Friday, May 5, 2017

Kinetic Energy in Chess

Recently, I have played two games in which I made a good decision to sacrifice material for initiative.  When I sacrifice a meaningful amount of material, I often have the feeling that I am bluffing a bit and I am always shocked when the computer approves.

This first game requires some background. My opponent, Neo Zhu, is a young chess phenom in Chapel Hill. I had drawn Neo the last couple of times we played and my rating is quite a bit higher than his, so I had incentive in this game to really mix it up even though I had black.  On with the game ....

Thanks for being patient with my first blogging attempt. To close, let's think about what happened in this game and what is useful about it.

1. Black played a suspect opening that is designed to give up some advantage in the interest of creating an unbalanced position. The Alekhine is bad, but there is no way to play for a draw against it.

2. White fell into some very nasty opening preparation where Black sacrifices a piece for 2 pawns and an initiative. This puts heavy pressure on both players. Black has to keep the initiative going with constant threats and White has to find some way to neutralize the initiative even if it means giving back some material (Rd5!).

3. Black managed to keep finding moves to make threats as White's pieces looked on from the back rank.

Lesson: A strong initiative is worth some material puts real demands on both players to find good and imaginative moves. Game 2 to follow ... stay tuned.

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