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Susan Polgar: Calculate deeper!

There are two types of positions in chess, ones which require precise calculation, and others where you can largely rely on intuition and judgment. One of the common mistakes many players make is that they try to calculate everything, even at times when there is no need for it. By doing so, they spend a lot of time on the clock. This then cause them to end up in time trouble, which in turn results in mistakes or even blunders on the board.However, in this article, I would like to share with you some of my personal experience where actually calculation is crucial. In fact, the point is to calculate deeper and more precisely than the opponent.The first example is from a game of mine which I played in a small open tournament in Oklahoma in 2004. This was my first tournament after a long break since my World Championship match against Xie Jun in early 1996. Polgar S. : Hulsey M. Stillwater 2004

especially once your King has already castled to the Kingside. However, here White by playing energetically will justify the aggressive play. 15...fg4 16.hg4 Shf6 This is another key moment in the game.

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17.g5 It was clear that White has significant advantage in development, and especially in view of the rather committing 15.g4, I have to find to right follow-up to it. In this position, I had three tempting lines to choose from. Each of them requires substantial deep calculation. In addition to the move I played, I also considered 17.Dc2, and even 17.Lh6. Let's first examine the interesting complication that can arise starting with 17.Dc2. Black's only response to defend the Pawn on g6 is 17...Sf8. Now, there are two logical roads: a) 18.Sh4 to simply attack the Pawn on g6 the third time, but Black seems to be OK after 18...Sg4 19.Lg6 Kg8 20.Le8 Dh4 21.Lf4 (21.f4 Lc3 22.bc3 Lf5+) 21...Se5 or b) first sacrificing with 18.Lg6 Sg6 and then 19.Sh4. Here Black is also surviving after 19...Lg4 (but not 19...Se4 20.Sg6 (20.Se4 Dh4+) 20...Lc3 21.bc3 Lg4 22.f3 Lh3 23.fe4 Tg8 24.Tf7 Kg6 25.Df2 Kh5 26.Kh1 Lg2 27.Kh2 Le4 28.Lg5 Dg5 29.Te4+-) 20.Dg6 Kh8 21.Lh6 Tg8 22.Lg7 Tg7 23.Dh6 Kg8 24.Sg6 Sh7, with complications. 1

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15.g4! This is a very important move. Otherwise the Black Knight returns from h5 to f6 and Black has a decent position. At first glance, a move such as g2-g4 looks rather risky, FIDE SURVEYS SUSAN POLGAR

17.Lh6!? was also not bad, with a strong attack after 17...Lh6 (17...Sg4 18.Lg6 Kg6 19.Te8+-) 18.g5 Lg7 19.gf6 Lf6 20.Se4. 17...Sg4 It was my top choice. After 17...hg5 18.Sg5 Black is lost. 18.gh6 Sde5 The key variation that I spent a considerable amount of time calculating was 18...Se3 19.hg7 Sf1. At first I was trying to make one of the forceful moves such as the sac with 20.Lg6 or 20.Sg5 work. Those ideas did not work. But it was quite pleasurable when I finally noticed the hidden quiet move

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21...Lf5 My opponent actually thought he was doing OK, until he realized that after 21...Se3 I don't have to recapture on e3. I can play 22.Dg6! instead. 22.Sce4+The rest was easy. 22...Se5 23.De2 Kg7 24.Kg2 De7 25.Lf4 Sf7 26.Dd2 Dd7 27.Dc3 Se5 28.Sd6 1:0. The next position came from one of the games which I played only a few month after the game above. In this game, my opponent was my old rival (and friend), the legendary former World Champion Maia Chiburdanidze at the Calvia Chess Olympiad. After only 13 moves we have reached the following position: Polgar S. : Chiburdanidze M. Calvia, Olympiad 2004

