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Mr Happy and Mr Grumpy.

This is a game that took place a little time ago and to protect the innocent, we will not name them but Mr Grumpy in this game is not too far away.

White:  Happy
Black:  Grumpy
Result:  1-0

1.e4 e5
Excellent moves for both players. Moving either of the two center pawns claims territory in the center, and provides exit routes for the Queen and one or the other bishop.

2.Nf3 Nc6
White immediately challenges the center pawn that is claiming territory for black with this strong developing move. The white Knight also influences the d4 square. Black defends the attacked e5 pawn, and equalizes the influence on the d4 square.

3.Bb5 d5
White develops his white-square Bishop aggressively, apparently willing to exchange the Bishop for black's Knight in return for saddling black with doubled pawns on the f file. Black responds by threatening the as yet unprotected e4 pawn. However, this means that if white plays Bxc6, black is in check, and must grant white's wishes for doubled pawns on the f file, and gives white a move with which to protect the e4 pawn.

4.Bxc6+ bxc6
White forces the issue, and black chooses the best alternative. If black moves the King, the right to castle is sacrificed.

5.d3 Nf6
White takes the opportunity to protect the e4 pawn, which is under attack by black's d5 pawn. Black attacks white's e4 pawn a second time while developing his second Knight toward the center squares.

6.Bg5 Qd6
White pins the Knight, eliminating the second attack against white's e4 pawn. If black's Knight takes e4 now, whites Bishop will capture the Queen. Black reacts by moving the Queen out of the way, Qd6, but this violates one of the principles of good development. Always try to develop your minor pieces first--the Knights and the Bishops, then develop the Rooks and finally the Queen, after you assess where she can be placed to maximize her strength. Be7, moving the Bishop between black's Knight and Queen would have broken white's pin, and helped prepare black to castle.

7.O-O Nh5
White castles, tucking the King out of harms way, which is almost always a good thing. It brings a Rook towards the center squares, where the action is likely to be. Black seems to forget that he has something going in the middle--the e4 pawn being attacked twice and only defended once.

If black's d5 pawn takes e4, it is positioned so it is attacking two pieces, whites d3 pawn, and the Knight on f3. This makes it very unlikely that white would ignore this threat, so white is likely to capture by playing dxe4. However, then black's Knight is ready to snatch up this pawn, by playing Nxd4, and black is up a pawn, which is sometimes enough to win the game. Instead, black moves Nh5, apparently to avoid white's threat of Bxf6, and having doubled pawns on both the c and f files. Remember the saying though, "A Knight on the rim is dim. The Knight can only reach four squares from the edge of the board, sohas given up half of its power.In the center of the board, a Knight can reach eight squares.

8.d4 Ba6
White immediately seizes the opportunity to strengthen the centerr position. Now, the black e5 pawn is attacked twice, and only defended by the Queen, which ironically enough, is very weak in this case. Because the Queen is the most valuable piece, being worth 9 points, she is also very ineffective as a defender of the e5 pawn. Since the pawn is attacked twice, white can capture with impunity, knowing that the black Queen cannot recapture without being captured herself, which would be disasterous. f6 would have defended the e5 pawn a second time, evening things out and attacking white's Bishop on g5. But, black responds with Ba6 instead. This does not resolve the problem in the middle, and just causes white to move the Rook to where it belongs anyway.

7.Re1 Qb4
White develops the Rook to the center file, where the action is likely to be. The e5 pawn is already a target, and exd5 or dxe4 will give the Rook an important role to play. Black responds by attacking the b2 pawn, and possibly the a1 Rook, but this is too early. Black's King is stilll exposed, and the c8 Bishop is not in play yet. Premature attacks don't usually gain as much as they seem to promise, and any attack has to be very strong indeed if the King hasn't been safely tucked away.

8.Nxe5 Qxb2
White uses the more powerful Knight to capture the e5 pawn. This is better than dxe5 although both result in capturing a pawn because the Knight influences so many more squares than the pawn would from e5. Also, the Knight can vacate the e file, which will be very important, as you will see. With Qxb2, Black threatens the a1 Rook, which seems like a strong attack,
but does not yield as much as is hoped for.

9.Nc3 Qxc3
Why would White make what appears to be such a strange move, putting the Knight where Black can capture it immediately with no consequences? It may take quite a bit of explaining, and careful examination of the entire board. The first thing Nc3 accomplishes is that it protects the Rook on a1 by giving the Queen a direct line to the Rook. White also notices that the black Knight on h5 has been sitting there unprotected for quite a while. So White realizes that by giving up a Knight, he can receive immediate compensation for this sacrifice. "But why give the Knight up at all", one might ask? "Why not move the Knight to d2 instead of c3? The answer to that lies in White's hopes for the e file. Although White's Queen is protecting the c2 pawn at the moment, the Queen is too powerful to be chained down for long to such a menial task. White suspects that Black may play dxe4 soon, and if he does, White wants to respond with Rxe4, and not have to worry about the Black Queen being able to reach the e4 square from c2, if Black has captured that pawn. So, White offers a gambit, which means offering a short term gain to one's opponent for what one hopes will be a long term gain. Black gladly takes the offered short term gain.

