Monday, May 21, 2018

Promotions part 2

After my game against Giovanni Callebaut played in the rapidtournament of Aalter see the memory I was exuberant. Obviously winning from a 1600 player is not very special if you are rated 2300. However it was how I won with a double rook sacrifice which pleased me enormously. This double rook sacrifice was on my wish-list for quite some time already (see e.g. game publications). The American grandmaster Gregory Serper even wrote an article about it see "typical patterns everyone should know double rook sacrifice" but he also admits that he never got the opportunity to play it.

His brother is of course the double bishop-sacrifice which destroys the king-side. Some examples of this famous theme can be found in chesscollection Double Bischop Sacrifices and in an article of the strong American grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky see "the double bishop sacrifice".  Beginning of this year I got the chance for the first time to execute it in a game. I am rather proud about that game although it just concerns an online one of 3 minutes each.
[Event "Rated game, 3 min"] [Site "Main Playing Hall"] [Date "2018.01.13"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Pasdarr"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C10"] [WhiteElo "2238"] [BlackElo "2137"] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2018.01.13"] [Sourcetitle ""] [CurrentPosition "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.Qe2 Ngf6 8.Ng3 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Bd2 b6 11.c4 Bb7 12.Rfe1 c5 13.d5 e5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Qxe5 Bd6 16.Qe2 b5 17.b3 bxc4 18.bxc4 Re8 19.Qf3 Qc7 20.Bc3 Nd7 21.Bxh7+ Kxh7 22.Qh5+ Kg8 23.Bxg7 { (The famous and rare double-bishop-sacrifice.) } 23...Kxg7 24.Nf5+ Kg8 ( 24...Kf6 25.Nxd6 Qxd6 26.Qh6+ { (I already saw this idea when I sacrificed the first bishop which obviously gives this game more brilliance.) } ) 25.Qg5+ 1-0
Other challenges on my wish-list are/ were e.g. a royal forka self-forkexcelsior,... These are all one by one exceptional themes. A less ambitious list can also be made as in the article "chess moves to play before you die". Besides it is also perfectly possible to add conditions when a goal is achieved. I guess probably all of us have once done an under-promotion if only to have some fun (be careful for the Nakamura-scenario see his game against Mamedyarov which I mentioned in my article jokes). Much harder is to find under-promotions which can be considered obligatory. Such example can be found in my article promotions. Very exceptional are the type of under-promotions which are not only mandatory but also unique. I mean with unique that the position does't resemble to anything earlier seen in practice.

On the site of Tim Krabbe there is an article "Practical underpromotion" which demonstrates how few examples comply to all above conditions. Well last I was astonished that 2 of such unique and mandatory under-promotions could've popped up in 1 of my most recent games. I write "could've" as the game was agreed drawn prematurely. Pity of course but understandable as I had just blundered a piece which spoiled the win. By using the computer I found the well-hidden pearls. I start with the most easy one.
[Event "Interclub Hoboken - Deurne"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Dardha, A."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "*"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2310"] [BlackElo "2309"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3rr1k1/p4ppp/8/q7/2N1p3/PPb4P/1B2QPP1/4R1K1 b - - 0 28"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [CurrentPosition "3rr1k1/p4ppp/8/q7/2N1p3/PPb4P/1B2QPP1/4R1K1 b - - 0 28"] 28...Bxe1 { (I proposed a draw with this move which Arben accepted after some hesitation. Probably we missed due to this a lot of fun.) } 29.Nxa5 Bxa5 30.Qg4?! { (We looked at this move during the game and in the postmortem but stronger are Bc1 and Qb5.) } ( 30.Bc1!? Rd3 31.b4 Bb6 32.a4 Rd4! 33.a5 Bc7 34.Qc2 Rc8 35.g3 Rxb4 $15 ) 30...g6 31.Qg5 e3 ( 31...Rd1+ { (Likely I would've chosen this move in the game if this position would've occurred on the board.) } 32.Kh2 Bc7+ 33.g3 Be5 { (We both missed this finesse. The planned Rd6 only gives an equal position.) } 34.Bxe5 Rd5 $17 ) 32.Qxa5?! { (The best is fxe3 but the resulting endgame is not comfortable.) } ( 32.fxe3! Rd1+ 33.Kf2 Be1+ 34.Ke2 Rd2+ 35.Kxe1 Rxb2 $17 ) 32...Rd1+ 33.Kh2 exf2 34.Qc3 Rh1+ 35.Kg3 ( 35.Kxh1 f1=Q+ 36.Kh2 Qf4+ 37.Kh1 f6 $19 ) 35...Re3+ 36.Qxe3 f1=N+ $19 *

