49. Invisible Moves – Part 2

In the last post I promised to present a “fantastic example” for an invisible move. Let’s see, whether this announcement is backed by numbers.

invisible move

Our invisible move is 9..b5!. It was played in only one of 32 games! Funnily enough, it remained unseen for the rest of the world even after it was uncorked in 1972. Apparently, it is so well-hidden that it took the genius of a true world class player to consider it. And this is what it is about: consideration. Once it has entered your mind, it is not difficult at all to convince yourself of its quality. It’s not about calculating long lines or evaluating difficult positions. That part is comparatively easy, here. The only thing this move really wants from you is – awareness.

230px-Roman_Dzindzichashvili_1984_Thessaloniki

Master of the unseen: Roman Dzindzichashvili

The following analysis is one example of the 140 analyses I offer within my “Sicilian Four Knights Repertoire.” This particular analysis is very short, as I managed to kill this line with only one single game. Although this variation is far from being critical, the analysis has quite some value, as it touches upon several interesting topics. These are: invisible moves, positional sacrifices, psychology (errors under pressure), the law of economy in chess (play fast and don’t protect what doesn’t need protection) and, last but not least, a whole variety of typical Deep Sicilian patterns. Since Black manages to execute b7-b5 without any resistance, he ends up having what one may call a perfect Deep Sicilian. By playing through this analysis you learn which target positions to look for and also how to further push your advantage.

[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "6.Be2 - 8.f4 0-0 9.Nb3"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] [ECO "B83"] [Annotator "Wahls"] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2009.12.13"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "CRO"] [SourceVersionDate "2002.05.06"]

