mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: I have said, many times, that combinations never come "out of the blue."
There are always factors in the position that either cause, or at least allow the
combination to happen. However, there are definitely two kinds of position that I
have often encountered: those where seeing the factors in the position is
really easy, and where just calculating is the difficult part - for instance, the typical
sacrifice on h7, seen in so many games. Now pleas understand, I am not trying to
demean this type of positions at all. I think that calculating correctly, and coming
up with just the right move order is not easy at all, so making a nice combination is not
exactly a joke, even when the position calls for one.
Nevertheless, you can not even compare the situation I just mentioned, with that we find ourselves in in the position under consideration. It comes from a rather famous game played in a world championship match between two of the world's best players: Bronstein, and Botvinnik. I would be quite interested to see how you have assessed this position, since I think there are numerous ways in which you could do it.
People who are really materialistic, and believe in the absolute superiority of the rook, would most likely consider white's position superior, thanks to the extra exchange. But, if you were to analyze the position very objectively, you would have no choice than to agree that black is indeed better. He has two pawns for that exchange, and a pair of bishops, that could harass even the bravest of rooks. Furthermore, black's pawns are strategically placed on g4 and e4, thus giving him extra space, which could also become very useful in the endgame that seems to ensue as soon as the queens come off the board.
To summarize, if we just look at the position we should conclude that we are dealing with a dynamic position in which black has the upper hand, and white is fighting for the draw.
What is most interesting about this game, is that there is absolutely no fault you could find with this analysis if you were just looking at the static position. As a matter of fact, even if you were looking at the positions that could ensue after white's move, it doesn't really seem like anything special is about to happen. I mean, yes, the queens might get traded on the a2-g8 diagonal, but that is hardly special, right?
As I said, though, a combo never comes uninvited. There is a certain factor in this position that causes white's absolutely amazing move to be possible, it is just that the certain factor is well hidden, and must be carefully searched in order to be discovered. The element in question is the cornered black king!
You are looking at a king that seems to be very comfy on his quiet diagonal controlled by his own bishop. However, you are also looking at a king that currently has absolutely no squares to go to, thanks to the ever vigilant rook on the 7th rank. The real question, though, is how to take advantage of this situation - is there a way to do that? You bet! Bronstein surprised his opponent with this amazing move: 1.Bg3!!
As much as we try justifying the move, the fact is that it still appears
like it came completely out of the blue. Here we have a queen on b3 that is
undefended, and threatened by the black queen, and what do we do - we move our bishop?
Well, the answer is yes, and for a good reason! Because if black were to even
think about taking the queen, suddenly the precarious situation of the king would become
clear like daylight: 1...Qb3 2.Be5 Kg8 3.Rg7 Kh8 4.Rf8 followed by a painful
So, big deal, black can not take the queen... But he certainly has other moves, right? The unexpected answer is a resounding no! In fact black has no way out: If he takes the bishop on g3, he will regret it dearly after 2.Qc3 check. If he tries to defend the bishop with a move such as 1...Qg5, he once again runs into the disaster on the 8th rank after Rf8.
Finally, if he tries to run away with the bishop, as Botvinnik did with 1...Bg7, white can simply wrap things up with 2.Qg8
Yes, now he is more than happy to trade queens. After all, black's
only reply, taking back the queen, transposes into an endgame, but a completely lost one,
since white's next move will be to capture the rook on b8. No wonder, thus, that
black preferred to resign.
So, could you have imagined just one move ago that black was actually completely lost? I am pretty sure Botvinnik didn't...