Black sacrifices a bishop, 2 rooks and executes an under-promotion. Still it can go even crazier when white chooses for the critical move 32. Qf6.
[Event "Interclub Hoboken - Deurne"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Dardha, A."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "*"] [ECO "C45"] [WhiteElo "2310"] [BlackElo "2309"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3rr1k1/p4p1p/6p1/b5Q1/8/PP2p2P/1B3PP1/6K1 w - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [CurrentPosition "3rr1k1/p4p1p/6p1/b5Q1/8/PP2p2P/1B3PP1/6K1 w - - 0 32"] 32.Qf6?! { (Of course this is the critical test.) } 32...exf2+! 33.Kh2 Bc7+! 34.g3 f1=N+! { (A fantastic knight-promotion of which the complications continue quite some moves.) } 35.Kg2 ( 35.Kg1 Bb6+! 36.Kh1 Nxg3+! 37.Kh2 Rd2+ 38.Kxg3 Re3+ 39.Kh4 Bd8 $19 ) 35...Ne3+! 36.Kf3 Kf8! 37.Qg7+ Ke7! 38.Bf6+ ( 38.Kxe3 Rd5! 39.Kf3 Kd8! 40.Qf6+ Re7! 41.Kg2 Rd2+! 42.Kf1 Bb6 $19 ) 38...Ke6! 39.Bxd8 Be5! 40.Qh6 Nf5! 41.Qg5 h6 { (This is the only black move for which exists an alternative. However h6 is clearly inferior to f6.) } 42.Qd2 Nd4+! 43.Kg2 Rxd8! $19 { (3 pieces are too much for the queen. It is a spectacular line which is impossible to calculate correctly at the board.) } *
Doubtless +3000 elo chess. The number of forced moves to keep the winning advantage in the different lines, seems too much as a human to calculate in a game. Besides it are almost all silent moves so without checks.

So a wish-list or bucket-list in chess can be something very different than winning ratings or titles. By the way except playing special moves it can also be just participating to some chess-activities. Personally I am looking forward to play together some competitions with my son. That can be in 1 team or in big international tournaments or maybe our first official mutual game.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Queen-endgames part 2

After a flying start of Deurne in the Belgian interclub see my article records, people started to expect a lot for this season. Some thought the title was absolutely possible with our team. However still before new-year the dream was shattered. Defeats against the top-teams Jean Jaures and Borgerhout made an unbridgeable gap. In the second half of the season very soon nothing was left on stake for Deurne which probably explained why the results went downhill. With 3 consecutive defeats at the end of the season it ended embarrassingly. Deurne only scored 1 match-point more than the relegation zone. That is the worst possible result for Deurne in 20 years I am playing. Maybe we do have to admit that we lack young new players and the team/ club is slowly degrading. 4 years ago we were still playing in first division.

Nonetheless I played a good season myself. With 5 wins, 5 draws and only 1 defeat against the Russian grandmaster Vyacheslav Ikonnikov I was clearly the best performing player of the team and even Deurne. The 7,5/11 brought me 25 fide-points. I am satisfied with that score especially as I don't play much. Other rated games for fide I haven't played last year. On the other hand my other chess-related activities (see How much time do you spend at chess?) probably helps me to not become totally rusty. I can't compare myself with a standard inactive player just playing sporadically a game.

