Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Live boards

This year in the Dutch interclub the time limit is for the first time 40 moves in 90 minutes and 30 minutes for the remaining moves with an increment of 30 seconds for each move. Earlier this month this time control was also inconspicuously approved for the Belgain interclub. It is unclear to me if this is a necessary improvement for Belgian chess. Anyway many players do like the new time control. The role of the arbiters is reduced to a minimum and a game is averagely shortened with an hour. My teammate Thierry proposed even to also advance the starting hour to 13h like in the Dutch interclubs so the Sundayevening would become free. Personally I find the loss in quality due to the reduced duration of the game more important than a free sundayevening. If I want to play quick then I prefer to play blitz in a cafe or on the internet but of course preferences and priorities differ.

In tournaments with a strict schedule of 2 games per day like Open Gent or Open Leuven, an increment is not an option. Only 1 game must last longer than 100 moves and the organisation has to deal with delays. Because of that those tournaments still choose for the old K.O formula. In 2 hours for the whole game it is still possible to play till move 30 reasonable standard chess. After move 30 the cadence accelerates from rapid to blitz or even bullet. The regulations tell us if we have less than 5 minutes remaining that no more recording of the moves is necessary and that happens regularly when more than 40 moves are played. If a game continues to move 80 or 100 then it is often impossible to rebuild the game afterwards. My teammate Daniel reacted unperturbed when I mentioned him this issue. Analyzing rapid, blitz or bullet is brainless and time-trouble-errors are only a joke.

This is a dry practical view about chess. However I apply a scientific approach so I also like to know  the truth of the final phase. This edition I was lucky that all my games in Open Gent were live broadcasted. It is a fantastic service of the organisation. This way chessplayers but also friends or family (like my father-in-law sitting in Ufa) can follow my moves live. In a neighboring room of the tournament the organisation set up a gigantic screen on which the top 16 games were live projected. Every visitor was free to give comments and at the same time enjoy a drink or some food.
Neighboring room with gigantic screen in Open Gent (photographer: Dirk Gregoir)
Eventually all the involved players got afterwards a complete recording of their games as when players stop then the program still continues. I find it extraordinary how today the equipment succeeds doing this job with such high level of accuracy as in the final phase the pieces are often not nicely put on their squares.

For rebuilding 3 of my own games I used the recording of the live boards. The first time was in round 2 against Martijn Maddens. I already covered a piece of that game in my article starflights. Below is the dramatic conclusion of the game.
