# “What say you?” The 1 minute challenge (9)

“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

My student “C” is a very interesting character. He can play some of the worst and some of the best games for his level; also just to keep things interesting he can play his worst and best in the same game. You never know what you are going to get with him. Two weeks ago we discussed about a decent game he played and won when his opponent blundered. These are tougher games to look at. We are humans and when we win, we tend not to nitpick how it happened. I challenged him anyway to analyse an important moment in the game and find the best play he could think of. That would have enabled him to win the game outright and not rely on opposing blunders. Here is the position and his 3 choices in no particular order; which one would you choose?

Let’s have a closer look:

• White is up a pawn; this is the reason for line C
• Both kings are castled with the white one looking nervous at Black’s battery along the h1-a8 diagonal
• White controls the e-file
• The d4-pawn is powerful in the center; it is supported and blocks Bb2
• The battery Bb7 + Qd5 is nasty and looks to cause major problems on the king side once g5-g4 gets played
• I have mentioned the blocked Bb2 and will add to it the bad position of Qd3
• The opposite colours bishops could give a false indication for a possible draw

So, which one did you choose? Were you a bit confused by the similar looking bishop moves in line A and B? The difference between them actually is like night and day. If you have seen it or sense it, you are a strong player with good instincts. If you have looked at the position with an engine (do not recommend it for the purpose of this article), you might be intrigued why the choice 25… Bc8 was not offered? Honestly we did not look at it. Keeping the battery aligned feels right for a human. Our reason for moving the bishop is to take advantage of the blocked Bb2 and to put pressure on it by doubling the Rooks along the b-file. Did you see that? We considered it key to the position. The idea is to create a new threat and combine it with the one along the h1-a8 diagonal. We had fun analysing it and I hope you did it too. Enjoy the solution!

Valer Eugen Demian

This entry was posted in Annotated Games, Improver (950-1400), Intermediate (1350-1750), Strong/County (1700-2000), Valer Eugen Demian on .