Nc4 Nf6 13.Qf3
White has already castled while Black is hampered by development problems. White has started positioning his pieces to launch an attack
If 13...Ba6 14.Ne3 (14.Nf2 Bxc4 15.dxc4 Be7 16.Qg3 Kf8 17.b3) 14...d5 15.Nf2 d4 16.Neg4 Nxg4 17.Nxg4 f6 18.b3
A good move!
14. ..Kf8 15.Nf2
Diagram 1
15. ..Nh7
The knight has moved too many times in the Opening! Black is having difficulty in bringing out his pieces and it is difficult to understand why he is moving the knight so many times. If 15...Kg8 16.a3 Kh7 17.b4 cxb4 18.axb4 a6 19.c3
16.a3 Bh4 17.Qf3 Ng5 18.Qh5
The Queen infiltrates!
18. ..Bxf2+ 19.Rxf2 Nh7
If 19...Ba6 20.Nxd6! Qxd6 21.Bxg5
20.b4. White now shifts attention to the queen flank!
20...cxb4. Even now Black could have brought his light square bishop into play
21.axb4 f6
A lot of inaccurate moves and this move virtually hand the game on a platter to White. If 21...Nf6 22.Qh4 Kg8 23.Be3 Rb8 24.c3 a6 25.d4 Black can try to rustle up some defence
22.Be3 Kg8
If 22...a6 23.Nxd6
23.Nb6 Rb8 24.Rxa7
Now the rook invades the seventh rank and in combination with the queen would be looking to set up a checkmating attack
24. ..Bb7 25.c3 Nf8 26.Rfa2 Kh7
A blunder! But then the position has been beyond repair
27.Qf7 and Black resigned
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Qf7 and White wins

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