Intuition First

….analysis second, and considering your opponent’s rating should be a distant third when selecting a move.

Round 2

I was playing against a Master as Black, and had missed work and overslept my nap due to a bad cold that has lasted roughly six days already.  When I got there, nearly an hour late, I was down to 42 minutes to start with.

In the post-mortem with Earl and Gunnar, Gunnar had analyzed more than I had OTB, but it seems in hindsight that I have a very strong intuition, and that’s probably from studying so many books and games.  A great calculator can make Master, but intuition progresses over a lifetime for most players.

24…d3.  Earl was mostly fascinated by 24…e3 which was interesting to analyze but not directly relevant to the game, as I had looked at that move in some variations, but here 24…d3 was clearly called for.

BTW, I was the only one of us who thought the best move here and on move 25 was RxBc4!, and we never even looked at it because when I said it they completely ignored me or cut me off and jetted on with a different line.

After 25.Rc3?, I was incredulous that Gunnar was giving me 25…g5!!, which I had felt might be winning on both of these moves, but in the end trusted his rating, and 25…d2? (played on the increment) seemed less risky.  Actually, I had 7 minutes left here, and suddenly my cold started kicking my butt, and I lost my desire to focus here.  25.Rc3? really contains the idea of Bb3-d1 in some lines, and is aimed at stopping ..d2(?) rather than ….g5(!!)  To reiterate, I needed to play …g5 on both moves 24 and 25, to stop White from equalizing with RxBc4 (trading off both rooks and ending it with a BxRc4+ move)

It’s interesting that I really didn’t understand how to play that line, the rook and pawn endgame part.  After 25…g5, 26.Be3 Bxe3, 27.fxBe3 Rf3, 28.Rf1 Rxe3? (here the Black rook can lift up and let the king over via f1) which equalizes after 29.Bd1! (switching diagonals)  So, 28…Rc8-f8! (threatening d2 and cutting off White’s king is the winner).  If White instead defends passively with 28.Re1, then after trading down on the c4 square, Black will eventually have the sac …Rxe3, Rxe3…d2 queening.

However, even though that line above with 27…Rf3 is completely winning, like -3, there is an even better line which would have taken more clock time to calculate OTB.  27…Bxb3!!, 28.RxR d2! (the point), 29.RxRf8+ KxR, 30.Rc8+ Ke7!, and now White cannot play 30.Rd8 to stop the pawn, as the king would simply take it.  Earl was looking at the ….Bxb3 move in the 24…e3 line, but it is something completely different and gets refuted by a5…Bb6-b7, when the position has nearly equalized.

In the end, I blundered and flagged, and even had I taken the free d4 pawn with my king, it was still +5 for White as his king is stopping the advanced pawn (which is what I had failed to calculate, OTB), and after he plays his rook to the open file (Rb1), it’s curtains for Black in just a couple moves as the a-pawn will be swallowed up.

I feel like I lost this game due to laziness, but that a big part of that was my cold kicking in at the wrong time.  If I had started with full clock, I probably would have used a lot of it to overcome this situation and would at least have had more winning chances than in the game, or potentially won it (particularly had I not had the cold).

Gunnar missed …g5.  I missed that the rooks or rook endgame was so completely winning out of a all proportion.  This is the endgame I’ve had the least experience with, OTB and in books.  Most people’s “best games” books rarely include zugzwang rook endings with so many pawns (and rooks) on the board.  I’ve gotten some nice experience from going over this game, and it’s too bad I didn’t try it out OTB.












5 thoughts on “Intuition First

  1. I think that if you had had 90 minutes to start with you would have won this game. Also, I saw …g5 and had planned Be3 Bxe3 but I severely underestimated the moves …Rf3 and …Bxb3. I looked a lot at Rxc4 followed by Bxc4+, and to be far I think that only Earle was there when you were asking about it, I think that I was gone- I try really hard not to cut people off if they suggest a move. Also, as I recall, about 3 years ago when we played our last game- it was also an endgame with 2 rooks! I think the move …d2 was just really bad, I have not yet looked at this game though yet. Also, do you remember at all the line that we looked at where white sacs the exchange and creates a fortress? I don’t remember the line by which we got into it, but I was analyzing the position in my head as I drove home and I realized that in that game we played …Rxd1 Kf2 then …Rb1, but black can simply go …Ra1 and the a4 pawn will drop- so there was at least one forced win in that variation.

  2. I remember the fortress, but I wouldn’t be able to recreate it from the …d3 variation because I believe it was from the …e3 variation. The problem was that after you left, Earl wanted to keep going over the …e3 variation, and then when you got back, he wasn’t nearly as interested in …d3, and he brushed me off a couple times when I suggested the rook sac on c4 for White as if it were a boring desperado. He should have wanted to look at it because it renders his e3 line rather useless. Also, he missed after …e3, Black has ….a5, Bb6, when he no longer has this chance to play b5xa4 or b4xc4 to win a pawn. So, he wanted to point out what he saw, or what he was interested in (and he does see a ton of cute and relevant ideas should said positions be reached), but like you were doing a lot of when he showed those lines was that White/you were sidestepping all of his ideas, which you did impressively in the post-mortem. It’s not a big deal though because I, like you probably, don’t mind seeing whatever crazy ideas that Earl was seeing.

    Earl did find the …Rf3 move, but I thought that White could (incorrectly) defend, and I think he even pushed …d2 after a couple moves, which once again threw away the win. hehe. That’s what happens when a post-mortem is gone over too quickly. Ini
    tially, he felt sure this was winning, but I think the fact that he felt that made him more bored with the line. hehe.

    I probably would have won with 90 minutes only because there was only one or two more critical moves to find, and then you wouldn’t have had counterplay. If it were a long endgame, with more tough decisions, then I would have had better chances of blowing that.

    When I went over this game with Stockfish, it said your QxQ move was a mistake, I believe. It’s weird how my pawn cut off your pawn after that, and in the endgame (as long as I keep your king cut off first), my king can walk up to the e-pawn and take it. After that, material is equal, but it’s like a lost pawn-position for White. 😉

    I believe when you say you saw the RxBc4, but I also figure you may have seen it was a draw, and were still playing as if I would blunder, which is what happened. The second time I had …g5, I looked up, and you shot me a look as if you were worried about maybe …g5 making your last move a blunder, but I guess that is what happens in a chess game, sometimes people choose to play their cards and sometimes they don’t. I was definitely impressed by your defensive abilities, and felt I was being taken by surprise by your moves. I was sort of shaking my head how you took my attack away, and that is why I cursed when I made my last move of the game, which was a blunder, but you had been out-playing me on every move there, and doing it quickly which made your ability even more appreciated. 🙂

  3. Interesting game. Computer prefers e3, but it is almost the same as d3.
    The move 25 is a culmination, yeah, his mistake with 25. Rxc5 and yours with d2 and not g5.
    You could still fight for the draw, but 33. Rd3 lost the game.
    I think you made the same mistake as me in the last game – still looking at this as a middlegame, not realizing that simplification and going into endgame will lead to a won one and also will reduce the chances of losing by making mistake in the time trouble.

  4. Yes, that’s exactly what I did. 🙂

    My brain was in middle-game mode, when it had missed every signpost of a winning endgame that there was in sight. 😉 There was a mental-shift that was not made, where I kept looking for tactics instead of an endgame. Tactics can be found in time-pressure, but mental-shifts are rarely done unless one’s opponent slows down. I’ve got to work on this transition. 😀

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