Thread: White 21
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Old 2014-02-19, 13:51   #4
cheesehead
 
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"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

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Besides 21 ... bxc3, other responses to [B]21 Ndf2[/B] could be 21 ... Nd5, 21 ... Nf5, 21 ... h5 and 21 ... g5.

[B]21 ... Nd5 22 Bd2[/B] and Black can begin freeing himself with 22 ... f5. 23 exf6 Bxf6 (not ... Nxf6 24 Nxf6+ Rxf6 26 Bxc6+) 24 Nxf6 Rxf6 25 Bxh6 and we're a pawn up, but Black is freer than he was 5-6 moves earlier. But Black could instead be patient and prepare with 22 ... Nce7 before pushing his f-pawn. Then maybe 23 Ng4 h5 24 Ngf6+ Bxf6 (not ... Nxf6 25 exf6 fork) 25 exf6 and that pawn sticks in Black's craw at f6, but Black surely must have something better than this line. Material would still be even.

[B]21 ... Nf5 22 Bd2[/B]. Black's N/f5 seemingly can't do much -- we control the dark squares he could reach -- but would be a good outpost that's annoyingly in our way on the king-side and center. We can't readily push it away: 23 g4 Nh4.

[B]21 ... h5[/B] takes the looseness out of that pawn, but we can proceed with [b]22 Nd6+ Kd7 23 Nfe4 Nd8 24 Nc5+[b]. [B]21 ... g5[/B] has the same problem: [B]22 Nd6+[/B] etc. So Black wouldn't choose either pawn move at this point.

So, I've now decided that 21 Ndf2 isn't better for us than [B]21 Nd6+[/B].

My vote:
[b]21 Nd6+[/b] -- 5
[b]21 Nfd2[/b] -- 2
[b]21 Nf6+[/b] -- 1
[b]21 Nc5[/b] -- 1

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2014-02-19 at 13:59 Reason: Xyzzy's doing the thing that messes up formatting again.
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