[Event "Open Gent 2de ronde"] [Date "2014"] [White "Maddens, M."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C47"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "2333"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/p1p4p/1b6/3Rnp2/5B2/1NP3PP/P6K/8 b - - 0 30"] [PlyCount "75"] 30... Ng6 $4 {(Quickly played as approximately only 5 minutes was remaining on my clock. Immediately after releasing the move I realized that I missed a beautiful mate.)} (30... Nf3 31. Kh1 Re1 32. Kg2 Re2 33. Kxf3 (33. Kh1 Rh2#) (33. Kf1 Rf2#) 33... Rf2#) 31. Nd4 Bxd4 32. cxd4 Re2 33. Kg1 Nxf4 34. gxf4 Rxa2 35. Rxf5 Rd2 36. Rd5 c6 37. Ra5 $5 {(Rd8 is a much easier draw.)} Rxd4 38. Rxa7 Rxf4 39. Rc7 Rf6 40. Kg2 h6 41. Re7 Kf8 42. Re5 $5 { (Maintaining the rook at the 7nd line is again easier.)} Kf7 43. Kg3 Re6 44. Rc5 Ke7 45. Kf4 Kd6 46. Rc1 $2 {(Ra5 would still give a draw conform my analyses but it is not easy.)} (46. Ra5 $1 Kc7 47. Ra4 $1 Kb6 48. h4 $1 c5 49. Ra8 $1 c4 50. h5 Kc5 51. Rc8 Rc6 $11 {(The resulting pawn-endgame is a draw.)}) 46... c5 47. h4 Kd5 $2 {(The finalgen-tool tell us that I first need to transfer my rook to e8 as now white gets a new chance to ameliorate the position of his rook.)} 48. Kf5 $2 {(White misses his chance.)} (48. Rd1 $1 Kc6 49. h5 $1 c4 50. Rd8 Kb5 51. Rb8 Ka4 52. Rc8 Kb3 53. Rb8 Kc2 54. Rg8 c3 55. Rg6 Rxg6 {(If black does not exchange rooks then white captures the pawn and sacrifices the rook for the last black pawn. The remaining white pawn combined with the nearby king, guarantee a draw.)}) 48... Rc6 49. Rd1 Kc4 50. Ke5 Rc8 51. Rg1 Kb4 52. Rg6 Rh8 $2 {(Obviously with only a minute left, I play on instincts. Here I should sacrifice the c4 pawn as contrary to the variation at move 48, black is on time to stop whites remaining pawn.)} 53. Kd5 $2 {(Whites last chance was Rb6 and I can not find a win anymore for black.)} (53. Rb6 $1 Ka5 54. Rd6 h5 55. Ke4 Kb4 $11) 53... c4 54. Rb6 Kc3 55. Rc6 Rd8 56. Ke5 h5 57. Rc5 Kd3 58. Kf4 Rh8 59. Rd5 Kc2 60. Ke3 c3 61. Rc5 Kb2 62. Kd3 Rd8 63. Ke2 c2 64. Rb5 Kc3 65. Rc5 Kb3 66. Rc7 Rd1 67. Rb7 Ka4 {(Here the arbiter stopped the game due to an overstepping of the time-limit. First I thought that I lost but after checking the clock I noticed that Martijn lost. The live-broadcasting stopped a few moves earlier which probably means that the overstepping already happened earlier.)} 0-1
The second game was against Andrew Brown of which I already showed the conclusion in the article bricks. The 3rd game was my 100 moves-game against the Hungarian IM Adam Szeberenyi whom kept on playing a totally drawn-endgame as I had only 5 minutes against his 30 minutes. He pushed till the limit and even over it as on one moment I suddenly got an unique winning-possibility which I unfortunately missed as I was running out of time.
[Event "Open Gent 8ste ronde"] [Date "2014"] [White "Szeberenyi, A."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A81"] [WhiteElo "2310"] [BlackElo "2333"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "7k/p6p/1p2p3/3pPp2/3P4/2P2B2/PPb4P/6rK w - - 0 33"] [PlyCount "135"] 33. Kxg1 {(The endgame is clearly a draw but with less than 5 minutes left on my clock while my opponent still had a half hour, play is continued. Besides only a win still gave a reasonable chance for a serious price in this tournament.)