GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #8:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

Game 3, GW-KW v. Fritz 12 (Level 5), for Control of the Center
[June 11th-12th 2011]


Commentary

RECENT MOVES: 9. Qd2 Ne4

(GW, June 11th) PROPOSED MOVE: 10. Qe2

Reasoning: Reasoning: We can't move 10. Qe3, since 10. ... Nb4 will force us to move our Queen a third time; if we're wanting to save the Queen, it's going to be a tempo lost as it is. But, to move our Queen back onto any of the three first Rank squares, would once again put us back two moves before we can get our Rooks connected.

Currently, we have 3 units supporting our d4-pawn, versus Black's 2 units attacking it, so we can just about afford removing the Queen from her support of the d4-pawn. What we'd be gaining by the move is to increase pressure on c4, while keeping the back rank clear for our KR to move across to c1 (as you mentioned during discussion of our 9th Move).

We can't just leave the Queen to be lost for zero compensation, as H&M-S state: "... the loss of a single pawn without compensation is so serious as to be well-nigh fatal, the loss of a piece, with its tremendous Point Count, is entirely catastrophic unless heavy counterbalancing advantages are present in the position."

Ken, what do you think if we let our Queen be captured by Black's e4-Knight, for the sake of removing it from that advanced Outpost, while also enabling our QN to develop in one move to d2, which would double our pressure on c4 and add a unit contesting e4 (10. Rc1 Nxd2 11. Nbxd2) ...

In addition to all that, we'd connect our Rooks. I'm afraid, after that, I can't quite pick out what Black might do next. That's why I hesitate with fully proposing this move (10. Rc1, most-likely sacrificing our Queen for a lesser piece - Black's Knight).

Why I considered it was the potential for Black to inflict further forced moves on us, so we'd be losing time by not developing properly, risking ever weakening positions, while Black's positions kept on improving.

I'm aware of the imbalance of losing a Queen (H&M-S = 27 points) for a Knight (H&M-S = 9 points), but do you think the positional gains would help to neutralize the loss in material value?

At this stage, because I can't be sure we could cope with losing the Queen, in this situation and for reasons already mentioned, I feel obliged to propose moving our Queen to e2.

Ken's Comments ...

(KW, June 12th) I just mentioned that tactics are paramount, and then I neglected to see this move. Black may well have made this move anyway, but now he does so with a gain of a tempo (one point in H&M-S system).

Oh well, let's reassess the position to determine our next move.

By his last move, Black has established an Outpost on e4 with a gain of time (our having to move the Queen). An Outpost was one of Black's major objectives.

There are only three ways to remove that Knight, by moving f2-f3 (after the Nf3 moves), or Nbc3 or Nbd2 (we do not want to take the Knight by Be4 after the Nf3 moves). The Knight also enters the fray on the Queenside by defending c5 and d6, while attacking f2, g3, c3 as well as d2. The pawn on g3 is now attacked twice (by pieces).

Now as far as letting Black take our Queen, we would only gain the tempo back (1 point) while losing 27 points. Moving Rc1 as you suggest would prepare the c4 thrust, but that does not compensate for the other 26 points. There are no major structural (pawn and piece) changes in the tactical or strategic position that can justify that move. We can move Nd2 just as well after the Queen moves, so we will have only delayed the move.

Qe2 is the only good option for the Queen, contesting c4 and b5 (a Phalanx pawn that is only protected by the Queen), and having the option of travelling on the d1-h5 diagonal. This is why we have been overprotecting the key square d4, so that if one piece needs to move, it has the freedom to do so.

Now that the Queen will move from the d file, the best next move will probably be Rfd1 instead of c1 (overprotecting the d4 pawn again, and preparing Nd2, followed by Rac1, preparing the thrust of c4. The advantage of Rfd1 will also be to retake (after ...Nxd2) with Rxd2, freeing the Queen from the defense of the second rank (in case of ...Qxb2).

You also pointed out the Black move Nb4. This is a move I have been watching as it could be dangerous, but as it removes an attacker from d4, I don't think Black will do that at this point.

So I have to agree, 10. Qe2 is our best next move.

SELECTED MOVE: 10. Qe2



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