1. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    15 Jul '23 22:06
    The following chess movie presents the game between Michael Wilder (White) and Vasily Smyslov (Black) from the 1987 New York Open.

    White's fate in this game reminded me of the English translation of an old Russian saying: "The man found himself suddenly under the train."

    Let's return to the position after 26...Ne5:

    To meet the threat of 27...a4, White played 27. Rc1. An alternative was the more direct 27.a4.

    Supposing that Black replied 27...Nf7, what should White's plan be?

    When the opponent's pieces are hindering the mobility of one's own pieces, exchanging pieces usually reduces this pressure.

    Which pieces should White seek to exchange?

    Being that the game continuation showed how White's bishop was ineffectual, White should probably try to exchange it for its Black counterpart, either at a3 or at d4 (after moving the knight).

    At which square (a3 or d4) is offering a bishop exchange less likely to be evaded by Black (by moving the bishop off the diagonal)?

    Probably a3, because Black's bishop is shielding the d-pawn from attack along the a3/f8 diagonal.

    If (after 27.a4 Nf7) White played 28.Ba3 and it continued 28...Bxd4 29.Rxd4 Rxe2 30.Bxd6 (see diagram)

    which side would this favor?

    In this position, Black would have 30...Rb2, which would force 31.Ra3 (because 31.Rd3 would result in an "overload" of this rook). Then 31...Re8 would threaten to double along the seventh rank and give Black a big edge.

    Given that 28.Ba3 Bxd4 is favorable to Black, how should White "prepare" Ba3...?

    A sure way to prevent ...Bxd4 is to retreat White's knight, say to f3--where the piece could exchange Black's knight if it were to come to e5 or g5. The following chess movie gives a plausible continuation (starting with 27.a4).

    It appears that after 27.a4, 27...Nf7 would have allowed White to equalize. The following chess movie examines what might have happened if Black played 27...Ra6 without first retreating his knight.

    In the final position of the above chess movie, Black has a passed c-pawn, but White has a rook and bishop versus rook and knight in an open position. So, I reckon that White is at least equal.

    This game has illustrated the need to remain alert even in positions where it would seem difficult for either side to create meaningful threats.

    (A list of the threads I've initiated at this forum is available at http://www.davidlevinchess.com/chess/RHP_my_threads.htm .)
  2. Joined
    18 Jan '07
    16 Jul '23 08:03
    That must be a pretty new old Russian saying, unless the original was about a troika...
  3. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    16 Jul '23 16:47
    @shallow-blue said
    That must be a pretty new old Russian saying, unless the original was about a troika...
    I'd read the English rendering of the saying in a quote of Spassky in Chess Life magazine. Maybe he didn't characterize it as "old."

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