On Friday night I played in the DC Chess League against "Chess Xtreme" Star Kevin Wang. He's high school student rated 2331 and a pupil of GM Larry Kaufman, who may end up being my next opponent in the league. I equalized out of the opening, but gradually got into trouble during the middle game. My position was bad enough that the other team consulted and decided to take a draw on the next board, assuming that I would lose the game and the match. Things turned around in a bad knight ending, when he failed to take advantage of a better structure and let me eliminate his last remaining pawns. I haven't done an exhaustive analysis of this game yet, but I did pull out a few interesting positions, which can be used for training. These aren't necessarily tactics, just "What's the best move for white or black?" type puzzles. Please put answers in the comments. I will post solutions on Tuesday.
I had black in the position below. I played Qc8, eyeing h3 and protecting b7. This move is OK, but still leaves white better. There’s a more active try that I didn’t even consider. Can you find the best move for black?
Virtually everything about this position favors white. He has the safer king and better pawn structure. What’s the best move for black to get some saving chances?
White has a substantially better pawn structure in this endgame despite black’s more centralized king. This should be a close to decisive advantage, but my opponent’s next move might have thrown away the win. Can you do better for white?
At around one in the morning I reached the following position. What should black play?