2016 Colorado Open

Round 1

In Round 1 tonight, I played Life Master Brian Wall.  I knew that my best chance was to avoid playing an ending on the increment against him, but that is exactly what happened.  I figured that the endgame was “drawn” (meaning +=, right?)  Well, it would have been a good time to adjourn the game, or have another time-control, but I was stuck at making a wild stab at what I should be doing.

I knew that the ending was slipping, and that I wasn’t playing it right, but how it ultimately went down I did not see coming.  This was one of those endings where, apparently you should be doing nothing maybe (moving around your kings or such)?  In any case, I felt I should have kept my king closer to his and not lashed out with my pawns, but it was predicable endgame collapse in acute time-pressure.  I had decided to go for activity that I could not calculate rather than trying to play passively.  Brian even suggested the idea that I could try to set up a pawn-fortress, which I had not considered.

In the post-mortem, I suggested that playing 44…g5?? instead of 44…Kd7 was the loser, and according to Stockfish, I was right.  I felt like it was losing even before I played it, but I felt I needed some kind of active chance instead of playing a possibly unneccesary defensive move.  I felt that …g5 was bad, but just couldn’t see that …Kd7 was so right.  Another place I might have blundered after that, playing with one under minute on my clock as I was later on in such a line.  There is a point where his king will will be on b5, after trading off all but one queenside pawn, as in the game, and the natural move for Black would appear to be to play …e4, but that is completely losing!  You have to play …f4 there instead, so that you can trade off the e-pawn for the f-pawn, and then your king is back in time to defend the g and h pawns, and it’s a draw – g/h pawns for both sides.

I was chatting with Pete on Facebook Thursday night, and I told him this is why you need a second time-control because in the endgame, you have to spend time to “find the ideas” in the position, and not just time to calculate.  You can be a fast-calculator and spend your time calculating the wrong thing if you don’t find the ideas in a position.  Calculating only stock ideas is not enough, you need to find the fresh ideas in your endgames.

There were a couple of Experts who suggested in the post-mortem that 46…a5 instead of 46….axb was winning for Black, as in “Yeah, how could you not see that that this winning?” sort of demeanor, but me and Brian Wall weren’t sold, and he eventually found the way to win.  I suggested that instead of looking at it in the game variation, that I would have only considered it (I saw  46…a5??, OTB), had I played 44…Kd7.  In that line, it is still a win for White, but it takes a tablebase close to 50 moves to demonstrate the win, and even the engine of Stockfish couldn’t solve it.

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5


8 thoughts on “2016 Colorado Open

  1. Round 1 – maybe it was safer to keep at least the queens.
    It is a difficult pawn endgame, as he can create a remote passed pawn.
    44… g5 is losing, I don’t think it is possible to save the game after that.

  2. Round 2 – he could defend both pieces by playing 8… e5.
    10. Be3 was a mistake, he could win your queen after 10… Nf3+.
    I think you got too relaxed after winning a piece, you had to play 10. Kd1 with some advantage. After 10… Nc2+ he is lost.

  3. Round 1. Keeping the queens on is worse than the move played, according to Stockfish, and I am not as adept with the queens. I was thinking the same thing OTB, wanted a better version of queens on, but I could look at it for future reference. I didn’t know how to defend those iso pawns on queenside in such an ending, and should have moved my king closer to center when checked, if that ending were my intention.

    In Round 2, I saw 10…Nf3+ as I was moving my bishop, and then put it back onto c1 for a moment, but he obviously didn’t get what I was looking at, and must have thought it was the check on c2.

    10.Kd1 was the only move, and it gets hair-raising crazy after that.

    I had thought about playing Qa4-d1 earlier, but I thought that was dangerously passive, and I was still trying to win one of his knights by playing Bd2 (he can’t save them both), but didn’t take his queen check on e4 seriously. I should have played a3 a number of times. He said that he plays ….Nb4 there because an IM once showed him this trap. He said that the immediate a3 is the refutation.

  4. Round 3 – maybe 6… c5 was a bit premature, a book move is c6.
    I think after 13… Nce4 he gets some advantage.

    Instead of 22… Rc8 you could play 22… Bxe5 23. Qxe5 Nf6 24. Qxb5 axb5 and I believe you could hold it. 28… Nc7 created a position with too many pieces and squares to defend.
    A tough game.

    Round 4 – the game looks like very drawish almost from the beginning.

    I got as a belated gift for my birthday Houdini PRO Aquarium 2015, definitely faster and stronger then my old Fritz 11. I played yesterday blitz with it and lost all the games to set to 1800 rating engine. 🙂

  5. Yes, Round 3, I also missed …Bh3, which I missed this Tuesday as well, a real blind-spot for me.

    That’s nice that you got a strong engine and program for your birthday! 🙂 I enjoy switching to a new engine like that, makes it fun to go over games.

  6. Round 5, his 12…Na5! was unexpected, and strong. My first reaction was to want to play 13.Qd1, and I told myself not to over-react and overthink it, but I did anyway, and was not happy after I played 13.Rb1 because I now saw his 13…Nc4! should give him a big advantage. Possibly, I figured he was afraid of 14.BxNc4 and 15.d5, but that goes nowhere and should be good for Black after 15…Nb6, and he can find a home for his light-bishop, etc.

    He played 12….Nb3?! instead and offered a draw. I knew this was a mistake, so quickly played my next move.

    I spent a lot of time on g4 due to the possible response …h5 (never even considered his …f5 reply) because after I play f5, then he can take try to play …hxg4 and take the pieces on h3 and e3 with his rook.

    21.Bxf5! Oddly, this piece sac, and the Nxf5 piece sac are both about +1.75. I made this sac with 5 minutes left on my clock. It was an easy sac for two reasons, one is that he was threatening to castle and virtually dissipate all my advantage, and perhaps he will even be better, and hard to tell by how much. Second, the tournament situation was that a win was required and a loss would be next to meaningless. I could sense that I had comp with his exposed king, weak seventh rank, and passed pawn duo.

    He rejected the piece-sac offer, but I figured this would easily lose for him.

    When I played 31.Rf2, it was to prevent the future fork …Nc2 after 31.Ng3-e2, then 32.Ne2-f4 (un-defending the dark diagonal covered by the bishop) could be met by …Nd2 fork. I was in time-trouble, and playing quickly, so he assumed that I was cutting out the Nd2 fork now, still leaving open the c1 square, so that he could have …Nd3 after it, but in the current position, the Bh6 is still-covering the long diagonal, which he missed and resigned as soon as I captured his Nc1.

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