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Monday, June 28, 2010

Test yourself puzzle: Improve at Chess thanks to Hector-Timman

Hello Everyone!

Here is a nice middlegame chess puzzle. When you have nothing to do in middlegame, finding the right plan can be very difficult.

Sometimes, you make a move without being too sure. Certainly, a bad plan is better than no plan at all. But if you practice enough, you will be able to come up with good planning in your middlegame.

Look at the following puzzle and decide which would be the best move for White.

Position after 23. ... Ke8

Make an assessment of the position and see which of the following plans is the best.
  • Black's Queenside pawn weakness is compensated by the advantage of double Bishops. There is no way of making real progress but 24. Qf2 looks nice as Black must guard his isolated c-pawn.
  • An infiltration on d6 with the Bishop is possible so 24. Bf4 seems most logical. In this way White can get rid of one of Black's Bishops and then focus on the isolated pawns.
  • Black is all tied up in protecting his pawns on the Queenside. So, White can run his Knight to a better position in the centre or on the Kingside by 24. Nc3.
  • White's advantage is his Queenside pawn majority so he should try and create a passed pawn. The best strategy is to go for 24. a3.
  • White has a good Queenside infiltration possible via b6 square so why not begin by Qa5?
------ Think a little before looking at the answer --------

Black does have the two Bishops but the f3 pawn is holding up against any attack on the b7-g2 diagonal. Exchanging one of the Bishops would significantly expose Black's weakness of pawns on the Queenside so, the exchanging of the Bishops seems the best possible option in this situation. This is how the game proceeded.

Hector-Timman, Malmo, 2003

24. Bf4 Bf8
25. h4 Be7
26. h5 f6?!
27. Bd6 e5
28. Nxc5 Bxd6
29. Nxb7 Be7
30. Nd6+ Bxd6
31. Rxd6 Qb7
32. Qa5 Qa7+
33. Qb6 1-0

Hope you enjoyed this nice middlegame study.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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