10.Qxh5 g6
The white Queen captures the Knight on h5, threatening an immediate checkmate by Qxf7. Notice that the Bishop covers the e7 and d8 escape squares for the King, and the Knight covers d7 and f7. However, this initial thrust is easily repelled by Black with a simple pawn move to g6. Notice how the lowly little pawn, worth 1 point, can thwart an attack involving 3 major pieces worth a combined 15 points? Remember that pawns are worth 1 point, Bishops and Knights worth 3, Rooks worth 5 points, and Queens are worth 9 points? Kings have no point values since they can never be captured or sacrificed.

11.Qh4 Bg7
The white Queen drops back a square, out of danger and to a position where she influences e4, and also occupies the same diagonal as the Bishop on g5. This Bishop-Queen alignment is often very powerful. Black finally brings his second Bishop into the game, threatening the Knight on e5, but this is potentially disasterous. If White plays 12.Bf6 now, and Black responds 12...Bxf6, White can respond 13.Qxf6 and attack the Rook on h8, the Bishop on a3, and most importantly, renews the threat of mate by 14.Qxf7. Granted, 12....Bxf6 is not forced, but 12...Rg8 isn't too much better. Unfortunately, there aren't many attractive moves available for Black for move 11. Qxc2 gains a pawn, or Rb8 takes posession of the b file, but White seems to have all the momentum at this point.

12.Nxc6 Qxc6
Even with the attractive possibilities offered by 12.Bf6, White offers another gambit, which turns out to be a nasty little trap. It may appear to Black that White is just trying to move the Knight out of the way of the g7 Bishop, capturing the unprotected c6 pawn and overlooking the fact that Black's Queen can gobble the Knight up. It's too attractive for Black to pass up, and the Queen snatches up the offered Knight.

13.exd5+ Kd7
Alas, the trap slams shut when White captures the d5 pawn, and declares check! This is called a discovered check, because the piece being moved isn't actually the piece placing the King in check. By capturing d5, the black pawn opens the e file, and creates the check for the Rook while attacking the Queen at the same time. This double attack against the Queen and King was well worth White's sacrifice of the Knight on the previous move. Black is forced to move out of check and decides to at least get a pawn back for the loss of the Queen.

14.dxc6+ Kxc6
White captures the Queen, and places the King in a very temporary check. Black simply captures the pesky pawn.

15.Rab1 h5
White takes posession of the open b file, and keeps Black from moving that direction any further. With White's Rook on b1, the c file becomes the edge of the board for Black's King. There isn't much left for Black to do at this point, so h5 is as good as anything in the hope of being able to move White's Bishop off of g5 by following 15...h5 with 16...Bh6.

16.Qe4+ Kd6
White begins the final sequence by bringing the Queen towards the center, and sharing the file with the Rook. This is even more powerful than the Bishop-Queen alignment used earlier. Black valiantly struggles on, choosing d7 for a temporary haven.

17.Qe7+ Kc6
White bears down, putting the Queen right next to the King and forcing Black to choose between two squares. Black chooses to return to c6.

18.Qc5+ Kd7
White vacates e7 for c5, making room for the Rook to get into the picture on the next move. Notice how important the unpretentious little d4 pawn, which has valiantly occupied the key d4 square during the whole game, now leverages this position by providing a safe c5 square for the Queen? Also, even though Black still has two Rooks and two Bishops on the board, they cannot be brought into play because White's pieces own the center of the board, and are able to keep harassing the King right to the end. Black only has one choice, and is forced back to d7.

19.Re7+ Kd8
The Rook advances to the safe e7 square, and forces the black King to the edge of the board. Black has to choose between d8 and c8, and at this point, it doesn't make a bit of difference.

The bitter end for Grumpy, and the satisfying end for Happy, the Queen takes advantage of the safe haven offered by the Rook, and comes in for the crushing end of the game.

It is important to remember that every game of chess can be a good game,even if one loses, as long as one learns something from the experience. What lessons can Black learn from this game?

It is important to develop your minor pieces toward the center of the board before launching an attack. The player with the most control over the center of the board is likely to have an advantage. To bring this point home, put each piece on d4 and count how many squares it can reach from there, assuming an empty board. Compare this to the number of squares it can reach from a4.

The only exception to the rule that a piece can reach more squares from the center than from the edge is the Rook. No matter where a Rook is on the board,it can always reach 14 squares. Remember to castle before launching an attack. You may not have time once the battle heats up,and once one's King is threatened, it may be too late to bring the remaining pieces into play.

Also, be very wary of discovered checks. It is a good rule to always know when a check is iminent, and discovered checks are particularly difficult to anticipate.Make it a practice to check all the way down a file, across a rank, and along the diagonals, don't just stop at the first piece you encounter. Remember to consider the consequences if pieces between your King and an opponent's pieces move out of the way.

Finally, always suspect free gifts. Opportunities that look good at a first glance can turn out to be nasty traps. If one does fall into a trap, embrace the pain, and take solice in the fact that you'll never fall for that one again, at least, not for a while!

Now if only I could write here that this is my work I would be quite pleased but it really isn't it is all the work of my friend Jeffrey Turner who has written a Great description of a game that we played just a little time ago.

Thanks Jeffrey for this.

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