Black has just played 12. ...Be6. What should White play here?

Successful chess depends a lot on how much you can predict what your opponent is likely to do. Here is an interesting example to study with Chess King tutor tonight. In the position on the left, Black has sacrificed a pawn to open the b-file and most of us would be able to predict that Black is likely to play Qa5. It’s a typical position in the Sicilian. What do you think White should play here? There are no right or wrong answers to this chess position right now. We’re trying to look at an idea.

White could play any of the three standard moves here like Be2, Kb1, or even b3. Nothing much is happening right away. However, since a pawn storm in case of Kings castling on the opposite sides is a norm and, since GM Lalic could assume that Black is likely to play Qa5 here, White played the very interesting h4. There’s nothing great shakes about the h4 thrust right away as Black could easily play Rb8, Rc8, c5, or even h5. BUT that’s the whole point. GM Lalic successfully predicted that Black was going to go for 13….Qa5. This is what happened: 13.h4 Qa5 14.Qg5 Qd8 forces Black to lose time (two tempii actually) in shuffling the Queen. If Black exchanges the Queen then he would be left with a weakness on h7 and no compensation for the sacrificed pawn. The Queen tour to a5 and back to d8 gives White a nice gain of tempo followed by 15.e5 and a considerable plus in another three moves. Here is the full game. Enjoy it in the super Chess King applet. Chess is about ideas. Use the strongest computer chess tutor on the planet with Chess King, but enjoy playing chess as a human.

Lalic Bogdan (ENG) (2505) – Hoi Carsten (DEN) (2445)

Result: 1-0
Site: Manila (Philippines)
Date: 1992
[…] 1.d4 g6 2.e4 ¥g7 3.¤c3 d6 4.¥e3 ¤f6 5.£d2 ¤c6 6.f3 O-O 7.O-O-O e5 8.d5 ¤d4 9.¤ge2 c5 10.dxc6 bxc6 11.¤xd4 exd4 12.¥xd4 ¥e6 13.h4 £a5 14.£g5 £d8 15.e5 ¤h5 16.exd6 ¥xd4 17.¦xd4 £b6 18.£e5 ¦ae8 19.¤a4 £b8 20.¥d3 ¥d5 21.£h2 a5 22.¥e4 £a7 23.¦hd1 ¤f6 24.¤c3 ¦b8 25.¥xd5 ¤xd5 26.¤xd5 cxd5 27.£e5 a4 28.¦xd5 a3 29.b3 ¦fe8 30.£d4 £d7 31.¦a5 ¦e2 32.¦xa3 ¦xg2 33.¦a7 £f5 34.¦c7 £a5 35.£d5 £a3+ 36.¢b1 ¦f8 37.d7
Interestingly, if White had gone for BxNf6 instead of 13.h4 trying to be two pawns up, he might even have ended up losing! Sample this: 13.BxNf6, BxBf6 14.Qxd6 Qa5! White might be two pawns up but those Bishop missiles are lethal. White could start losing soon enough. Once the Knight on c3 is gone, White is dead.