While Wednesday evening saw a good turn out at AACC, only single game was played in the club championship, but a good many casual games were played while it was going on. This week was scheduled for make-up games. The one played featured Jason Denham against Tim Wright, and for some time it looked as if we might have another upset. Such was not to be. Early on Mr. Wright gave up a pawn for very doubtful compensation. Mr. Denham returned it about ten moves later, again, for no clear reason and Wright then had the better game. Turning a technical won Bishop and pawn ending into a recorded victory took many more moves, Mr. Wright did not seriously falter and won in 62 moves.
Including Denham - Wright the standings are now:
1 Henner 4 - 1
2 Howard 4 ½ - 1 ½
3 Magat 4 - 3
4 Alowitz 3 - 3
5 Caravaty 3 - 3
6 Northrup 2 ½ - 1 ½
7 Wright 2 ½ - 3 ½
8 Lack 2 - 3
9 Denham 1 ½ - 4 ½
Denham, Jason - Wright, Tim [A25]
AACC Championship, Guilderland, NY, 04.01.2012
1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 Bc5 4.Nc3 0–0 5.e3 Nc6 6.Nge2,..
A position from theory. Here are couple of examples of how top flight players treat the position:
(427783) Chernin, Alexander (2600) - Anand, Viswanathan (2725) [A25]
PCA/Intel-GP Paris (2.3), 11.11.1995
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.e3 0–0 6.Nge2 d6 7.0–0 Bb6 8.d3 Be6 9.Nd5 Bxd5 10.cxd5 Ne7 11.Nc3 c6 12.dxc6 Nxc6 13.Qb3 Na5 14.Qa3 d5 15.Na4 Nc6 16.Bd2 Bc7 17.Rac1 Rb8 18.b4 Ne7 19.Qb3 Re8 20.Rfd1 h6 21.Rc2 Bd6 22.Nc3 Bc7 23.Rdc1 d4 24.exd4 Nf5 25.Ne2 Bb6 26.Bc3 e4 27.dxe4 Nxe4 28.Bb2 Bxd4 29.Nxd4 Nxd4 30.Bxd4 Qxd4 31.Qc4 Rbd8 32.a3 Qf6 33.Bxe4 Rd4 34.Qb5 Rdxe4 35.Rc8 ½–½
(1240050) Kuehn, Peter (2426) - Bauer, Christian (2634) [A25]
EU-Cup 23rd Kemer (2), 04.10.2007
1.g3 e5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.e3 0–0 6.Nge2 d6 7.0–0 a6 8.a3 Ba7 9.h3 Re8 10.d3 Ne7 11.b4 c6 12.d4 Be6 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.c5 Qc8 15.Kh2 Bc4 16.e4 Qe6 17.Be3 Rad8 18.Qc1 Bb8 19.Qb2 Ng6 20.Rfd1 Nf4 21.Nxf4 exf4 22.Bxf4 Bxf4 23.gxf4 Nh5 24.Rxd8 Rxd8 25.Rd1 Rxd1 26.Nxd1 Nxf4 27.Qd4 g6 28.Ne3 Be2 29.Qd8+ Kg7 30.Qg5 Nh5 31.Nf5+ Kf8 32.Qd8+ Qe8 33.Qd6+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ Kg7 35.e5 f5 36.Qc7 Kf8 37.Nc8 Nf4 38.Qd6+ Kg7 39.Qf6+ Kh6 40.Ne7 Bd3 41.Bf3 Nh5 42.Bxh5 Kxh5 43.f4 h6 44.e6 Be4 [44...Bc4 45.Nxf5; 44...Bc2 45.Qf7 Qxf7 46.exf7] 45.Kg3 1–0
Compared to the sample master games above Wright takes a different approach here; he wants to push the e-pawn to e4. If the wish is to obstruct the long diagonal, it does not to work.
7.0–0 e4 8.a3 a5 9.d3?,..
Logical is to focus on the e-pawn. It is not quite adequately defended. White should play 9 Qc2, if then 9..., Qe7 10 Nf4 d6 11 Ncd5 Nxd5 12 Nxd5; when the fork threat at c7 requires Black to give up the e-pawn. The text gives Black the chance to trade off the weakling letting him off the hook.
9..., exd3 10.Qxd3 Ne5 11.Qc2 c6
Contemplating the push of the d-pawn to d5. The more restrained approach 11..., d6; is possible. In that case an active plan for Black might be offering the b-pawn to concentrate fire on the somewhat weakened light squares around the White King with 11..., d6 12 b3 Bg4!? 13 Bxb7 Rb8 14 Bg2 Qc8. Black has compensation for the pawn but no more than that. The game is about equal then.
Played on general principles perhaps but not correctly calculated. This move drops a pawn because the Bc5 is loose. White now has a measurable advantage.
13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nxd5 Bd6 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Bb2 Bf5 17.e4 Rac8 18.Qb1?
Success has a bad effect on White’s ambitions. Here he may have been too worried about tactics involving a potential Knight fork at f3 of his King and Queen. A clear evaluation of the position would have permitted Mr. Denham to play 18 Qd2, then 18..., Bg4 19 h3, relying on the pin on the Ne5 to keep things under control. The text lets go of some of the advantage White had in hand.
18..., Bg4 19.Nf4!?..,
Consolidation with 19 f3, might be better. Black would then have a tough choice. He could sacrifice a piece for a pawn and some pressure with 19..., Bxf3 20 Bxf3 Nxf3+ 21 Kg2 Nh4+ 22 gxh4 Qxh4 23 Ng3. It looks to me and Rybka that there is not enough pressure to offset the material. Safe and sane play is 19..., Bd7 20 f4 Bc5+ 21 Kh1 Qa6 22 Bxe5 Qxe2 23 Re1 Qb5; when the extra pawn White has is offset somewhat by having all the long range pieces on the board.
19..., Qh6 20.Bxe5?,..
Giving back the pawn without any just cause. Once more consolidation with 20 f3 Bd7 21 Bd4, leaves White with some advantage.
20..., Bxe5 21.Ra2 Bxf4 22.gxf4 Qxf4
Worse than the material balance being restored is the White King’s field is now shaky. Even with his light squared Bishop still on the board, there are problems with those squares.
White has to guard against .., Rc3; intensifying the dangers to the White King. He could also try 23 Rc2, hoping that the simplifying line; 23..., Rxc2 24 Qxc2 Bf3 25 Bxf3 Qxf3 26 Re1 h6 27 Re3 Qg4+ 28 Kf1, would be an easier defensive task.
23..., Be6 24.Rb2?!,..
Logical but passive letting Black improve his position. Worth consideration is 24 Qb5!?, seeking compensation in dynamic play. This course would require both sides to calculate many variations. After the text calculations are easier for Black. He has the initiative, and making threats is more pleasant than meeting them.
24..., Rc5 25.Qg3 Qf6 26.Rfb1 Rg5 27.Qe3 Rc8 28.f4 Rgc5 29.e5 Qg6
Black has played pretty straight forwardly getting control of the c-file while keeping threats alive against the White King. This approach is tough to meet. White has to be right at every turn, while Black has more latitude.
This very logical looking move proves the point. Here White needed to play 30 Rd1, then if 30..., Rc3? 31 Qxc3 Rxc3 32 Rd8 mates. In that case 30..., h6; is logical, and after 31 Rd2, White has at least activated his Rooks. Black still has a solid advantage, but White has created some fighting chances. The text simplifies the game and drops a pawn. The same color Bishop ending favors Black. Is it a clear win? While watching the game I was not certain. During the quiet contemplation of analysis, and with the help of Rybka, it is won for Black, albeit the process is lengthy.
30..., Rc1+ 31.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 32.Kf2 Rc2+ 33.Rxc2 Qxc2+ 34.Ke1 Qc1+ 35.Ke2 Qxa3 36.Bxb7 Qxb3 37.Qxb3 Bxb3
The outside passed pawn combined with the weakness of the K-side pawns is all that is required for Black to win, but there still chances for White to create difficulties.
38.Kd2 Kf8 39.Kc3 a4 40.Bc6,..
White could take a different track with 40 Be4. Tricky play follows 40..., h6;
(40..., Ke7; looks drawn after 41 Bxh7 g6 42 f5, etc. because the White King has just enough time to get back in front of the f-pawn - the passed White h-pawn restrains Black sufficiently to allow that to happen.) 41 h4 g6 42 Kb4 Ke7 43 f5 g5 44 hxg5 hxg5 45 Bf3 f6 46 e6 Bc2 47 Bg4 Kd6 48 Ka3 Bb3 49 Kb4 Ke5 50 e7 Bf7; etc. Tough stuff to calculate, but Black seems to be winning.
