06 June 2009

Small Opening Moves Can Have Big Consequences

I advanced from the first round of the 2009 Chess960 Dropout Tournament (see Pyramids and Dropouts for an explanation of how the format works) by winning both games. I discussed the start of one game in my post on Chess960 Twins, while the other game started with the position shown in the diagram.

Start Position 482

The line-up of the h-side pieces is the same as in the traditional start position (SP518). The initial moves were 1.c4 c5 2.b3 b6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3. The first observation to make is the symmetry of the position. Chess960 games often start with symmetrical moves or transpose into symmetrical positions, more often than from SP518. There are several reasons why this happens, and I'll discuss them in a future post.

At this point in the game I judged that multiple piece exchanges on f3/f6 were inevitable, making the development of the h-side Bishop a key decision. Instead of continuing 4...Nc6, maintaining the symmetry, I decided to give my opponent the chance to break the symmetry, thereby going astray. I chose to capture toward the center by playing 4...e6 followed by a later ...gxf6. My opponent chose 5.g3, capturing away from the center with a later e2xf3. These decisions had a major impact on the evolution of the game.

After the inevitable exchanges, I had a mass of central Pawns, partly unopposed. I worked these into a steamroller, gained a big advantage in space that let me maneuver on both sides of the board, and eventually won the game. You can see how the idea worked by playing through the full game, PGN courtesy of SchemingMind.com:

[Event "2009 Chess960 Dropout Tournament, Round 1"]
[Site "SchemingMind.com"]
[Date "2008.12.16"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Chessic"]
[Black "bemweeks"]
[Result "0-1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "bqrnkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/BQRNKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.c4 c5 2.b3 b6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Nd4 7.O-O Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 Bxf3 9.exf3 Be7 10.Ne4 O-O 11.Nxf6+ Bxf6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Qe4 Qd6 14.Rcd1 f5 15.Qh4 Qd4 16.Qxd4 cxd4 17.f4 f6 18.Rfe1 Kf7 19.Rc1 d6 20.d3 Rfe8 21.f3 Re7 22.Re2 e5 23.Rce1 Ke6 24.fxe5 dxe5 25.f4 Kd6 26.Kf2 Rce8 27.Kf3 Kc5 28.a3 e4+ 29.Kf2 a5 30.Kf1 h5 31.Kf2 h4 32.gxh4 Kd6 33.b4 axb4 34.axb4 e3+ 35.Kf1 Rh7 36.Kg2 Rxh4 37.Kg3 Reh8 38.Kf3 Rh3+ 0-1

Just as in traditional chess, opening ideas can easily carry into later phases of a chess960 game.

No comments: