Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

Games versus GMs

Welcome to my chess page. This is mostly random thoughts and analysis in the form of a chess diary with other sections of the site slowly developing. A lot of the content will come from my own experience. There are two reasons for this. One, so I can use this site as a self-improvement tool. Two, so you the readers will have content that is not found on other chess sites. Follow the link to the left to reach my annotated games against grandmasters. Send me comments and ideas

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Corrections to Basic Chess Endings

6/7/21 - Akobian-Bereolos, 2004 Chicago Open

I've added my game against Varuzhan Akobian from the 2004 Chicago Open to the GM games section. This was one-sided affair where I got no play whatsoever. I did add one opening idea to my notes at the time. Modern engines point out that Black can sacrifice a pawn for the bishop pair. This looks like a reasonable try.

2/27/21 - Grigoriev-Bereolos, 1999 Land of the Sky

Perhaps the mistake of not playing ...g5 in the Stearman-Plotkin game is an ingrained habit to keep one's pawn structure together. Here's an example from one of my games. I was struggling to hold a pawn down as Black against Denis Grigoriev in the 1999 Land of the Sky tournament after 41...Kh6

The only hope for Black is that White won't be able to open a second front on the queenside so the kingside blockade can hold. 42.b4 axb4+ 43.axb4? At first glance, my opponent's post game suggestion of 43.Kxb4! looks absurd, handing the beautiful c5 square to the Black knight. However, it seems that Black can't prevent a queenside breakthrough. The basic idea is a4-a5 followed by Bg4-c8xb7 and the a-pawn will queen. If Black plays ...b6 the route is open for the White king. Black can try various formations, but I have been unable to find a defense if White carefully avoids forks from the knight. After the pawn capture, it seems that the defense can hold. 43...Nf6 44.Kb3 Kg7 45.Ka4 Kh6 46.Kb3 Kg7 47.Kc3 Kh6 48.Kd3?! White could try to keep trying to probe the defense 48.Be2 but I haven't found a way to break it down. After the text, Black is able to eliminate the connected passers. 48...e4+ 49.Bxe4 Kxh5 50.Bf5 Kg5 51.Bc8 b6 52.g7 Kg6 53.c5 bxc5 54.bxc5 Kxg7 55.cxd6 cxd6 56.Kd4 Kg6 57.Bh3 Kg5 58.Bg2 Kf4 59.Bf1 Ng4 60.Bc4 Ne3 61.Ba6 Nf5+ 62.Kd3 Ke5 63.Bb7 Ne7 64.Ke3 Nxd5+ 65.Bxd5 Kxd5 66.Kd3! Kc5 67.Kc3! d5 68.Kd3! d4 69.Kd2 Kc4 70.Kc2! d3+ 71.Kd2 Kd4 72.Kd1! Ke4 73.Kd2! Kd4 74.Kd1! Ke3 75.Ke1! d2+ 76.Kd1! Kd3 1/2-1/2

2/19/21 - Stearman-Plotkin, Charlotte 2020

One US site that has managed to resume over the board play on a regular basis is the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. They've held a number of events since the middle of last year, mostly 10-player round robin norm tournaments. Today's fragment is from the holiday GM norm tournament held after Christmas and across into 2021. This was a battle between two of the norm aspirants, Josiah Stearman from California, who was technically still an FM at the time of this game, although he had achieved all of his IM norms and has since been awarded the title, and IM Mark Plotkin of Canada. After 37. Nxa5