White would rather engineer some trade that gets off most of the other pawns and then sacrifice his Bishop for the remaining K-side pawn leaving Black saddled with an a-pawn and a Bishop of the wrong color. It is a well known draw if the White King can get to a1. To underline once more the flaws of computer analysis, Deep Rybka gives Black a big edge when the position gets down to a bare White King versus a light squared Black Bishop and an a-pawn no matter where the Kings are situated. These type of endings require a table base if you want to rely on the electronic monster.
Consulting the pundits, Fine and Dvoretsky, gives this wisdom; an outside passed pawn and a qualitative superiority in pawn formation is a likely win for the side with the extra pawn if the stronger side can avoid the drawing pitfalls. The outside passed pawn exists, and the only remaining question is can White find a trick to get to the drawn ending. Both players were sure the other was well aware of the draw to had with the wrong colored Bishop they confirmed after the game.
40..., Ke7 41.f5 g6 42.e6,..
Maybe not the best move here, but it at least heads for a position with drawing chances.
Definitely not the best move. Better 42..., gxf5; making passed pawn while keeping the h-pawns on the board. In that situation the f-pawn will cost White his Bishop soon enough, the a-pawn keeps the White King from interfering and the h-pawn remains to seal the deal. The way Mr. Wright elects to go is almost the same but takes a bit longer and lacks the insurance policy.
43.fxg6 hxg6 44.h4 Kf6 45.Be4 Kg7 46.Kb4 Kh6 47.Ka3 Kh5 48.Kb2 Kxh4 49.Bxg6 Kg3
White’s only hope is to sacrifice his Bishop for the e-pawn.
50.Be4 Kf4 51.Bc6 e5 52.Bb7 Ke3
Rybka, even this very materially reduced position, keeps suggesting e5-e4. It just does not see that if the e-pawn disappears the game is drawn. It is an “event horizon” problem for the computer. Black however understands the situation clearly. He knows the a-pawn may be given up at the right moment when his Bishop can interfere with the White Bishop’s prevention of e-pawn’s advance.
By playing 53 Kc3, White could have made Black seriously work for the point. At c3 the White King keeps the Black King from getting to the ideal square, d4, for executing his planned e-pawn advance. Black is still winning. He’d have to find the idea of getting a pawn through to Queen in a different fashion; 53 Kc3 Bd1 54 Bc8 a3 55 Be6 e4! 56 Bd5 Ba4 57 Bb7 Kf4 58 Bd5 e3 59 Bc4 Kf3 60 Bd5+ Kf2 61 Bc4 e2 62 Bxe2 Kxe2; and the net of Black pieces force the White King to move away to b4, c4 or d4, letting through the a-pawn. Finding all of that over the board would have been challenging for Black with the clocks ticking away.
53..., Kd4 54.Bb7 Kc5 55.Ka3 Bd5
Interference, an important stratagem in same color Bishop endings.
56.Ba6 Bc6 57.Be2 e4 58.Bh5 Kd4 59.Be2 Ke3 60.Bh5 Kf2 61.Bd1 e3 62.Kb2 Bf3 0–1
Opposition, a second important stratagem in same color Bishop endings, and it ends resistance because the e-pawn will Queen one way or another.
Although there were mistakes by both sides in the opening and early middle game, the players did treat us to an interesting and well played ending full of theoretical and instructional interest. Many times in local game we get just the reverse; good play in the opening and middle games with a big fall off in the standard of play in the ending. That is likely due to time pressure and fatigue. In this game both players managed their clocks carefully and came to the ending with enough time to search for the right moves. I believe this game did credit to both participants. Well done to Mr. Wright and to Mr. Denham!
Thursday was another quiet evening at Schenectady. Play is just about over in the Preliminaries and all the participants identified for the Finals as reported in my last post. A couple of folks dropped in and some casual games were played with an early adjournment.
Bill Townsend is considering getting the Finals started next week or the week following. He also passed on some news from the North Country; the very last game of the Saratoga Championship is to be played this Sunday evening. Alan Le Cours and Jonathan Fineberg meet for the second time in this double round-robin event. All is on the line in this game. If Le Cours wins he takes the title. If Fineberg wins he is Champion. A draw and Gary Farrell finishes in first winning the title on tie-breaks. With some luck I will be able to attend the Saratoga meeting Sunday to report the result of the game.
Bill also mentioned he is working on the organization for this year’s Capital district League. Contact is still to be made with RPI and the Troy clubs to confirm participation. There is an issue to be cleared up regarding the Saratoga B Team, Last year it was made up of players mostly from the Schenectady club. The question is how will the team be identified this year? Townsend and David Finnerman, the team captain, are to discuss the matter. We should be hearing shortly about dates and schedules for League play.