Fascinating Endgame Loss

In Round 2 I was faced against Anthea, who is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. Well, I was wary that the real Anthea would show up for this game, and she did. Actually, she is one of those those players that plays well, but can lose from winning or drawn positions.

It would be easy to say that my 15th move, ..Bh2+ was the cause for the loss, as I did spend 32 minutes on it(!) However, the endgame is lost after I failed to find the move 32…b5! Her move 34.g4? is not good because it gives me the opportunity to chip away at her pawns with ..h5, which the best endgame for Black is to trade off all pawns and have 2 bishops vs, knight, which would still lose in time-pressure as I had an even 2 minutes when I blundered my knight (all move lose except for ..h5, which still basically loses). I believe she did have her bishop on d7 in this position (I was still keeping score but badly at the end), so that I could not even play ..h5 because of Be8+!

Even with 32…b5! it is still quite easy to lose for Black. It doesn’t take a Magnus Carlsen to find winning chances from here, particularly in Black’s time-pressure. It’s like +.3, but Black has to watch out for more things.

Incidentally, 41..Nd1+ is losing not only because the knight can be trapped in some variation, but because a pawn does queen, except for a piece sac. White can trade a pawn for the b7 pawn and still promote a pawn.

Don’t take my word for it, you can check it against an engine to see that it is +2. She was up +2 in the middlegame at some point as well, so she was certainly outplaying me in every way in this game, all three phases plus the clock. I knew things were going wrong when I played …g5, but it was already too late except for with “hanging around chances”.

Her whole thing with the bishops getting in sort of stunned me, as I had undervalued her idea at first. It’s something Black had to see ahead of time. Also, I had been uncomfortable with the idea of limiting my own bishop with that move.

I played out the position from if I had played …b5, and in the lines where I am not letting my bishop get trapped, White is quickly up +.75, and thereafter every move is like a blundercheck for Black against the two bishops.

She had somewhere between 38 and 43 minutes at the end of the game.

I just played it out to a 98 move draw with the engine, but that’s only because I forced the engine to not keep checking me different ways with those bishops for another hundred moves before I could claim a draw by 3-fold, because of course I am writing these moves down and can spot where the positions repeated three times, twenty moves apart. haha.

Regarding the World Championship, that kills me how Anand played such a wonderful defense with the Black pieces, finds all the hard moves seemingly forever, only to miss a simple tactic which must have been out of sheer exhaustion. Instead of 45…Rc1+, Kg2 followed by …Rg1 and …Rxg2, Black saves a tempo with 45…Rh1 and if 46.Kg2 (which Houdini doesn’t do), and now ..Rh2+ followed by either Rxa3 or Rxg2 saving a tempo over the game continuation. Houdini says it’s 0.0 after 45…Rh1. Just about anyone would find that move except out of fatigue. All the other moves up to that point seemed much more complex.

Carlsen’s style seems to be to tweak with drawn positions until he wears his opponent out, more or less. It’s sort of sad for chess in a way, but that is what chess is anyway, a precision game.

Chess is different from other sports in that in chess you frequently have to beat your opponent at their own game. During the first few games, I felt that Anand should have played on and tried to beat Carlsen ala Carlsenesque. Alas, Anand felt the pressure of expectations and didn’t follow this route.

While game nine of the 2013 World Chess Championship match did live up to the hype, my own feelings at the board today were much more sedate. Paul Anders*n, the Expert player I will be playing next week, wanted to know what other people were listening to before the game. He likes “Kill The King” by Rainbow, but I like “Rainbow in the Dark” and “On the Street of Dreams. RollingPawns listened to the last song I posted here, so this week I listened to good ole Glen Campbell.

Now I’m going to go really retro. 40 years ago, when I was a child, this was my favorite song (I also liked Neal Diamond back then, what a great era for music).

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2 thoughts on “Fascinating Endgame Loss

  1. It seems me you lost a bit like Anand lost today – by making small mistakes unless you made a big one. I don’t quite understand Ne4, though she decided not to take it and win a pawn.
    You didn’t have to exchange the bishop on f4, as well as give up a pawn on a7.
    I won yesterday first of all because my opponent made some positional and tactical mistakes, also I can say that I played very well. The same happened today at WCC2013.
    I read that Carlsen’s play reminds the play of Karpov and Smyslov.
    Read this, very interesting:
    http://www.chessintranslation.com/2011/12/magnus-carlsen-not-a-child-of-the-computer-era/

    By the way, I beat an expert yesterday, will try to post the game tonight.