So my personal score was ok. Still things could've been even better if I extracted the maximum of often very nice positions in my games. After analyzing my games I realized that 5 extra half points could've been obtained with correct play. Nevertheless I have to add that finding the right moves isn't always easy at the board. We are no engines spitting out lines in just a nano-second. Some moves I missed as I lacked the time to find them. Others could be linked to an insufficient experience with the opening. Some I also think were simply too complex to calculate properly. An example of the latter was a beautiful opportunity which popped up in my game against the Dutch FM Bonno Pel. Queen-endgames are often not easy. In below position I was only able to detect the win by the assistance of an engine.
[Event "Interclub The Belgian CC- Deurne"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "Pel, B."] [Result "*"] [ECO "B08"] [WhiteElo "2309"] [BlackElo "2260"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/6pk/1p3q2/5P1p/2P4P/3Q2P1/6K1 w - - 0 54"] [PlyCount "29"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [CurrentPosition "8/8/6pk/1p3q2/5P1p/2P4P/3Q2P1/6K1 w - - 0 54"] 54.Qd6! { (The game continued with Qd4 see variant.) } ( 54.Qd4?! { (I don't see the idea. Besides I was again running out of time as I almost play on increment solely.) } 54...Kh7 55.Qe3? { (Kh2 is a better try although I could not find a clear win for white.) } 55...Kh6?? { (Black gives me second chance.) } ( 55...Qf6! 56.Qe5 Qb6+ 57.Kf1 Qa6 58.Qe7+ Kg8 59.Qd8+ $11 ) 56.Qd2?? { (Again I miss it but the win was still very difficult after Kh2.) } 56...Kg7 57.Qd4+ Kf7 58.Kf2 Ke6 59.Qb6+ Kd7 60.Qd4+ Ke6 61.Ke3 Kf7 62.Qe5 Qc2 63.Qxb5 Qxc3+ 64.Qd3 Qe1+ 65.Kd4 Qf2+ 66.Ke5 Qb2+ { (Black is no fool to take the poisoned pawn. I still push a longtime in the game but black defends well and I get no other chances anymore.) } 67.Qd4 Qe2+ 68.Qe4 Qb2+ 69.Kd5 Qd2+ 70.Kc4 Qc1+ 71.Kb3 Qd2 72.Kc4 Qc1+ 73.Kb4 Qd2+ 74.Kc5 Qa5+ 75.Kd6 Qd8+ 76.Ke5 Qc7+ 77.Kd4 Qb6+ 78.Kc3 Qa5+ 79.Kd3 Qa3+ 80.Ke2 Qb2+ 81.Kf3 Qc3+ 82.Qe3 Qc6+ 83.Kg4 Qxg2+ 84.Kxh4 Kg7 85.Qg3 Qe2 86.Qc3+ Kh7 87.Kg3 Qd1 88.Qe3 Qa1 89.Kg4 Qd1+ 90.Kg5 Qd8+ 91.Kg4 Qd1+ 92.Kg3 Qa1 93.h4 Qd1 94.f5 Qd6+ 95.Kg4 gxf5+ 96.Kxf5 Qg6+ 97.Ke5 Qe8+ ) 54...Qe4 ( 54...Kg7 55.Qe7+ Kg8 56.Qxh4 $18 ) 55.Kh2 Kg7 56.Qc7+ Kh6 57.Qe5 Qxe5 { (Da8 avoids mate and exchange of the queens but loses the b-pawn which is obviously also a completely lost position..) } 58.fxe5 { (A special pawn-endgame.) } 58...Kg5 ( 58...Kg7 59.g3! ( 59.g4?? Kf7 60.Kg2 Ke6 61.Kf3 Kxe5 62.Ke3 g5 $11 ) 59...Kf7 60.gxh4 Ke6 61.Kg3 Kxe5 62.Kg4 Kf6 ( 62...Kd5 63.Kg5 Kc4 64.Kxg6 Kxc3 65.h5 b4 66.h6 b3 67.h7 b2 68.h8=Q+ $18 ) 63.h5 gxh5+ 64.Kxh5 Kf5 65.h4 $18 ) 59.g4! { (Remarkable but white wins here only by playing 2 steps with the g-pawn while against the other king-move it is only a single step.) } ( 59.g3?? Kf5 60.gxh4 Kxe5 61.Kg3 Kd5 62.Kg4 Kc4 63.Kg5 Kxc3 64.Kxg6 b4 65.h5 b3 66.h6 b2 67.h7 b1=Q+ $19 ) 59...hxg3+ 60.Kxg3 Kf5 61.Kh4 Kxe5 62.Kg5 Ke4 63.Kxg6 Kd3 64.h4 Kxc3 65.h5 b4 66.h6 b3 67.h7 b2 68.h8=Q+ $18 *
In queen-endgames part 1 I demonstrated the important role of the king in this type of endgames. Here we see another aspect of this endgame. The attacker looks for ways to transpose to an advantageous pawn-endgame. Not rarely keeping the queens on the board doesn't allow further progress so sometimes it makes sense to look for possible ways to exchange queens and enter a pure pawn-endgame. In above game I did that but only later. That allowed my opponent to avoid the pawn-endgame although technically it wasn't really mandatory. Often this is not a bad tactic if you don't trust the pawn-endgame as defending via checks is generally easier. I already mentioned this before in my article practical endgames see my comments at my endgame against Jan Gooris. Recently this was once again confirmed in the game Anish Giri - Yifan Hou played in Wijk aan Zee.