{[%evp 0,39,38,25,60,42,64,38,42,21,22,44,55,31,44,53,51,55,46,4,-14,-32,-30,
-48,-43,-43,-39,-75,-93,-93,-17,-45,-12,-27,-27,-27,-27,-16,-33,-33,19,34]} 1.
e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be2 d6 7. O-O Be7 8. f4
O-O 9. Nb3 {We have seen this move already after 8.Be3 0-0. The easiest thing
for you to do is to simply play 9..b6 with a very likely transposition, as
White has nothing better than moving his bishop to e3. Alternatively, you can
also transpose to the main line by playing 9..a5!?. Hence, what you will do
simply depends on your taste. Now you may ask, why I bothered to devote a
chapter to 9.Nb3, if it already has been indirectly covered. The answer is
that I wanted to highlight an interesting alternative, which is also very
pleasing from an aesthetic point of view.} b5 $1 {[#] Sicilian experts know
that they can become creative with their b-pawn once White's e-pawn is only scarcely
protected. The combination of White's king being exposed to a potential check
and his e-pawn being weak gives Black the opportunity for this extraordinary
move. Nevertheless, it is far from easy to spot, as the square b5 is protected
by two white pieces. Here the fun fact: In 32 games only one player was able
to see it! All others didn't even perceive it as a candidate move (I am quite
sure about that, since if you see it, your are aesthetically forced to play it)
.} 10. Bf3 $2 {White directly answered with a mistake, which is understandable
for a couple of reasons. To start with, people tend to make mistakes when they
are under pressure or faced with something unconventional. Secondly, the
complications after 10.Bxb5 are not easy to calculate and potentially
dangerous for White. Most players are scared that they might overlook
something crucial and get punished immediately. Hence, they tend to look for
conservative alternatives. White's only decent choice is} (10. Bxb5 Qb6+ 11.
Rf2 {One reason why the white player might have rejected 10.Bxb5 could be this
involved self-pin. There are many guidelines in chess which we learn to follow.
One of them is that self-pinning should generally be avoided. Many players
forget about the "generally-part" of every guideline and automatically sift
out ugly rule-breaking moves in their decision-making process.} ({The normal}
11. Kh1 $2 {is bad because after} Nxe4 {White's center has disappeared. Now,}
12. Nxe4 $2 Qxb5 13. Nxd6 $2 Bxd6 14. Qxd6 {doesn't work out, because the rook
on f1 is unprotected.}) 11... Nxe4 12. Nxe4 Qxb5 13. Nxd6 Rd8 {[#]} ({A draw
can be achieved quite easily by} 13... Bxd6 14. Qxd6 Rd8 15. Nd4 {This
intermediate move is even more difficult to spot (from afar) than it is to
embrace the self-pinning 11.Rf2. Over the board it is really difficult to
react to 9..b5! appropriately, which makes this move so dangerous.} Qh5 16.
Qxc6 Qd1+ 17. Rf1 Qxd4+ 18. Kh1 Rb8 19. Qf3 a5 20. c3 Qd5 {Black has enough
compensation for the pawn. If White avoids the exchange of queens, his
weakened king's position might become a problem. Without queens, the draw can
easily be accomplished, e.g.} 21. Qxd5 Rxd5 22. b3 Rd3 23. Bb2 Bb7 24. Kg1 Rbd8
25. Rae1 a4 26. Re2 Rd2 27. Kf2 R8d3 28. Rfe1 Ba6 $11) 14. Nxb5 Rxd1+ 15. Rf1
Rxf1+ 16. Kxf1 Nb4 (16... Rb8 17. c4 e5 18. fxe5 Be6 19. Nd6 Nxe5 20. c5 Nc6 (
20... Nd3 21. Be3 Nxb2 $11) 21. Bd2 Rd8 22. Bf4 Bf6 23. Rb1 a5 $11) 17. c3 (17.
N5d4 Ba6+ 18. Ke1 Rc8 19. Kd1 h6 20. Bd2 g5 $44) 17... Nc2 {This might look
like self-trapping, but since Black controls the white squares, there is no
way of winning this knight.} 18. Rb1 Ba6 19. a4 Rd8 20. Bd2 (20. Kf2 $2 Rd1) (
20. Ke2 Bb7 21. Nxa7 Be4 22. Bd2 Ra8 23. Nb5 Rxa4 $44) 20... Bb7 21. Rc1 Be4
22. Nxa7 (22. N3d4 $6 a6) 22... Ra8 23. Nb5 Rxa4 24. N5d4 Nxd4 25. cxd4 (25.
Nxd4 $2 Ra2 $17) 25... h5 $11) ({Also} 10. a3 $6 {was better than the game
continuation. However, after} Qb6+ 11. Kh1 a5 $1 {Black continues to follow
the laws of economy and proceeds with the highest degree of efficiency. There
is simply no need to defend the b-pawn.} 12. Bd3 (12. Bxb5 Nxe4 13. Qf3 Nxc3
14. Bxc6 Ra6 15. Bd2 a4 $15) 12... Ba6 {[#] As a result of the opening Black
managed to realize his queenside expansion in the fastest possible way. White
is under severe positional pressure:} 13. Re1 (13. a4 bxa4 (13... b4 $2 14. Nb5
$14) 14. Nxa4 Qb7 15. Be3 Bxd3 16. cxd3 (16. Qxd3 $2 Nb4 $19) 16... Qb4 $1 $15
{This prevents 17.Nd4. Black has good prospects in the b-file.}) (13. Qf3 {
This looks like the natural move, but it weakens b3, which can be exploited
now.} b4 14. Be3 Qb7 15. axb4 Bxd3 $1 16. cxd3 Qxb4 17. Ra3 Qb7 $15 {[%csl Ya3,
Yb2,Yb3,Yd3][%cal Re7a3,Rb7b2] White's position is not without soft spots.})
13... Rfc8 14. Be3 Qb7 {Black is well prepared to continue his queenside
