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

3/16/19 - Yilmaz-Saraci, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

Continuing the Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series with a game in the Vienna Variation, which corresponded to a survey by Nikolay Ninov. In the round 2 game between Mustafa Yimaz and Nderim Saraci on board 1 of the Turkey-Kosovo match, Black goes his own way in the opening, so the survey didn't prove to be particularly relevant.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Bxc4 c5 9.e5 Qd8 10.0-0 cxd4 11.Ne4

11...Nc6 11...0-0 12.Qe2 would transpose to the starting position of the survey where Ninov suggests that Black is fine after 12...Be7 Over the next few moves, Black could transpose to main lines by castling kingside, but in this game his idea appears to be to take the king in the other direction. 12.Qe2 Bd7 13.Rfd1 Qb6 14.a3 Be7 15.b4 0-0-0 16.Rac1 Kb8 17.Bd3 f6 18.Nc5 Bxc5 19.Rxc5 Ne7 This takes the pressure off of the White center allowing him to maneuver his knight towards d6. Black probably should have started with 19...Rc8 20.Nd2 Rc8 21.Nc4 Qd8 22.Nd6

Now White is clearly better and his attack proceeded very smoothly. 22...Rxc5 23.bxc5 Bc6 24.Be4 Qd7 25.Bxc6 Nxc6 26.Rb1 fxe5 27.Qa6 This looks even stronger than 27.Rxb7+ Now White's Queen will pick up the loose Black pawns after winning Black's Queen. 27...Nd8 28.Nxb7 Qxb7 28...Nxb7 29.c6 29.Rxb7+ Nxb7 30.Qxe6 1-0

3/13/19 - BCE-252, Schlechter-Walbrodt, Vienna 1898

This week starts a trio of BCE corrections featuring the games of Carl Schlechter. Schlechter was one of the top players in the early part of the 20th century. Sonas has him peaking at #2 in the world in late 1906 through early 1907, trailing only Maroczy, and ahead of World Champion Emanuel Lasker. He got his shot at the title in 1910, drawing Lasker 5-5, losing a titanic struggle in the final game. It has been much debated since that time if there was a clause that required Schlecter to win by two points in order to take the title.

Schlechter also drew matches with Marco (twice), Zinkl, Janowski, Alapin, Teichmann, and Tarrasch, which probably contibuted to his reputation as "the drawing master". My database shows 48.7% of his games ended in draws, which was quite high for that time. By comparison, Lasker's drawing percentage was less than half as much at 23.7%.

Vienna 1898 was a massive 20-player double round robin with all the top players in the world with the exception of Lasker and Charousek. Tarrasch emerged the winner in a tiebreak match over Pillsbury. Schlechter was a respectable 5th with a +7 score. His 17 draws were only 4th most in the tournament.

The subject of this week's post is Schlechter's knight versus bishop ending against Paul Walbrodt. A series of early exchanges landed them in the ending after only 23 moves 23...Kxf8

Despite the pawns on the queenside being fixed on the same color as the Black bishop, he should be able to hold this ending. 24.Nd1 Ke7 25.Ne3 Kf6 26.h4 Bf5 27.b4 Bd3 28.Kf2 h5 29.Kf3 g5 30.g3 Be4+ 31.Ke2 Kg6 32.Kd2 Kf6 33.Kc3 Bg6 34.b5 Be4 35.a4

35...gxh4? a grave mistake giving the White king access to the f4 square. I don't see a way for White to break through if Black just waits with 35...Bf5 when the bishop can retreat back to defend the queenside if necessary. 36.gxh4 Ke6 37.Kb4 Bd3 38.b6 a6 39.a5 White would love to preserve this spare tempo, but since the knight has to guard the f5 square until the White king can come around, the a4 pawn turns out to be a weakness after 39.Kc3 Bf5 40.Kd2? a5! 39...Be4 40.Kc3 Kf6 41.Kd2 Bf5 42.Ke1 Be4 43.Kf2 Ke6 44.Kg3 Kf7 45.Kf4 Kf6 46.Nf1 Bf5 47.Ng3 Bg4 48.Nh1 Be6 49.Nf2 Bf5 50.Nd1 Bg4 51.Nc3 Bd7 52.Na2 Be6 53.Nb4 Bc8 54.Nd3 Bf5 55.Ne5 Bc8 reaching BCE-252. The tournament book had already analyzed this position as a win for White, so it is odd that Fine did not just copy that analysis. 56.Ke3 Ke6 57.Ng6 It took Schlechter a while to hit upon the correct idea. 57.Nd3 would be faster 57...Kf6 58.Kf4 Bd7 59.Ne5 Bc8 returning again to BCE-252. Now White must be careful to avoid a triple repetition. 60.Nf3 Bf5 61.Ke3 61.Ne5? Bc8! is 3 times 61...Bc8 62.Ne5 Ke6 63.Kf3 Ke7 64.Nd3 finding the correct path to f4. It would be more efficient to start with 64.Ke3? to avoid the check on g4, but here 64...Ke6! would again be three times repetition. 64...Bf5 65.Nf4 Bg4+ 66.Ke3 Kf7 67.Nd3 Ke7 68.Ne5 Bc8 69.Kf3 Ke6 70.Nd3 Kf6 71.Ke3 1-0

3/11/19 - Fishbein-Bereolos, 1995 Kings Island Open

Although I am roughly the same age as GM Alex Fishbein, we never played as juniors and only seem to meet over the board one a decade. Probably a combination of geography and rating difference. I scored my first draw with Black against a GM against him at the Kings Island Open in 1995. It looks like I could have gotten more, but was unable to finish the job.

