Memorizing, Understanding And Drawing Conjectures

At a job interview I’d set up two different positions. My interviewer asked me to come up with a lesson plan, or at least something that they could learn from. After quickly introducing ourselves we set those up (see below). Black’s arrangement is the same in both diagrams, but White’s one differs a little. In one he’s already castled while in the other he’s not, and the c2 pawn is occupying the c4 square.

Black can play e5

[fen flip=true csl=Yc4,Ye1 cal=Ye7e5]rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/2PPP3/2N2N2/PP2BPPP/R1BQK2R b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

If you know a little bit about the King’s Indian then you probably know why playing e7-e5 is fine here. White is controlling that square twice and you are defending it only once. However Black’s dark-squared Bishop is x-raying the h8-a1 diagonal. So if White goes pawn grabbing, Black will be able to play Nxe4, at the right moment, and get his pawn back with an equal position.

Black shouldn’t play e5

Why is Black unadvised to play that exact same move here ? Isn’t the g7 Bishop still there, ready to jump into the game at the right moment ? He surely is but White has castled and his c2 pawn is still on c2.

[pgn flip=true navigation_board=above]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “rnbq1rk1/ppp1ppbp/3p1np1/8/3PP3/2N2N2/PPP1BPPP/R1BQ1RK1 b – – 0 6”]
[PlyCount “9”]
[SourceVersionDate “2019.11.18”]

6… e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Nxe5 Nxe4 10. Nxe4 Bxe5 {[%csl Rb8,
Rc8,Rf6,Yg1,Rg7,Rh6][%cal Gc2c3,Yc1g5,Ye2c4] Compared to the first diagram, where White’s King wouldn’t be castled and his c2 pawn would be on the c4 square, here White stands better. Black got his pawn back but Black is not quite developed yet and White’s pieces can get positioned optimaly. The fact that White’s c2 pawn is still on his starting square is a big deal. Not only
we can move it to c3 (which will protect the d4 square) but it also doesn’t
restrict our light’s square Bishop’s prospect.} *
[/pgn]

Perception of your own position.

Our chess’ knowledge is somewhat representative of our strength over the board. Knowing opening moves, remembering how to convert a theoretically winning endgame into an actual victory, and turning a somewhat better position into a favorable game are some of the aspects that assess a player’s skills. But what happens when we fall into our opponent’s preparation, or if the game just shifts in a variation that you aren’t quite so familiar with ? Understanding a position that you have never even encountered is what chess is about too. Having the right mindset, experiences and instinct to properly evaluate what you can’t do, if not what you must play !

[fen flip=true csl=Rd4,Gf3,Gc3,Rc6,Rb6,Rc5 cal=Gd1a4,Yd2f3]r1b1kb1r/pp1n1ppp/1qn1p3/2ppP3/3P4/2PB1N2/PP1N1PPP/R1BQ1RK1 b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

You’re looking at a variation of the French reached via the Tarrasch. White opted for a line in which his d4 pawn seems to be hanging. Black doesn’t necessary have to capture it, but a lot of players do while thinking their opponent just blundered. Let’s see what that get them into !

[fen flip=true cal=Ya2a3,Yc1e3,Ga4e8]r1b1kb1r/pp1n1ppp/1q2p3/3pP3/Q7/3B1N2/PP3PPP/R1B2RK1 b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

White just dropped a pawn but that’s not all of it. First of all White’s development is really simple and while he’s already castled and only one move away from connecting his rooks, Black is still a couple of tempo away from doing likewise. Black’s most consistent answer seems to be Qb4, harassing White’s Queen (that you’d never want to trade at this stage of the game), since letting her sit on the 4th rank could allow a possible Queen lift to the kingside, that may be really dangerous for Black if well timed. Now let’s see how wrong can things go for Black if not assimilating the ins and outs of his own game (Black should focus on developing its queenside pieces for now, after throwing in a Qb4).

[pgn]

[Event “Madrid Oliver Gonzalez Memorial 1st”]
[Site “Madrid”]
[Date “2010.10.14”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Fedorchuk, Sergey A”]
[Black “Anton Guijarro, David”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C06”]
[WhiteElo “2671”]
[BlackElo “2403”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “r1b1kb1r/pp1n1ppp/1q2p3/3pP3/Q7/3B1N2/PP3PPP/R1B2RK1 b kq – 0 12”]
[PlyCount “36”]
[EventDate “2010.10.09”]
[EventType “swiss”]
[EventRounds “9”]
[EventCountry “ESP”]
[SourceTitle “CBM 138 Extra”]
[Source “ChessBase”]
[SourceDate “2010.10.29”]
[SourceVersion “1”]
[SourceVersionDate “2010.10.29”]
[SourceQuality “1”]

{[%evp 0,59,30,27,30,36,36,7,7,11,11,11,11,11,11,-5,9,20,16,16,16,16,8,14,14,
-6,17,-9,41,21,-7,-54,5,-24,-24,-98,53,53,190,190,196,160,304,304,292,288,292,
292,280,289,291,315,410,432,440,492,487,492,487,482,492,493] [#]} 12… Be7 13.
Be3 Qb4 14. Qc2 Nc5 15. Bxh7 Bd7 16. Rac1 Rc8 17. Qb1 Bb5 18. Rfd1 g6 19. Rd4
Bc4 20. Bxg6 fxg6 21. Rcxc4 Qxc4 22. Rxc4 dxc4 23. Qxg6+ Kd7 24. Nd4 a6 25. f4
Rhf8 26. f5 exf5 27. e6+ Kd8 28. Nxf5 Rf6 29. Qg8+ Rf8 30. Qh7 1-0

[/pgn]