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LCB, Issue #083 --, Master Material Imbalances with Skill
May 01, 2022

Master Material Imbalances with Skill

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #083 -- GOTM #53

learn and play online chess
In a lot of your games you will play for much of it with material equality with your opponent. You'll have a Rook and a minor piece and four pawns and he'll have the same. Or you'll have a Queen, two Rooks and five pawns and so will he.

It will then be a question of who, if anyone, can find a way to win the game. Those situations call on you to simply play better than your opponent with the same pieces in the endgame so you can hopefully win.

Sometimes of course you can have material equality but have a material imbalance. This can happen if you exchange two minor pieces for a Rook and pawn. Or maybe three minor pieces for a Queen. Or then again a Rook and a minor piece for a Queen.

Games like this pose another kind of challenge. Now your understanding of the powers and potential of different pieces is put to the test. Do you know how to get the best out of your pieces and how to neutralize your opponent's pieces. Your strategy going forward will be dictated by these questions.

A nice illustration of these considerations arose in the game between Jerzy Lewi and Jan Adamski in Polanica Zdroj, Poland in 1969. Lewi had White and Adamski had Black.

Employ Multiple Tactics to Win

Lewi, Jerzy - Adamski, Jan [A21]

GotM #53 - Polanica Zdroj, 1969
[Connaughton, Ken]

1.Nf3 d6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.c4

Transposing to the English Opening


Giving the game a Reverse Sicilian character.

5.Nc3 Nf6 6.0-0 0-0 7.d3 Nh5

Black's idea is an assault in the e and f-files.


White wants to expand on the Queenside. His Rook is happier away from the gaze of the dark-square Bishop on g7.


Fighting for b4.


Strengthening White's absolute control of b4 and prepping the push.

9...f5 10.Bd2

Game position after 10.Bd2

White has completed his development and is ready to push his Queenside forward. Black's Queenside is completely undeveloped but his Kingside attack is much more advanced than White's Queenside.

10...f4 11.b4 axb4 12.axb4 g5

It seems like he is weakening his King and in truth this strategy is not without risk but it is the one he must play otherwise his opening does not make sense. Even though he must tread carefully, his attack can become very dangerous.

13.Qb3 Kh8 14.c5 g4

Game position after 14...g4

The two sides continue to progress on opposite flanks. Who has the winning idea?

15.Ne1 Nc6

d4 is beckoning for the Knight.

16.cxd6 Nd4!?

Sacking the pawn via the intermezzo.


White bites and the game will soon go down a very different and very sharp path because of that.

(17.Qd1 Qxd6 18.e3 Nf5 19.Bh1 fxg3 20.fxg3 Nf6 21.Rf2 h5)


(17...Nxb3?? 18.cxd8Q Rxd8 (18...Nxd2? 19.Qc7+-) 19.Rxb3)


White's objective is to destroy the e5 support base for the d4-Knight. Black however has a surprise for him.


Game position after 18...Qxc3!!

Black sees a great resource. It looks like a Queen sacrifice but at the end of the series of forced moves he will have a positional advantage.

19.Bxc3 Nxe2+ 20.Kh1 Nxc3 21.Qb3 Nxb1 22.Qxb1

Game position after 22.Qxb1

The dust has barely settled on the fraca that has changed the landscape so dramatically and Black is already moving to the next phase of his masterplan. His advanced Kingside pawns are moving to surround the White King's bunker.


The combination is not in fact over and Black is still winning material for his Queen. White's treasured English Bishop on g2 has nowhere to go.


(23.Nxf3 gxf3 24.Bxf3 Rxf3-+; 23.Qb3 fxg2+ 24.Nxg2-/+; 23.Kg1 fxg2 24.Nxg2)

23...gxf3 24.Rg1 Bh3 25.Qd1

f3 must be eliminated.

25...Nf6 26.g4

(26.Nxf3 Ng4 (26...Bg4 27.Re1 e4 28.dxe4 Nxe4 29.Kg2 Bxf3+ 30.Qxf3 Rxf3 31.Kxf3 Rf8+ 32.Ke2 Rxf2+-+) 27.Qe2 Rxf3 (27...e4 28.dxe4 Ra3 29.Rf1-+) 28.Qxf3 Rf8 29.Qxf8+ Bxf8 30.Re1 Bxb4)

26...Nxg4 27.Rg3?

Not the best.

(27.Rxg4 Bxg4 28.b5 Ra2 29.Nc2 Rc8)


Black had many ways to win. This was as effective as any.

(27...Nxf2+ 28.Kg1 Nxd1 29.Rxh3 (29.Nxf3 e4 30.Rxh3 Rxf3 31.Rg3 Ra2 32.Kh1 Be5 33.Rxf3 exf3 34.Kg1 Nf2 35.Kf1 Nxd3 36.Kg1 Ra1#) 29...f2+ 30.Kf1 Ne3+ 31.Rxe3 Ra1 32.Kg2 Rxe1 33.Rf3 Rxf3 34.Kxf3 f1Q+ 35.Kg4 Re3 36.b5 Qg2+ 37.Kh5 Rh3#)

28.dxe4 Ra1



He wants to hold on to his Queen and the Knight cannot be abandoned.

(29.Qxa1 Bxa1 30.Nxf3 Rc8 31.Rxh3 Nxf2+ 32.Kg2 Nxh3 33.Kxh3 Re8 34.e5 Bxe5 35.Kg4 Bc7)


Game position after 29...Rd1

That's enough for White. He resigns.


Lewi - Adamski, Polanica Zdroj (1969)

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