expansion with b4 the very next move. White can anticipate this by becoming
active himself, but after} 15. a4 bxa4 16. Bxa6 Qxa6 17. Nxa4 Rab8 $15 {
[%csl Yb2,Yc2,Ye4] Black can target three white pawns and also might consider
an advance in the centre, when appropriate.}) 10... b4 11. Ne2 ({After} 11. Na4
$2 {Black has a nice way to exploit the awkward situation of White's knight:}
Ba6 12. Be2 (12. e5 Bb5 $5 (12... Nd5 $17) 13. exf6 Bxf6 14. a3 Bxa4 15. axb4
Bxb3 16. cxb3 d5 $17) 12... Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Qe8 $1 {In contrast to 13..Qd7,
Black is now immune against 14.Rd1.} 14. a3 (14. c4 Nb8 15. e5 Qxa4 16. exf6
Bxf6 $17) 14... bxa3 15. Rxa3 d5 16. e5 Bxa3 17. exf6 Nd4 $1 18. Qg4 (18. Nxd4
Qxa4 19. c3 Bc5 20. Be3 Qc4 21. Qf3 Qd3 22. fxg7 Rfb8 $19) 18... Nf5 19. fxg7
Nxg7 20. Nc3 Bb4 $17) 11... Qb6+ 12. Kh1 d5 $2 {This resolves the tension too
early and provides White with a situation, in which he can easily find natural
moves (at least in theory).} (12... e5 $1 $146 {[%csl Yb3,Ye2,Yf3][%cal Ye2d4] [#] That's an important motif to remember. Black not only deprives White's
knights of the square d4. He also prevents White from answering a future d6-d5
with e4-e5 (by blockading this square).} 13. Ng3 (13. a4 $2 bxa3 14. Rxa3 $2 d5
15. exd5 $2 Bxa3 16. dxc6 e4 $19) 13... a5 14. Re1 Rd8 15. Be3 Qc7 {White now
has to face the threat of 16..d5 as well as the perspective that his knight
will be pushed away by a5-a4.} 16. f5 (16. fxe5 $2 dxe5 17. Qc1 a4 18. Nd2 Ng4
{might already be positionally lost.}) 16... a4 17. Nd2 {Now, Black should be
careful with pushing d6-d5, as this would also liberate many of the white
pieces. But there is no need to hurry. The d5-thrust will be reserved for the
best possible moment. For the time being it is enough to concentrate on the
weak pawn on c2.} Ba6 18. c4 {White wants to grab some space, in order to
defend his queenside before Black will have continued with Rac8 and Nd4. Of course, this will leave him with an isolated c-pawn.}
bxc3 19. bxc3 Rdb8 $17 20. Qxa4 $2 Be2 21. Qc2 Nb4 $19) ({It was also possible
to expand on the queenside, leaving the centre fluid for now.} 12... a5 $1 $146
13. Re1 {Before White can play Ng3 he must be prepared to answer a5-a4 with
Be3, so that the Nb3 can be moved to d4 subsequently.} (13. e5 dxe5 14. fxe5
Nd5 15. Bxd5 exd5 16. Nf4 Be6 17. Nxd5 Bxd5 18. Qxd5 a4 19. Nd2 Ra5 20. Qd7 Qb5
$17) (13. Nbd4 Bb7 14. Be3 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Qc7 {Black has good play against
White's weaknesses on e4 and c2, e.g.} 16. e5 (16. Ng3 $6 e5 17. Be3 d5 18.
fxe5 (18. exd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5 Rad8 20. Nf5 Rxd5 21. Bb6 Qd7 22. Qg4 g6 $17)
18... dxe4 19. Be2 Nd7 $17) 16... dxe5 17. Bxb7 Qxb7 18. fxe5 Nd7 {[%csl Rc2,
Re5] and Black has two pawns to target.}) 13... e5 14. Ng3 Rd8 {transposes
to 12..a5.}) 13. e5 Ne4 (13... Nd7 {leads to a very comfortable French-type
position, but after} 14. Ned4 Nxd4 15. Nxd4 a5 16. Be3 Ba6 17. Re1 Bc5 18. Qd2
Rac8 19. Bg1 {it is not so easy to anticipate a break-through.}) 14. Bxe4 dxe4
15. Ng3 a5 16. Nxe4 $2 {Well, this move can only be called "natural" (referring
to the comment on Black's 12th move), if we consider greed a natural human
instinct. It was absolutely mandatory to keep the position closed, instead of
doing the opposite and energizing the entire black army.} (16. Re1 a4 (16...
Qc7 17. Be3 Rd8 18. Qg4 Bb7 19. Nh5 $13) 17. Be3 Qc7 18. Nd2 Rd8 19. Qg4 Nd4
20. Bxd4 Rxd4 21. Ndxe4 Bb7 22. Nh5 g6 23. Nhf6+ Kg7 24. c3 bxc3 25. bxc3 Rdd8
{Black has enough compensation, but not more.}) (16. Qe1) 16... a4 {Now,
White's bishop gets buried.} 17. Nbd2 Ba6 18. Re1 Rfd8 {[#] Obviously, there
is a huge discrepancy in piece activity.} 19. c3 (19. Qg4 $6 Nd4 $19 {doesn't
work for White.}) 19... Rd3 $2 {Sacrificing a second pawn was completely
unnecessary. Black could have reached a winning position by simple means:} (
19... a3 $17) (19... Bh4 $1 20. Rg1 (20. Nf6+ Bxf6 21. exf6 Qf2 22. Rg1 Qxf4
23. Qxa4 (23. fxg7 Ne5 $19 {[%cal Ge5g4]}) 23... Ne5 24. Nf3 (24. Qxb4 Qxb4 25.
cxb4 Nd3 {[%cal Rd3f2,Rd3c1]} 26. Ne4 Rd4 $19) 24... Ng4 25. Re1 Qf5 26. Qc6
Nf2+ 27. Kg1 Nd3 28. Rd1 e5 $19) (20. Nd6 Bxe1 21. Qxe1 Ne7 22. N2e4 bxc3 23.
bxc3 Bd3 24. Ba3 Bxe4 25. Nxe4 Nd5 $19) (20. g3 Be7 $19 {[%cal Ra8h1]}) 20...
Ne7 21. Nd6 (21. c4 Nf5 22. c5 Qc6 23. Qf3 Rac8 $19 {[%cal Gd8d3,Gf5d4]}) 21...
Bf2 22. c4 Nf5 23. Rf1 Nxd6 24. exd6 Bc5 $19) 20. Qxa4 {Now the position is
unclear, even though it is easier to play with Black. 0-1 (61) Dementiev,
O-Dzindzichashvili,R Soviet Union 1972 The strong Georgian grandmaster was
finally rewarded with a victory for his creativity in move 9.}

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