Friday, October 30, 2015

A blessing in disguise

Mistakes exist in all sorts of formats and sizes: small, big, technical, time and fatigue related ones or just silly mistakes. Except a few games we will make in each game mistakes as I demonstrated already in the previous article. To detect mistakes I use extensively my computer but there are of course different methods. A good port-mortem with the opponent can be very enlightening but also a session with a coach and/or stronger player can be educative. Finally if you are sufficient self-critical then it must be possible to find independently already some errors.

By discovering mistakes we realize that some things were missed during the game. The number of mistakes and so also the number of things missed directly correlate with the result of the game. This iron logic explains why many players don't accept luck being part of our game.

However this theory becomes shaky when there exist positions in which we increase our winning chances by missing something. Blundering a piece can never be a good thing, right? Well as you can imagine also here there are exceptions. We start with a recent example from our reigning worldchampion Magnus Carlsen.
[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2015.08.27"] [Round "5"] [White "Magnus Carlsen"] [Black "Wesley So"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2853"] [BlackElo "2779"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5k2/5r1p/1qNp2pP/2b2pP1/Pp2pP2/1Q6/1PP5/1K1R4 w - - 0 36"] [PlyCount "41"] 36. Qd5 e3 {(After the game Carlsen admitted bravely that he completely missed Qb7 and that he was incredibly lucky a saving winning combination existed.)} (36... Qb7 {(Carlsen got anxious when he saw in the reflection-time of the opponent this possibility. The threat of losing a piece after Rc7 is very real.)} 37. Qxc5 {(However it is pure coincidence that white can sacrifice the queen here leading to a spectacular mate. How often such thing happens in a career?)} dxc5 38. Rd8#) 37. a5 Qb5 38. Nd8 Ra7 39. Ne6 Ke8 40. Nd4 Qxa5 41. Qg8 Kd7 42. Qxh7 Kc8 43. Qg8 Kb7 44. c3 bxc3 45. Qb3 Qb6 46. Qxb6 Kxb6 47. bxc3 Bxd4 48. Rxd4 Kc6 49. Kc2 Ra2 50. Kd1 Rf2 51. Ke1 Kd7 52. Ra4 Ke6 53. Ra8 Rh2 54. c4 Kf7 55. Rb8 Ke6 56. Rg8 1-0
On Magnus admitted that he was incredibly lucky not to lose after missing Qb7. I still remember from my practice one such oddity of a blessing in disguise.
[Event "Interclub Deurne - Creb"] [Date "2000"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Duhayon, Y."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C67"] [WhiteElo "2261"] [BlackElo "2245"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2kr3r/p1p2ppp/Npp5/4Pb2/8/P3B2P/5PP1/2R2RK1 w - - 0 19"] [PlyCount "7"] 19. Rxc6 {(I completely missed blacks answer otherwise I would have likely played Nb4 instead.)} Kb7 20. Rxc7 {(Nb4 is answered by a5. Fortunately I get a load of pawns for my piece and maintain a very active position.)} Kxa6 21. Rxf7 Rd7 {(I assume the weird developments gave Yves a headache as how else can we explain this blunder.)} 22. Rxf5 1-0

I completely missed the fork after capturing the c6 pawn but I was thrilled to discover that I got tremendous compensation. I assume my opponent was also surprised by the developments as how else can we explain his meltdown which followed.

Last in the past Open Gent I experienced again such peculiarity but this time I was the victim. Hereby I do have to applaud for the behavior of my opponent Bart Michiels as without his confession I would've never known luck played a role. I expect few players would admit that their winning move was actually based on blundering a piece.
[Event "Open Gent 8ste ronde"] [Date "2015"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Michiels, B."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C11"] [WhiteElo "2316"] [BlackElo "2520"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "6q1/1k6/4p3/3pPb1p/1P1Bp2b/2P1Q1P1/4BRK1/r7 w - - 0 64"] [PlyCount "28"] 64. c4 $4 {(Well one move earlier this move was winning but now there exists unfortunately for me a devilish counter which I missed with less that 1 minute on my clock remaining for the rest of the game.)} (64. Rxf5 $1 exf5 65. Qf4 Ra2 66. Qxh4 Rxe2 67. Kf1 Ra2 68. Qe7 Ka8 $11) 64... Bxg3 {(Instantly played by Bart. After the game Bart frankly admitted that he only saw in my reflection-time that his rook was hanging but can not be taken due to Bf4. Sometimes you also need some luck.)} 65. Qxg3 {(Objectively the best move but naturally the damage is done.)} Rg1 66. Kxg1 Qxg3 67. Rg2 Qe1 68. Kh2 Qh4 69. Kg1 Qe1 {(Repeating the moves to let my clock get closer to 0, professionally played. Bart was fully awake after the shock at move 64.)} 70. Kh2 Qh4 71. Kg1 Bg4 72. cxd5 Qe1 73. Bf1 exd5 74. Rf2 e3 75. Rf7 Kc8 (75... Kc6 76. b5# {(Bart did not miss this funny self-mate. It is never too late to blunder.)}) 76. Kh2 Qh4 77. Kg1 Qg3 {(With only 2 seconds remaining and mate nearby I resigned slightly disappointed. I was closer to an upset compared to the previous games but again missed that something extra.)} 0-1
Well it is not pleasant of course to lose your chances of making a top-ranking this way. On the other hand you do realize on such moments that professional chess must be very tough. True such extreme hiccups are fortunately very rare. Anyway I don't recommend anybody to give away pieces and assume some hidden win will pop up later or you could be very disappointed.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog! Ah... why is it always only after the game has ended that we see the light?