Endings and Beginnings

Round 5

Going into Round 5, I was not in contention for money, and I lost rating points.  However, my opponent Mark went 4 out of 5 and back up to 1782 rating.

In the opening, I may have played not so good, but turned it around in the middlegame, but could not find my equilibrium in the ending and lost.

34…g6??  This move is hideously bad.  I wanted to assure that I had locked up the position from attack, but only assured my trouble later on, as I could have let him play f6 and f6xg7 and then not recapture that pawn with my king until forced to at a later moment.

41.Kf3?  42.Kg3! wins.

42…Qc2??  42.Qh2 draws (I completely missed this move in time-pressure).  In the line I played, I missed that there is no perpetual there.

I had looked at other lines suck as 42.Qa7, 43.Qxb Qxc, 44.Qb8+ Qf8, 45.Qd6 and now Qa8 is possible, but I was worried about 26.Qe7 which becomes a constant mating threat.  Actually, 26.Qd7 would virtually be zugzwang there.  It was too much to examine in too little time, and Mark blitzed me excellently.

This was the first time that I had played a Cambridge Springs Defense OTB, and wasn’t thrilled about how I played it except to say that I don’t have much experience with it and was more or less trying to get through the opening.

This game was a great example of a “hole” in my chess understanding, and frankly the defeats that uncover a hole in my chess understanding – which are most of my losses or I likely would have hung up the skates by now – are not as damaging.  I thought Gareev’s video on this subject of using an enemy pawn-shield had been eye-opening enough, but seems I still hadn’t incorporated it enough into my general level.  Here is an awesome example by Tartakower of using the opponents’ pawn as a shield:


Tartakower gives the line 18…bxNc3, 19.NxN cxb2+, 20.Kb1(!) Qxc2+, 21.QxQ RxQ, 22.Nf4+ winning the Rc2.   Even after this stage was resolved, he didn’t take the b2 pawn – which came as a big surprise to me – since Black still has two rooks and a knight and there is no sense giving Black a free Rb6+ later in the game.  And since he didn’t play Kxb2, Black played this hideous-looking …b5 move, which no doubt would not have appeared had the possibility of a …Rb6+ remained available.

Tartakower gives a note before playing Rde1 saying “The turning point of the struggle where the miracle of combination must make it’s appearance.”  My Best Games Of Chess 1905-1954 – Tartakower.

Another brilliant Tartakower game, this time featuring the Orangutan, which he basically invented, or made famous.


I think a positional refutation of this opening would simply be …d5 and …Bf5 because b4 acts as a shield for Black against Qb3 threats, which is what frequently gives Black such a bad light-squared bishop.

Tartakower gives 15…RxNe4, 16.QxNg6 Rg4, 17.BxNf6 QxB, 18.QxQ gxQ, 19.Re1 where White is simply a pawn up (and has better structure).

Round 1

I started this game with 90 minutes on my clock, and finished it with 92.  I’ve never had anyone stumble into this trap OTB against me before, and not even online as best as I can recall.  I stuck around and watched how all of the other games finished.  Some of these kids are, such as his brother Jesse, are massively under-rated. Wednesday’s G/90 Inc/30 tournament will be a five-rounder with two byes available.


4 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. Round 5 – frankly, I do not agree with your exchange sacrifice and computer supports me.
    But you played better than him afterwards. He didn’t have to give back the exchange.
    41… Qc7 was giving you an advantage – 42. e6 fxe6 43. Qxb3 Kf7. If 42. Qd4 then Qa5.
    It was a draw after 44… Qd1+ 45. Kf2 Qd2+.

    Round 1 – It reminded me: “It will be Short and it will be short!”. 🙂
    I am glad we have sections, though in our Thursday’s club we have now Championship with just one section and theoretically you can play 600 rated starting round 3 (we have accelerated pairings for the first two rounds).

  2. Funny thought came to my mind about enjoying great master’s games, music and drinking at the same time. Never tried 🙂
    I posted my Thursday’s game.

  3. I wish you were, RP, we would take you to the bar with us after the game and get plastered. We would buy you drinks and you could crash on a huge White leather sofa at my friend’s house nearby (I’ve got an empty house, but it’s a little bit further away). It’s great analyzing a game drunk and listening to the jukebox til 2am, with friends. You should do it once, anyway, maybe twice 😀

    These kids are really good and under-rated. Well, under or not, they soon reach 1900, so it’s useless for your own rating, but still great practice. Life is too short! 😉

  4. The one and only great experience of this kind was analyzing the game with Shirov (after simul) in the bar of his hotel. No music, just one “Molson Canadian”.
    The guys in the Monday’s club go sometimes after the game to the bar, to drink and play blitz.
    But there are 3 problems: parking after midnight, driving back home and going to work on Tuesday. So I never tried it.
    I remember that when I started to work back in USSR, they had Tal giving simul just a few months before. So my friend who participated in it told me that amazed Tal asked after the simul about one guy: “Was he drunk???” 🙂 There was a guy, candidate master, that apparently was drunk, still managed to make a draw with Tal. 🙂

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