Saturday, April 15, 2006

Another Goniff Weekend

I did rather better at last weekend's slow open at the Marshall: beat a young A-player when he self-destructed in a drawn endgame, and had two draws and one loss against Masters. I spoiled great positions in the loss and in one of the draws; on the other hand, the other draw was a comedy of errors beyond even my usual good fortune. Here's the games without notes, and here are a few positions from the games. Enjoy!

White to play and draw. (If this works right, the solution is on the next line after this, but in white-on-white text. Select the area below to see it.)
41. Ke2! Kxf4 42. Kxf1 Ke3 43. c5 draws by a hair. White found the right start, but played 43.b5? and lost

Black to play: Find the wrong move. Solution, again, should be visible by selecting the text on the lines below this one.
11...Ne4? 12.Nxc4 wins a Pawn.

Black just played 19...Ng4xf2, and awaits the sockdolager.
20.Rc2! Qxc2 21.Bxf7+ ends all of Black's swindling attempts. White played 20.Bd6, which is also winning, but lets Black play on.
I had heard of the idea that if a player doesn't see the crusher immediately, he never will, but I had never seen it happen before. I sat very quietly until he played...well, a different strong move.

White has only two legal moves. Which one is wrong?
21.gxh3? Qxe3+ forces perpetual check. White was worried about 21.Kh1 Nf2+ 22.Rxf2 Qxc1+, but there's nothing there for Black. I was going to try 21.Kh1 Qxe3, hoping for a big mess after 22.Rxf7 Be6, but 23.Rxg7+ just forces mate.

White to play: don't get clever, part 1.
White has a substantial edge after either the straightforward 15.Rb1 b5 16.Qf4 or 15.Qb3 b5 16.a4. White chose 15.Ba3?! O-O 16.Rab1 b5 17.Qd4?, having hallucinated that after 17...Qxd4 18.cxd4, b4 was still impossible. No it isn't, and after that White may not have much advantage any more.

White to play: don't get clever, part 2.
Black is obviously better, but I--still hoping to win somehow and finish in the prize money--made things worse by going after the f-pawn with 31.Kg2?! which puts the King out of play after 31... Kf7 32.Kh3 h5 33.Kh4 Kg6. Then 34.Rc5 Re8 35.Rxd5 Rxe2 36.Rd6+ Kf5 37.Rd5+ Kf6 38.Rd6+ Re6 39.Rd8 Rb6 brings us to the next diagram.

White to play: don't get clever, part 3.
After 40.Ra8 b3 41.axb3 axb3 42. Ra1 b2 43.Rb1 Rb5 44.d5, White would still have good drawing chances. But I chose 40.Rh8? Hoping to gain a tempo by forcing the Black King to the second rank. Unfortunately, after 40...Rb5! 41.Ra8 b3 etc., White was a tempo behind the 40.Ra8 line...and lost the game by one tempo.

Questions and comments welcome, as always. Let me know if you like the hidden-text gimmick.

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