SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The follow through is generally defined as that phase where one tries to successfully bring to conclusion the game or sport we are playing. It is where we try to reap what we have sowed; where we try to cash in on our advantages and impose our superior position on our opponent.
We all know in chess, however, that that is much easier said than done! ”There is nothing more difficult than winning a won game.” Our own experiences are riddled with failed attempts at following through…the complexity of the game–often combined with the shortness of time in which to reflect–allow for resourceful players ample opportunities to not only escape but to turn the tables on us.
For this reason it is always instructive to witness examples where the follow through is efficiently executed, with grace and style. The following 2 examples are from the Reyjkavik Open. Enjoy!
POSITION AFTER 26 MOVES
GM ALEX FIER
GM IVAN SOKOLOV
White has a clear positional advantage: the mobile 3 vs 2 Queenside majority is especially salient. Black has decided to base his defence on some sort of piece play on the Kingside, but this is doomed to fail since all of his threats are easily met without much effort. In the next moves White presses home his Queenside advantage.27.b5! Ba8 28.c5!
What is Black to do. If he takes on c5 then White recaptures with the Queen, attacking the pawns on a7 and e5. Should Black then exchange Queens (…Qb6) , then White has no problem: he will win a pawn with Na4. Black has little choice but to pursue his original idea of counter attack with his pieces…28…Nf4!? 29.Qe3 !
Parrying the threat of …Nh3 (winning the Queen) as well as …Nd3. Black now must defend against the White threat of 30.Qxf4!
Decisive! Not only is this a passed pawn, but the Black Bishop is sealed in the corner, unable to contribute to the counter attack. Black is now desperate….
30…h5!? luft 31.Kh1!
Not falling for 31.Qxe5?? Nh3ch with a perpetual check
Black’s counter attack has come to an end and now there is little else to do other than try to defend against White’s growing threats….
31…f6 32.g3! Ne6 33.Bc4!
The end is in sight! White has a number of ways of winning. Effectively, White is a piece up
33…Kf7 34.Ne4 Ke7
Sokolov now simplifies, fully confident in his strong pawn on c6
35.Bxe6! Kxe6 36.Qb3 Ke7 37.Rd1
Probably even stronger is 37.c7! In anycase, it makes little difference since Black decided to give up here ! His position is depressing, and it is futile anyway. The White Queen will infiltrate on d6, threatening to win the Bishop in the corner (Qb8ch) . Black’s only prayer is some perpetual beginning by a later …Qxf3, which White can easily prevent with a timely Kg2, defending everything. A nice effort by Sokolov
________________________________________________________________EXAMPLE 2POSITION AFTER 41 MOVES
GM L. McSHANE
White’s advantage in space and mobility is obvious. All of Black’s pieces are jumbled and lack harmony and coordination. It is not surprising that White needs only open lines inorder to impose his superiority.42.exd6! Rxd6
[42…Rxe3? 43.Qxe3 wins ] 43.Rxe7 Nxe7 44.Qe5!
44…Ne6 45.Ne4 !Ouch! White has a nasty looking check coming in on f6 that Black can do nothing about…
A very strong centralization! Now bad would be 44…Nd3? 45.Qxe7 Nxe1 46.Qxf7 Kh8 47.Ne5 and White wins as he pleases. Black has no real choice but to retreat and hope that White does not find the right way to proceed with his enslaught…
45…Rd3 46.Nf6 Kg7
A curious position. White has 2 double checks at his disposal, but neither leads to anything significant since the Black Knight on e6 defends against he mate on the g7 square.
However, White finds the correct sequence of moves:
47.Ng4! Kh7 48.Qf6!
Excellently played! White has mutiple threats (beginning with the pawn on f7) and Black must now lose material. If now 48…Qe8 then 49.Nfe5 is curtains.
A tricky move! If now 49.Rxe6? then Black can escape with 49…Ng8!!
and Black’s position collapses like a house of cards. See the pgn viewer for the remaining moves…