Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

Games versus GMs

Welcome to my chess page. This is mostly random thoughts and analysis in the form of a chess diary with other sections of the site slowly developing. A lot of the content will come from my own experience. There are two reasons for this. One, so I can use this site as a self-improvement tool. Two, so you the readers will have content that is not found on other chess sites. Follow the link to the left to reach my annotated games against grandmasters. Send me comments and ideas

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Corrections to Basic Chess Endings

6/17/18 - Kudrin-Bereolos, 2007 Land of the Sky

I've copied my notes from my original tournament report into the GM games section for my draw with Sergey Kudrin at the 2007 Land of the Sky tournament. Unlike my results with White, I've scored much better against Sergey with the Black pieces. After a disasterous first encounter, I've held him to a draw 3 out of the last 4 times with Black

This was a fairly quiet maneuvering game. Although the Italian Game has become quite popular at the elite level in recent years, the line Kudrin played has not seen much activity. Today 9. h3 instead of Sergey's 9. Nc4 is the most popular way that White tries to prove an advantage.

6/14/18 - Dana-Bereolos, 2017 US Masters

My rook endgame against Maurice Dana at last year's US Masters contained another example of a textbook technique in hiding. Although I started the ending a pawn up I totally botched things and after surviving a trade of mutual blunders right before the time control I was still scrambling for a draw after 46.Ra4

46... Rf1 I calculated the line 46...Rxc3 47.Rxa5 Re3+ 48.Kf4 Re1 49.Ra7+ Kf8 50.Rf7+ Kg8 51.Rc7 Re8 52.Rxc6 Kf8

which holds the draw although that was not clear to me during the game. I knew that without the f6 and g7 pawns it is a textbook example of the passive defense. Black parks his king on g8 and moves the rook along the back rank. So I knew White could not successfully push f6, but I wasn't sure he couldn't organize a trade of rooks on the back rank. However, I should have realized that the only square White can try to trade on is d8 and Black can use his king to defend against that. For example 53.Rc5 Ra8 54.Ke5 Re8+ 55.Kd6 Rd8+ 56.Kc7 Ra8 57.Rd5 Ke8

this is not a zugzwang position because Black can even defend with 57...Ke7 58.Rd7+ Ke8 and the g7-pawn is taboo 47.Rxa5 Re1+ 48.Kd4 Kd6? This should have been the losing mistake. It looks like Black can still hold a draw with 48...Kf6 49.Rc5 Rd1+ 50.Kc4 (50.Ke3 Re1+ (50...Rd6? 51.Kf4 and Black must give ground) 51.Kf4 Rf1+ 52.Ke4 Re1+ 53.Kd3 Re5 54.Rxe5 Kxe5 is a drawn pawn ending) 50...Rb1 51.Kd3 Rd1+ 52.Kc2 (52.Kc4 Rb1 53.Rxc6+ Kxf5; 52.Ke3 Re1+ 53.Kd2 Re5 54.Rxc6+ Kxf5) 52...Rd5 53.Rxc6+ Kxf5=

Surprisingly, this is drawn. Without the g-pawns Black is lost but here the Black king can help keep the White king out while keeping an eye on the White g-pawn, leaving the White rook in an awkward position on c6 54.c4 Rd7 55.Kc3 Rd1 56.Kb4 Ke5! 57.Ra6 Rb1+! 58.Kc5 Rc1 59.Kb5 Rb1+! 60.Kc6 Rc1! 61.c5 Kf5!; 49.Ra7 Rf1 50.Rf7 Rf4+ 51.Ke3 Rf1

