This article was published in New In Chess Magazine 2023#4

What would you play?

Club players, test your decision-making skills!

Streamers mostly work from home, but at times they also play in tournaments. To feel the excitement of in-person chess, meet fans and, of course, to keep streaming!

Last April, I participated in the 2023 Reykjavik Open – a popular tournament that reserved a separate corner for a group of well-known streamers to share their live games with their fans. I was impressed to see how these professionals could focus on their games while staying in tune with the many chess enthusiasts in between the rounds.

I have selected one of the games of Alexandra Botez, the popular American-Canadian streamer with more than a million followers, and created four exercises in which you can think along with her. It was a complex game, in which her opponent, Steven Wollkind, had to show active piece play to compensate for his damaged pawn structure.

I hope you will enjoy these exercises and will be able to uncover the tactical opportunities for both players. You can find the full analysis of this game in the game viewer below.

Exercise 1Black’s last move was aimed at preventing his opponent from castling. What would you play? Create a safe spot for your king with 16.f3, or trade the annoying dark-squared bishop with 16.♘a2 ?

The game has just entered a new phase after the queen swap. How would you deal with the attack on the a4-pawn? Protect it with 21.b3 or push it with 21.a5 ?

White has a large advantage in this ending, but the game is not over yet. What would be the most precise move for her to play?

White found a pretty way to decide the game at once. Can you spot it?

The Chess Toolbox

Kudos to Black for fighting himself back into the game with a severely wounded pawn structure. The game could have ended differently if he had prepared the march of his h-pawn with the precise 16...♕c7! and ...♗d6.
White did not allow her opponent a second chance, as she immediately steered the game into a favourable endgame, in which she displayed impeccable technique and decided the game with a pretty discovered attack.