Endgame Blunder (Ad Infinitum)

Round 4 – final round

Aside from poor time-management which cost me the draw, and quite possibly a win, this game was still interesting.  I had 8 minutes left after move 22, which explains the debacle.  Sam offered me draw while I had just under 4 minutes and he just under 10 minutes, but I wanted to play it out for the experience, since this was a last round game and only a win would split second place.  Besides, Winter Springs tournament is coming up this weekend, where I play in the Open section and stand to gain rating points, so I figured I needed the practice.

After 28 moves, should I play 29…g5, I am up .86 or let’s say it’s -.86, since I am Black.  Well, I was going to play that move when I quickly played 29…Bg7 because I literally forgot the move I was going to make, which explains why I put the bishop back there on the next move.  In the post-game, I asked him about this move, and let him know I had forgotten to play it.  He continued with 30.Ke3 and I with 30…fxe, 31.fxe Bg7 and followed up with 31…Rh8, which Stockfish says is -1.75 in Black’s favor.

When I played 30…Bh6 again, I spotted his 31.Ra3, but literally didn’t know quite what I should do about it yet, and actually played this move hoping he wouldn’t notice, lol, and he hadn’t noticed it yet so didn’t play it.  After the game, I said to Sam and Pete that I should have played 30…a6, but I spotted this move in the game literally a move too late.  This is what happens to me in time-pressure, my evaluations go haywire, then I don’t spot the ideas in the position in time, and this is like the first game ever where I simply forgot to play a move.  Anyway, as you can see, my brain did go haywire and then I started dropping material all over the place when I got down to half a minute.  This game could have easily been a win or a draw without that time-pressure meltdown.  Good luck tomorrow Magnus and Sergey!  You can see how I can’t cope well, in a real tournament game, with acute time-pressure, even though I can play very well up to that point, if I may say so myself.  A life-long disease that’s followed me all the way from my 1200 level playing days.  Anyway, I wasn’t taking this game that seriously as to the result, if it’s any consolation to the reader.

When he played 31.h4 and I took it en-passant, I realized all the trouble that I would get into, but figured it might be the only way to play for a win, and also I wanted to test my skill from an inferior position possibly whether I could still draw or win.

33…Rh8?  I figured this move was a blunder, but not losing yet, and I had to make a move and hadn’t figured out the defense …a6 just yet, didn’t spot it for some reason.

38…Bf8?  My intuition told me strongly here that I must play 38…Rb8, yet the part of my brain which analyzes variations couldn’t grasp why I should play this and let go of the a-pawn.  Another move casualty of time-pressure.

The rest of the game requires no comment, analysis-wise, other than to say that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t played …c6, and then dropped my bishop two moves later.  I was playing instant moves, and my clock was actually back up to over 2 and 1/2 minutes, I was blitzing and blundering wildly.  If this were a five second increment, my opponent may have blundered back, but since he had stayed five minutes up on the clock back when it was winning for him, there was no chance of the clock being a factor, although he was only up by a minute by this point.

Silly loss, but still a great game as far as the content was concerned.  I figured I should be able to draw “drawn-ish” positions and not rely on my opponent’s offer because when I play up not only will they not offer a draw, but they will not accept one either and will require me to show them the draw.

It’s unfortunate that I have a slow memory.  I looked at the chair where I was sitting, and didn’t see a jacket, then walked outside toward my car and the cold made me realize I had brought a jacket and probably left it on the chair on the other table.  Paul had already locked up when I got back and I had to go cross town to get the keys from him.  I can remember days in my life 45 years ago vividly, but my “think on my feet” memory can be slow, even though I can show a quick-wit, in person.

The interesting thing that I remember now is that when Sam offered me the draw, and I verbally declined it, that that is the same move where I suddenly forgot my plan and played Bh6-g7.  That draw offer must have gotten inside my head worse than I thought because that is the point in the game where my play/form went all downhill after that.  It’s like I relaxed and had a tough position at the same time after declining the draw, and I was also more nervous as well.














Endgame Blunder…Again! (err, as per usual?)

