If At First You Don’t Succeed

…then it may take you another sixty moves, assuming that you do succeed.

In this Round 2 game, I had the position in the palm of my hands on move twenty-eight, but did not see the winning idea until after the game, which I spotted nearly instantly as I showed the game to Alex.

I knew the winning move was 28.g4, all along, but could not spot the winning idea, and didn’t feel like crucifying myself on the clock when a reasonable looking alternative in 28.Nc5 existed – whereupon he played 28…Nd6, equalizing, and I immediately regretted my mistake.

The winning “move” is 28.g4 (…Na6, 29.Nc5 is winning) Nh4, 29.Nd6+ Ke7 (..Kf8 is even worse), 30.Nc8+! (the winning “idea”). Now comes the third stage, the “verification” of the winning move and idea. If 30…Kd8, 31.Bb7 (..Bd7, 32.Na7 Kc7, 33.Bxa6 Kb6, 34.Bxc6 Bxc6, 35.Nxc6 KxN is only two pawns for a piece, losing. 32.Nd6 Kc7 wins a piece. The answer is in the problem-like 32.Nb6! when a piece trade will still win the a6 pawn, so 32…Bd8, 33.Na8!! forming a fortress. Now if 33..Kd7, 34.Bxa6 Kc6, 35.Bxb5! KxBc6, 36.Nc7+ forking bishop and king and winning. Little did I realized this would turn into an endgame composition! I just did all that without an engine 🙂 ) Kc7, 32.Bxa6 Kb6, 33.Nd6 and Black cannot move his bishop to prevent White’s bishop from escaping via either b7 or c8 (30…Kd7 is the same story, plus the Black king has to move again or White will take the b5 pawn as well).

The move and verification part of it I do alright at, it’s spotting the idea that makes it all work that is the tricky, yet beautiful part of it.

If you are wondering if I see deep at the board, then I’ll point to the move 22.RxRc8. When I played this move, I already knew that I wasn’t winning a pawn by 22…Rc8, 23.Bb7 Nd6, 24.Bxa6 Qb6, 25.Bc8 Bc6 and I can’t see a way to stop 26…RxBc8 winning a piece, although I would surmise that there are numerous weird “computer lines” which makes this look half-playable for White; but like I say, I haven’t computer-checked any of the game, so I wouldn’t know.

I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when Shirley brought me a glass of water while I was playing her own son! That is amazing. Of course, all Daniel had to do at any point at the end was march his king to h8 and camp out there for the draw. He did finally ask for a draw at that point, but his king was going the wrong way, which is why I played on in the 0.0 position and eventually won. BTW, he had an hour to my 7 seconds when he asked for the draw, which surprised the onlookers when I played on.

I am taking a bye tonight, Thursday, so this will be my only game for this week.

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2 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed

  1. Yeah, it was an interesting crossroad after Rxf7.
    I do not think you can calculate that much during G/90.
    In the end it was drawn of course, but that’s where difference in ratings showed up.
    The decisive mistake was 68… Bb3, losing control on the crucial diagonal, 69. h7 was winning on the spot. All in all good game.

  2. Good pointing that out as I didn’t even reaize that draws were still possible there. I did, however, realize that his blitzing me in my time-pressure was letting me play largely on intuition, and in a position where subtlety counts (i.e., demains clock-time to work out concrete possibilities). I don’t think I am finding the best attacks in these positional positions, and yet they also seem to come down to which player has the most positional patience as far as results go.

    At the start of this tournament, Daniel was in the 1500’s, but will probably be close to 1800 by the end of this month. He has beaten Paul (2098) in both his games against him in just one week’s time this month (the other was a G/30)

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