3/6/19 - BCE-222a

This week completes the triplet of positions from Kling and Horwitz with a more practical material distribution of N+P vs. B. Here, Black has a stalemate resource first discovered by Cheron in 1952. Fine compounded the error in the position by calling the incorrect first move by Black forced.

I thought I recognized the position as an excercise from Dvoretsky. I was mostly correct, except that he shows the mirror image position on the queenside, while still attributing it to Kling and Horwitz. This was shades of the curious position from BCE-226b. I didn't do a whole lot of research trying to track this down as the first source I checked appeared to be where the reversal occured. In the second volume of Averbakh's endgame series he gives the mirror image position, but cites it as from Kling and Horwitz with flanks reversed in a footnote. Since it is basically the same study, I don't think flipping the position even dropping the note as Dvoretsky did is too troublesome as long as the original composer is still getting the credit. The somewhat bigger mystery is why Averbakh reversed the flanks on this and other positions. It seems that he may have been trying to systematically look at the pawns on each file without having to jump back and forth from kingside to queenside in his examples. In the N+P vs. B section almost every example has a White pawn on the queenside or a black pawn on the kingside. The lone exception is the very last example in the section. The section on B+P vs. N has a similar configuration although in that section there are even more exceptions. I also don't see any examples in the B+P vs. N section where he called out having reversed the flanks.

3/5/19 - Lekau-Sharikhan, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

There are a couple of dangers in picking games to annotate based on an opening variation. The first is that the set of games you are choosing from does not contain that variation. We've seen this a couple of times in my Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series. When this has occurred, I think I've been able to select interesting games that are close to the variation in question. The bigger danger is that there is a game with the variation of interest, but it is not a very good game. That is the problem I had when looking for games to match Krisztian Szabo's survey on the Steinitz Poisoned Pawn variation in the French Defense. The only game with this line was played between two lower rated players, Romokotjo Lekau of Lesotho and Shawal Sharikhan of Brunei. I debated whether to try to choose a different game, but in the end I decided to go with this one and have an easy annotation day.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Qb6 8.Qd2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxb2

10.Nb3?? Perhaps White got confused with the Sicilian Najdorf Poisoned Pawn 1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 where 9.Nb3 is a legitimate alternative to 9.Rb1. Szabo's survey focused on 10.Rb1 Qa3 11.Bb5 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 a6 13.Bxd7+ Bxd7 14.Rb3 Qe7 15.Rxb7 Rc8 (15...Qh4+ and 15...Qd8 are important alternatives) 10...Bb4 and just like that the game is over before it has really begun. 11.Qd1 Qxc3+ 12.Kf2 Nc5 13.Bb5 Nxb3 14.cxb3 Bc5 15.Re1 Bxe3+ 16.Rxe3 Qc5 17.a4 Bd7 18.Rc1 Qb6 19.Qg4 g6 20.Qh4 Ne7 21.g4 Bxb5 22.axb5 d4 23.Rd3 Nd5 24.Kg3 Qxb5 25.Rc4 Qa5 26.Rc1 Qb6 27.Rcd1 Rc8 28.Kf3 Rc3 29.f5 after this move the engines start announcing mate. 29...Qxb3 30.Ke4 Rxd3 0-1

2/27/19 - BCE-274

Kling and Horwitz also had some esoteric postions in their book. BCE-274 is an example of this with an exceptional position where B+N beat a lone B with no pawns thanks to the poor starting position of the Black pieces, especially his king in the corner. One curiousity to note is that BCE-274 does not quite match the Kling and Horwitz position. Kling and Horwitz start with the bishop on c1 instead of c7 in BCE.

The analysis transposes after 1. Bb2+ Kg8 2. Bg7! although in this starting position, White wins just as quickly starting with 1. Bh6. The BCE position matches that in Berger, which Fine cites as his primary source. The citation in Berger is to page 65 of Kling and Horwitz, which is where the above position occurs, not the one in Berger and BCE. It's all a bit strange. I think it is also worth mentioning that the incorrect line in BCE with 4...Bd8 does not appear in Berger nor in Kling and Horwitz, who only consider 4...Bg5, so the error seems to fall entirely on Fine.

In a practical game, the bishop and knight have virtually no chance to win against a lone bishop. Even the very favorable starting position of BCE is drawn with Black to move. I looked through the database to see if there were any examples. There were quite a few games where B+N won against B, but in almost all of them the attacking side either captured or forked the bishop on the next move after the 3 minor piece ending appeared. I only found two examples where all three pieces were on the board at the end of the game. In both examples, the attacking side also had a rook's pawn, which made the defending king stay in the corner where he got mated after the bishop captured the pawn.