52.Ke4 White has a straightforward win with 52.Rxg7 Rxf5 53.Rf7 Rg5 54.Rf6+ This is a nice move to limit Black's counterplay by simultaneously attacking c6 and defending g6. (54.g7 also wins 54...Rg4 55.Kf3! Rg1 56.Kf4 Ke6 (56...Kc5 57.Rf5+ Kc4 58.Rg5+-) 57.Rc7 Kd6 58.Rb7 Ke6 59.c4 Rg2 60.c5 Rg1 61.Rc7 Kd5 62.Re7 and White is ready to build the bridge.) 54...Kc5 55.Kf4 Rg1 56.Rf5+ Kc4 57.Rg5 Rf1+ 58.Ke5 Rf8 59.g7 Rg8 60.Kd6+-] 52...Re1+ 53.Kf3 Rf1+ 54.Ke2 Rf4 55.Ke3 White's king is too far back now for 55.Rxg7? Rxf5! 56.Rf7 Rxf7! 57.gxf7! Ke7! 58.Kd3 Kxf7! 59.Kd4 Ke6 60.Kc5 Kd7! 61.Kb6 Kd6! 62.c4 c5! 63.Kb5 Kd7! with a draw 55...Rf1 56.Kd4 Rf4+ 57.Ke3? Repeating the position for the third time. White still wins after 57.Kd3 Ke5 (57...Rf1 58.Rxg7 Rxf5 59.Rf7 Rg5 60.Rf6+! is similar to the note to White's 52nd, but here 60.g7? is an inaccuracy as Black gets time for a counterattack with his king against the c-pawn, which was my intention when playing Kd6. 60...Rg4 61.Ke3 Kc5 62.Kf3 Rg1 63.Kf4 Kc4! 64.Rc7 c5 65.Ke5 Kd3=) 58.Rxg7 Rxf5 59.Re7+ followed by g7 1/2-1/2

Lessons from this ending. 1. Keep the game going if there is no risk. Even if he couldn't see a win, White is in no danger from taking the g-pawn. 2. Recognize critical positions and try to calculate them to the end. I think I was likely too lazy on move 46. After calculating to 52...Kf8 and knowing the guidepost of the passive defense, I should have dug in and figured out if he could organize the rook trade. Instead, I was too superficial seeing a ghost and rejecting a fairly direct drawing on the basis of it being too passive. 3. I'm trying to figure out how to avoid mistakes like 48...Kd6? Taking the opposition is so common in all endings. It is hard to calculate the lines to a draw after 48...Kf6. Schematically, it seems like White should be able to trade f and g for g and c leaving the Black king stuck on the long side. I guess the lesson is to keep studying the endgame to get a feel for exceptions.

6/8/18 - BCE-363

Another example of a twist on a textbook example is BCE #363. This rook ending from the 1890-91 World Championship match between Steinitz and Gunsbeg was misassessed by Fine in the original BCE and by Benko in the revised edition. The revision even added another error, so you could say that this ending has been misanalyzed for over 100 years.

The defensive theme was one I hadn't seen before. However, the method bears some resemblance to Vancura's defense against two rook pawns with the rook attacking one pawn from the side and checking the Black king from a distance if he tries to protect the pawn and free the rook. The difference is that in BCE #363 the White king is behind the pawn using it as a shield instead of in front of it stopping it from promoting.

Here is an extreme example of this defense. First, we start with a standard drawn position by Vancura's method

With White to play this position is drawn even if the White king is on h4, h5, h6, h7, or even h8!!

6/5/18 - Caristi-Bereolos, 1981 Indiana State Class Championships

My final round game from the 1981 Indiana State Class Championships against James Caristi is an instructive rook ending. I think the position makes for a good training position. How can White hold after after 46...Rxg3

47. Rb4? Not this way. The solution is to combine the frontal defense with counterplay using the h-pawn. 47.Rf4! for example 47...f6 (47...Rh3 48.Rf2 Rxh4 49.Kxb3 is a more classic example of the frontal defense) 48.Rf2 Kg6 49.h5+ Kf7 50.Rh2! f5 51.h6 Kg8 52.Rf2 Rg5 53.Kxb3 47...Kh6? I don't know how to explain this blunder. There is no advantage to moving to h6 instead of the winning 47...Kg6 when 48.Rf4 is too late since Black can advance his pawn 48...f5 49.Ka3 Rh3 50.Kb2 Kf6 51.Rf1 Ke5 52.Re1+ Kf4 53.Rf1+ Kg4 48.Rf4! White seizes the second chance. 48...Kg7 48...Kg6 49.h5+ 49.h5 49.Rf2 or 49.Rf1 is simpler 49...Rh3 50.Rf5? There was still a narrow path to the draw with 50.Rg4+! Kf8 51.Rg1! f6 52.h6! Kf7 53.Rg7+! Ke6 54.h7! f5 55.Rb7 Ke5 56.Rf7 f4 57.Re7+ Kd4 58.Rd7+ Ke3 59.Kxb3 f3 60.Re7+ Kd2 61.Rd7+ Ke1 62.Re7+ Kf1 63.Kc2 f2 64.Kd2 50...f6!-+ 51.h6+ 51.Rf1 Rxh5 52.Kxb3 Rc5! and the White king is cut off 53.Kb4 Rc8 54.Rg1+ Kf7 55.Rf1 Ke6 56.Re1+ Kd5 57.Rd1+ Ke5 58.Re1+ Kd4 59.Rd1+ Ke3 60.Rf1 Rf8! and wins 51...Kg6 52.Rf1 f5 53.h7 Kg5 53...Rxh7 54.Kxb3 Rc7 is similar to the last note 54.Rg1+ Kf6! 54...Kf4? 55.Rg7! holds as in the note after move 50 55.Rf1 Rxh7 56.Kxb3 Rc7 57.Re1 f4 58.Re8 Kf5 59.Rf8+ Ke4 60.Re8+ Kf3 61.Rf8 Ke3 62.Re8+ Kf2 63.Rf8 f3 64.Re8 Kf1 65.Rf8 f2 66.Re8 Rg7 0-1

