“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”
A quick reminder about how to do it:
- Have a look at the position for 1 minute (watch the clock)
- Think about the choices in front of you and pick the one you feel it is right
- Verify it in your mind the best you can
- Compare it with the solution
Looking at below position you have to find answers to the following questions:
- What is the striking particularity of this position?
- What should White do next?
A quick piece count reveals equal material. Did it take you more than 10 seconds to do that? You should be in that range by now. Kings seem equally protected at first glance. Did the positioning of pieces on both sides catch your attention? If it did, your positional sense is strong. Black’s pieces are absolutely dreadful. The simple fact they are all placed on the back rank is the answer to the first question. It is a striking reality anyone should notice right away, regardless if looking from one side or the other of the chessboard. It is hard to make a case for any Black piece being placed properly. Have a quick glance at each one of them and think about an adjective to describe it. This is helpful in raising your level of awareness about it. The white pieces look World beaters in comparison.
Black’s last move was 27… Bg7-f8 offering the exchange. On first account this is a good decision because trading down is a way to defend a weaker position. The explanation is it reduces the number of attackers. White should be aware this is an important moment in the game; if it does not do much, black will have time to improve its position. What should white do though? Taking control of the open file is an option. The argument is with exchanges coming up, taking control of an open file might not be the strongest play.
What else can White do? Did you sense the dark squares around Kg8 are going to become weaker after Bf8 is exchanged? If you did, the next step is to look what white pieces are actually pointing in that direction. Bc4 does and with the f7-pawn being pinned, the g6-pawn is actually weak. Would this be enough though to attack the opposing king? Well, Nc3 and Rf1 would need quite a bit of time to be able to join the attack. How about the observed fact the Black pieces are placed dreadfully? In reality only Ne8 offers some protection to its king. This means Bc4 and Qe3 could be more than enough for launching an attack on the King side.
Attacking the castle is the right decision. Once you reach it, the only remaining challenge is to calculate the correct move order. It might feel daunting at the beginning but once you start piecing them together, it should become obvious white is simply winning and rather easily. It should not come as a surprise. Winning combinations become possible in strong positions for the attacker, or in dreadful positions for the defender. Please verify below if you got the same line and options as in the game.
Valer Eugen Demian