mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: The focus of this particular Lesson is not so much about the correct thought
process required to finding the right plan and move, or even about finding a
What it is really about, is brute calculation. There are only two ways in which you ca find the right move in such a position: lucky guess or perfect calculation. From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with lucky guess, except that probability teaches us it is not going to work every single time. So, we better brush up on the calculation part!
Now, all of the above do not mean that analysis of the position is not necessary anymore. On the contrary! The secret to calculating correctly lies in two simple things: taking into account all the moves that should be taken into account, and calculating the variations as far as they should be calculated. And it is the position analysis that tells us what these values "should" be.
Well, in this case, we have plenty to talk about. White has just queened his 'e' pawn, and he threatens no less than checkmate on his next move with Qg7. And since we are at the checkmate subject, let's also mention the fact that our king is stuck on the 8th rank with no place to go, which makes the back rank checkmate another probable outcome, if we survive until then...
So, the big question is what do we do next?
There is no doubt as to the fact that we can not survive a queen down. There is also no doubt as to the fact that if we do get the queen back... well, we should have a great position with two pawns up! So, there is a lot riding on this queen...
Unfortunately, as I hope you realized, taking the queen right away with 1...Re8 would be a great error, because of the nice combo at white's disposal: 2.Qg7! Bg7 3.Re8 Qf8 4.Rf8 mate!
With this possibility out of question, things become much more complicated. If we can't win the queen back, and we have white's checkmate threat on hands, what options are left? This is the point! There are not that many options! If we can not do everything with check, we are practically (and theoretically) dead... Which means it is time to carefully calculate all the variations involving a check on the first move.
1...Qc6 is clearly out of the question, because of the queen trade. Unfortunately, so is the other obvious move 1...Qd5 because after 2.Kh3, we are forced to check again with the only check available 2...Qf5 and after 3.Kh4 this is what we see:
We have no decent checks in sight, because both our pawn on g7
and bishop on f8 are tied up... And taking the queen still doesn't work, because
white's combo is as effective as ever... In other words, we are finished...
All right, so let's go to our next checking move 1...Rg1
We are obviously sacrificing our rook with this move, but
interestingly enough, if the white king takes it, the rook on e3 suddenly
becomes pinned, so we can finally capture the queen on e8 unpunished... Which is
very good news indeed. And that is not all the good news we have. For instance,
2.Kf3 doesn't work for white because of 2...Qf5 mate. But before we get all
excited about winning this game, let's cool down a little bit. A careful and
complete calculation will reveal that white still escapes the checks in a way
already familiar to us: 2.Kh3 and after 2...Qf5 3.Kh4.
Now things are getting a little more exciting. We have only one other first move candidate left for consideration and that is 1...Rd2! Fortunately, calculating it with attention shows that it is the right move!
This is still a rook sacrifice, but taking the rook drives this
time the white queen off track, which means that after 2.Qd2 we can take the
queen on e8 and then benefit from the Qc6 check-rook, in case white takes our
rook on e8. Let's take into consideration all the other options that white has:
.Re2 is satisfactory for us, because with the rook pinned it is once again open hunting season for white's queen.
2.Kf3 couldn't suit us better thanks to the same old 2...Qf5 mate
2.Kh1 allows us to push the rook to d1 and then back to d2 which is sufficient for a draw, a result that under the current conditions would make us extremely happy...
2.Kf1 gives us the opportunity to check on f5 with our queen with very good consequences. For instance after 3.Rf3 Qh3 4.Ke1 Re8 our position becomes very close to winning
2.Kg1 provides us with an already familiar pin of the e3 rook, thus leaving as the only other move 2.Kh3, the one that has been causing us so much trouble already. In this line though, there is a significant improvement: our rook is on the second rank, which means that after 2...Qf5 white can't use the usual h4 escape route because of the quick mate on h2. This leaves white no choice than to go for 3.g4 which opens new territories for us including the 3...Qf1 strike. After 4.Kh4 (4.Kg3 runs into 4...Qf2 5.Kh3 Qh2 mate) the winning path takes us through a picturesque line: 4...Rh2 5.Kg5 (5.Rh3 loses the game on material after we trade all the pieces and capture the queen back) 5...Rc5! 6.Qe5 (either one of the queens or the rook for that matter) 6...Qf6 checkmate!
What a pretty picture... This, of course, means that white would be well advised to abandon any victory hopes and choose the drawing path with 2.Kh1. Regardless, we have found a way to get ourselves out of trouble, and that thanks to a very precise calculation. Please note how important each line was, and that missing a single Pointe in any one of the variations discussed above could turn everything around. Not to mention that at the board, you have to do this entire calculation in your head, and under the pressure of time. I guess this is why people strive to become Grandmasters, right?