Friday, March 20, 2009

Blue or Red Pill?

Petrosian-Tal, Curacao 1962
White to play

Sometimes chess is a decision between two clear cut options.

Take today's position for example. Does White want to exchange minor pieces or not? On the one hand all rook endings are drawn (who said that by the way?). On the other, knights are - often? usually? - better than bishops when the pawns are all on the same side of the board.

The choice is yours.


Tom Chivers said...

Without any hesitation I'd keep the bishop on.

Anonymous said...

Dr Tarrasch I believe said it!

Anonymous said...

Was it?? I always thought it was one of the innumerable "Tartakowerisms"

Anonymous said...


I'd be inclined to swap the minor pieces and play the white Rook to a8. Hopefully the black king is thus forced to g7 to defend the h-pawn and white's king and soon to be past d-pawn can overpower black's rook.


Anonymous said...

White should play BxN and then the king forward as Black has a bad
pawn structure.


an ordinary chessplayer said...

I'd capture the knight for two reasons: (1) It is the only thing the bishop can take anyway. (2) There is no way I am going to get checkmated.

Of course, my name isn't Petrosian. In a recent ending R+B+acf v R+N+fgh (I had the bishop), I traded rooks into an edge for my opponent. Practically a win for me with rooks on. Argh!

Jonathan B said...

I thought the same tom - Petrosian evidently disagreed as he swapped.

By the way - today's post is mine. Not sure why it came up under the name of comment moderator.

ejh said...

I'd swap them off just to make life easier.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure it was tarrasch and google seems to agree but may be wrong! Sorry not really commenting on position,


Jonathan B said...

I wonder if swapping bishop for knight is a bit like batting deep into the third morning of a test match. Maybe winning, maybe not ... but you sure aren't going to lose anymore.