Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Fortress
Throughout history there have been conflicts, battles and wars between groups, tribes and countries. To defend from external aggression, men built walls surrounding their settlements. They used ressitant materials like stones or wood and this is how fortresses appeared.
Like fortresses built by men, a fortress in chess is a particular setup of pieces for defense. It prevents the opponent from winning. Usually the defending side is behind in material. Building a fortress typically consists of creating a zone of protection around the defending king that the opponent cannot penetrate. It is also a way to save a game when a player faces a positional disadvantage.
Because of a lack of knowledge or because of miscalculations, sometimes we fail in building a fortress. Today’s game is an example. The player conducting the black pieces had the chance to create one and save the game. However his opponent was aware of it and prevented that defensive resource.
The following diagram shows the position after White’s 38th move. Because Black has a material disadvantage, he tried to simplify playing 38…Rd2 and build a fortress with his remaining pieces. However he didn’t anticipate that his opponent could prevent that plan. In fact, playing 38…Bf6 immediately would be enough for building a safe fortress.
Although the plan of building the fortress is apparently clear, players need to address some subtleties along the process. Chess is a complex game. At the beginning, we need to study openings, but at the end is also important to be familiar with particular setups of pieces that can help us to save some games.
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