How Active Reading is Making a Difference

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Earlier I sent out this tweet:

As soon as I went downstairs to the laboratory and picked up the book I found a great example of what I was talking about.

Take this position from the game Atalik – Hickl 2003

Here White has just played 23.a5, which sacs a pawn. This move is given in the opening section to the game in which the first 28 moves are given without comment in order to get to the position the author finds relevant to the topic being covered (knights on blockading squares). So I make the move. Then I ask “Why would he play that? What’s the point?”

I don’t see the answer right away, so old habit kicks in and I immediately just start making the next few moves to get to the point of the book. Then I stop. I think.  I realize that this is exactly the bad habit I am working to overcome.

So I go back to the position above, and I really ask myself why would White make that move? After all, Suat was rated 2599 at the time of this game, so there is clearly a very clear reason for this move.

I spent a few minutes really thinking about this position. The obvious idea has to be that White can take control of the b file, but how? After all, after 23…cxb4 24.Rxb4 bxa5 White can’t just double rooks as his rook is under attack.

After White moves the rook to safety, Black just moves one of his rooks to the b file, and White has nothing. The it hit me. White can leave the rook en prise and play 25.Qb6, counterattacking the Black queen, giving him time to double on the file!

I rushed over to the computer to pull up the game and check with an engine, but to my delight I found that Suat has an annotated version of this game in the database! Enjoy!

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott

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