} Bb1 34. a3 Kg7 35. Kf2 Bd3 36. Ke3 Bb5 37. Kf4 a5 38. b3 a4 39. bxa4 Bxa4 40. Be2 Bb3 41. Bb5 h6 42. h4 Kf7 43. Be2 Ke7 44. Bd3 Kf7 45. Ke3 Ke7 46. Bb5 Ba2 47. Kd3 Bb1 48. Kd2 Ba2 49. Be2 Bc4 50. Bh5 b5 51. Bd1 Kf7 52. Bh5 Ke7 53. Bg6 Bf1 54. Ke3 Bc4 55. Bh5 Bf1 56. Bd1 Bc4 57. Bc2 Kf7 58. Bd1 Ke7 59. Kf4 Kf7 60. Bc2 Ke7 61. Ke3 Kf7 62. a4 bxa4 63. Bxa4 Ke7 64. Bd1 Kf7 65. Bh5 Ke7 66. Kf4 Bd3 67. Bd1 Bc4 68. Ba4 Kf7 69. Ke3 Ke7 70. Bd1 Kf7 71. Bh5 Ke7 72. Bg6 Bb5 73. Kf4 $4 {(White plays very fast to win on time or to get the piece-sacrifice on f5 playable but by doing so blunders. Necessary was Bh5.)} Bc4 $4 {(Pity but understandable as I was playing the whole time at the speed of 2 seconds per move.)} ( 73... Be8 $1 {(Not difficult and an unique chance which passes by to play in the last round for the tournament-victory.)} 74. Bh7 {(The pawn-endgame is simply won with the protected passed pawn for black but now the bishop gets trapped.)} Kf7 75. Bxf5 exf5 76. Kxf5 Bd7 77. Kf4 Kg6 $19 {(Whites extra pawns are easily stoppable and black can quickly use the weapon of zugzwang to force the win.)}) 74. Bh5 Bb5 75. Bf3 Bc4 76. Bg2 Kf7 77. Bf3 Kg6 78. Kg3 Kf7 79. Bh5 Ke7 80. Bd1 Kf7 81. Ba4 Ke7 82. Bc6 Kf7 83. Kf4 Ke7 84. Ba4 Kf7 85. Bc2 Ke7 86. Bd1 Kf7 87. Bh5 Ke7 88. Bg6 Bb5 89. Bh5 Bc4 90. Bd1 Kf7 91. Ba4 Ke7 92. Bc6 Kf7 93. Ba4 Ke7 94. Ke3 Kf7 95. Bd1 Kg6 96. Kd2 Kf7 97. Bh5 Ke7 98. Bg6 Bb5 99. Bh5 Bc4 100. Bd1 {(Now we had both less than 2 minutes on the clock so white finally had seen enough.)} 1/2-1/2
So long games are invariably part of my practice which probably makes that I am averagely more active than the normal chessplayer (as earlier claimed in my article food and drinks). However the price for longest game of the tournament was not for me as it went to the dramatic game in round 7 between the Swedish grandmaster Thomas Ernst and our Belgian top-player Mehr Hovhanisian which lasted 108 moves. 
[Event "Taminco Gent Open"] [Site "KGSRL Gent"] [Date "2014.07.22"] [Round "7.1"] [White "Ernst T"] [Black "Hovhannisyan M"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C18"] [WhiteElo "2364"] [BlackElo "2515"] [PlyCount "216"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. bxc3 Qc7 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 10. Ne2 dxc3 11. Qd3 {(I prefer to wait with this move till the black bishop is put on d7.)} (11. f4 Nbc6 12. Rb1 {(Qd3 would transpose to the game but with Rb1 I can avoid the played variation of the game.)} Bd7 13. Qd3 Nf5 14. h3 Rc8 15. g4 Nh4 16. Qh7 Nf3 17. Kf2 Ne7 18. Kxf3 d4 19. Nxd4 Rg6 20. Kf2 {(This way I won from Pieter Truwant in Open Gent 2011.)}) 11... Nbc6 12. f4 d4 {(Again Mehr shows that he is very up to date about the latest developments in his favorite French. In the last 5 years not less than 8 2700 players played this move. Besides in the latest Chessbase Magainze 161 this move is also covered in detail which does not mean that Mehr consulted this magazine as the edition was published after this game.)} 13. Nxd4 Nxd4 14. Qxd4 Bd7 15. Rg1 Nf5 16. Qf2 Qc6 17. Bd3 Qd5 18. Rb1 Bc6 19. Rb3 O-O-O 20. Rxc3 Kb8 21. Be3 {(A novelty probably invented at the board as it is surely not an improvement on the existing theory.)} Nxe3 22. Qxe3 Rxg2 23. Rxg2 Qxg2 24. Qg3 Qh1 25. Bf1 Qd5 26. Rd3 Qa5 27. Kd1 Rc8 28. Qe1 Qb6 29. Qe3 {(Here I started to follow the game live in the room where a big screen was installed so the audience could enjoy a projection of the first 16 boards. It was the only round in which I agreed for a premature draw in a position which I neither understood, neither trusted.)