Two bishops are viewed as a highly desireable combination to have and the reasons for this are clear as games open up during play. Because of this I have, in the past, treated my knights as less valuable than my bishops and this has affected the decisions I have made, possibly to the detrement of my games. In my ‘Reassess Your Chess’ book there are sections on both knights and bishops that I have found very interesting. In it Jeremy Silman notes the tricky nature of knights and he believes that they can be powerful weapons, especially against the level of players I am likely to play. At the Begonia tournament I spoke to an opponent of mine after our game and she hates knights! I also find that when I play a piece rich endgame I am quite fearful of getting caught out by them.
At the Begonia tournament my first game ended up being quite ‘Knighty’. I didn’t win the game (my opponent being close to 600 rating point above me) but I did enjoy bouncing my knights around to block and attack. The game made me like knights more. Here is the game.
I think the use of knights was good at the begining of the game. I checked a chess engine after my notes above and after 21.exd5 I’m ahead and after 22.Bxd5 I have good lead with the engine showing.
I have posted a few miniatures and some open King’s Gambit games so I thought it would be good, as we approach the World Championship, to post a long positional game between Viswanathan Anand and Anatoly Karpov.
Having a good position in a game seems to me to become more important as I improve. It becomes increasingly difficult to snatch a piece for free or land an unexpected checkmate. Instead my tactics need to be more focussed on bettering my position to create opportunities. The other day I recorded the following game that was played by a couple of kids. I’ll quickly run through the it to get to a position that I thought was very interesting – a better position, with equal material, that highlighted the importance of pressing an advantage. The game went:
The game arrived at this point and each player has the same material. Despite this material equality Stockfish shows that white has a massive advantage (5+ points) with blacks best move being 24. …d4. I think it is quite valuable to study this position and to calculate through different candidate moves for both black and white. What are the best move?
I found this game fascinating because it shows how you can develop play well so that you can have a big advantage despite material equality. It also shows how carefully options must be considered to maintain any advantage. This game occurred at my Tuesday chess club and the International Master who runs it immediately spotted that 27.Rxh7 was wrong and suggested 26.Qg7 at a glance. This move maintains an advantage. If we go back to the position above