This may sound unbelievable, but before I drew that bishop+knight game, I had considered studying the bishop+knight mate about a week ago, and then thought ‘why bother?’ since I so rarely get it. I just finished studying the technique from Batsford Chess Endings (you really need this ending like the way they do it, toughest replies with alternatives, best technique. Had I decided to, I would have studied the same thing and had 5 minutes to carry it out in that game). I think I could do it, it’s a 36 move problem, but if you have it ‘nailed’, that should be enough, or even plenty of time.
It took me 4 tries before I could mate Crafty before the 50 move rule or out of time. Then I was able to do it twice in a row with 37 moves, and 1:46 left out of 5 minutes on my clock the last time. There are a lot of wasted moves initially because the knight, bishop and king start at practically 3 different corners of the board, and I end up having to chase his king from 2 bad corners as I get my pieces rounded up and he is chasing them around, while starting near enough a bad corner to run to. Just imagine if I had done that at the club, no would probably would have acted surprised even though quite a few people were watching it. They just expect the knowledge to be there at my level, and now I realize that it is actually my best bet for garnering wins.
I’m more interested in studying endings from this point. The BCE is a really good book, not anywhere near as dry as I had once thought. Some of these endgame maneuvers are a lot more interesting than finding the cheapo in some opening in an online game. Even with the openings that I play, I’d sort of rather study them than to see if I can run into some quick traps on the internet.
The other thing is “Who really ‘plays’ endings online?” OTB, sure it’s possible to get blown away in the opening for one reason or another, but I am finding that that is less the case. More often OTB games turn into that rook and pawn affair, trying to get the draw versus two knights, etc. OTB, people really do plan on playing you down to the nubs in and endgame, pressuring you on the clock in a long game, and generally holding out for as long as possible using every wile in the book. What happens when that quick attack fades into just a material advantage? That is when the superior technique comes to the forefront.
I came for the combinations, but stayed for the endings.