Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Passive Exchange Sacrifice For Attack

Here's a nice example of a passive exchange sacrifice vs the long castle position.

I will post my analysis of how Black can play after 2. Bc1 and 3. Bc1 in upcoming updates. Analysis of Black to Play After 2. Bc1:
Here's my Reassess Your Chess style analysis of the position.
1. Minor Pieces - The Black knight on c4 is the star of the show with the Bf6 making a good performance in a supporting role. The White bishops are an endgame advantage but are currently quite defensive and not striking at much. A clear edge to Black here.
2. Material - Currently equal 3. Development/Time - Black is better coordinated.
4. Pawn Structure - An edge to White in an endgame but once again Black is well positioned to advance on the a and b files. The d5/d6 duo cuts down the influence of the White bishops. Black will try for a KO in the middlegame. White has some chances in an ending of drawing or winning.
5. Files/Ranks - Black can make good use of the c file. White has the e file on which there is nothing much to strike at. Edge to Black.
6. King Safety - Edge to Black for the moment. White should try and complicate with a possible Rf1, Rxf6 idea.
My assessment - A small advantage to Black but White is not without defensive resources and chances to win an endgame.
How to Proceed for Black: 1. Keep White from untangling. To this end ...Rfe8 comes to mind. Drive the White queen off a strong square and prevent Bd3 w/ Qh7# ideas. The White Queen most likely moves to g4 which seems to lead to a queen trade which favors White. This is now revealed to be a key resource for White in the position. Qg4 for is an annoying move to deal with. So an immediate Rfe8 and Black has to deal with a queen trade most likely which would seemingly end any chance Black has of an attack. 2. ...Ne5 cutting out Qg4 ( Bg4 also ) is an interesting idea. Black needs to avoid some exchanges and keep White bottled a bit longer to get a more significant advantage. Black can then proceed with Rc7 and Rfc8 ideas but White will not be idle in that time. White should try and target f6/f7 with Rf1 and make the above plan a bit awkward for Black. A line such as 2... Ne5 3. Rf1 Be7 4. Qf5 and White is well on the way to equality or better. So 2...Ne5 while interesting is a bit slow. 3. The pawn sacrifice ...g6 is also an interesting move but I cannot find a line which improves Black's edge. Black simply does not have sufficient development to justify a pawn sacrifice. If White captures Bh6 then ...Rfe8 Qf3 ...Be5 Bc1 and now I cannot find anything for Black which justifies a pawn down situation. 4. I'm starting to feel that Black's edge here is optical. The Bc1 is a nice defensive piece but also targets h6 in some lines. White can trade the knight on c4 if needed and the bishop on f6 is threatened in the short term with an exchange sacrifice. Black has to spend some time preventing that which should give White time to unravel enough to force off some pieces atleast. Time to look for a favorable route to a better or atleast equal endgame. There's no direct path I see to a continued edge in a middle game. 5. 2... Rfe8 3. Qg4 Qg4 4. Bg4 is a bit awkward for Black. 2... Rce8 ( sad but so ) 3. Qg4 Qg4 4. Bg4 Be5 with the idea of f5 and mobilizing the kingside majority is a possibility worth considering. Black should not be worse here I don't think but probably not better. 3. Qg4 is not forced but White doesn't have any seriously meaningful squares for the queen. I think this is a safe option to play.
2... Ne5 3. Rf1 Bg5 is worth a thought. If 4. Bg5 hg5 5. Bd3 Black may have to weaken the kingside pawns a bit to make sense of the whole idea of playing 2...Ne5 and 3...Bg5. This doesn't feel comfortable. Lets see. 5... g6 the g5 pawn is weak but on the other hand Black is setting up a powerhouse knight on e5. The White bishop is somewhat restricted by the d5 pawn but still has some scope. Black needs to keep the queens on to play this way. The Black rooks have scope to attack on the c file and my sense is that White will win the g5 pawn and then it will be a race. Could be exciting chess.
After the deliberation I am of the opinion that Ne5 is Black's best chance to continue the attack. In that line White has a safe continuation in 3. Bg4 which seems to force some simplifying exchanges unless Black wishes to risk an exchange sacrifice for some uncertain complications. In this line Black can play safe by playing 3... Ng4 4. hg4 Rfe8 5. Qf3 Re1 6. Re1 and now Black needs to choose a safe option such as Rce8 or a more aggressive idea such as Qc7. 2... Rce8 seems to be a safe way to simplify and/or reach an endgame.

3. Bc1:
This is already too late. Black wins after 3...Na3 because 4. ba3 Qc3 wins. So 4. Ka1 Qc2 ( or Nc2 ) I believe wins.
3. Qd3 seems to be a better defensive try. Black can continue with 3...Ne5 when White should probably offer some exchanges with 4. Re5 Be5 5. Bc8 Rc8 and good defensive changes due to the reduced material.

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