Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mate with Two Rooks

I played the following chess game at letsplaychess.com. My opponent was Cholorico from Peru. In this game I played white and he played black. I will provide an analysis of this game.

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nf6

3. Bb5 d6

My third move gives us the opening known as the Ruy Lopez or Spanish Game. It is a very popular opening at all levels. Black's most common reply here is a6, so I am a bit surprised when he plays d6.

4. d4 a6

Black cleverly avoids playing exd because then I will play Nxd4 and there will be a double pin on his queen knight.

5. Ba4 b5

I decide to keep my bishop and black plays aggressively, this time attacking my bishop with his b-pawn.

6. Bb3 Na5

Again I must move my bishop to safety. Black places his knight on the edge of the board where it attacks my bishop. At this stage of the game I expect that I will lose my bishop and end up with doubled pawns. At the same time, though, I can take consolation in the fact that I have developed two pieces, my bishop and knight, while black has only developed one, his knight.

7. 0-0 Bg4

I castle to protect my king while black develops his bishop to a square where it pins my knight.

8. dxe dxe

I open the centre because my king is protected and black's is not. I don't want to capture black's queen because to do so would give black control of the d-file. In this case, I prefer that he capture my queen instead so that I can recapture with my rook and control the d-file.

9. Bxf7 Ke7

I make the decision to sacrifice my bishop. I decide the sacrifice is safe and expect black to accept it. If he accepts the sacrifice with Kxf7, I can played Nxe5+ and later capture his bishop with Nxg4. Because black loses material by accepting the sacrifice, he decides to refuse it. Not only do I keep my bishop but I am up a pawn and also ensure that his king remains in the centre.

10. Bxg8 Qxd1

I take black's knight. This follows the principle that when one is ahead in material, it is good to exchange pieces. White takes my queen but by doing so he loses control of the d-file.

11. Rxd1 Rxg8

12. Nc3 c6

I develop my knight and black advances his c-pawn. Black advances his pawn to c6 instead of c5 because he doesn't want to give me the option of using the d5 square as an outpost for my knight.

13. Bg5+ Ke7

I develop by bishop with check. Black decides to keep his king in the centre. However, a better move is f7 because black's king is safer near his pawns.

14. Rd3 Bb4

I place my rook on d3 for two reasons. It prepares Rad1, a move that doubles my rooks on the d-file and also gives me the option of recapturing on c3 and f3 with my rook in the event that black captures my knights. By recapturing with my rook, I avoid doubled pawns.

15. Rd1 Bxc3

I double my rooks on the d-file and black captures my queen knight.

16. bxc3 Bxf3

I decide that it is more important to keep my rooks on the d-file than to worry about doubled pawns. Blacks captures my remaining knight.

17. gxf3 h6

I now have two sets of doubled pawns but see that my control of the d-file might give me a quick mate. Black's move threatens my bishop but it is a mistake. Black has no time for this move because his king is too exposed. At this stage, he must play Kf7 to prolong the game.

18. Rd7 Bg5

I ignore the attack on my bishop and prepare to mate my opponent. Black captures my bishop.

19. Rd1d6#

With my control of the d-file and my e4 pawn, black's king has no escape. It is checkmate.

This game illustrates the importance of keeping the king safe, controlling the centre and dominating files. My control of the d-file, centralized pawn on e4 and protected king allowed me to achieve a quick checkmate. Though in the end I had less material than my opponent, I was victorious.

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