Move the knights into right spots

Chess Checks
Last Updated 24 July 2010, 14:13 IST

Knights anchored on the central squares of a chess board is considered an advantage as their power is maximum when placed there.

However in the game which follows, one of Black’s knight stays on the starting square till the end of the game and the timing is bad for the second knight which is anchored a couple of times at the centre of the chess board.

White: Victor Mikhalevski (2516) – Black: Alexander Cherniaev (2432)
London Masters, 1999
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 b5. This is an interesting line
6.Bg2 d6 7.b4
This move needs looking into. Better appears 7.Qb3 or 7.e4
7...cxb4 8.a3
So many pawn moves have been made in the opening stages!
8...bxa3 9.Nxa3 Bd7
If  9...Qd7 10.Qb3 Na6 11.Bh3 Qb7 12.Qxb5+ Qxb5 13.Nxb5 Nb4 14.Rxa7 Rxa7 15.Nxa7 Bd7
If 10.Qb3 Be7 11.Nf3 Na6 12.Nxb5 Nc5 13.Qc4 0–0
10. ..Be7. Here Black could have tried 10. ..a5 or 10. ..Na6
White makes a new move here. If 11.0–0 Na6 12.Nd4 Nc7 13.e4 0–0 14.Rb1 a5 15.Naxb5 Nxb5 16.Nxb5 Rb8
Worth a look is 11. ..b4. If 11...Qa5+12.Qd2 Qb6 13.Qd3 Ng4 14.Naxb5 Bf6 15.Ra2 0–0 16.0–0
White too hurries into castling. He should have also given consideration to 12.Naxb5 Qb6 13.Rb1
12...Qb6 13.Qd3 Ng4
If 13...b4 14.Nc4 Qc7 15.Bf4
14.Naxb5 Ne5
This looks like the most obvious move at a glance but Black would have been better off with   14...Bf615.Ra2
15.Qb1. A retreat which must have taken a lot of consideration
15...Bf6 16.Be3! Nc4 17.Nxa7
The start of a neat combination! White sacrifices a piece
Black is forced to accept the sacrifice. If 17...Qxb1 18.Rfxb1 Re8 19.Nac6 Rxa1
18.Bxd4 Qxd4 19.Qb7
A dangerous move! Infiltrating into enemy territory rather devastatingly
19...Rxa7. If 19...Qb6 20.Qxa8 Na6 21.Nc8 Bxc8 22.Rfb1 Qc5 23.Rxa6 Bxa6 24.Qxa6 and White is better
20.Qxa7 Qxa7 21.Rxa7. Black’s knight is still on the original square and this poses plenty of problems for him
21...Bg4 22.Rc1. Stronger is 22.e4
Diagram 1
For the second time this knight comes to this central square and both the times it is not the right move. If 22...Bxe2 23.Re7. The other knight is still on the original square.
23.f4 Ned7 24.e4. A strong advance!
24. .. f5 25.h3 Be2 26.exf5 Rxf5 27.Kf2 Bd3 28.Rcc7 Rf7 29.Ke3 Ba6
Better is 29...Bg6
30.Rc6. White missed an easier win with 30.Bf3  followed by Bg4
Another dubious move! If 30...Nxc6 31.dxc6 Bb5 32.c7 Re7+ 33.Kd4 Re8 34.Ra5 Be2 35.Bc6 Rc8 36.Bxd7 Rxc7 and Black could have hoped of a draw.
31.Rc8+. Also winning is 31.Rxd6
31...Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Be4 g6 34.h4 Advancing King side pawns
34...Kg7 35.g4 Kf7 36.g5 Kg7 37.f5 gxf5 38.Bxf5 h6 39.Kf4 hxg5+ 40.Kxg5 Kh8 41.h5. White is in a commanding position
41...Nf8 . A blunder by Black but then things were already bad for him.
42.Rb7 and Black resigned.
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Rxb7 Qxb7 2.Qf8 checkmate.

(Published 24 July 2010, 14:13 IST)

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