37...Bd5 Black is clearly better with the bishop dominating the knight in combination with some holes in White's kingside structure. Is it enough to win? 38.Kf1 Kf7 39.Ke2 Kf6 Black could also threaten the immediate king invasion with 39...Kg6!? but after 40.Ke3 (40.Kd2 Kh5! 41.Kc3 Kg4) he should likely just transpose back into the game with 40...Kf6 41.Kd2 since 40...Kh5? 41.Kf4! White is suddenly the one who is active 40.Kd2 White slowly gets squeezed if he tries to stop Black on the kingside, for example 40.Ke3 h6 41.Kf4 g5+ 42.hxg5+ hxg5+ 43.Ke3 Kg6 44.Kd2 Kh5 45.Ke3 Kg4 46.Ke2 f4 47.gxf4 gxf4 so he heads towards the queenside to rescue the stranded knight 40...h6? Too slow, Black needed to immediately open a path for his king with 40...g5! 41.hxg5+ Kxg5 42.Kc3 Kg4 41.Kc3! g5 42.hxg5+ hxg5 Now it is too late for 42...Kxg5 43.Nc4 and Black can't advance 43...Kg4? 44.Ne3+ 43.Nc4 Bxc4 44.Kxc4! f4 45.gxf4! g4 Black's last chance is a breakthrough with ...e3 45...gxf4 leads nowhere 46.d5! Ke5 47.d6 Kxd6 48.Kd4! 46.d5! an instructive variation is 46.Kc3? e3! 47.Kd3 exf2! 48.Ke2 g3! 49.d5 Kf5! 50.Kf1 Kxf4 51.d6 else Black will just play Ke5 next and collect the d-pawn 51...Kf3 52.d7 g2#! 46...e3! 47.Kd3! exf2! 48.Ke2! g3! 49.Kf1 Kf5 50.Kg2! 50.Ke2? Kg4! 51.d6 Kh3! 52.d7 (52.Kf1 g2+ 53.Kxf2 Kh2!) 52...Kg2! 53.d8Q f1Q+! 54.Kd2 Qxf4+ -+ 50...Kg6 51.d6! Kf6 Draw agreed as each side's pawns are far enough advanced to keep the kings occupied. They could have played a few more forced moves 52.f5! Kf7! 53.Kf1! Kf6! 1/2-1/2

1/4/21 - Friske-Bereolos, 1993 Paul Rodgers Mid-Year Open

I think the ending of my game with Tom Friske qualifies in the tragicomedy category. After 33.Bxa5

Black has a clear advantage. The White pawns on the queenside are fixed on the color of the bishops, and the crippled White pawn structure on the kingside allows Black to create an outside passed pawn with ...h5. White's main hope is that the postion is closed enough that Black will be unable to penetrate. 33...Bd6 The engines prefer 33...f6 or 33...h5, but I like this non-rushed moved playing against the idea of Bc7 and f4. The White bishop is now a bit stuck behind enemy lines and my opponent made a panic move 34.c4? 34.Bb4? Bxb4 35.axb4 Kg7 36.Kg2 Kf6 37.Kg3 Kg5 was also bad, but White had several ways to wait. 34. Kg2, 34.Bd8 or maybe first 34.Bb6 to provoke 34...c5 putting the pawn on a dark square to stop Be3 and then 35.Bd8. Black will still need to demonstrate that his pluses are enough to win. After the text, Black should win smoothly. 34...bxc4 35.Bd2 Kg7 36.Bc3 f6 37.Kg2 Bc5 38.Kg3 Bd4 The big problem with c4 is revealed, Black gains access to d4. 39.Kg2 Kf7 40.Kg3 Ke6 41.Kg2 Bxc3? A very superficial move. I thought that I force my king to g5 since I have the spare move c6-c5 in reserve, then create an outside passed pawn with h5 and win (all reminiscent of the game Teichmann-Blackburne). However, even if this all worked, there is no need to rush this exchange. White can't move away or exchange himself. As it turns out, the bishop attack on f2 is the key to the win after 41...f5 42.Kg3 Kf6 and 43.Kh4 is impossible because of 43...Bxf2+ 42.bxc3! f5 43.Kg3 Kf6 44.Kh4