Round 3

I played C3 Sicilian, then realized that he’s probably gonna play …e5 because he just switched to Sicilian and has probably never seen this line before.

Once again, it got positional, nearly equal, and I should have started to play for small, dare I say tiny goals. But instead, I “went for it” (when don’t I?). He calculated better than me (he’s almost a Class B player, but he beat an Expert last week, and is doing well in both tournaments this month). I got the dumb luck reward out of this deal, and soon was playing for a win.

Then he got his pawns going on kingside, vs mine on the queenside, it was a race. I bungled in time-pressure, and finally got plumb tired as he “dropped a piece”. So, I just took the piece, decided to not even bother calculating, then looked down to notice he could push a pawn. He didn’t push it.  I suppose he was trying to save this pawn-push as a threat for “later”.  He spent a solid minute before not playing …f3; my quick play had probably had an effect on his decision.  This game made me realize what fatigue can do, combined with time-pressure, late in games.

Quick Chess Tournament

Round 1

She didn’t castle.

Round 2

I debated between 4…Nc6, and 4…c5.   4…c5 was weak.
Round 3

I flagged, but he was winning  and easily stopped all my tries during the post-mortem where we kept playing on.   I hadn’t wanted to play …Qd7 when I did, and didn’t see his queen and bishop batter happening either.
Round 4

Even though Round 4 could be considered a meaningless game, it is the one that stung.  I kept seeing better moves a few seconds late, and I can’t imagine blundering so many times as that were it a slow game.  Also, by round 4 of a quick-chess tournament I find that it becomes next to impossible to have impulse control.  Nevertheless, I flagged on move 37, when it was losing, and he called my flag on move 39, when it was a draw, and we played it out post-mortem until the very end.  I drew against all of his tries, and even promoted my pawn once (winning).  Nevertheless, he insisted that he missed a win in the drawn position.  It felt insulting in a way because I knew it was a draw the whole time, and he still didn’t want to accept that fact, but I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

Stonewall Attack game

I might have to look this up on a database, but if anyone knows a better way to handle the Stonewall Attack as Black, I’d sure appreciate any advice.  Lower rated players get this automatically strong position the way I play it.  Of course, in this game I won, but I think he was close to +2 at one moment.

Magnus’ Missed Wins

Round 3

42.Re5?+  I saw the computer on Chess24 say the only winning move was 42.Rb8+!  I didn’t understand the point of it, but tried to and found 43.Nf3, even though it’s computer and Stockfish weren’t saying 43.Nf3 at first.  It does win.  I puttered around with it, but here is sample best play.  42. Rb8+ Kf7 43. Nf3 Bd6 44. Ng5+ Ke7 45. Rh8 Rxd3

46. Rxh7+ Kd8 47. Rh3 Rd5+ 48. Kg4 Rd4 49. Nf7+ Ke7 50. Nxd6 Rxd6 51. Kg5 Rd2
52. Re3+ Kf7 53. h4 Rg2+ ( 53… d5 54. Rg3 Rc2 55. h5 Rc3 56. Kh4 d4 ( 56…
Rc6 57. f5 d4 58. Kg5 ( 58. Rg6 Rc1 ( 58… Rc3) 59. h6 d3 60. Rd6 Rd1 61. Rd7+
Kg8 62. Kg3 Rf1 63. Kg4 Rd1 64. Kf4 d2 65. Ke3 Rf1 66. Kxd2 Rxf5 67. Rg7+ Kh8
68. Rg4 Rb5 ( 68… Rd5+ 69. Kc2 Kh7 ( 69… Rc5+ 70. Rc4 Rb5 71. Kd3 Rd5+ 72.
Rd4 Rb5 73. Kc4 Rb6 74. Kc5 Rb8 75. Rd6 Rf8 76. Kxb4 Rf5 77. Ka4 Kh7 ( 77…
Kg8 78. b4 Rf8 ( 78… Kf8 79. Rd8+ Ke7 80. h7 Kxd8 81. h8=Q+ Ke7 82. b5 Kd7
83. Qd4+ Kc7 84. Ka5 Rh5 85. Ka6 Rh6+ 86. b6+ Kc6 87. b7 Rd6 88. b8=N+ ( 88.
Qxd6+ Kxd6 89. b8=Q+ Kd5 90. Qf4 Ke6 91. Qg5 Kd6 92. Kb6 Ke6 93. Kc6 Kf7 94.
Kd6 Kf8 95. Qg6 ( 95. Ke6 Ke8 96. Qe7#