[Event "80th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2018.01.13"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Giri, Anish"] [Black "Hou, Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2752"] [BlackElo "2680"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2k5/2p2p2/p3q3/P2p2P1/1P1Q4/8/1KP5/8 w - - 0 53"] [PlyCount "22"] [EventDate "2018.01.13"] [CurrentPosition "2k5/2p2p2/p3q3/P2p2P1/1P1Q4/8/1KP5/8 w - - 0 53"] 53.Qf6 { (Already since move 27 Anish tries to make progress in the end-game. As this makes no further sense, he tries his luck in the pawn-endgame.) } 53...Qxf6+ 54.gxf6 Kd7 55.Kb3 Kc6?? { (I guess she was exhausted or lacked the time. I can well understand such mistakes after defending for many hours.) } ( 55...Kd6! 56.b5 axb5! 57.Kb4 c6! 58.a6 Kc7! 59.Kc5 b4 { (D4 is similar.) } 60.Kxb4 Kb6! 61.a7 Kxa7! 62.Kc5 Kb7! 63.Kd6 d4! 64.Ke7 c5! 65.Kxf7 c4! 66.Kg7 d3! 67.cxd3 cxd3 68.f7 d2! 69.f8=Q d1=Q! $11 { (I gave exclamation marks to each of the forced black moves. So 13 out of the 15 were which proofs how complex the pawn-endgame is.) } ) 56.c4 d4 ( 56...dxc4+ 57.Kxc4 Kb7 58.Kc5 Kb8 59.b5 axb5 60.Kxb5 Kb7 61.a6+ Ka7 62.Kc6 $18 ) ( 56...Kd6 57.b5 dxc4+ 58.Kxc4 axb5+ 59.Kxb5 c5 60.a6 Kc7 61.Kxc5 $18 ) 57.Kc2 Kd6 58.Kd2! ( 58.Kd3?? c5 59.b5 ( 59.bxc5+ Kxc5 $19 ) 59...axb5 60.cxb5 Kc7 61.a6 Kb6 62.Kc4 $11 ) 58...c6 ( 58...c5 59.bxc5+ Kc6 ( 59...Kxc5 60.Kd3 $18 ) 60.Ke2 Kxc5 61.Kd3 $18 ) 59.Ke2 Kd7 60.Kd3 Kc7 61.Kxd4 Kd6 62.Kd3 Kc7 63.Ke4 Kd6 ( 63...Kd6 64.Kf5 Kd7 65.Kg5 Kd6 66.Kh6 Kd7 67.Kg7 Ke6 68.b5 cxb5 69.cxb5 axb5 70.a6 b4 71.a7 b3 72.a8=Q $18 ) 1-0
Besides Yifan already lost once in similar fashion a couple of years ago a queen-endgame against the world-champion Magnus Carlsen.
[Event "78th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2016.01.29"] [Round "11.1"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Hou Yifan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C42"] [WhiteElo "2844"] [BlackElo "2673"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1p1k4/p1p2q1p/2Pp1p2/P4P2/1P4QP/1KP5/8 w - - 0 44"] [PlyCount "21"] [EventDate "2016.01.16"] [CurrentPosition "8/1p1k4/p1p2q1p/2Pp1p2/P4P2/1P4QP/1KP5/8 w - - 0 44"] 44.Qc3 { (For 10 moves a queen-endgame is on the board already. Magnus sees no progress anymore and tries therefore the pawn-endgame.) } 44...Qxc3+ { (Contrary to previous examples black is not obliged to exchange. The pawn-endgame is equal but there still are some pitfalls to avoid.) } 45.Kxc3 h5?? { (1 oversight is sufficient to lose a game especially against the world-champion.) } ( 45...a5! 46.b4 h5 { (Never taking b4 seems the most surest way to draw.) } 47.h4 Ke6 48.bxa5 Kd7 49.a6 bxa6 50.Kb4 Kc7 51.Ka5 Kb7 52.c3 Ka7 $11 ) 46.Kb4 Kc8 47.Ka5 Kc7 48.h4 Kb8 49.Kb6 Kc8 50.b4 Kb8 51.b5 cxb5 52.axb5 axb5 53.Kxb5 Kc7 54.c3 ( 54.c3 Kd7 55.Kb6 Kc8 56.c6 { (This we know already from e.g. the article "optical illusions part 2". White expands the front so black's pawns drop quickly.) } 56...bxc6 57.Kxc6 $18 ) 1-0
So in both cases the pawn-endgame was theoretically drawn but the number 1 of the ladies made a miscalculation. For us mere mortals it is therefore especially interesting to watch out for exchanges of the queens in this type of endgames. It can be an excellent winning try when all other normal resources dried up and the opponent is consuming its final energy-reserves.