Help Me Find a Better Move…

Mullinax vs Hayes
2018

This is a position from the first round of the 3rd Annual Smokey Mountain Open Amateur Section. Here I (black) have a comfortable position and am a pawn up. In this position, black played 33. … Rxd3 34. cxd3 Ra4 35. Qxc6 Qxc6 36. Rxc6 Rxb4 and eventually won the endgame. However, black can win faster and more decisively from this position.

Please help black find a better move in this position.

Solution: Hint: Who is afraid of the double attack on my d4 Rook?

Solution: Hint: One must be willing to sacrifice and risk everything for mate.

 

Wu vs Hayes
2017

This is a position from the second round of the Alabama State Chess Championship Premiere Section. Here I (Black) sacked a rook for two pawns and a lasting attack on White’s King. In this position, Black played 35… Qg4+ 36. Ke4 Bxf1 37. Rxf1 Qg2+ 38. Rf3 g5 39. Ke5 (Qe5 is good for a draw with accurate play) g4 (I leave it for the reader to figure out why the immediate Qxf3 was no good.) 40. Rg3 Qd5# However, black can win decisively from this position. Please help Black find a better move in this position.

Please help black find a better move after 35… Kf3.

Solution: Hint: One must be willing to sacrifice and risk everything for mate.

Hayes vs. Bond 2017

This is a position from the last round of the Alabama State Chess Championship Premiere Section. Here I (White) found myself on the losing end of a Queens Gambit Accepted where black has won the Queen side. However, an astute player will notice that black has allowed weaknesses in all areas of the board. Most notable are the undefended rook on a8 and Knight on f6. In this position, White could have played the immediate 12. Qf3 (double attacking these weaknesses) but after Nd5 13. Nxd5 exd5 14. Qxd5 Nc6 black maintains a slight advantage in a complicated position. Please help white find a better move in this position.

Please help white find a better move after 11… Qb6.

Solution: Hint: When in doubt, play the most stressing move.

 

Hayes vs Wang 2017

This is a position from the first round of the June Huntsville Classic. Here white has a strong attack against my King.  If white can get h5 in, then my position will become uncomfortable.  Play could have continued 33. BxB QxB+ 34. QxQ fxQ, and I would have a long, but winable endgame given white’s disconnected and doubled pawns.  However, I was fortunate.  This time, I found the better move.  Can you?

Solution: Hint: Pawn Power

Hayes vs Sankhala 2017

This is a position from the second round of the June Huntsville Classic. Here black is down a piece and two pawns. In an effort to get back into the game, black captured my Knight on f3. I quickly saw that 29. gxf3 Ne5+ would recover my Queen after any King move. So play continued 29. Qd4+ Qf6 30. QxQ NxQ 31. Rxa7 and I eventually won the endgame. Still I could have done better.

Solution: Hint: White need not fear the discovered check. Why?

 

This is a position from the second round of the 2017 Queen of Hearts. Here white has just played 35. Bc4 with an eye on my tender pawn on f7, and confident that he will soon win my precious advanced c2 pawn.  I decided to play 35… Bxh5?! with the hope that it might rattle my opponent.  Of course, the immediate capture 36. gxh5 is refuted by 36… Qf4+ and QxR next.  Naturally, white responded by capturing my valuable advanced c-pawn.  After the position stabilized, I could manage no more than a draw.  I finished the tournament in a tie for first place in the Reserve Section.

Solution: Hint: The advanced c-pawn is a winner if it can only get more support.  But how?

7/10/2016

Huntsville’s only two players in the 2016 US Senior Open, Gerald Larson and I travelled almost 8 hours to find ourselves paired for the first round. Here white is a pawn down but has some compensation in black’s pieces bottled up on the Queen side.  Black has just played 26… e6 in an attempt to find counter play in the center.  Play continued 27. dxe6 Qxe4 28. exf7+ Kxf7 29. Qc4+ Qxc4 30. Rxc4 and eventually ended in a draw, but white can do better.

5/26/2016

Here white had just played 12. Bc1-f4 instead of simply recovering his Knight from the rim of the board 12. Nf3 O-O leaving black with no problems.  Now black could play 12. … Qc7 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Nf3 O-O with an equal game, but black can do better.

5/24/2016

Stoughton vs Hayes 2016

Here we find white has pawn-forked two of black’s Knights.  Now black could play 27. … Nxc4 28. Qxc4 Qxe5 29. b3 with an equal game, but black can do better.

4/23/2016

Please help me find a better move after 38… g5.

Hayes vs Zhang 2016

Here I find myself struggling to hold the draw against a strong A-class player in a King and Pawn endgame. Play continued after 38… g5 (see diagram) 39. Kd3? gxf4 40. gxf4 g3 41. Ke3 g2 42. Kf2 Ke4 43. Kxg2 Kxf4 44. Kf2 Kxe5 45. Ke3 f5 where I resigned.  Game over.  Black wins by pushing his passed pawn a few more squares.  Then he abandons it to mop up my queen-side pawns while I deal with the passer.

Solution:

Instead of 39. Kd3? I should have played 39. fxg5 Kxe5 40. Kd3 to reach a critical position. Black could go for the easy draw by playing 40… Kd5 41. Ke3 Ke5 etc.  However, if black goes for my  unsupported g-pawn, then the draw is a little more difficult to see.  Play might have continued 40… Kf5 41. Kc4 Kxg5 42. Kxc5 f5 43. Kd4 (I must return to defend) f4 44. Kd3 fxg3 (44. … f3 45. b4 f2 46. Ke2 Kf5 47. b5 axb5 48. a6 b4 49. a7 b3 50. a8=Q b2 51. Qb8 and the rest is a simple mop up) 45. Ke2 Kf4 46. b4 (offering to sacrifice himself so that his companion might promote) g2 47. Kf2 g1=Q+ (what else?) 48. Kxg1 Ke5 49. b5 Kd5 50. b6 Kc6 51. Kf2 g3+ 52. Kxg3  At this point there is no way for my king to approach black’s a-pawn without creating a stalemate.  A hard fought draw.

3/28/2016

1. Rxg7 RxR 2. BxN Rg8 3. BxR+ RxB 4. Qd8+ Rg8 Qxg8# is not a forced win for White.  Please help me find a better move for black after 1. Rxg7 RxR 2. BxN.

Solution: