Endgame Problem

I started this tournament with two byes.

Round 3

39…e5  Alex suggested that simply 39…cxN (which I hadn’t even considered, probably because it’s a change in strategy) is winnning, and post-mortem-wise, it was easily winning, although it would be nice to have computer confirmation.

I rejected 39…Re5 because of 40.Nc2, when 41.Ne3 could follow and it’s more difficult to judge.  Well, White should be fine if not winning, after 40…Kd5?, 41.Ne3+ when ..Kd6? 42.Nc4+ fork wins, and 40…Rd5, 41.Ne3 Re5, 42.Nc4+ also forks and wins.  So 39…Re5? appears to be a loser.

39…Ke5 is still an interesting way to win the position, and if I had four more seconds on my clock would have completed it in time.  Daniel called my flag right as I was reaching to pick up the king and move it to e5, so I actually made the move on the board anyway.

First off, I should point out that 40.RxNd4 cxR, 41.Nc6+ Ke6, 42.NxR KxN should be winning for Black, I should think.

In the post-mortem, Daniel quickly pointed out that he didn’t have to repeat the position of …Nb4, as apparently I had lost a tempo in this line.  I had seen OTB 40.Na6 Kd6, 41.Rc1 (assuming he doesn’t repeat with 41.Nb4 and it seems he would not have repeated) Re5.  I was also a touch worried about 41.Rb1 but he doesn’t have this move because the e-pawn will roll, as you will see in further analysis.

Let it be known that a move like 41.Kg1 changes nothing, as Black still has a simple winning line such as 41…e3, 42.Rc1 (anyway) e2, 43.Kf2 Nc2! (44.RxNc2? e1(Q)+ wins), so 44.Nxc5 e1(Q), 45.RxQ Na4 where if Ra1, then 46.Nc3, but now 46…Kc5 is convincing as Black will not hold the a-pawn and is down the exchange and pawn already.

So, instead of 42.Rc1, there could have followed 42.Bf1, but this move is the signal for Black to play 42…g5, then …f4, …f3, …e2, rolling pawns and winning.  🙂

Another elaborate way for White to win through interlocking the pieces in formation is (I like to call this the Magnus Carlsen technique) 41…Rd5, 42.Kf2 Nc6, 43.RxR (forced, otherwise if 43.Rc1 then …Nc6-e5-d3 controlling c1, b4, and blocking a bishop at f1 from defending the Na6, followed by …c4 and …Ra5 winning the Na6 – just to illustrate one winning setup.  Another winning setup here is if 43.Rb1 instead of 43.Rc1 (yes, I could play this line anyway, just illustrating the multiple winning lines), then …Rd2+, 44.Kf1 Rxa2 is winning on the spot after 45.Nb8 e3, 46.Bf3 Rf2+ picking up the Bf3.  Anyway, after the 43.RxR KxR, White is busted here because my knight is boxing out his knight, his bishop can’t stop my c-pawn, and his king is too far away.

All in all, it was a lot to consider, and I had been using up most of the increment.  In fact, it was after 28.Ne3 that I spent possibly seven minutes, wondering if I should simply resign, but playing on to see his technique.  If I had played on quickly here in this “losing” position, I would have had time to capitalize later on all of his poor endgame moves, which is something I didn’t expect to have happen.

I guess all that FICS playing from years ago, does give us a strength edge even over a lot of kids who seemeingly play endless chess and haven’t caught up to us chess-wise, but have surpassed us in clock management and energy levels.  Daniel doesn’t blitz in my time-pressure, so I had no adrenaline to play on and was starving for blood-sugar energy, which I finally got after the game from a vending machine with peanut M&M’s.  I had already put my coat on, which means I had decided to stop burning energy, which slows me down, and I knew I could lose because of that, but I was gassed (jogged a few miles before the game at a decent pace).

Incidentally, Tuesdays is G/75 30/Inc, unlike Thursdays (that tournament venue may leave us), which is G/90 30/Inc.  I finished my last Thursday game with 12 min. remaining, but even that would have put me 3 minutes under the time-control here.  I’ll bring some snacks in the future to munch on during the game, never had to do this before, but I need it at my age, when energy levels can deplete from so many other things before a game.

Also, I pointed out to Alex after the game that instead of the sac that I played on move 24, I also had 24…Nc3, followed by ..Nc6-b4 or …Rb2 (depending), and then to bring the other rook to b8, and then …Rc2 would be trapping the queen in one line, but it’s winning in all lines.  This is where time-pressure kicked in; I considered this, but played the reckless move instead.

I spent a long time looking at this endgame because I realized it’s where I need to improve my game the most.

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2 thoughts on “Endgame Problem

  1. You didn’t have to take on c4, he gets some play after that, just Qh5.
    22… Rb8 was keeping it equal.
    24… Nxe3 sacrifice doesn’t look sound, but it almost paid off.
    He let you move your pawns and lost a few tempos after 34. Nd7+, so as a result you got advantage.
    In the final position computer recommends 41. Rxd4 for White, with 41… cxd4 41. Nc6+ Kd6 42. Nxe7 Kxe7 with -1.5 for White, so you have a good chance to win.

  2. I actually prefer 19….Qxc4, and didn’t like his pawn sac here. I did consider 19….Qh5, and if 20.h3? then …Ne5 should win, but he wouldn’t make a simple tactical error like that so much. After 20.Nf3-d2 QxQd1, 21.RfxQ BxB, 22.KxB it’s more difficult to figure out how to play as Black; White has this pleasant advantage.

    22…Rb8 didn’t appeal to me because after 23.BxNc6 bxB, Black is the one needing to generate counterplay from behind, just to try and stay even.

    I believe Black is totally winning after 24…Nc6, I just made the wrong choice OTB in time-pressure.

    41.Rxd4 was the fatal slow-down behind playing 40…Ke5. OTB, as now, I felt that I still may lose later on down the road on time, because the resulting positions here could be difficult to evaluate, and you are right that “chances” can become the key word in such a situation. It would be easy to forget about the clock on any given move around here, which is what was happening to me, OTB.

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