This ending came up in my game as Black against Walter Cunningham in the 1998 US Amateur Team South after 53...Nxh4

Despite the optically favorable starting position with the White king on the edge, Black just can't force him into the bad corner or stalemate him with K+B along the edge of the board. I played it out for the full 50 moves, but other than placing the bishop en prise we will see that there were very few opportunities for White to go wrong. 54.Kg3 Ng6 55.Bd5 Nf4 56.Bc4 Bd7 57.Kh4 Nh3 58.Kh5 Bf5 59.Kh6 Kf4 60.Kg7 Ke5 61.Kf7 Ng5+ 62.Kg7 Bc2 63.Ba2 Ne4 64.Bf7 Nd6 65.Bg6 Bb3 66.Bd3 Ne8+ 67.Kf8 Nf6 68.Kg7 Nh5+ 69.Kh6 [69.Kg6? Nf4+] 69...Nf4 70.Bb5 Kf6 71.Bd7 Bc2 72.Be8 Bd3 73.Bh5 Ne6 74.Bg6 Bb5 75.Bc2 [75.Kh5? Nf4+!; 75.Kh7? Nf8+!] 75...Ng7 76.Be4 Be2 77.Bc2 Ne6 78.Bb1 Nd8

The only point where White could have blundered more than a one-mover 79.Ba2 [79.Be4? Nf7+! 80.Kh7 Ng5+!] 79...Nc6 80.Bb3 Ne5 81.Ba2 Ng6 82.Bb3 Nf4 83.Ba2 Bd3 84.Bb1 Bc4 85.Bc2 Bf7 86.Be4 Ne2 87.Bc2 Be6 88.Bd3 Ng3 89.Bc2 Bg4 90.Bd3 Nh5 91.Bc2 Nf4 92.Be4 Ne6 93.Bc2 [93.Kh7? Ng5+!] 93...Ng5 94.Bb3 Ne4 95.Bc2 Nd6 96.Bb3 [96.Bh7? Nf7#!] 96...Nf5+ 97.Kh7 Bh5 98.Bc4 Bg6+ 99.Kh8 Nh6 100.Bb3 Be4 101.Bc4 Kg6 102.Bb3 Ng4 103.Be6 Nf6 1/2-1/2

Using mating threats to win the bishop isn't the only way for the attacking side to win. There are also study positions where the defending bishop can be dominated. The composer Tigran Gorgiev created several studies with this theme in 1928. I liked this one the best, starting with 6 minor pieces and no pawns

The main line goes 1.Nd3+! Kc4 2.Bd5+! Kxd5 3.Nb4+! Kc4 4.Nxa2! Kb3 5.Nc1+! Kb2 6.Nd2! Bd8+ 7.Kc6! Kxc1 8.Kd7! and the bishop doesn't have a good square 8...Bh4 9.Nf3+; 8...Bf6 9.Ne4+; 8...Bb6 9.Nc4+; 8...Ba5 9.Nc4+

2/25/19 - Whatley-Bereolos, 1999 World Open

Another battle of connected passed pawns in a rook ending that I didn't handle well was against Andrew Whatley at the 1999 World Open. We entered the rook ending after an exchange of queens on c4 40. bxc4

40...Re4 41.Rxe2 Rxc4 42.Rb2 Rb4 43.Ra2 instead of this passive move, White should likely just go for the drawn pawn ending with 43.Rxb4 axb4 44.Ke2 c5 45.Kd3 b3 46.Kc3 c4 47.g4 43...Kf7 Black can also consider 43...Rb3 cutting off the king and 43...h5 holding up the pawns 44.Kf3 h5 45.g4 Rb3+ 46.Ke4 Rxh3 47.g5 Rc3 48.Kd4 Rb3 49.Rg2 h4 50.Ke5 Re3+?! a bad check putting the rook out of position and pushing the White king where he wants to go. Better was 50...h3 51.Rd2 b5 51.Kf5

51...b5? Black had to return with 51...Rc3 in order to be able to check from the side 52.axb5 cxb5 53.g6+ Kg7 54.Rd2 Rc3 55.Rd7+! Kg8 56.Kf6 Rc6+ 57.Kg5! h3 58.f5 Rc5 59.Rd8+ The immediate 59.g7 is winning, but White can afford to repeat 59...Kg7

60.Rd3? The h-pawn is of no consequence, White should push forward with a mating attack with 60.Rd7+ Kg8 61.g7 Kh7 (61...h2 62.Kg6) 62.g8Q+ Kxg8 63.Kg6+- 60...h2 61.Rh3 b4 62.Rxh2 b3 63.Rh7+ Kg8! 63...Kf8? loses an important tempo 64.Rb7 a4 65.g7+ Kg8 66.Kg6+- 64.Rb7 a4! 65.Kf6 Rc6+ 66.Ke5 Rc5+! 67.Ke4 Rc6! 67...Rc4+? 68.Kd5! Rf4 69.Ke6+- 68.Ke5 Rc5+! 69.Kf4 Rc6 Black can also defend with 69...Rc4+ 70.Kg5 Rc5 70.Rb5

70...Ra6? The pawn push does not need to be prepared so this move is just a wasted tempo 70...a3! 71.Rxb3 (71.Kg5 a2 72.f6? Rxf6) 71...Ra6! 72.Kg5 a2 and holds 71.Kg5 Ra8 It is too late for 71...a3 72.Rb8+ Kg7 73.f6+ Rxf6 74.Rb7+ 72.f6 a3 73.g7 Kh7 74.Rxb3 Ra5+ 75.Kf4 Ra4+ 76.Ke5 Ra5+ 77.Kd4 Ra4+ 78.Kc5 Ra5+ 79.Kb4 Rg5 80.Rh3+ Kg8 81.Rh8+ Kf7 82.Rf8+ 1-0

