mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: Well, this was a really tough one, and those who solved it correctly should give
themselves a well deserved pat on the back. So, let's get to work!
There is absolutely no doubt that finding the correct move in this position can only happen if you acquire a very deep understanding of the current position. And this understanding starts with our greatest advantages as white, and black's biggest disadvantages. To me, white has two very major advantages: his pieces are better developed and much better placed, and his king is much much safer.
Now, the first part is quite clear, but it is also clear that it is only temporary - as soon as black manages to maybe move his 'b' pawn up and place his bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal, and then the rook on the 'd' file, his pieces might even be better placed than ours. It is the second part of the equation, black's weak king, that should really attract our attention!
There is actually not so much to this weakness - only the 'g' pawn being on g5 instead of the normal g7. But what a difference this makes! However, it is very important to understand that this difference is significant only if we can take advantage of it! If not, then black's pawn on g5 will not be very much different from a pawn on g7. As a matter of fact, it could even help black place his king better on g7, where more of his pieces could come to his defense, something that comes in handy for him if we try taking advantage of the b1-h7 diagonal with a move such as Qc2 or Qd3.
The important point that I am trying to make, is that being aware of our opponent's disadvantages is not sufficient - we also have to do our best to exploit them. Now when I say "doing our best" I don't neccessarily mean making certain moves, but taking them into account. In other words, when we know our opponent has a weak spot in his position, and we know what this spot is, then we should look at every opportunity for ways to exploit the weakness.
In this particular case, we should understand what the real weakness of the pawn on g5 is. Yes, I know that the king himself looks much weaker, but that is a little too general. We need something more specific, and here it is: the location of the black pawn so close to our own, makes opening the entire king side a much easier task, and that is what we should concentrate on! After all, if we do open up more of the king side, then black's king will be really vulnerable, especially with so many of our pieces roaming around in the area.
Arriving at this point in the thought process is not difficult, right? But here is where the big problem comes in: the move that seems like the best way to put into practice the above ideas appears to be a terrible blunder. The move I am referring to is 1.f4!!
Now again, there should be little doubt as to how great this move would
be, if it works. Its objectives are everything we could have wished and more: not
only does it threaten to blow up black's pawn structure and eliminate his 'h' or 'g' pawn,
either one of which will make our attacking task easier, but it also brings our closest
most powerful piece into action: the rook on f1. Add to this the fact that black's
main defender, the knight on f6, happens to be undefended and on the 'f' file,
and you should get a nice picture of what this move is trying to achieve.
But as always, there is a catch. And a pretty big one in this case: the move of the 'f' pawn leaves the e3 pawn undefended, and allows black not only to take it but to do so with a check, and with the subsequent threat on our rook. It looks like a complete catastrophe, one that could easily make us dismiss 1.f4 immediately.
Here is the secret, though: if we understand well enough how good 1.f4 could be, then we should take the time to check it very carefully to see if it indeed doesn't work - looks should not be enough to deter us. And fortunately, in this case, careful consideration should prove that 1.f4 is really the good move.
Here is what happens: after black plays 1...Be3 2.Kh1 Bc1 we should be smart enough to not let the capture of the bishop slow us down, but instead do what we wanted to all along: open up the king side with 3.fg5!
After all, black too is playing a rook down, as his rook on a8 is so far
from action, so hopefully, the absence of our rook will not hurt as much. Still, we
have lost a rook, and intuition should not be enough to carry the day. In game
conditions, we should actually take the time and calculate further, just to make sure that
we indeed can either checkmate or gain enough material back to make the whole idea
Well, after the obvious 3...Bg5 it is the wonderful 4.Rf6! that makes it all worthwile. So, not only did we lose our first rook, but we are also sacrificing our second one as well! But, there is a good reason: black is running out of defenders. As a matter of fact, if he decides to take back with 4...Bf6, he will awake to a dark surprise when after 5.Qc2 or Qd3 there is no defense from checkmate on h7.
Which is why in the game, black decided to go for 4...Kg7 instead. It is still a good idea to play 5.Qd3 because of all the threats that come with it.
And the fact that 5...Kf6 doesn't work because of 6.Ng4 followed by
either Qd6 or Qh7 checkmate.... Which means that we are only an
exchange down, so if you do get this far in your calculations, it should be enough to
realize that we have plenty of compensation for it. All our pieces are surrounding
the black king, which is pretty lonesome in his area of the board. Even if we do not
calculate the actual checkmate, just looking at the position should tell us that it is not
very far away.
In the game, black went for 5...h5 but still had to surrender after white's nice next couple of moves: 6.h4! Kf6 7.Ng4!! hg4 8.Be5! Ke5 9.Qd4 mate!
A very nice finish to what you must admit is one of the nicer examples out there of a very well led "blitzkrieg" attack.