Digging through my files I found a very sharp and interesting chess battle of many years past. So lets return to yesteryear and don our pieces on their squares and prepare to experience what I am sure the actual participants felt during play. A good idea is to guess the move or plan and then uncover the actual move played using a small file card with a small rectangle cutout on the upper left and then slide the card along the line as you choose and verify the actual move chosen by the players. You will not need an icy cold drink to stay awake and alert in this one!
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc3 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5
A try like 5…Ng4 6.Bxf7+! Kxf7 7.Ng5+ Kg8 8.Qf3 is tactical.
5…d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bc5
How should White handle this position? Two moves suggest themselves. Do you see them? First, 8.Nxc6 Bxf2+ 9.Kf1 Qh4 10.Nd4disch c6 11.Nf3 Ng3+ 12.Kxf2 Ne5++ 13.Ke2 Qf2+ 14.Kd3 Bf5 is a good example of play against the inherent weak f2 square. Second, develop a piece while protecting the Knight by 8.Be3 that is our main line. Of course Black breaks the pin.
8.Be3 Bd7 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.O-O Bb6
This logical looking move prepares for a c-pawn advance but worth considering was 10…Qe7, developing and connecting the Rooks. Such cases might be a matter of taste or style how positions are handled. Such openings as this, where the center can suddenly be forced open and dreaming up a King hunt becomes reality makes it very attractive to the amateur player.
11.Nd2 Nxd2 12.Qxd2 O-O
Again, two ideas appear, one positional and the other sharp and aggressive. Now, 13.Nb3! Re8 14.Qc3 Qe7 15.f4 f6 16.Bc5 fxe5 17.fxe5 . Here, 17…Qxe5? gets shocked by 18.Rf8+! with a bind on the dark squares and clear advantage in the endgame to come is the positional approach. The aggressive 13.Bg5 is the main line followed.
Not so hot is 13…f6 14.exf6 gxf6 with jump moves of 15.Bh6 and 16.Rfe1 where the Black monarch defensive position is weakened.
A perfect example of the value of my square count theory shows itself here. By exchanging Knight on d4, square count would increase by 14…Bxd4 15.Qxd4 Bf5 with probably equal chances.
Hoping to drive the Knight from d4. However, White need not move the Knight and can strike the King position.
15.Bf6! h6 (to stop Qg5) 16.Re3 Kh7 17.Qd3 g6!! an improvement over Haag/Varnus that saw 17…Kh8 18.Rh3 Bxh3 19.Qxh3 Kh7 20.Bxg7! and I leave the concluding moves for you to figure out.
Black follows the motif of counterattack in the center when faced with a Kingside assault.
19.Ng5+ Kg8 20.Rh3!?
Perhaps best here is 20.Qd2 only because the text contains a flaw.
20…Bxh3 21.Qxh3 h5 22.Re1 Qc8
Who could say this was the best move for Black and seems so logical to inhibit White’s ambitious nature. The move later found is 22…Bc5, 23.e6 fxe6 24.Rxe6 Rxf6! 25.Rxe8+ Rxe8. Again, with the t/c ticking off the seconds and minutes, it is easy to miss such a chance. For the reader and viewer the subsequent play is sparkling.
On 23…Bc5, White has the dominant 24.Qf3.
Not, 24…Rxf6 25.Rxf6 Qxh3 26.Rxg6+ with a winning ending.
25.Be7 Rxe7 26.Rxg6+ Rg7 27.Qxh5 Bxf2+ 28.Kh1! Bd4 29.Qh7+ Kf8 30.Qh8+ Ke7 31.Rxg7+ Bxg7 32.Qxg7+ Kd6
The rest of the game I leave for your own study.
33.Qf6+ Kc5 34.Ne6+ Kd6 35.Nf4+ Kc5 36.Qe7+ Kc6 37.Ne6 Rb8 38.Qc5+ Kd7 39.Qxd5+ Ke7 40.Ng5 Qg8 41.Qe5+ Kd7 42.h4 Rb6 43.h5 Rd6 44.Ne4 Rd1+ 45.Kh2 Kc8 46.Qf5+ Kd8 47.h6 Rd5 48.h7 Resigns (1-0).
Such games attract the amateur like nothing else can. Actually I can point to the development of high-tech computer chess programs as a good means to develop skill. In the final analysis however it is the creative human mind, having imagination let loose within governed rules of play that chess is valuable to the spirit. Such opportunity for artistic creativity and unleashing the imagination further lifetime experience in conflict challenges.
How to better your chess? Aside from the obvious, it is very good to live life in moderation regarding diet, good posture, and learning to read music and play an instrument that both enriches and promotes good health. The more one can develop personality and find joy in learning and applying those things that interest you and develop good character are assets to making life worth living.