Comparing the play of this game to the lessons from the similar endings against Tennant and Brown. From the Tennant game 1. King activity. White did well to activate his king with 45 g4 and 46 Ke4 even though it cost a pawn. 2. Flexibility of the rook. While Black could still hold with 50...Re3+ it both made the rook less flexible and allowed the White king more activity, so it was bad on two accounts. 3. Don't panic. I don't know if that one really applies here. I think the issue was more along the lines of the always difficult transition of going from playing for a win to playing for a draw. From the Brown game 1. Push passed pawns. The last opportunity to hold was a pawn push with 70...a3! 2. Calculate pawn endings. I'm not clear on why my opponent didn't go for 43. Rxb4, it is not difficult to calculate and it would seem unlikely that 43. Ra2 was meant as a winning attempt. 3. Flexibility of pieces. This is the same as number 2 in the Tennant game.

2/20/19 - BCE-146

The German masters Josef Kling and Bernard Horwitz were 19th century authors/composers who are frequently cited in BCE examples. Their 1851 book Chess Studies, or endings of games is one of the first endgame books to be published in English. The BCE correction for this week is from a position Kling and Horwitz analyzed featuring a bishop and wrong-colored rook pawn, where the defending king is not yet in the corner. The key is to capture the last Black pawn while at the same time preventing the king from reaching the corner.

I debated a bit if this position counted as a correction and in the end decided that it did. I felt that Fine's conclusion that White is no nearer his goal implied that White was still winning when he had thrown away the win. Also contributing to my interpretation was that Fine didn't place any question marks within the variation, which could lead one to believe that White is still winning. On the other hand, if Fine's conclusion is interpreted to be that White has thrown away the win, then without any additional annotation the reader might think that 2. Ke4 rather than 4. Bh2? was the incorrect move.

It's all a bit tricky since Fine is fairly loose with his symbology. In BCE-146 he also corrects the conclusion of Kling and Horwitz that BCE-146 is drawn with Black to move. After 1...Kg3 2. Bf6 Fine awards this an exclamation point, but every legal move except hanging the bishop 2. Bh4+? wins 2...Kf3 3. Be5 Ke3 4. Bb2 Fine awards this three exclams (in the revised edition, which also doesn't include symbology definition, Benko reduces it to two exclams) with the comment that this is the only winning move. However, 4. Ke6 and 4. Ba1 also win. Since there are plenty of cases where the concreteI analysis is incorrect, I generally have generally tried to avoid being too pendantic and calling out the cases where the annotation is loose. Therefore, I did not include the Black to move position as part of the BCE-146 correction.

It would have been nice if Benko had cleaned up things like this in the revision. I don't know if BCE-146 should even have been included since BCE-147 by Rauzer presents the general case and includes the drawing zone for Black.

BCE-146 and 147 were relavent to a World Championship game. The ending of the fifth game of the acromonious 1978 match between Karpov and Korchnoi started with a more complex version of the BCE positions, but eventually transposed into them. The fifth game was a titanic struggle that lasted over 12 hours spread over 3 days. Near the second time control Karpov blundered into mate, but Korchnoi in deperate time trouble overlooked it. They ended up in a bishop versus knight ending that looked favorable to Korchnoi after 60. Kxf3

60...g6 Keene gives this move a question mark stating that 60...Kb5 draws easily. Even if this was a legal move, it seems that White is winning without problems after 61. Bxg7. On the other hand, Larsen more correctly gives the text an exclam giving the variation 60...g5 61.Bf6 Nf5 62.d5 Kc4 (62...g4+!? is a try not considered by Larsen 63.Kf4 (63.Kxg4? Ke4 =) 63...g3 64.Kxf5 g2 65.d6 g1Q 66.d7) 63.Ke4 and White wins. However, it looks like Black can improve at the beginning of that line and reach a position similar to the game after with 61...Nd5 62.Bg7 Nf4 63.Kg4 Kc4 64.Bxh6 Nxh5 65.Kxh5 Kxd4 61.Bd6 Nf5 62.Kf4 Nh4 63.Kg4 gxh5+ 64.Kxh4 Kxd4! 65.Bb8 a5! 66.Bd6 Kc4 67.Kxh5 a4 68.Kxh6 Kb3! White is just in time after 68...b5? 69.Kg5 Kb3 70.Kf5 Kxa3 71.Ke4 Kb3 72.Kd5 a3 73.Kc5! and the b-pawn is protected while the bishop will go to e5 to stop the a-pawn. 69.b5 Kc4 70.Kg5 Kxb5