} Qb1 30. Qc1 Qa2 31. Rc3 Rd8 32. Rd3 Rh8 {(Despite the pawn less Mehr does not want a draw which is fully correct. The extra pawn is of little value here as the position is for white not easily playable. I already predicted a win for Mehr.)} 33. Qd2 Bd5 34. h3 Rc8 35. Qc1 Bc4 36. Rf3 Bxf1 37. Rxf1 Qc4 38. Rf3 Qe4 39. Rd3 Qh1 40. Kd2 Qg2 41. Ke3 Rc4 42. Rd4 Qxh3 43. Ke4 Qh7 44. Ke3 Qh3 45. Ke4 Rc3 46. Rd8 Kc7 47. Rd3 Qg2 {(It is easy giving comments when not playing but after missing Qxd3 I started to worry.)} 48. Kd4 Rc6 49. Qd2 Qg1 50. Ke4 Rc4 51. Rd4 Qh1 52. Ke3 Qh3 53. Ke4 Rxd4 54. Qxd4 Qxa3 {(The endgame may give very good chances, it is not easy to win with little time left on the clock. I also expect that Mehr already figured out that he missed some easier wins earlier. It is never easy to ban negative thoughts in a game.)} 55. Qc4 Kb6 56. Qd4 Qc5 57. Qd8 Ka6 58. Qd3 Kb6 59. Qd8 Kb5 60. Qa8 Qxc2 {(2 pawns extra so everybody thought it was over but it still turned out very different.)} 61. Kf3 Qc6 62. Kg3 a5 63. Qf8 Qd7 64. Qa3 a4 65. Qb2 Ka6 66. Qb4 b5 67. Kh4 Kb6 68. Kg5 Qd8 69. Kh6 Qc7 70. Kg7 Qc5 71. Qd2 b4 $4 {(Mehrs pawns are not advanced enough to sacrifice already the f-pawn.)} 72. Qd8 $4 {(Kxf7 was sufficient for a draw.)} Qc7 73. Qd4 Ka5 74. f5 exf5 $4 { (After this black can only lift up the checks by giving up the f-pawn. The resulting pawn-endgames seem to result every time in tablebase-drawns.)} 75. Qd5 Kb6 76. Qxf7 $4 {(After Qd4 I can not find quickly a clear win for black.)} (76. Qd4 Kb5 77. Qd5 Qc5 78. Qb7 Kc4 79. Qxf7 Qd5 80. e6 a3 81. e7 a2 82. Qf6 Qd4 83. e8=Q Qxf6 84. Kxf6 a1=Q 85. Kxf5 {(With a tablebase-draw.)}) 76... Qxf7 77. Kxf7 a3 78. e6 a2 79. e7 a1=Q 80. e8=Q Qd4 81. Qe6 Kc5 82. Qc8 Kb5 83. Qxf5 Qc5 $4 {(Only Ka4 wins. After perfect play from both sides it takes 76 moves. I do not think the 50 moves-rules is hit in the execution but of course no human can play this endgame perfectly without even considering the available remaining time.)} 84. Qd7 Kc4 85. Qg4 Kb3 86. Qd1 Qc2 87. Qf3 Qc3 88. Qd1 Ka3 89. Qd6 Kb2 90. Kg8 b3 91. Qd5 Ka2 92. Kh7 Kb1 93. Qd1 Kb2 94. Qd5 Kb1 95. Qd1 Ka2 96. Qd5 Qc2 97. Kg8 Kb1 98. Qh1 Kb2 99. Qd5 Qc8 100. Kh7 Qc7 101. Kg6 Ka3 102. Qa8 Kb2 103. Qd5 Qc3 104. Kh7 Kb1 105. Qd1 Kb2 106. Qd5 Qc2 107. Kg8 Ka1 108. Qa5 Kb1 {(Here Mehr called the arbiter to claim a draw with only seconds left on the clock which of course was approved. A dramatic end which both players exhausted for the last 2 rounds.)} 1/2-1/2
In fact I can recommend every organisation to install and use live boards. It is a small investment but the return is certainly huge via publicity and entertainment. Possibly still some improvements are possible. In Open Leuven not only a recording of the moves happens but also of the time-consumption per move. Personally I find this information very useful not only to understand better the game but also to make some conclusions as involved player later. Finally an organisation could also add a commentator in the room where a big screen is installed which projects the live games. This can quickly become expensive but I believe a 2200 player can already do the job for a broad audience. Cheating is surely a disadvantage of the technological advancements but there are a lot of advantages.


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