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Old 11-08-2012, 03:06 PM   #1
TexAg06
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Some games I just don't understand

This would be one of those. Could any of y'all help me understand the following moves, and maybe the thought process behind them?

Here's the link to the full game. It's Musil-Karpov 1975.

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1067902

#1) 27...h6 - In the next couple of moves it's easy to see that black is securing f4 for the knight, but if I had to play a 27th move, I don't think that would be it. This positon doesn't scream "put a knight on f4" to me. It's a semi-weak square, but what is the knight doing from there? Where is it going? Can't it be kicked back with g3 at some point? Maybe it's almost one of those plans you have to play because there isn't much else. Black's pieces can barely move.

#2) 31...Ra8 - black wants to guard the knight so that it will be defended after b5 at some point, but why now? Nothing is attacking the knight.

#3) 32...Be5 - not really sure what the idea is here at all

#4) 34...Qe7 - same thing, no clue what's going on

Any help at all would be appreciated.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:30 AM   #2
YouKnowWho
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Re: Some games I just don't understand

Well, the common theme for all the moves you mentioned is "improve your worst piece".

1) we have a position where, as you correctly mentioned, black's pieces don't have too many options. However, it is more important to note, that White's pieces don't have many options either! In other words, it means that black has all the time he needs to slowly improve his position, since white has no real plan. I think that h6-->g5 is fairly logical. It's not so much about planting the knight on f4 but rather about establishing dominance over the dark squares in general. The knight probably won't stay on f4, it might venture back to g6 and from there have both f4 and e5 open, etc. In other words, black has a ton of time, so he finds a way to improve his position and give his pieces more options without risking anything (any kingside breaks are not scary, black does have more pieces after all!)

2) this one again is "improve your worst piece" theme. The rook on c8 is now doing absolutely nothing and since, again, white doesn't really have anything constructive to do, this is good time to put it on a semi open file. It is not about defending the knight at all, it's about "when the knight moves, rook puts a ton of pressure on the pawn". As a matter of fact, Nc3 is already an immediate threat.

3) what is white's glaring weakness in this position? It's the dark squares. The only piece that can sort of take care of it is the dark bishop. If black can trade the dark bishop in a right scenario (where white rooks can't immediately come over the d-file), white will be completely screwed because of all sorts of outposts (knight to d4, etc). In the mean time, it just takes care of the unpleasant pin and exerts a lot of pressure on that diagonal, making even stuff like h5--> h4 possible and unpleasant for white.

4) again it is about improving the pieces imo. After g3 was played, queen doesn't have much to do on that diagonal anymore. From e7, it defends g5 for possible h5-h4 later on and also has an interesting square at f6 to go to if needed, putting pressure on f3 and a1-->h8 diagonal to assist possible knight jumps (which would then open the a8 rook).

Hope this helps
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: Some games I just don't understand

Better reply than I could have hoped for, that's perfect. Thanks a ton for the help, that pretty much cleared everything up. These types of moves and not being able to find them is a huge leak in my game. I feel comfortable creating and playing against concrete weaknesses like backwards/isolated/doubled pawns or a bad piece. But when it comes to more abstract plans, like just improving pieces or controlling square complexes without a concrete goal in mind, I struggle (as evidenced by this thread).

This is the type of position that when you play it against a strong player, you'll either try to be too active and create a weakness in your own position, or you'll get out-maneuvered. I can't tell you how many times I've played a game like this where my opponent is seemingly shuffling pieces around randomly, and then all of the sudden his pieces seem to be working together perfectly and are well positioned and I've done nothing.

Really man, thanks for the help.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:25 PM   #4
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Re: Some games I just don't understand

In the tournament book, Karpov gave the notes for this game. While his notes are pretty detailed, he doesn't comment directly on any of the moves that gave you problems. But I think his notes can nonetheless answer some of your questions:

24... Qc7. "Black has finally consolidated his position after the combination. Although we now have formal material equality (two minor pieces for rook and two pawns) the minor pieces will demonstrate their superiority in what follows. I feel the next few moves are very instructive.

28. Rc1-d1: "Once white has lost the initiative his pieces thrash about in their own half of the board. For black, however, everything goes smoothly and he has the opportunity to strenghten his position move after move"

33...Ng6: "The threat of Bf4 provokes a fresh weakening, after which white has weak pawns on both wings". Ah, so YouKnowWho was right, the rook was played to a8 earlier to attack the weak pawn on the wing. Also, as Karpov points out 32... Be5 was to make possible the threat of Bf4.

Just a couple of notes on the game: Karpov felt his decision to play 20... Nc5 instead of BxN was too risky, but he wanted to play for the win, so he gave up the exchange. He says white's 23 a3 was a mistake and white would be winning in every line after 23 c5.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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Re: Some games I just don't understand

Really appreciate the notes mikem07, that's great stuff. Thanks for posting.
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