Monday, June 6, 2016

Gruenfeld Loose Rook Lose Rook

In my early years I studied grandmaster games from the past, especially all games by the world champions. That impacted my choice of openings and variations. When I encountered the Gruenfeld Defence, at first I wanted to play the Exchange Variation with 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4. But then I discovered that the position became wide open.

Black’s pieces started making threats against my White army. The position often got away from me. That was no fun. Mikhail Botvinnik played 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 on both sides of the board. He seemed to keep the game under control.

Instead of trying to “do something” with 4.cxd5 and 5.e4, I tried to “be something” with 4.Nf3 and 5.Qb3. Be active, be safe, and be improving my position every move. Don’t try to make something happen. Be ready when it does.

With this philosophy in mind, I encountered Hans Schneider in an APCT postal chess tournament. But move 10 I had developed my knights, my bishops, my queen and I had castled. I had a good solid position. I was ready when something happened. Black placed his rook on an undefended square. This allowed White to play a winning combination. This illustrates the famous John Nunn saying that “Loose Pieces Drop Off”.

Sawyer (2100) - Schneider (2050), corr APCT 1981 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 c6 [5...dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4=] 6.cxd5 cxd5 [6...Nxd5 7.e4+/=] 7.Bg5! e6 8.e3 0-0 9.Bd3 b6 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Ne5 Bb7 12.f4 Qe7 13.Rac1 Rfc8 14.h3 [14.Qd1+/=] 14...Qf8 15.a3 Ne8 16.Ng4 f6 17.Bh4 Na5 18.Qc2 Nd6 19.Qe2 Rc7? [Black placed his rook on an undefended square. This allowed White to play a winning combination. Correct was 19...Nb3= ] 20.Nxd5 Rxc1 [20...Rf7 21.Nc7+-] 21.Ndxf6+ Kh8 22.Rxc1 Nc6 23.Nd7 Qe8 [23...Qf7 24.Nde5+-] 24.Nde5 [24.Ngf6+-] 24...Rc8 25.Rf1 Rc7 [25...Nf5 26.Qf2+-] 26.Nf6 Qc8 [26...Bxf6 27.Bxf6+ Kg8 28.Ng4+-] 27.Bxg6 [Or 27.Nxg6+ hxg6 28.Bxg6+-] 27...Nxe5 28.Qh5 Nf3+ 29.gxf3 h6 30.Bd3 Nf5 31.Qg6 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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