Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Is it worth a pawn to gain the bishop pair?
Last night, I indulge in one of my famous chess orgies. This is the time where I play successive 30/30 games until my eyes bleed and the room starts spinning or I win against a higher rated opponent - whichever comes first. Here is the history of the last ten games I played yesterday:

ResultRatingSideOpp RatingOpp name

It is interesting to note that in almost all the games above - I was down material. A pawn maybe two. Previously I would be horrified by this. I avoided shedding material as much as possible and try to snatch pawns any way I can. But now I seemed to have changed. Being down a few pawns doesn't panic me anymore. I even find myself enjoying winning from such positions.

Wonder where this underdog mentality came from.

Anyway, the ones in blue means that according to our head-to-head statistics, I haven't won against them in all our games. Zero, zilch, nada. So in essence, yesterday was a good day for revenge.

However, the one in red was a very painful game. I sacrificed a piece for a mating attack and - missed the mate. Oh for crying out loud. The sharp pain I'm feeling even now bears testimony to the agony I suffered after the game. A game that would have been nominated for the "Best sacrificial game of the year" instead is now buried deep within, to be forgotten for the pain it caused me.

I console myself that at least I learned something from this game. That next time I encounter the same position, I will not repeat the same mistake twice. Only, I distinctly remember playing another game with the same pattern. Why didn't I remember that here. Why oh why!!

It reminded me of the time when that girl I really liked was gonna answer "yes" at last but I visited on the wrong day, and her parents was fighting and it got transferred to me and one thing led to another, and I ended up getting dumped instead of getting laid and I haven't gone back to that house ever since and no you don't need to know this things and so lets just move on.


The very last game I played: The one where I defeated the 1890 player featured the question above: Does sacrificing a pawn to gain the bishop pair provide enough compensation?

In this game, the answer was yes. The powers of the bishops along the long diagonal was certainly felt throughout the whole game. And in the end, it was a pin that caused the sudden collapse of his position.

The bishop pair is really powerful. I'm starting to get biased to them so much I'm finding myself abhorred if it gets traded for a "mere" knight. Now this feeling is borne out of a lot of personal games played where the bishops was instrumental for the win and so, the psychological effect is rather strong. I just hope it doesn't lead me astray later on.


The game was a Ruy Lopez. Recently I had been using the classical defense to the Ruy. I don't like the main line as it gets too strategic for my taste. I wanted live piece play and fortunately the classical defense does not disappoint in that regard.

Here is the introduction of this system I found from this article:

"There is no point in pretending that there are any deeper "ideas behind" this defense than that Black will put his pieces on good squares, try to maintain his center, and seek tactical opportunities... ... The preeminence of tactics in this system, and its emphasis on piece activity, make it an excellent weapon for young chess players, and indeed for all players"

Here is the game itself:

- Fin -
posted by Nezha at 9:41 PM | Permalink |


  • At 1:36 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    Russian proverb:
    What's the power of the bishoppair? That you can trade it off.

    The more space, the better the pair. So sac those little lads.

  • At 6:09 AM, Blogger wormwood

    I had a 30 30 game against johnnyrio the other day, and he was even winning at a point, but missed it and let me equalize. then I just ground him down in the endgame. so consider your painful loss avenged. :)

    here's the game:

    [White "wormstar"]
    [Black "JohnnyRio"]

    1. d4 d6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 Nc6 4. Nc3 Bg4 5. Bg5 e5 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. d5 Ne7
    8. h3 Bd7 9. Ne4 Ng6 10. e3 f5 11. Nc3 Bg7 12. Qc2 O-O 13. Be2 c5 14. Rb1
    e4 15. Nd2 Nh4 16. Rg1 Qg5 17. g3 Ng6 18. b4 b6 19. bxc5 bxc5 20. Rb7 Rfd8
    21. Nb5 Bxb5 22. Rxb5 Rab8 23. Qb3 Rxb5 24. Qxb5 Qf6 25. Qa5 Qa1+ 26. Bd1
    Bc3 27. Qxd8+ Kg7 28. Qb8 Qc1 29. Qb3 Qxd2+ 30. Kf1 Ne5 31. Qc2 Nf3 32.
    Qxd2 Nxd2+ 33. Ke2 Nxc4 34. g4 f4 35. exf4 Nb6 36. Ke3 Bd4+ 37. Kxe4 Bxf2
    38. Rg2 Be1 39. Re2 Ba5 40. Bc2 Nd7 41. g5 f6 42. Kf5 Kf7 43. Re6 Bc7 44.
    gxf6 Nxf6 45. Rxf6+ Ke7 46. Rh6
    {JohnnyRio resigns} 1-0