Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Optical Illusion by Jr and Wei Ming

I was very pleased with a win I made at 3 minutes blitz - in which I had stopped my opponent's aggressive intentions with an exchange sacrifice to nullify his kingside attack.

Check out the following position.

White to play...what is your assessment of the position? 

Black looks good eh? Although White is exchange up, Black holds the initiative and has a powerful long light square diagonal battery bearing down the White kingside. Also, there are  no entry points for White on the e file while Black will simply ram down his queenside majority. In fact, my opponent caved in and played Qf3 and I happily traded queens and the queenside pawns marched to victory.

To my surprise, as I checked with the computer, it declared that Black is simply lost. Here's the analysis.

As I showed the position to Wei Ming and Olimpiu, both found the strong 1.Be7 which gives White the advantage though Black retains drawing chances. They both declared 1.f5! to be a classy move. Wei Ming remarked that he too had a similar experience.

We move back to his First Saturday GM event in 2011.

After sacrificing the exchange against Ukrainian GM Dmitri Maximov, Wei Ming emerged with this position.

For the price of an exchange, Black has all his pieces activated perfectly, controls the centre absolutely with two mobile central pawns and is generating strong pressure on the f-file. Moreover, White's Rh1 isn't a very inspiring piece either. However, it's all an optical illusion as the game continuation below will show you.

That's why it's not enough to assess a position based on general considerations. Your eyes can deceive you!

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