“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (13)

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”
Bruce Lee

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

The play up to this point (see diagram) was positional. I sacrificed the g7-pawn for the use of the semi-open g-file and after exchanges, I had a simple decision to make: hold the fort or risk going for the win? These were my thoughts at time:
– holding the fort was a very simple proposition; Bb5 was on f3 at the time and my knight was clearly better
– my King was on b7 taking care of any kook intrusion on a7
– the c4-pawn was an obvious target White had to defend; that left White with little offensive perspective
I decided to risk it. How did I do that? Well, I allowed White to reposition Bf3 to b5 and gave his rook the control over the 7th rank (big no-no right?). What did I get in exchange?

The obvious one is a chance to do something about the h4-pawn. Please pay attention to where the pieces are placed for both sides : White’s bishop and rook are committed on the queenside, while Black’s knight and rook are focused on the king side. Probably White wants to capture the b6-pawn and eventually push forward the c4-pawn. Black wants to push the h4-pawn and add a wrinkle to it; did you sense Kc5 could join the attack in a hurry? From this point of view Black’s king is far more useful.

Did you choose to go for it with 1… Nf4+? It is perfectly understandable since this is why I went down this road. Now, would that give Black any advantage? It could if White allowed the pawn to go all the way to h2; if it did not and simply exchanged it, black had no more than a draw. That felt to me underwhelming for the risk taken. I wanted more. Please see below how I continued and what could have happened after 1… Nf4+ The end of the game will be presented in the following article.

Valer Eugen Demian


Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player - my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today's standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor - my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chessessentials/id593013634?mt=8 I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek!