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Friday, February 24, 2012

Four Knights Game, en prise means no prize

Round #1 of the annual club championship. Lately my practice games have been going well, so I approached this tournament with optimism.

My opponent was a class A player who I have not played before. My color was Black and I usually play the Petroff against e4. My opponent transposed into a Four Knights Game, maybe because of unfamiliarity with the Petroff and I was equally unfamiliar with the Four Knights.

The game was going well into the 2-hour mark when I violated one of the basic tenants of endgame play: slow down. I left my Knight en prise and was facing the probable loss of an additional pawn when I resigned.

Lesson learned: Slow down for endgames.

P.S. The pgn is appended below if anyone wants to run a computer analysis:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. a3
a5 7. d3 h6 8. Nd5 d6 9. h3 Be6 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 Bxd5
12. exd5 Ne7 13. e4 c6 14. dxc6 bxc6 15. Kh1 Ng6 16. Qe1
Re8 17. Qg3 Nf4 18. Nh4 N6h5 19. Qf2 Qd7 20. Kh2 Kh7 21. b4
axb4 22. axb4 Rf8 23. Ra5 Rxa5 24. bxa5 Ra8 25. Qb6 d5
26. exd5 Nxd5 27. Bxd5 Qxd5 28. a6 Qb5 29. Qxb5 cxb5
30. Rxf7 Rxa6 31. Rf5 Ra2 32. Rxh5 1-0


  1. I'd actually never seen that transposition to the Four Knights Game before, one more idea for the mental databank.

    Re: move 10, I think White's bishop exchange works out well for him, as his dark-square bishop had nowhere useful to go while yours was on a nice diagonal bearing down on f2. White's pawn structure also does well out of it, initially taking away f4 and d4 as Black outposts and then straightening out with a small space advantage following the exchanges.

    1. Re: move 10. As Black, I was more concerned about the semi-opened f-file and the space advantage that resulted from the move 11 Pawn recapture. The center looks locked up and my c6 Knight would take several moves to get over to the King side.

      Fortunately for me, the next few center trades provided Black with a nice Knight outpost on f4.

      Thanks for the feedback.