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20.Dg5!! that unexpectedly wins the game! For example: 20...Dg5 21.Sg5 Kg7 22.Te8 and the Black Knight on f1 gets trapped, after 22...Sd2 23.Te2 Kf6 24.f4. Black also loses after 18...Lh6 19.Lh6 Te1 20.Te1 Sh6 21.Lg6 Kg6 22.Te6 Sf6 23.Dg5 Kf7 24.Dh6 Le6 25.Sg5 Ke8 26.Se6 De7 27.Dh8+-. 19.Sg5! This in-between move wins a piece. After 19.Se5 Le5 Black would still get some counter chances. 19...Kg8 Moving into a discovery with 19...Kh6 would be deadly too. 20.hg7 Sd3 20...Se3 21.De3. 21.Dd3

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FIDE SURVEYS SUSAN POLGAR

Maia had just played 13g6, after a lengthy thought. She clearly anticipated the upcoming sacrifice but misevaluated its outcome. 14.Se5!! Of course this is an easy combination to spot. After 14...de5 15.De5, Black's position is rather hopeless, due to the weakness of the dark squares around the Black King. However, the more challenging part during the game was to find the various resourceful counterattacking moves that Black had, and not less importantly, their refutations. 14...Se2 The idea behind this sacrifice is that if I capture 15.Ke2 now, then after 15...de5 16.De5? Black can pin the White Queen with 16...Te8. However, before continuing further with the game moves, let's look at some other interesting options that Black had. I had to calculate very carefully before going forward with the sacrifice in my last move. 14...De7 is one of them, with the idea to "pin" the Knight to e5. Fortunately, I found the elegant

15.Sf7!! A second sacrifice! If now 15...Kf7, then 16.Dg7 Ke8 17.Lf6 and the Black Queen is trapped. Therefore 17...Tf6 is a must, but after 18.gf6 Black is lost. 15...Sc3

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16.Sh6! This was an unexpected check. If I decided to play 16.Sd8 (instead of the game move of 16.Sh6) 16Td8, then White would end up being a piece down. Even after 17.Le6 Kf8 18.Lc3 White would still lose because of the pin with 18...Te8. 16...Kg7 17.Lc3 Tf6 18.Lf6 Df6 19.gf6 Kh6 My opponent actually saw everything up to this point. In the post game analysis, she told me that she totally forgot that in this position, she no longer has her Rook on f8 anymore. White has a significant material advantage. Therefore, the position is already winning, no matter what. Unfortunately, this was one of the painful moments of my career, where I missed the final touch to a "perfect" game. What I played also wins, but it was not as precise. Being happy with a technical win, I played:

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15.Le4!! move which unpins my Knight. After that White wins. For example, 15...Le4 (15...de5 16.Lb7 Se2 17.Ke2 Db7 18.De5 f6 19.De6 Tf7 20.gf6) 16.Sc6 Sd3 17.Kf1. Also after 14...De8 the same idea prevails: 15.Le4!! Le4 16.Sg4. After 14...de5 15.De5 Sg2 16.Tg2 f6 17.Le6. FIDE SURVEYS SUSAN POLGAR

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20.Le6 and missed the outstanding finish to this beautiful game with 20.Tb1!. After 20...gf5, followed by 21.Tb3, when it would have been "game over" immediately. Here are the rest of the moves of the game. 20...Sc6 21.Ld5 Tf8 22.f7 Sd8 23.Lb7 Sb7 24.Tg3 Tf7 25.Te3 Sd8 26.b5 Tf4 27.d3 d5 28.Te7 dc4 29.dc4 Sf7 If 29...Tc4 30.Td1 Td4 31.Td4 cd4 32.Ta7. 30.Td1 Sg5 31.Ta7 Tc4 32.Ta6 Tc2 33.Tb6 c4 34.a4 Ta2 35.Ta6 Sf3 36.Kf1 Sd2 37.Td2 Td2 38.Tc6 Tc2 39.b6 But how would you know when to stop your calculation during a game? When did you calculate deep enough? Well, there is no magic rule. Generally speaking, when there are no more forceful moves (such as check, capture of attacking a piece) in sight, it is a good time to stop and evaluate the position at the end of the variation. Remember, many games are decided by who calculates further. And indeed in sharp and tactical positions, this could prove to be decisive. 1:0.