Jacobs, David G (2113) - Larkins, Larry R (2091)
2007 US Armed Forces Open, Arlington, VA (5)
15 October 2007
This game was played in round five. This was a critical matchup because the winner would likely become the 2007 champion. For Jacobs, it would establish an
unprecedented record of winning the US Armed Forces Open four consecutive times bested only by Rudy Tia's All-Army Chess Championship record.
Rudy Tia's record is unassailable. I believe he won the Army's event seven
consecutive times, of the total 10. I will set the record straight in the next
installment of the Game of the Week series. I will, of course, pick a Tia game.
A very strong move. Jacobs showed me a cute line if black takes on f5. I believe white is on the verge of winning here. So, Larkins wisely opted for complications to create some practical chances by sacrificing the exchange on d4.
White is threatening the devastating e6 or Qxh6. Double threats almost always win games in chess.]
Black's back rank threat slows white a bit and a "luft" must be created before proceeding with the attack. While necessary, this seems to have given the initiative to black.
I like this move because it retains the initiative and it buys black time to reposition the light-squared bishop along the e8-h5 diagonal protecting the critical g6-square and attacks the "undefended" pawn on h6 (not by another pawn). Larkins is known to be a hard player to beat. This move gives him practical chances by making it hard for white to prosecute his own agenda. Never give up and keep giving your opponent obstacles to solve over the board. This strategy induces an error on your opponent
especially when multiple winning plans exist. Somehow, it is easier for the
brain to choose and execute a winning plan when choices are limited to one or two. The abundance of good alternatives can be a bane to
the player who possesses them because it can lead to tactical oversights.
Now, it is white's turn to make a threat, which effectively steals the initiative from black.
Now, both Rf2 and the simpler Qd3 should win for white, but black's previous move provided for an opportunity for white to err with the unsound sac on g7, which white
unfortunately fell into.
White throws away the win and the title. He thought the check on a7 would
sufficiently create a mating net for black but overlooked the ...Bf7 reply. Tactical oversights are
common mishaps over the board even for strong players like Jacobs. [28.Rf2
Black's trickery turned a losing game into a win and the likelihood of ending Jacobs' streak. Jacobs overlooked that the Qa5 check (The white player was banking on this move for the win - a tactical oversight.) would not amount to anything as black would simply defend by ...Bf7.
Jacobs saw the error immediately after he took on g7. I am finishing an article which will be posted on this site about a sure system, which purports to
minimize if not eliminate oversights in our games. The fact that Jacobs saw it as he made the capture on g7 proves my theory that these oversights can be seen if we only take the time to find them. Amateurs like us should spend more time on studying tactics than opening theory as most of our games are either lost or won due to tactical oversights. The prevention of oversights should be our primary concern in our chess development until we breach the coveted 2200 ceiling. I argue that one can get to over 2100 simply by reaching playable positions and outplaying opponents in the ensuing middlegame tactics. I did it before and would do it again to serve as proof of my theory. The problem is I lack the discipline to apply the system in a consistent manner in my own games. More discussions on this point will follow shortly.