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Understand The Position 10: “The Flash That Didn’t Hit.”

GM Ján Markoš | June 10, 2011 – 16:41No Comment | 609 views
Understand The Position 10: “The Flash That Didn’t Hit.”

For certain it already happened to you that you played a move, and right after you pressed the clock, you noticed the opponent’s opportunity to completely refute your conception. People usually get a cold sweat after that. When the first fright is over, we are checking quickly whether this is the truth, or we were just frightened for nothing. Oops! There is a refutation in this position and it quietly waits until the opponent finds it.

Translated by: Dusan Turcer

Such moments are among the most difficult ones behind the chessboard. Your heart is pounding, you are guessing: “Will he find or not?”. You don’t want to behave markedly, so as not to signalize to your opponent that something extraordinary is happening; however, you can not keep emotions in check.

I usually stand up and have a coffee in similar situations. I am a fatalist – what should happen, will happen. At worst, I will lose the game. And – finally – it happens sometimes that a flash doesn’t hit from the blue sky.

That was also the case in the next game, in which I bungled my position as early as in the eighth move. Michalik – Markos, Slovak Extraligue, 2010:

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 b5 7.e4 a6 8.a4 Nxe4? 9.Qe2 Qe7

I had made a known mistake in the preparation. I had looked at the line only superficially and believed to some commentator – I wish him to fry in the chess hell! – that 8..Nxe4 gives Black a good counterplay in unclear position. In the ninth move I could not turn anymore. While my opponent was thinking about his tenth move, I suddenly noticed the plan for White, that brought a deep despair to my heart.

I have 3 pieces on the e-file and none of them is covered sufficiently. What if White simply plays 10.Ra3, 11.Re3 and just takes my knight? I started to calculate this option frantically…

My first impressions were not positive at all. For example, after 10.Ra3 f5 11.Re3 g6 White has a very strong 12.Ng5 Bh6 13.h4 and not even Anand would avoid the loss of the piece. Black can try 11…Nd7 instead of 11…g6, but after the exact answer 12.Nc3 Ndf6 13.Ng5 Ng4 14.Qxg4! fxg4 15.Rxe4 white rook dominates again. I also quickly checked 13… Qd8 (instead of 13…Ng4). However, after 14.Nxe4 fxe4 15.Rxe4 + Be7 16.Bg5 Black remains with the ruined position.

“I am such a fool,” I said to myself. “I lose a piece in the eighth move.” I got up and had some coffee and cookies (the organizers were generous). When I returned to the position in a few minutes, it was my turn. White played the hurtless 10.axb5…

This post is also available in: Slovak


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