This is a more complicated version of the BCE positions. Without the b-pawn, this would be a simple draw as the Black king could immediately head to the corner. However, the b-pawn presents White with winning chances. If he can stalemate the Black king then the b-pawn would eventually have to move to b4. Then, axb4 would simultaneously lift the stalemate, while transforming the wrong colored rook pawn into a winning knight's pawn. 71.Kf5 Ka6 72.Ke6 Ka7 73.Kd7 Kb7 74.Be7 Ka7 75.Kc7 Ka8 75...b5? 76.Bc5+ Ka6 77.Kc6 Ka5 78.Bd4 Ka6 79.Bb6 b4 80.axb4! a3 81.b5# 76.Bd6 Ka7 76...b5? 77.Bc5 b4! 78.axb4 77.Kc8 Ka6! 77...b5? 78.Kc7 Ka6 79.Bb4 Ka7 80.Bc5+ Ka6 81.Kc6; 77...Ka8? 78.Bb8! b5 79.Kc7 78.Kb8 b5! Now Black is forced to push as after 78...Kb5? 79.Kb7! Kc4 80.Kc6! b5 81.Bc5 White will be able to collect the two Black pawns before the Black king can get back to the corner 79.Bb4 Kb6 80.Kc8 Kc6! 80...Ka6? 81.Kc7 Ka7 82.Bc5+ 81.Kd8 Kd5! 82.Ke7 Ke5 83.Kf7 Kd5 84.Kf6 Kd4 85.Ke6 Ke4 86.Bf8 Kd4 87.Kd6 Ke4 88.Bg7 Kf4 89.Ke6 89.Kc5 Ke4 90.Bc3 Kf5! 91.Kxb5 Ke6 92.Kxa4 Kd7 and Black reaches the corner 89...Kf3 90.Ke5 Kg4 91.Bf6 Kh5

The game was adjourned for the second time at this point. This game serves as a great example of why we don't have adjourned games anymore. The game is at a very critical position and for 15 of the next 16 moves, Karpov has only one move that holds the draw. However, the game was stopped at this point to be resumed two days later. During that time Karpov was able to analyze with his seconds and consult endgame manuals. Looking back at it, this seems rather bizarre. I'm not saying that Karpov would not have figured it all out over the board, he avoided all the pitfalls between moves 75 and 80. However, even the best players can have momentary lapses as we saw in game 6 of the Caruana-Carlsen match. It certainly didn't hurt Karpov to have the game adjourned here. 92.Kf5 Kh6! 93.Bd4 Kh7 94.Kf6 Kh6! 94...Kg8? 95.Bc5! Kh7 96.Bf8 Kg8 97.Bg7 Kh7 98.Kf7 b4 99.axb4! 95.Be3+ Kh5! 96.Kf5 Kh4! 97.Bd2 Kg3! 97...Kh3 98.Be1! Kg2 99.Ke4 Kf1 100.Bg3 Kg2 101.Kf4 Kf1 102.Kf3 Kg1 103.Bh4 Kh2 103...Kf1 104.Bf2 104.Bf2 Kh1 (104...Kh3 105.Bg3) 105.Kg3 98.Bg5 Kf3! 99.Bf4 Kg2! 100.Bd6 Kf3! 101.Bh2 Kg2! 102.Bc7 Kf3! 103.Bd6 Ke3! 104.Ke5 Kf3! 105.Kd5 Kg4! 106.Kc5 Kf5! 107.Kxb5

Finally taking the pawn, but now the Black king stays on his half of the board, within Rauzer's drawing zone. 107...Ke6! 108.Kc6 Kf6 109.Kd7 Kg7 110.Be7 Kg8 111.Ke6 Kg7 112.Bc5 Kg8 113.Kf6 Kh7 114.Kf7 Kh8 115.Bd4+ Kh7 116.Bb2 Kh6 117.Kg8 Kg6 118.Bg7 Kf5 119.Kf7 Kg5 120.Bb2 Kh6 121.Bc1+ Kh7! 121...Kh5? 122.Bd2 Kg4 123.Kg6 Kf3 124.Kf5! Ke2 125.Bg5 Kf3 reaches BCE-146 122.Bd2 Kh8 123.Bc3+ Kh7 124.Bg7 1/2-1/2

2/16/19 - Stremavicius-Iuldachev, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

Viacheslav Ikonnikov presents a survey in Yearbook 128 on an ambitious try for Black against the English Opening. It appeared in the Olympiad in the game between Titas Stremavicius and Saidali Iuldachev on board 4 of the Round 6 match between Lithuania and Uzbekistan. 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 f5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.d4 e4 6.Nh4 d5 In Volume 3 of the Grandmaster Repertoire series, Mihail Marin relegates this move to the sidelines, focusing on 6...d6 and 6...g6 7.Bg5

The starting position of the survey. Marin suggests that the position resembles a French Defense with colors reversed after an eventual e3, but with the bishop outside of the pawn chain, I think the Gurgenidze system (1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.f4 d5 5.e5 h5 6.Nf3 Bg4) is a more appropriate comparison. However, beyond the extra move for White there are several other important differences. On the kingside, instead of having a bishop on g2 and pawn on h4, White has a somewhat strange looking knight on h4. The knight is not too horrible as it helps hinder Black on the kingside as the move ...h6 will give the knight the g6 square. White can also retreat the knight to g2 aiming at f4. This is a key square in the Gurgenidze where black develops the knight to h6, but here White is losing a couple of moves because it takes him 3 moves (Nf3-h4-g2) versus 1 (Nh6). White makes up for this by not having the bishop on g2. The Bg7 is misplaced in the Gurgenidze and almost always ends up going back to f8. There is even the accelerated Gurgenidze idea where Black tries to save these two moves with 1. e4 g6 2 d4 c6!? 3. f4 d5 4. e5 h5. So on the kingside, White is probably at least as well off as Black is in the Gurgenidze. It is on the queenside where the differences are most felt. Instead of c6 for Black in the Gurgenidze, White has gotten in both c4 and Nc3. This puts great pressure on Black's center. 7...Be7 Ikonnikov considers 7...Bb4 a move not considered by Marin, as the way for Black to fight for the initiative with the followup 8.cxd5 Qxd5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.e3 f4!? There were 3 games in the database that got this far, and all 3 ended in draws, but none of them involved GMs. 7...dxc4 8.e3 Bb4 9.Bxc4 is also considered by Ikonnikov, but this looks quite comfortable for White It should be pointed out that the equivalent of the most popular move in the Gurgenize doesn't work here 7...h6? 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Nxd5 wins material. 8.e3 Ng4? A novelty, but one that is unlikely to catch on. 8...0-0 9.Ng2 dxc4 10.Bxc4+ Kh8 11.Nf4 +/= according to Marin. Ikonnikov points out the variation 11...Ne8?? 12.Qh5 threatening Ng6# (12.h4 was Brozel-Pollack, 2017 London Classic Open, but White still won) 12...Qd6 13.h4 Bd7 14.Bf7 and Black has to shed the exchange to cope against Ng6+ 9.h3 this seems to refute Black's play 9...Bxg5 10.hxg4 Bxh4 11.Rxh4 Ne7 12.gxf5 Bxf5 13.cxd5 Nxd5

White has broken down Black's center leaving only the chronically weak e-pawn. 14.Bh3 White could have even immediately cashed in with 14.Nxe4 since 14...g5 is met by 15.Qh5+ but there is no need to rush 14...0-0 15.Qh5 Qd7 16.Bxf5 Qxf5 17.Qxf5 Rxf5 18.Nxd5 Rxd5 19.Rxe4

Rook endings a pawn up can be tricky, but Stremavicius shows great technique to bring home the full point. 19...c5 20.dxc5 Rxc5 trying to immediately get to the seventh rank doesn't go anywhere 20...Rad8 21.Rc1 Rd2 22.Re8+ and White is up 2 clean pawns 21.Rd1 Rf8 now 21...Rc2 22.Rd2 doesn't give Black his desired activity. 22.Re7 Transformation of advantages. White doesn't worry that he might temporarily give back his extra pawn to completely conquer the seventh rank 22...Rc2 23.f4 Rg2 so that g7 will be guarded after he captures on g3. Instead, the White rooks go on a rampage after 23...Rxb2 24.Rdd7 24.Rdd7 Rxg3 25.Kf2 Rg6 26.Rxb7 regaining the extra pawn while keeping all his advantages

26...a6 Black's only trump in the position is the passed h-pawn, so he should probably try to use it 26...h5 27.Rxa7 h4 28.Rac7 h3 White is still winning, but at least Black is presenting some obstacles, for instance 29.Rc1? Rd8 with counterplay (drawn according to the engine) 27.Re5 stopping ...h5 27...h6 28.Kf3 Rd8 29.a4 Rd1 30.a5 Kh7 31.Rb6 Rxb6 32.axb6 Rd6 33.b7 Rb6 34.Re7 Rb5 34...Rxb2 35.f5 with the idea of f6 35.e4 Kg6 36.e5 Rb4 37.Rc7 Kf5 38.Rf7+ Ke6 39.Rxg7 h5 40.Rg6+ Kf7 41.Rxa6 Rxb7 42.Rh6 1-0

2/13/19 - BCE-360b, Spielmann-Capablanca, Moscow 1925

This week completes the trio of positions under BCE-360 featuring games of Rudolph Spielmann. Like last week, it sees Spielmann on the defending side a pawn down, this time against then then-reigning World Champion Jose Capablanca, who was one of the all time great endgame players.

Moscow 1925 is a historically important tournament as it was the first international tournament ever held in the Soviet Union. It featured many of the leading players of the day (8 of the top 10 according to Sonas) with Alekhine being a notable exception as he was already persona non grata in the USSR. The tournament even played a central role in the movie Chess Fever in which Capablanca appears. In the end, it was Efim Bogoljobow who took the top prize with one of the best performances of his career, an impressive 15.5/20 score. This was a full 1.5 points clear of second place Lasker, with Capablanca a further half-point back in 3rd. Spielmann tied for 12th with 9.5/20.

I found this ending quoted in numerous endgame books all starting at or near the same point as BCE. However, to my mind, the lead up to the position is much more interesting and instructive. I didn't locate much contemporary analysis of this game. There is a tournament book by Bogoljobow, but I don't have it in my library. It seems like the original edition should be in the public domain, but I was not able to find a scan of it. However, I did find some reference to his analysis, which I'll quote below.

In a long struggle, the players entered the rook ending after 70...Rxc3

Black is better here since his passed pawn in one square closer to queening, and his king is more active. Still, with correct play White should hold the draw. 71.Ra5? Immediately going wrong, White should begin his counterplay with the h-pawn 71.h5 Rd3 72.Ra6+ Kf5 73.h6 Rxd4 74.h7 Rd2+ 75.Kg1 Rd1+ 76.Kg2 Rd2+ and Black can only repeat moves 71...Ke6? Black should win by penetrating with his king 71...Rc2+ 72.Kf1 Kf5 73.Rxd5+ Ke4 It was surprising to me that Capablanca missed this as the sacrifice to enable the king to penetrate is reminiscent of his famous win over Tartakower in New York the previous year. 72.h5! Rf3 73.Ra6+? Giving Black another chance, White should continue with the pawn push 73.h6

73...Kf7? Again missing the opportunity to activate the king, this time with the sacrifice of the g-pawn. One of the comments on the chessgames web page quotes Bogoljobow's analysis 73...Kf5! 74.h6 Ke4! 75.Rg6 Rf8! 76.Rxg4+ Kd3 77.Rh4 c3 78.g4 c2 79.Rh1 Rb8 80.Rc1 Rh8 81.g5 Rg8!-+ 74.Rd6 Rf5 75.h6 Kg8 76.Rd7 Kh8 A sad location for the black king instead of what could have been a decisive charge. 77.Kg1 c3 78.Rc7 Rf3 79.Kg2 Rd3 80.Kf2 Rf3+ 81.Kg2 Re3 82.Kf2 Rd3 83.Rc5 Kh7 84.Rxd5 Kxh6 85.Rc5 Kg6 86.Ke2 Most sources I found gave this move an exclamation point, but it looks like White still holds with 86.d5 Kf6 87.d6 Ke6 88.Rc4 Kxd6 (88...Rd2+ 89.Ke3) 89.Rxg4 Kc5 (89...Kd5 90.Rg8) Kb4 91.Ke2 Rd2+ 92.Ke3! Kb3 93.g4) 86...Rxg3 87.Kf2 BCE-360b.87...Rh3 88.Kg2 Rd3 89.Kh2 Kf6 90.Kg2 Ke6 91.Kh2 Kd6 92.Kg2 Rd2+ 93.Kg3! c2 94.Kh4! Rg2 95.Kg5 Rg1 96.Rxc2! Kd5 97.Kf4 Kxd4 98.Rd2+ 1/2-1/2

2/11/19 - Serper-Bereolos, 2006 Emory/Castle Grand Prix

I've added my minature loss versus GM Serper in 2006 to the Games versus GMs section. I didn't have any thing to add to my original notes. This was just a painful lesson that you shouldn't try to freestyle the opening against a strong player.

2/6/19 - BCE-360a, Spielmann-Landau, 1936

BCE-360a is quite similar to BCE-360, but with Spielmann on the defending side. This example is from his 1936 match with Salo Landau in Amsterdam. This was the second match between the two players. Spielmann narrowly won their first match in 1933 by a score of 3.5-2.5, but was much more dominant the second time, winning 6-2 with no losses. Landau's wikipedia page indicates a 3rd match, over 7 games also in 1936, at Zandvoort, but I was not able to find any evidence of such a match.

Spielmann won the first two games in the 1936 Amsterdam match, but Landau had some pressure in the rook ending of game 3. Spielmann defended in much the same manner as Leonhardt had done against him 24 years earlier. After 42. fxe3 Black has the better chances as he can penetrate with his rook.

42...Rg7+ 43.Kf3 Rg5 forcing the White rook to a passive position before invading 44.Rh4 Rg1 45.Kf2 Ra1 46.Rg4 Ra2+ another zwischenzug by which Black hopes to gain a tempo by attacking White's e3 pawn after taking on a3 47.Kf1 47.Kf3 Rxa3 48.Rg6? (48.Ke2 holds as in the note to move 48 in the game) 48...d4 49.Rxh6 Rxe3+ 50.Kf2 Kd5 -+ 47...Rxa3 47...Rh2 48.Rg6 Rxh5 49.Ke2 48.Rg6 White should also draw with 48.Ke2 Ra2+ 49.Kd3 Rh2 50.Rg6 Rxh5 51.Rxa6 Rh1 52.Ra8 h5 53.Re8+ but Spielmann goes for counterplay as opposed to a more passive defense 48...Rxe3 49.Rxh6! 49.Kf2? d4!-+ just gives Black a free move 49...Re4 49...d4 is double edged 50.Rh8 (50.Rxa6? d3 51.h6 d2 52.Ra1 Kd4) 50...d3? (Black has a draw with 50...Kd5 51.h6! Kc4 52.h7 Kxb4 53.Ra8 Rh3! 54.h8Q Rxh8! 55.Rxh8! a5 but that is certainly not the way he wants to play here.) 51.Re8+ Kd4 52.Rxe3 Kxe3 53.Ke1 and it is White who wins 50.Rxa6 Rxb4 51.h6 Reaching BCE-360a. The game concluded 51...Rf4+ 52.Ke2 Kd4 53.Rb6 Kc5 54.Rb8 Rh4 55.Rh8! Kd4 56.h7! Rh2+ 57.Kd1! Kd3 58.Kc1! d4 59.Kb1! b4 60.Ka1! Kd2 61.Kb2! d3 62.Kb3! Rh4 63.Ka4! Kd1 64.Rd8! Rxh7 65.Rxd3+! a nice stretch by Spielmann, finding 11 only moves in a row. 65...Kc2 66.Rg3 Rh4 67.Rb3 Rh8 68.Rxb4 1/2-1/2

2/5/19 - Altaye-Husbands, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

I've gone through all the openings on the open games for my Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series, so it is back around to the Sicilian. Lev Gutman completed his two-part series on the Accelerated Dragon that he began in the previous issue. While the main tabiya is quite deep into the opening, it did appear in the game between Girum Teklewold Altaye and Orlando Husbands on board one of the match between Ethiopia and Barbados.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 d6 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Bc6 12.Bd3 Four other Olympiad games reached this position, but all continued 12.f3 The text move was introduced by Ken Rogoff against Bent Larson in the 1976 Biel Interzonal. The point of the text is to leave the 3rd rank open for a rook lift Re1-e3-h3 12...Qa5 Gutman's survey focused on the main line 12...a5 but he did look at the text and Larson's 12...a6 among other moves in Part I in Yearbook 127. 13.Rad1

