The problem with endgames at G/90

…is that they can’t really be played unless you save time for them.

Round 1

I saw his 28..f4 coming as it was his only desperado to try, then I realized I could ignore it and play 29.Nd3 anyway, and after 29..fxe, 30.Ne5+ NxN, 31.RxRc8 e2, Re1 (and showed it after the game, kicking myself that I didn’t play), but I didn’t want to play too presumptously and felt that 29.Kf2 would be a safer endgame win.

I saw his continuation as well, after I played Ke2, but felt I could still win (and it’s still winning, yes).

After the game, I felt that 33.Nc6 is where I went wrong, and 33.Nb3 does win (I had only looked at 33.Nc4 during the game), but it’s a tricky win because 34.Rc5, trading rooks is the only winning continuation.

The natural looking 39.Kd3? is the move that throws away the win, and this is unfortunate since a second time-control would have saved me here as I only needed to get this last idea of 39.Kf3, and I would maintain the win (and have time to win the won game).

After this point, I was in extreme time pressure, such that I saw that 44.Rxb4 would allow him to cutoff my king with his rook, but I didn’t want to check his king toward my pawns, and having have 44 seconds or less at this point, I just couldn’t make a rational decision, which also explains my moving my king to the a-file.

This game should have been a win for me, but the ridiculous moves brought about by my time-pressure proved decisive. It’s my own fault though as I wanted to prove to myself that I could win it the endgame way, and should have kept bolting out the tactics with 29.Nd3. He spent a long time on 29…f4, and I hadn’t finished calculating it when he played it, so I over-respected his decision to play it since it is a move which either works or is a blunder, and he hadn’t tried any real shots of his own during the game up to this point. With more time, I would have simply played 29.Nd3.

I do realize that online chess is online chess, and OTB chess is OTB chess when it comes to time-pressure, but I was pleasantly surprised to play this game in just 2 min, 11 sec:

I spent 21 seconds finding the key move of the game …6.d5!

Speaking of time-pressure, I saw Life Master Brian Wall’s time-pressure meltdown/loss to Joe Ford <1900 from a superior rook endgame position, overlooking a move where he needs to guard his pawn with a rook, sort of a ??? move for a Master. So I know that I am not alone in time-pressure "the (sea-diver) bends" type reactions.


4 thoughts on “The problem with endgames at G/90

  1. Frankly I think that the whole idea of exchanging queens was not the best solution.
    His king is in trouble and you should attack him. Computer confirms it, giving you ~2.5 without exchange and 1.5 after it. I’ll comment more on the endgame.

  2. Believe it or not, I do think of you during these queen-trade situations because I know you hate it when I trade queens with weaker players, and you are usally right. What I hated about this situation is that I spent like 4 or 5 minutes looking for a square for my queen to go to before trading, and then I had 10 minutes for the rest of the game. His offering a queen trade was brilliant (but a poor move) in that it made me want to eat up a whole bunch of time on the clock.

    The only blunder in that position to be had was the one on the clock. I’ve been learning that I have to be “agnostic” about some things and really just to make strong moves quickly – a number of moves would have been fine in that position, and he was really playing my clock at this point, anyway. The player who does this the best is Gunnar. Gunnar doesn’t give a rip how be beats people, he just values making strong moves quickly, and he’s 1900 something.

    Having said all this, I would however LOVE to know how to move my queen in this position, what the idea/objective is as I am utterly clueless (I’ve been spending the last few years improving my queen play, but it’s still not quite there yet).

  3. Yeah, 39. Nd3 was allowing him to win the pawn. Time pressure ruined this endgame the same way it ruined mine, where I played well the first half of it and then playing the second on increment (having less than a minute left) couldn’t see the good moves.

  4. So, still, the true test of a player would be at a dual time-control event; this is still practice for the real thing, unless we decide to become quick at tactics, then even G/90 would start to turn the corner for us.

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