Part of the difficulty and beauty of chess is the large difference small changes in a position can make. If we take away the pawns from b3 and h4 from the initial diagram, the defense is quite different.

1.Kc2 1.Rf4? makes less sense here without the h-pawn. 1...Rd3! cutting off the king 2.Rf1 f6 3.Kc2 Rd6 4.Kc3 Kg6 5.Rg1+ Kh5 6.Rf1 Kg5 7.Rg1+ Kf4 8.Rf1+ Ke3 9.Kc4 Rd4+! 10.Kc3 Rf4 11.Re1+ Kf2 12.Re6 f5 13.Re5 Rf3+ 14.Kd2 f4 15.Re4 Kg2 16.Ke1 Rf1+ 17.Ke2 f3+ 18.Kd2 f2-+ 1...Re3 1...f5 2. Kd2 holds easily 2.Kd2 Re7 3.Rg4+ Kh6 4.Rg1 4.Rf4? Kg5 5.Rf1 f5 6.Rg1+ (here the pawn ending is lost after 6.Re1 Rxe1 7.Kxe1 Kg4!) 6...Kh4 7.Rf1 Re5 8.Kd3 Kg3! 9.Kd4 Ra5 and the pawn will advance 4...Kh5 4...f5 5.Re1; 4...f6 5.Rg2 Kh5 6.Rf2! Kg6 7.Rg2+ Kf7 8.Rf2 Re6 9.Re2 5.Rf1 and holds

The frontal defense can be tricky and even the greats can get it wrong. The following position arose after 51. Rxh4 in the game between Alexander Grischuk and Vassily Ivanchuk at the 2008 Tal Memorial blitz tournament. I know blitz games are generally of lower quality than those at standard time controls, but most of us would love to play regular chess at the strength that Grischuk plays blitz.

51...Kc5 52.g4 a somewhat strange move instead of moving the king towards the b-pawn with 52.Kd2 52...Rd6 53.Rh1 b5 54.Rc1+! Kb4 55.Rb1+! Ka5 56.Ra1+! Kb6 57.Rb1! Rd4 58.Rh1! Rd6 59.Rb1! Rg6 60.Kf3? After 6 only moves in a row, Grischuk finally cracked. White's king was close enough to participate in the defense, so he could abandon the frontal defense with 60.Rh1 b4 61.Kd2. White even has the more complicated 60.Kd3 Rxg4 61.Rh1! Rc4 else the White King gets in front of the pawn 62.Rxh6+ Ka5 63.Rh1! and White saves himself with the frontal defense. 63...Rc5 64.Kd4! Rc8 65.Ra1+! Kb4 66.Rb1+! 60...Kc5 61.Rc1+ Kd4 62.Rb1 Kc4 63.Rc1+ Kd3 64.Rb1 Rb6 now Black wins easily 65.Kg3 b4 66.Kh4 b3 67.Kh5 Kc2 68.Rg1 b2 69.Rg2+ Kd3 70.Rg1 b1Q 71.Rxb1 Rxb1 72.Kxh6 Ke4 73.g5 Kf5 74.g6 Rb6 0-1

Lessons from this ending: 1. In practical games, the textbook examples can be well hidden. In both Caristi-Bereolos and Grischuk-Ivanchuk the defending side could make use of the frontal defense even though there were extra pawns on the board. 2. You're moves should generally have purpose behind them. My 47...Kh6? is about as pointless as it gets in an ending moving away from the center, unprotecting my pawn and not controlling the key f5 square. 3. Don't automatically defend a pawn when it is attacked. The decisive mistake in both examples was the defense of a pawn (Caristi's 50. Rf5? and Grischuk's 60 Kf3?). 4. Remain vigilant until the end. I could have thrown away a half point with the hasty 54...Kf4?

older material

Stats since June 1, 2006