14 August 2012

Annotated Game #58: The importance of CCT - example #3

The following first-round tournament game featured an early deviation from normal Slav lines with the Nbd2 development.  White's unchallenging setup gives Black a small plus out of the opening with comfortable development.  Some interesting analytic points come up in the opening and early middlegame where it was revealed that I could have made better decisions:
  • Move 7, where Black could have played less stereotypically and obtained an advantage in the center.
  • Move 12, where Black should have thought twice about moving the rook off the h-file instead of automatically castling.
  • Move 13, where Black could have opened up the center to his advantage.
In the middlegame, a premature pawn thrust from White is mishandled by Black, who could have obtained an easy game by redeploying the Nf6 to a better square. This inaccuracy was however offset by White allowing what kingside pressure he had to be nullified.  Black on move 23 again passes up the chance to open the center to his advantage, focusing only on the immediate material gain of a pawn.  As a result, the kingside and center become closed and play shifts to the queenside.  Black is too slow in redeploying his forces, however, and White gains a winning advantage before missing the best continuation and sliding into a draw.

Recent posts have highlighted the importance of CCT (Checks, Captures and Threats).  Here, White could have won the game by using CCT as part of his thinking process on move 37.  There are only two captures on the board and one wins by force (Bxa6), as the resulting series of recaptures ends with a knight fork.  Once you consider the possibility of Bxa6, the rest is actually rather easy to see and calculate.  However, the pawn is "obviously" protected and if a player does not force themselves to consider non-obvious moves like that, they will be overlooked.

1 comment:

  1. The winning 37.Bxa6 raises an interesting question. (1) Should this move be found by first spotting the potential Knight fork and subsequently deducing that Bxa6 is a safe capture, or (2) Should Bxa7 be found by examining every CCT and their resulting positions? I always thought the former, but am curious what others believe.