Another potentially cruel endgame

Round 5

I hadn’t played against Anthea in a while, and she threw me a novelty in the opening (for me it was, anyway). So once again I chewed up my clock on the opening and didn’t have enough time to play the ending.

For example, I understood that 20.bxc was probably the correct move, but wanted to avoid the complexities and steer for a draw instead. At this point, I am no longer playing proper chess but survival chess. Then, I almost go for 24.Rxc7, but I figure the position may get wildly complicated (for the amount of time left on my clock), after 24..Ne5+, 25.Ke3 Rhe8, 26.Nc2. White is still winning, but I blitzed it to test my instincts and Fruit forced a draw as Black, so it really was too complex to be blitzed.

Not finding a win wasn’t the worst part however. I almost let myself get forked, and then in a drawn rook endgame, I let her push ..a3! (the c-pawns had already been traded). Now her rook and king got in and she won my a2 pawn, and then by g2 pawn. I was hopelessly lost. But, I pulled another “Tebow” act out of the hat and was rather miraculously able to force a draw with just one second left on my clock after she made a blunder in a winning position.

Anthea was rated 1835 almost six months ago to the day. She had nearly 80 minutes when I was down to well under 5 minutes, and finished the game with around 45 minutes. It’s crazy to have to play a complex ending under such circumstances, but that is how it is.

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4 thoughts on “Another potentially cruel endgame

  1. The opening is a nasty Portuguese variation, I lost badly in it once.
    I play 3. Bb5+ to avoid it.
    I would take on c7 and my computer likes it, considering in your line 26. Rd1 instead of Nc2. 24… Nc5 was better for Black, still 0.8.
    This way in your time trouble at least you would have a pawn.
    I am glad you got lucky and escaped.

  2. RollingPawns, yes 3.Bb5+, I should take a look at it and considered it during the game. Great advice!

    I think I could simply blitz out the …Bg4, Nf3 then Be2 line and catch her pretty good with that one. I found the temptation of f3 hard to resist even though I have probably seen it online before, and I figured it was a prepared mini-blunder by her, which it was, nevertheless I had to see what she had prepared. I was relieved to see her ..h6 move as I knew right away that that was a bad, low-rated players’ move (playing a gambit and then ..a6 and ..h6, too slow).

    It’s easy to expect to see more sloppy, but you can’t count on an opponent staying in bad form, as it’s usually just a part of their game that is suspect. I should have played Rxc, and I was worried about ..Ne5, but apparently she would have played the ..Nc5, which I wasn’t worried about at all. So I didn’t give her the chance to go wrong, which she probably would have since we are not computers.

  3. RollingPawns, I went over that position again where I should have won the c-pawn. It was exhausting, obviously a hole in my game. Against her, I will probably always get these tactical late middlegame/queenless endgames and can’t shirk them off, need to find the tactical win and save time for those tactics. She creates a mess on the board, but the looseness of the position should be her undoing. She certainly got zero out of the opening. šŸ˜‰

    Another weird feature of the position is that I should recapture on c4 with the knight (obviously not play NxBd3, which I knew, but didn’t understand how to play that middlegame). Get the king out of the center before she gets hers out, and hers is more exposed to rooks than mine. I was looking at the position more out of fear than of opportunity and how to correctly play it. It is and should be very tactical, it’s not an endgame the way it appeared to me, far from it.

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