27 December 2010

Finding a Constructive Plan

The diagram shows the critical position in Unzicker - Fischer, 1962 Varna. Unzicker played 21.h3 and the game continued 21...Rc8 22.Rfe1 h6! 23.Kh2 Bg5 24.g3? Qa7! 25.Kg2 Ra2 26.Kf1 Rxc3!, when White resigned. The punctuation in that sequence was given by both Fischer and Kasparov. White's woes stem from a loose Pawn position quickly penetrated by Black's line pieces. The moves 21.h3 and 24.g3 both weakened White's second rank and left the White King unprotected, leading to disaster.

Varna Olympiad 1962
Fischer, Robert

Unzicker, Wolfgang
After 20...Qb6-a6

Of the diagrammed position, Fischer wrote,

It's hard for White to hit upon a constructive plan. At Curacao 1962, Tal played against me 21.Rad1 Rc8 22.Nc1 b4 23.Nd3 bxc3 24.bxc3 and now 24...Rxc3 wins outright. If 25.Nxe5 dxe5 26.Qxe5 Bb4 27.Qxc3 Qxf1+.

Kasparov agreed with this, and added,

Of course, White had to give up dreams of an advantage long ago, but also his problems should not be exaggerated. Forty years later Huebner nevertheless found a constructive plan -- 21.g3!, leaving the h3-square for the King and intending to meet ...Bg5 with h2-h4, while if 21...Qa8 22.Qxa8 Rfxa8 then 23.Kg2 -- 24.Kf3 with a probable draw.

After 21.g3, which is also the machine's first choice, Black has better ideas than trading Queens with 21...Qa8. For example, Fischer's next move in the game, 21...Rc8, looks just as good here. It threatens 22...b4, and if 22.Kg2, Black can continue 22...Rcc4, with various themes on the a- and c-files. One variation the machine points out is 23.Rxa4 bxa4 24.Ra1 h5 25.Nc1 Rc5 26.Qd3 Qb7 27.Rxa4 Qxb2+ 28.Ne2 Rxc3 29.Ra8+ Kh7 30.Qxc3 Qxe2+ 31.Kg1 Bg5 32.Ra3 Qxe4, giving up the exchange for a couple of Pawns and play against the other, overextended Pawns.

It's useless to go into too much detail here. Playing through Fischer's short wins is often an exercise in frustration. You wonder how he would have played against better defense and feel deprived at not being able to see the logical outcome of his own deeply conceived plans.

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