Friday, 26 March 2010

David L vs Mi Kl (Ruy Lopez)

I played this game during the last few weeks of 2009, and it's an interesting game because of the number of discovered checks in it. A discovered check occurs when you move one of your pieces out of the line of attack of another piece, and the second piece attacks your opponent's king. It's easier to describe in the context of a game, as you'll see below. This game includes a number of discovered checks, and you'll see the tactical advantages that they can bring!

David L (approx ELO rating 1525) vs Mi Kl (approx ELO rating 1411), started 5 December 2009.

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4

I'm not sure why I didn't play the usual Ruy Lopez move, which is 3. Bb5. Instead, I decided on this move to secure the d5 square (I think).

3. ... Nf6
4. O-O Nxe4

My fourth move does allow Black to take the e4 pawn, but I'm hoping that my next move will gain me a longer term advantage, and also enable me to recapture Black's central pawn. Moving the rook to the centre also gives me an advantage in development.

5. Re1

The immediate threat is the capture of Black's knight on e4, and if Black moves the knight away, I can play Nxe5 and regain the pawn. Instead, Black defends the knight by playing ... d5, which attacks my bishop on c4. I play d3, to give his knight another nudge - and develop another central pawn, and defend my bishop. If Black captures my Bishop, then I can capture his knight with either my rook or pawn. My move is also a kind of waiting move, and maintains tension in the centre.

5 ... d5
6. d3

Black now has to move the knight, or capture my bishop - otherwise I'll play d3xe4 and win the knight.

6 ... Nf6
7. Bb5 Bd6
8. Bg5 Bg4

Black moves his knight away, and I move my bishop to avoid it being captured. Perhaps I should have moved it there in the first place - it didn't do much on c4. We both develop our other bishops, and pin each other's knights against our queens. However, I've noticed that I can use my rook on e1 and my bishop on c4 to co-ordinate an attack on Black's king, by using a discovered check. The first thing I have to do, however, is temporarily sacrifice my queen!

Although my knight is pinned against my queen, I can grab a pawn and then open the e-file to check Black's king.

9. Nxe5 Bxd1
10. Nxc6+

By moving my knight from e5 to c6, I've exposed Black's king to check by my rook on e1, and this is called discovered check. Black would like to capture my knight on c6 with his pawn, but he must respond to the check first! When he does, I shall be able to capture his queen with my knight.

10. ... Kd7
11. Nxd8+ Kxd8
12. Rxd1 c6
13. Ba4

Black moves his king out of check, and I capture his queen, which also gives another discovered check (moving the knight out of the way of my bishop). The king recaptures my knight, and I recapture the bishop on d1. This series of exchanges has now left me a knight ahead (Black's knight which I captured on c6 on move 10). I've also regained the pawn I gave up earlier.

13. ... b5
14. Bb3 h6
15. Bxf6+ gxf6

Although I let Black chase my white-squared bishop around the queenside, I seize the opportunity to start simplifying the position by exchanging my other bishop for Black's knight. This is a general principle to apply in Chess games - when you're ahead on material, simplify the position by exchanging pieces. The reverse also applies - if you're behind on material, try and keep the pieces on the board and make the position as complicated as possible.

16. c4 dxc4
17. dxc4 Kc7
18. cxb5 cxb5
19. Nc3 a6
20. Rac1

I've simplified the queenside pawns and kept some open lines for my bishop, although I could have captured Black's pawn on f7, I decide to develop my queenside knight to c3, and develop my rook by putting it onto the newly opened file.

20. ... Be5
21. Nxb5+ Kb6
22. Nd4 Rad8
23. Rc6+ Kb7
24. Rc4 a5
25. Nb5 Rxd1+
26. Bxd1 Rd8

27. Bf3+ Kb6

Black threatens my bishop, so I develop it and check Black's king. A better response for Black is Kb8. Kb6, followed by Bxb2 will lose the bishop, and subsequently does so. Note that while I've moved my bishop to f3, I can't now move it from the d1-h5 diagonal, otherwise Black can play Rd1#.

28. a4 Bxb2

White protects the knight on b5 with his a-pawn, and Black snatches the pawn on b2. However, this bishop is now unprotected, and can be captured with a sequence of moves (sometimes called a 'combination') starting with a check by the bishop.

29. Rc6+ Kb7

This move is forced - Black has no other move which will get him out of check.

30. Rc2+

Another discovered check! This time, the rook moves aside to deliver the bishop check, and white can then capture black's bishop on b2.

30. ... Kb6
31. Rxb2 Rb8?

This is an unexpected move, as putting the white rook on the same file as Black's rook makes it easier to exchange them and simplify the game again.

32. Nd6+ Kc7
33. Rxb8 1-0

The final position, where Black resigned. Even after Black captures the Rook on b8, White's material advantage will be overwhelming, and Black has no counter-play, and so resigned the position.

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