The Four Knights Zugzwang

Four knightsAfter a long month of active play, I successfully completed three international open tournaments which I played one after another near my home town of Varna and eventually covered my third valid IM norm which would likely bring me the title of International Master in the month of October.

Today’s blog post is reserved for my last game of this 27-day chess marathon I was part of in the past several weeks and by some coincidence, this happened to be my most beautiful game, which now motivates me to continue competing actively, starting with my next major tournament in Kavala (Greece) next month.

In this game, I was white and I played the Four Knights Game, which I had covered in one of my ChessBase DVDs some time ago. My opponent was an FM-level local player, whom happened to beat one of my students in the same tournament with the same opening (Four Knights) having white pieces.

In today’s video, I went over my game which serves as a vivid example of how improving your pieces gradually and consistently is never a bad thing in chess. The game started with a Ruy Lopez type of structure in which I received a pair of bishops and started to reposition my pieces onto better squares, taking advantage of my opponent’s awkward position. My strategy later on grew into an attack on the king side which further constricted black’s chessmen into more passive and defensive positions and which gave me the choice of rearranging my pieces in any way I wanted. Finally, we exchanged queens and an interesting endgame position occurred in which my pieces completely dominated my opponent’s knight and rook, resulting in a beautiful zugzwang position in which my opponent’s right to move caused his position to collapse, losing his knight. I hope you enjoy this game and my instructive video analysis: