2

Another week, another match, and this time as Board 2 for the second team instead of bottom board for the firsts. Background: In the review my rating has gone up slightly to 142 ECF (~1765 Elo). My opponent I've played a couple of times before with one win a piece, but this is my first black against him. I know he doesn't like to mess about and is pretty direct, but then again that's my style as well so no problem there! I'm mildly surprised to see he is now ECF 126 (~1645 Elo), he's been higher than that. The time limit was 75 minutes for all moves (no increment), and time is a bit of a factor as at the end I have ~20 minutes left whereas he is down to his last 2.

[White "A.N.Other"]
[Black "Ian Bush"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A60"]
[PlyCount "86"]
[FEN ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. e3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bd3 Bg7 8. Nge2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Qc2 Na6 11. a3 Nc7 12. e4 b5 13. Nxb5 Nxb5 14. Bxb5 Rxe4 15. Bc6 Rb8 16. Bg5 Bf5 17. Ng3 Re5 18. Nxf5 Rxf5 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. b4 cxb4 21. Rab1 a5 22. axb4 Rxb4 23. Rfe1 Rxb1 24. Qxb1 Rxf2 25. Qb6 Rb2 26. Qe3 Qd4 27. Qxd4 Bxd4+ 28. Kf1 Rf2+ 29. Kg1 Re2+ 30. Kf1 Rxe1+ 31. Kxe1 f5 32. Kd1 Kg7 33. Kc2 Kf6 34. Kd3 Ke5 35. g3 Bg1 36. h3 Bf2 37. g4 fxg4 38. hxg4 h5 39. Bd7 Kf4 40. gxh5 gxh5 41. Kc4 Kg3 42. Kb5 Be1 43. Kc6 Bb4 0-1

I have four points of interest.

1) (Least important) I forgot to ask him afterwards but the body language clearly said his 4. e3 was a finger slip-I assume he got ahead of himself, forgetting Nc3 (and cxd5) came first. My thoughts here were "Great, no nasty flick knife attack, and the bishop isn't getting to f4 quickly so I should have a nice easy opening as d6 won't be under pressure," so I just played the obvious moves. It went OK, but in the very unlikely event I ever see this again, can anybody see anything better?

2) Again I'm pleased with my play, but any constructive comments are appreciated

3) For once I remembered something from Mr. Silman, enough to know that the opposite coloured Bishop ending was winning for black, hence Re2+ as the extra pawns are sufficiently separated. Is this the most practical decision here? Is there any easier way to convert? If it is relevant, time pressure was beginning to tell on my opponent by that point.

4) I have a feeling that my opponent didn't make life as difficult for me as he could in the ending, again possibly time pressure. So did I play the ending OK, did I have the right ideas? And is there anything different I should have done, especially if my opponent had found some stronger moves?

  • 2
    A good game! Instead of going into the bishop endgame I would have played a4! It seems to me that this pawn is just queening, because white needs to spend a tempo stepping out of the discovered check. – BlindKungFuMaster Feb 2 '16 at 8:38
  • 1
    Ooops, yup! Not quite sure if it is queening (must rush now) but certainly gains a useful tempo. – Ian Bush Feb 2 '16 at 9:15
  • 1
    Nice played game @IanBush – Aaron M Jun 8 '16 at 1:22
  • 1
    Your opponent played poorly and just went two pawns down for no reason. It is better to learn from your losses, not gifts. – Ywapom Sep 23 '17 at 0:28
  • 2
    Well... What could be more practical than entering an endgame that you know to be won? – David Aug 5 at 7:12
1

Time for an answer! :-)

Overall you played a wonderfully strong game. White played weakly, and you used that to your advantage. Very nicely done!

I plugged the game into Stockfish to see if the computer could find any moments of missed tatical shots. Here are answers to each of your four questions.

1) Instead of playing 4... exd5 as you did in the this game, next time you could play the Stockfish recommened 4... g6, which is slightly better, preparing to fianchetto the bishop and gain a slight lead in development

2) A missed middlegame chance:

  1. b4?! was in fact an inaccuracy by White! This is be because you have a battery comprised of your queen and bishop on the a1-h8 diaganol. 20... Qxa1! is in fact the best moving, giving up the queen for two rooks. Black now has a much better postion.

3) Your move, 29... Rxe2+? misses an oppurtunity, as you suspected. There was a chance a piece. This is because of the move 29... a4!! and White must give up a piece for Black’s passed pawn, whether or be the rook or the bishop, at some point. If 30. Bxe4, Black wins the White bishop via a discovered check from the rook. If White move their king to avoid it, 30 Kh1, 30... a5 is next. Now White’s light square bishop can’t reach it. The rook will have to capture the promoted Black piece once the pawn promotes, if not taking it earlier, as Black’s dark-squared bishop protects the promtoion sqaure.

4) I think that what you consider the endgame in this game is after the rooks are excahnged, and as such I will answer this question regarding the moves that happen after 31. Kxe1.

Playing your pawns out to get a passed pawn and activating your king are good, standard practices. You played much better than White did. All in all, you played thiss endgame more strategically than White did, you did miss a few moves. Really, there were no stronger moves that White made.

After White played 35. g3?!!, aka a blunder, you were correct to play 35... Bg1.

  1. g4?! was another blunder. Instead of 37... fxg4?, f4! was the better move, gaining a second passed pawn.

After 43. Kc6? you should have played 43.. a4! instead, the second time this move was missed by you. After 44. Bf5 a3 45. Bb1, 45... h4! is the move to play, and soon you shall queen one of your two rook pawns.

White’s attempt to create their own passed pawn was a natural stragety, but it was not perfect. Yours wasn’t either, but it was superior.

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