Trust, but verify! part 1
Hello everyone! This is IM Srinath Narayanan here, with another interesting Friday column! In the last two weeks we saw some very impressive 9 year olds defeating grandmasters in clean games.
In this article, we shall focus on some 'missed opportunities’. Let's start off with a famous position that's likely to have been pubilshed in 100's of magazines around the world.
Carlsen, M.(2863) - Anand, V.(2792) 1-0
WCh 2014 2014.11.15
White just played 1.Kd2 here. Can you see what arguably two of the best players in the wold missed?
In the next game, we look at a game of another 9 year old. I was not up against a impressive grandmaster, however in 2003, grandmasters were much rarer than today and my opponent was probably among the top 50 players in the country.
Shashikant, Kutwal(2240) - Srinath, Narayanan(2081) 1-0
Tata International open chess tournamen 2003.10.14
White just played 1.Rf6 in this positon. What do you think Black should play?
In the next game, the 12 year old me gets star struck by the Ukranian grandmaster and this affects my play severely. The comments for this game were written in 2006, when I was 12 years old, and it's quite interesting to see the comments.
Srinath, Narayanan(2170) - Neverov, Valeriy(2572)
Dubai Open 2006.04.23
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Ba7 7.O-O Nc6 8.Qe2 d6 9.Nc3 Nge7
This was quite unexpected for me.
I don't like this because, now I have to play positionally
11.Bxa7 Rxa7 12.Rad1 b5 13.a4 bxa4 14.Nxa4 O-O 15.Nc3 Nb4 16.Bc4
I thought this Bishop would be useful to attack the weaknesses
Looks quite awkward but gives extra space for Bishop while I would try to regroup my knight with Qe3 and N1e2
( Here I also considered 18.Ra1 Qc7 19.Na5 Rc5 20.Ra4 Rxa5 21.Rxb4 Nc6 -+ )
18... Qc7 (18... Be6 19.Bb3)
19.Bb3 Be6 20.Nd5
Here I thought I win a piece by force but didn't
20... Bxd5 (20... Nexd5 (20... Nbxd5 21.exd5 +- ) 21.exd5 +- )
21.exd5 Rc5 22.Rfd1 a5 23.c3
24.Bxa4 Nbxd5 25.Nb3 Nf4 26.Qf3 ( 26.Qe1 ( 26.Qf1 ( 26.Qe3 Rc4 27.Bb5 Qb7 -+ )26... Rc4 27.Bb5 Re4 +/= )26... Rc4 27.Bb5 Qb7 -+ )
26... Rd5 (26... Rc4 My opponent in the post mortem said that he had missed 27.Bb5)
27.Rxd5 Nexd5 28.g3?
If I wasn't a little star struck here, I would've probably calculated ( 28.Rxd5 28... Nxd5 (28... Qc4 29.Ra5 Ne2+ 30.Kh1 And nothing for Black) 29.Qxd5 +/- )
I had missed this
29.Qc6 Qxc6 30.Bxc6 Ne6 31.Rxd6?!
( 31.Na5 Its defendable for black after Rb8)
31... Nc4 32.Rd5 Nxb2 33.Rxe5 Rc8 34.Bd5?!
White has to have a outside paser to have any chance of winning
( 34.Na5 ( 34.Nd4))
34... Rxc3 35.Bxe6 fxe6 36.Nd4 Nd3 37.Rxe6 Rc7 38.Re3 Nc5 39.Kg2 Rd7 40.Nf5 g6 41.Ne7+ Kg7 42.Nc6 Rc7 43.Nd4 Rd7 44.Nf3 Nd3 45.h4 Nb4 46.Ne5 Re7 47.f4 Nc6 48.Nc4 ( 48.Kf3 Nxe5+ 49.fxe5 Kf7 50.Ke4 Ra7 51.Rc3 Ra4+ ( Ke6) 52.Kd5 Ra5+ 53.Rc5 Ra7)
48... Rxe3 49.Nxe3 h5 50.Kf3 Nd4+ 51.Ke4 Ne2 52.g4 hxg4 53.Nxg4 Ng3+ 54.Kf3 Nf5 55.Ne3 Nxh4+ 56.Kg4 Nf5 57.Nxf5+ gxf5+ 58.Kg5 Kg8 59.Kg6 Kf8 60.Kf6 Kg8 61.Ke5 Kg7 62.Kxf5 1/2-1/2
While it seems almost absurd to include a world championship game in an article full of kid’s games, I want to stress on the fact that people make such mistakes even at the highest level.
While there can be multiple reasons attributed to this, one of the reasons why such misses happen is simply because we don’t pay ‘attention’. We don’t pay ‘attention’ because we don’t believe that such good players are capable of committing such errors. This is best summed up by the ex-World Champion Anand’s words “When you don’t expect a gift, you don’t look for it” However this provides clear evidence that disproves that. Human players of all levels make mistakes, give chances, and if we're alert enough, it just might be our lucky day ;)
While such gifts are quiet rare, they probably happen more often than we think that it happens. It pays to keep our eyes open for such opportunities and always stay alert and attentive. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone gives opportunities and as always, anyone can defeat anyone from any situation!
So, pay attention and be fully alert during the game and we might discover a lot more opportunities than we previously thought we had!
Do share your thoughts in the comment section below!