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jstevens1 95 ( +1 | -1 )
Knightmares! We have had a debate on whether knights are better than bishops, but is N + 2 pawns better than a rook? In this game it was, and during my happier days before the Big Slump I gave my poor unfortunate opponent, whose identity I will protect ............

KNIGHTMARES!!

[Event "Challenge from NN"]
[Site "-> gameknot.com
[Date "2007.07.24"]
[Round "-"]
[White "NN"]
[Black "jstevens1"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1248"]
[BlackElo "1690"]
[TimeControl "1/259200"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Termination "normal"]

1. d4 d5 2. e3 e6 3. c4 c5 4. b3 Nc6 5. Ba3 Qa5+ 6. Qd2 Qxd2+ 7. Nxd2 cxd4 8. Bxf8 Kxf8 9. e4 dxc4 10. Nxc4 Nf6 11. f3 Ke7 12. e5 Nd5 13. Kd2 b6 14. a3 Rd8 15. g3 Ba6 16. Rc1 Rac8 17. Nd6 Bxf1 18. Nxc8+ Rxc8 19. Rxf1 Nxe5 20. Re1 Kd6 21. f4 Nc6 22. Nf3 f6 23. Rec1 Rc7 24. Rc2 e5 25. f5 Ne3 26. Rcc1 Nxf5 27. g4 Ne3 28. b4 a6 29. h3 Nd5 30. Rcb1 Nc3 31. Rb2 g5 32. h4 h6 33. hxg5 hxg5 34. a4 Nxa4 35. Ra2 b5 36. Rh6 Nxb4 37. Ra1 Rc2+ 38. Kd1 Nc3+ 39. Ke1 Nd3+ 40. Kf1 Rf2+ 41. Kg1 Ne2+ 42. Kh1 Rxf3 43. Rxa6+ Kd5 44. Raxf6 Nf2+ 45. Kg2 Rxf6 46. Rxf6 Nxg4 47. Rf1 Ne3+ 48. Kf2 Nxf1 0-1

If anybody has any feedback on this game I will be pleased to hear from you.

Cheers!

jstevens1 (Joanne)
ganstaman 163 ( +1 | -1 )
Wow. From move 36 or so onward, that was absolutely amazing to watch. It's not just that you had a N+pawns vs. rook, it's that you had 2 active knights that worked together. I actually wonder why I haven't heard/read much about the knight pair -- if used correctly, it can be stronger than the bishop pair.

If you're looking for improvements, my quick look only really spots move 10. 10...Nf6 invites 11. e5. He does get in 12. e5 in the game. The problem for you is that the e5-pawn is defendable, and by defending it, white would basically be putting his kingside pawns on dark squares, which is already what he wants to do since he has a light square bishop.

Also, as you found out for 1 move, the pawn on e5 provides the d6-square as a powerful knight outpost for white. If white had planned this properly, I think the knight may have been able to stay there for a while and put a bind on your position, since you were all cramped up near that open c-file. On the other hand, maybe the knight couldn't stay there and winning the exchange is all it was good for.

By playing 10. e5 instead, you'd be locking your pawns on dark squares while leaving white's central pawn on a light square. Since you both have light square bishops, this is good for you (typical good bishop/bad bishop situation). Plus, that would help to guarantee that you keep your d-pawn, which is a very strong pawn since it is a passed pawn. It also could provide your knights with advanced outposts.

At least these are my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.
chessnovice 75 ( +1 | -1 )
... A few years ago, I was preparing a friend of mine for a tournament with some quick games. He was way beyond my skill level, so it was more like he was teaching me some pointers.

The game came down to him giving up his queen and a pawn to capture both of my rooks. I suggested that the trade was even, but he said no. He told me that given the option of having one piece with all the value or two pieces sharing the same value, he'd prefer the two pieces. The queen isn't able to defend itself, and once it's out of moves, you lose tempo.

I think that concept of putting all your eggs in one basket applies here too. The preference is entirely situational, but if I had pawns to play with, I would consider two knights a good advantage over one rook.
ionadowman 242 ( +1 | -1 )
Naturally... ... it all depends on the position. I have long argued on GK that although the bishop pair can be a very powerful asset indeed, it can be overrated. I've had more than one game on GK myself in which my knight-pair has outplayed the bishop-pair, simply because the bishop pair was either unable to cooperate, or had too little room to show their paces
.
Like chessnovice's pal, I generally prefer to have the more flexible combination - e.g. N+2P against the rook. A while ago I had one 100-mover that featured a R+2P vs B+N endgame. Which would you prefer there? In that particular game, the former had almost all the winning chances, residing in the pawns, of course. At one point I thought my opponent might try exchanging knight for rook pawn, leaving me with a Rook plus knight-pawn vs bishop - a combination of material that is often very difficult, if not impossible - for the strong side to win.

But I come back to my opening statement - it depends on the position. My preference comes down to who has the better winning chances. In the Q+P vs 2R situation, in general I would imagine the former would have the greater winning chances, mainly in the pawn (I've been on the receiving end of that situation myself). The rooks are marginally more flexible, perhaps, but the queen is - or can be - the more agile. I think before making a decision there. I would need to look at the position.

The game that opens this thread is a classic of the type: White's rooks were not given the slightest chance of a breakthrough until too late in the game to counter Black's final assault. I don't think I would have played 31...g5, but that's a quibble, in the circumstances. Very well played, Joanne!

Here's something similar - an OTB game from the early '90s
White: N.N.
Black: Me
Bishop's Opening;
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.a3 Bc5
5.b4 Bb6 6.b5 Nd4 7.c3 d5 8.exd5 Nf5
9.Bg5 0-0 10.Nd2 h6 11.Bxf6?! Qxf6 12.Ne4 Qg6
13.Qf3 Nh4 14.Qg3 Nxg2ch 15.Kf1 Nf4 16.Qxg6 fxg6!? (I liked the open file)
17.d6ch Kh7 18.h4 cxd6 19.Nxd6 Bg4 20.Nf7 Rxf7!?
This time Black has the bishop pair for the exchange, but no extra pawns. He does have the more active pieces, though!
21.Bxf7 Rf8 22.Bc4 Nh5 23.Ke1 Bxf2ch 24.Kd2 Bg3
25.Kc2 Rf2ch 26.Kb3 Nf4 -
A remarkable position:
w
To continue:
27.Re1 Ng2?! 28.Rb1 Nxh4 29.Rb2 Rxb2ch 30.Kxb2 Nf5
31.Bd5 b6 32.Nf3 h5? (Careless!) 33.Kb3? (33.Ng5ch=) 33...Bxf3
34.Bxf3 ...
At last it's N+2P for R...
34...Kh6 35.Be4 h4 36.Kc4 Nd6ch! 37.Kb4 Nxe4
38.dxe4 Kg5 39.a4 Kf4 40.Rf1ch Kxe4 41.Rf7 h3
42.Rxg7 h2 43.Rh7 g5 44.a5 Bh4 0-1

Cheers,
Ion