13...Rfe8 The first new move, aimed against White tactics involving Nd5. Previous tries had not been particularly successful (+2 =4 for White). The engines do not reach a consensus on the best move, but all agree that White is slightly better. Komodo likes 13...Nd7, Houdini prefers 13...b6, and Fritz goes for 13...Rfc8 which was the choice of the only GM game from this position, eventually ending in a draw in Grozpeter-Seres, 2009 Hungarian Team Championship 14.b3 The e7 pawn is guarded on the immediate 14.Nd5 while 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nd5 Qxd2 16.Nxf6+ exf6 17.Rxd2 leaves the e4 pawn undefended 17...Bxe4 14...Nd7 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Bb1 I don't understand this move, which loosens control over b5. Thematic is 16.Rfe1 16...a6 17.f4 b5 18.cxb5 axb5 19.f5?! White is playing for an attack that isn't there. The text seriously weakens e5. 19...Nf6 20.Qb2 Rec8 21.Nd5?! another poor choice. The pawn structure very much favors the Black knight versus the White bishop. 21...Bxd5 22.Rxd5 Qb6+ 23.Kh1 Rc5 24.Rxc5 Qxc5

Black is clearly better. His b-pawn holds back the two White queenside pawns, the White bishop is bad with his pawn not going anywhere on e4, and the e5 square is weak. 25.h3 makes luft, but another dark squared weakness appears on g3. 25...Rc8 26.fxg6?! This may be the losing move allowing the Black queen access to the kingside. It is hard to make suggestions for White, but this pawn exchange served to purpose. 26...hxg6 27.Bd3 Qg5 I probably would prefer 27...b4 fixing the queenside before turning towards the White king 28.e5 dxe5 29.Bxb5 Ne4 30.Re1 Qf4 31.a4 Rd8 32.Qc1 Nf2+ 33.Kg1 Rd2

34.Qxd2 Total desparation, but there is no good answer to the threat of 34...Nxh3+. 34...Qxd2 35.Re2 Nxh3+ 36.gxh3 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qd5+ 38.Kh2 Qxb3 39.Rxe5 Qb4 40.Re2 e5 41.Kg2 e4 42.Kg3 f5 43.Kf4 Qc3 44.h4 Kf6 45.Rf2 Qb3 46.Rf1 Qh3 47.a5 Qxh4+ 48.Ke3 Ke5 49.a6 Qg3+ 50.Kd2 Qb3 51.Be2 Qb2+ 52.Ke1 e3 53.Rf3 Qc1+ 54.Bd1 Qd2+ 55.Kf1 Qxd1+ 56.Kg2 Qe2+ 57.Kg3 f4+ 58.Rxf4 Qe1+ 59.Kg4 Qg1+ 0-1

2/1/19 - Bereolos-Colias, 1982 HF Closed Championship

I had one other interesting ending in the 1982 HF Closed Championship in the very first round against Billy Colias. In one of our many battles in the Najdorf Variation, I had the upper hand after 30...Rd8 as the advanced connected passed pawns more than compensate for the piece.

31.e7?! Keeping the attack going with 31.Rd4 is a much cleaner win. A major point being that Black will not be able to exchange rooks with check in variations such as 31...e3 32.e7 Bxe7 33.fxe7 Rxd4 because White can then just promote his pawn with 34.Qh8+ Kc7 35.e8Q) 31...Bxe7 32.Qg4+ 32.Rxd8+ Bxd8 33.f7 Be7 34.f8Q+ Bxf8 35.Qxf8+ Kd7 36.Qxb4 would still maintain winning chances for White 32...Kc7! 33.fxe7 Rxd1+! 34.Qxd1! Qe8 35.Qd8+ 35.Qd4 Qxe7 36.Qa7+ White can pick up the a-pawn, but this is a much worse version of the previous note. White doesn't have a passed pawn and Black has serious counterplay with his e-pawn. 35...Qxd8! 36.exd8Q+ Kxd8! 37.c4

Like in the pawn endings that could have arisen in the Brown game, a superficial look might lead one to think that White is winning by distracting Black with an outside passed pawn on the queenside then invading on the kingside while the Black king is away. However, the fact that there are only h-pawns left on the kingside complicates matters and cold calculation shows that it is a draw. 37...bxc3 An obvious capture, but Black could even hold by allowing White to keep the protected passed pawn. I'll leave it as an exercise to the readers to convince themselves that 37...Kd7 is also a draw 38.Kc2! Ke7 39.Kxc3 Ke6 40.Kd4 Kf5! 41.Ke3! a5 42.h3 Ke5 43.a3 Kd5 44.h4 Ke5 45.h5 Kd5 46.b4 axb4! 47.axb4! Kc4 48.Kxe4 Kxb4! 49.Kf5 Kc5 50.Kg5 Kd6 51.Kh6 Ke7 52.Kxh7 Kf8 The black king has made it back in time to defend. 53.h6 Kf7! 54.Kh8 Kg6 55.h7 Kf7! 1/2-1/2

Lessons from this ending: 1. Be careful when liquidating to an ending if you cannot calculate it to the very end. It may be better to remain in the middlegame. 2. While general principles are useful guides, in pawn endings nothing surpasses calculation. 3. Rook pawns provide special issues in all endings.

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