70.Kxf5??  70.Rc3 still draws
71.Na4?!  71.Re1 is winning
72.Rb7?  This is the wrong pawn to go after.  The h-pawn is the key here.
72.Rf7+ Ke6, 73.Rf2 h3, 74.Kh1 Ra1, 75.Nb7 Rb1, 76.Rh2 is winning.  After the h-pawn falls, White’s rook goes to the fifth rank, and White’s king and rook coordinate well in this situation to eject the Black king, and then win the b-pawn.

Round 4

h4 by Karjakin was a mistake, and then 39…Bxh4, 40.Bxe5 is where Magnus returns the favor.  39.Bd5 is winning because by keeping the d6 and h4 pawns on the board, Black can put White into zugzwang (I played it out with the engine on Chess24, which is where I’m watching the match – Matthew, from the chessclub, saw me on that site and chatted hi to me!  🙂

45…f4.  This move was widely criticized on the chat, but as Svidler and Eric Hansen were showing, it is difficult to find a win once 45…fxg is played because those g-file pawns of Black stay doubled (instead of White trying to win one back), and somehow the doubledness of the pawns also helps White to try to create a fortress there.  I don’t believe anyone found a definite win, only close tries.  That’s the problem with endgames, true winning positions are not that difficult; sorta, but not really winning positions are much more difficult to traverse.

One That Got Away

Round 2

I played this game down to five minutes, and then while thinking about playing 24…Nb6, which draws easily, and the ugly looking 24….Nf6??  I chose the latter because it looked more forcing, and I decided I was going to play it quickly and hope it wasn’t a blunder because I was not nervous at all but very unimpressed that I had left myself once again with so little time to my opponents remaining whole hour.  She captured and pushed c7, then I realized it was over.  I had looked at c7 with Rc1, and looked at Rfd1, but I hadn’t put them together as c7, and then Rd1, but I saw my blunder as soon as she had pushed the pawn.  In the post-mortem, I held it easily and she was the one who had to hold on.

The idea I hadn’t bothered to analyze the whole way at the end was 24…Nb6, 25.Rc1 Rc8, 26.Nf6+ Kg7, 27.Nd7?? Nb6xNd7 I made a conscious decision not to spend more time on purpose, but that was a very bad idea because I was also offering a trade which needed to be correct.

14…Bxc5! was a nice find, but I spend too long on moves like this.  I see it a a couple moves prior but then spend like 15 minutes when the move arrives as a long blunder-check.  Apparently 14…e5! was a stronger try for advantage.  My move equalizes.

18…gxB.  I was going to play 18…QxN!, but forgot my analysis when this position arrived, and realized I could play for a simple draw anyway.  18…QxN, 19.Bxg7 Rfe8, 20.Bc3 Qe4+, 21.Be2 Ba6, 22.Qb2.  I had seen this far, but not until I see it set up on the computer do I notice that 22…Bxe2 simply wins the bishop.  23.QxBe2?? Qb1+.  Therefore, surprisingly after 22.0-0 Ba6xBe2, Black has won that bishop but it still not winning.

This game once again shows that it is a victory to draw with Black, but once the draw is in sight, it is easy to forget what a big deal it is just to get a draw with Black against a lower-rated player.  Once it seemed as though the draw was no longer a big deal is right when I screwed up.  Alex said I should have played for the win when I had my chance, but really the draw as Black is the big deal, it’s the reason you drive all the way over there and show up is just to get that draw, and if they want to blunder that’s great but you can’t force them to, and you most of all can’t show disdain for the draw, or it’s a loss every time in my experience.  Draws are as a rule much tougher games than wins, and usually come with the Black pieces.  This could have been one of my best games had I drawn it.