The Unfathomable Position

I spent 37 minutes on a single position.  No, I wasn’t looking for a move, and no I didn’t think my position was worse, I was simply comparing strategies roughly eight moves deep in a handful of different lines.  I know from experience that if I take a lot of time in a position, objectively the position warrants a deep investigation even if it’s foolhardy to do this OTB.  I had no idea.  I analyzed it again before I plugged in the engine, and this one is like staring into the Milky-Way.  I’ve heard of IMs and GMs talking about a position being like this, but this is the first time that I’ve ever experienced the feeling OTB.

Round 2

14…Ne4!  I didn’t think this was a strong move until he played it.  This is where I spent the 37 minutes.  My initial reaction was the move I played, realizing he doesn’t lose a piece.  It seemed about five minutes into my think I wanted to play 15.Bf3, but thought that without deep analysis it could just be a “coffee-house” move.  Now, I think that unless you are playing postal-chess, any move in this position could seem like a coffee-house move.

Later into my think, I almost played 15.Bh2, reached toward the board a second-time (the first time was for 15.Bf3), but ultimately played the move one would have thought all along, but that’s because I had finally come up with a strategy to make it playable.  I probably looked at close to ten moves/continuations actually, in all.  Trying to look ahead in any of these lines is like staring into the heavens.  Of course, when you replay it, the game continuation looks like a no-brainer, and may have been the best chance for an advantage after all.  After 15.Bf3, 15…Bg5! and 15…NxNc3 are both strong.

20.Rxe6?  20.c5! is winning, though it’s only initially +1.  Here is where the time wasted earlier really cost me.  Now I blundered my b2 pawn, didn’t even see I was dropping it, but 21.c5! is still += for White.

After the game Daniel (Expert), thought that I might be winning with 28.Qf7?? and wanted to know what the computer thought about it, but he is on the right track as 28.Rf7 Rg8 is 0.0 equal.

During the game, I wasn’t worried about him playing RxBg3, as I demonstrated in the post-mortem successfully, but was worried about his a-pawn promoting, which caused me to rashly play 29.Be5?? because I though that if defended passively that he would promote his pawn.  Even 29.Bf4 holds as the importance of the h-pawn is apparently sort of an illusion here.  I missed his mate threat, and resigned before the mating was actually played.




2 thoughts on “The Unfathomable Position

  1. 15. Bf3 is a computer move, though your move is almost the same strong.
    37 minutes looks excessive.
    Yes, 20. c5 Nd5 21. Rxe6 Qd7 22. Rd6 looks strong.
    Your position was quite playable before move 29.
    29. Be5 was a game losing mistake, not because of Rxh3, but because of 29… Bxe5.
    You can’t take the bishop back because of Rc1+ and Qf3+ with mate.
    This is where probably having more time could help you.

  2. Yes, 37 minutes on that position was a total joke to do OTB.

    I rarely get this multiple heavy-piece ending, and I suck at this sort of position in time-pressure. It was unfortunate that the position turned this way, but I should have known that Calvin is quite capable of creating these types of positions and he is good at holding on forever, in any case.

    I can only hope that I get to play and win the U1800 section of the Denver Open coming up May 10, then this entire learning experience will have been worth it for me. 😉

    I would say that that tricky position was really all about the dark-squared bishop, and how you should play with it. Bf3 was sharp and tricky, but it “leads the opponent to the plan” as Alex likes to say. Bf3 is better held in reserve. I can’t believe how calmly I just said that last sentence, as yes it’s thematic to play Bxb7 at some point from this position, and I looked at pieces sacs on c6 during the game, but chess is one of those games where you have to practically cut your b@lls of and glue them back on again at multiple points during a game. Bh2 was on the right track, but NxBg6 was best because it “gets rid of the f-pawn” once and for all and makes White’s dark-squared bishop even stronger. I was considering playing Be5 and f4, locking it in on e5, but once again that is bad for White if Black exchanges if with either bishop or knight on e5. This was indeed a “high pay-grade” type of chess position, but the key was the dark-bishop, how to play with it, and that is what took me so long to understand. It’s really a question of displaying strong technique.

    I also didn’t point out one cool bit that Houdini showed me. Anytime you trade off the light-squared bishop on g6, then you can recapture on c3 with the pawn. e.g. …Ne4xc3, bxc3 Bxa3, Rb1 (threatening to trap the bishop on a3 with c5) ..Be7, Rxb7 Nxc3?!, Qd3 NxBe2+, QxN. White is down a pawn but +1. This line actually appears in different continuations after the Bg6 gets traded off. Kind of an amazing thing about chess how ideas like this can exist.

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