  2. Hey, I’m really glad you beat an Expert player! 🙂

    Yeah, I wasn’t feeling well, but she wasn’t feeling too hot herself, and yet we both still played an interesting game. 😉 The not feeling well definitely contributed toward spending half an hour on a single move, and it also meant that I had no nervous energy in reserve for any sort of time-scramble. These are killers at G/90, but I played a fun game, had a good time.

    By contrast Anand’s game looked much more painstaking than mine, and almost mind-numbing. That’s what Magnus does to his opponents, he sends them into a coma OTB, it’s the chess equivalent of diabetic shock. harhar.

    I will be rooting for Anand to come back, no doubt. I like how Viktor Kortchnoi once said that Karpov plays “anti-chess”. Well, that was how Viktor played it until Karpov came along and did it better. Now we have Carlsen, the king of all anti-chess styles. Ulf Andersen’s games are dramatic and awe-inspiring by comparison. It’s up to Anand now to be Carlsen’s foil and to get some mating attacks going.

    I can’t really get away with “faking chess”, and that contributed to my loss. I bemoaned going for that rook trade, but it was a sign of a lack of confidence and form to go for it. I wasn’t at my best, but it was an acceptable level of play.

    After the game, I said I should have let her taken my Nd4 and the pawn (to get opposite color bishops), but she said she wouldn’t have taken the pawn! (I couldn’t do it anyway because I am in zugzwang unless I can move my king backward). She knew how to beat me in my time predicament, she has that script down cold.

    I thought sacking the a-pawn was good, but Fruit hated it. She defended extremely well and never needed to spend much time on any of her moves. Well, she was almost half an hour late, so spent only 20 some minutes on the game!

    I’m very happy to hear how Carlsen describes himself as not a true person of the “computer generation”. Nowadays that label gets glibly applied to the populace of developed nations as a whole, but there are a lot of people who live with and use technology who are just being practical and not absorbed by it so much as having it in some way defining who they are.

    Technology is more direction-less anyway, as it needs a true hand to harness it. It’s refreshing to hear Carlsen refer to the classics and not being “an openings guy” (in contrast to Fischer who understood that openings could become a person’s master to an unhealthy degree).

    Regarding the World Championship match, I think Anand is still making a mistake by not playing something sharper against 1.e4 e5 (Black can’t back out of a sharp opening after 1…e5). Anand has at his disposal such openings as the Scotch Game, Danish Gambit, King’s Gambit. These lines are playable, GMs have played mind-bending games in these lines. Anand could use prep and play more quickly in sharp positions. He needs to do this as White. It’s very difficult to win a match against Magnus by just counter-attacking from bland positions.

    Anand’s match strategy is just plain bad, IMHO, if he is still focused on the possible rapid-play portion of the match. Yes, I think he would crush Magnus at blitz, but I equally think that with his style so far, he has little chance of surviving the standard portion of the match.

    Once again, Magnus is playing for a win from a “drawn position”. lol. Anand hopefully draws this game as well as the conclusion not to choose to play this way when he can play sharper chess instead.

    Game 6 just ended. Somewhere around the world, there are 1,000+ people around the world that wonder why they just bought that book on Tal, and are looking up Keres rook endings book on Amazon, including me!

    Their computer says for White to play 29.d5, but I would play 29.Re1 (Anand played 29.Rd1) which in effect demonstrates a draw. If 29…b4, then 30.cxb followed by Re1-e2-f2, and White’s queen has a free hand and Black’s rook does not. So Black would really have to consider forcing the draw or weakening his position or holding steady for three-fold. There was no need to play such a colorful move as 29.Rd1 in that position, which was of course weakening, but extended the play.

    So, in summary, the computer was wrong again, thinking that it was only a draw and then correcting itself; and after the Game Susan Polgar seconded my idea that Anand should try playing the King’s Gambit. We may just be seeing a whole lot of Caro-Kahn’s coming from Magnus as Black from this point on. It’s not over, but it’s been going all Magnus’ way so far.

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