White pretty much has his dream attacking position. This can get ugly fast.
These are exciting times for the white minor pieces, the whole ...d4 plan seems a bit counterintuitive because it improves white's minor pieces far more than it does black's. And now black has played ...g6 and ...0-0 he's asking for it.
That just doesn't look right. I'm not really sure how to exploit it, but it definitely doesn't look right. There's got to be something on the kingside for me, but his queenside play seems really slow right now.
The key part about Kb1 is that I can play Rc1 to keep him from dominating the c1-c3 squares in any attack, and black's bishop has a really awkward time attacking any important queenside squares.
But just because his qside play is slow doesn't mean my k-side play is fast. I think I'm playing Rh3 100% of the time here unless I talk my way out of it as I'm typing. I need to clear g3 for my knight and I think I can crack open the h-file in some lines.
Okay, I do see why 0-0 is a problem. Rh3 Nd5 and now my bishop has a new home on h6 instead of just getting stuck being traded off or moved to d2. Bh6 forces the rook to move, which he was going to do anyway but that still seems like it saves me a half tempo in there somewhere.
Then I think I have two choices. An immediate Ng3 seems like it gives white a pleasant position. But I've got a little bit of initiative here and that just flutters out with Ng3. I want to keep forcing the action. g4/hxg4 looks promising, but I just can't quite calculate if it's sound or not. I think I can follow that up with Rg3 to get the pawn back or Rh2 to try and double up on the h-file and push the h-pawn forward. I kind of like the second one, because taking back pawns immediately is just too easy. But I'm way too deep into calculation at this point and I'm guessing this will all be made moot halfway through the line because I'm not really considering forced variations here, just stuff that looks pretty for me.
As usual, I'll start with looking at white's move and plans/ideas. I was expecting 21.Rc1 here after Kb1 last move, so this is a bit surprising. I'm trying to figure out what he's going to do. The most obvious thing appears to be getting the rook out of the way of the g-pawn for a g4 push and to try to get something going on the kingside since I castled. Maybe this is why everyone was posting stuff after I castled haha. Crap, too late.
So, what should I do now? I think I need to get the knight into the game and start putting some pressure on the white position. Currently white has very few troubles and I need to at least do something, even if it is only attacking the bishop. I'm anticipating something like Bh6 or Bg5 after Nd5, so I'll see what he plays and go from there.
The more I look at it, the more I dislike my position. I have very little active play and am not really doing anything on the queenside. I thought the d4 push would be interesting but it seems to have hurt me more than it did white. Basically he just has a free hand on the kingside and my d4 pawn will probably become weak. So hopefully I can maintain enough tension/pressure in the position to hold off the upcoming kingside pawn push.
After 21...Nd5, I might even need to or be able to re-route the knight to f5 (to help defend the kingside) if necessary via e7 if he doesn't put the bishop on g5. I've got to remember to keep an eye on the d4 pawn. Right now it looks like the only potential soft spot in white's position could be the pawn on e5. I've got to keep pressure on that as well to force white to tie down a piece, or maybe play f4, to defend it.
If white plays the immediate g4 after Nd5, I'm thinking something like this 21...Nd5 22.g4 hxg4 23.Rg3 Kg7 to start trying to shore up the kingside. I'll see what he's thinking and see how things are developing, but I've got to get something active going.
I think people are overstating whites position. I think Black's best move will be f5And Black will have plenty of time among many lines of swapping off or not to get those rooks doubled on c-file and exploit white own pawn blocking the invasion.
This is like the fifth time I thought my next move was obvious and was online when Tex played his move, but I wanted to give people time to comment so I didn't post it right away, then went a week thinking I'd played my move already.
I think it's pretty obvious I have to move the rook, so the only question is to which square. For a while I considered moving the rook to d8 in case the d-pawn comes under fire, but then Bg5 will gain a tempo at some point. Best to put the rook on the open file and just try to get on with something over there. We'll see what white does next.
Capturing on g4 has to be forced here. Letting white open the g-file is obviously bad, so I think this is the best way to go. I'm expecting something like 23...hxg4 24.Rg3 f5 25.exf6 Nxf6 26.Bg5 Rf8 and things look ugly but unless I'm missing something I think black is holding alright. We'll see how he proceeds after the g4 capture and go from there.
I'm in over my head again. This feels good because I'm sort of pushing the action, but I can't tell who this is good for at all.
I'm looking at a couple of different ideas so I'm just going to decide as I type and play around on an analysis board.
The main two ideas I want to look at are Rg3 and Rh2. If I play Rh2, my goal is to push h5 and crack open the h-file (or get a passed h-pawn) and use that to do bad things to him. The problem is that the bad things are kind of vague and I'm not sure if they are actually there.
After Rh2, he has a couple of ideas he can pursue. He can play Kh7 anytime he wants and annoy my bishop.
He can also abandon the d4 pawn with Bc5-b6-c7 to attack e5, because if I take on d4 then he's got a nice fork of the knight and rook with Bxe5. I would have walked right into that one in a non-correspondence game, because I just saw it as I played around.
But let's say I get everything I want in: h5, hxg6 and Rh1, then I'm still down a pawn and I'm not sure how much I'm getting.
The best line I can come up with is:
Rh2 Bb6/h5 Bc5/hxg6 Bxe5/gxf7+ Kxf7/Rh5. I think I get a really nice overall position out of this sort of line, but it doesn't seem like nearly enough to make up for the loss of an entire pawn. I kind of like it though.
The other option is Rg2. This is the sort of move that I fits into something I'm trying to learn to do in chess: play good moves and trust the position. I don't think I get to open up a file as quickly or bludgeoningly as with Rh2, but I'll get my pawn back and have some interesting pressure on his king down the g-file.
I think Rg2 f5/exf6 e.p. Nxf6 all seems pretty natural, if not forced. I can follow up with Bg5, and now I'm kind of happy. The bishop is on a nice square, he's going to have to use a tempo either moving the knight or protecting it (and Rf8 would be a nice waste of time after that rook just vacated that square recently and take pressure off the queenside). If he moves the knight, I'm getting my pawn back and the pressure on the kingside black pawns is enormous. I don't see how he can hold them all.
If he lets me trade the knight off, I have to enter a bishop vs. knight ending that I'm not entirely comfortable with, but it's not a good bishop at all and I think objectively I'm better off.
So...unsound but comfortable plan or sound but uncomfortable plan...
Everybody's watching me, so I'll do the right thing. If this were my own, private game, I'm not so sure I would.