44...c5? All according to plan, but the win was already gone and this move should have cost the full point. Other tries are 44...fxe4 45.fxe4 gives White a spare tempo with f3 so Black can't get Kg5. He can still get a passed pawn after 45...Kg7 46.Kg3 h5 47.g5 but Black has no way to penetrate; 44...g5+ 45.Kg3 f4+ and the position is too closed for the extra c5 tempo to make a difference 46.Kh3 Kg6 47.Kg2 h5 48.gxh5+ Kxh5 49.Kh3 Kh6 50.Kg2 Kg6 51.Kh2 Kh5 52.Kh3 c5 53.Kh2 g4 54.Kg2! Kh4 55.fxg4 Kxg4 56.f3+!; The best try was probably 44...f4!? when White must make a few more accurate moves 45.g5+! (45.Kh3? Kg5 46.Kg2 Kh4 47.Kh2 h5 48.gxh5 Kxh5!) 45...hxg5+ 46.Kg4 Kf7 47.Kxg5! Kg7 48.Kh4! (48.Kg4? Kh6! 49.Kh4 g5+! 50.Kg4 Kg6! 51.Kh3 Kh5! 52.Kh2 Kh4! 53.Kg2 c5! 54.Kh2 g4! 55.fxg4 Kxg4! 56.Kg2 f3+!) 45.gxf5?? The wrong way. White turns the tables with 45.exf5! gxf5 46.Kh5! fxg4 47.fxg4! Kg7 48.g5 and Black will lose all of his pawns 45...gxf5 46.Kh5 fxe4 47.fxe4 Kg7 48.f4 exf4 49.Kg4 Kf6 50.Kxf4 Ke6 0-1

1/1/21 - Panno-Najdorf, Buenos Aires 1968

The Panno variation is named after Oscar Panno, the first grandmaster from South America. His chess career includes a win in the World Junior Championship in 1953 and qualification from the 1955 Gothenburg interzonal to the 1956 Candidates tournament. Many players of today might not realize he qualified out of that interzonal and only know of the "Argentine tragedy". In the 14th round there were three Soviet Union vs. Argentina pairings and the Argentines prepared a new sharp variation in the Sicilian hoping to spring it on one of the Soviets. They got their wish when the games Geller-Panno , Keres-Najdorf, and Spassky-Pilnik all ended up in what is today known as the Gothenburg Variation. Unfortunately, the amazing triple resulted in 3 crushing White wins as Geller sacrificed a piece and Keres and Spassky soon followed suit!

Today, I want to look at an ending played between Panno and Miguel Najdorf, the big legend of Argentine chess. The position after 42...g4

This position was analyzed by Maric in the endings section of Informant 6. Panno corrected a portion of the analysis in the first edition of the rook endings volume of Encylopedia of Endings, but assessed it as winning for White. Finally, Petronijevic and Nunn analyzed it to a draw in the second edition of ECE. However, I don't think these analysts uncovered all the secrets of this ending. With the rook behind the outside passed pawn, it is obvious that White is the one playing for a win. The question is can Black successfully use his kingside pawn majority to create counterplay? 43.Kf2 None of the analysts considered 43.h3!? which is the engines top choice, trying to immediately break up the Black structure. On Chessbase's let's check, it gives White as 1.16 with Stockfish 11 at depth 62. However, this seems like a typical engine problem of not being able to recognize a fortress and I don't see how White can break through after 43...gxh3 (43...g3? 44.h4! and the g-pawn will be lost) 44.Kf2 Kf6 45.Kg3 e5 46.Kxh3 Kg5 47.Kg3 Kf6 48.Kh4 Kg6 49.Ra1 Kf6 since the h5 pawn can't be capture because of ...Rh7 mate. 43...h4 44.e4 Kg6 Maric concludes this was the losing move giving a drawing line starting with 44...Kf6 45.exf5 (45.Ke3 g3 (45...Kg6) 46.hxg3! h3 47.Kf2) 45...exf5 46.Ke3 g3? (46...Kg6! 47.Kf4 g3! 48.hxg3 h3! White is forced to trade his a-pawn for the Black h-pawn leaving a drawn 2 vs. 1 ending) 47.hxg3 hxg3 48.f4 Rg7 This seems to be the point of playing the king to the f-file, leaving the g-file open for the rook, but Panno pointed out that White wins here by first dealing with g-pawn 49.Ra1! g2 50.Kf2!+- instead of Maric's 49.a7? which allows Black to escape with 49...g2 50.Ra6+ Kf7 51.Ra1 Rg3+! 52.Kf2 g1Q+! 53.Rxg1! Ra3!= 45.exf5+ Petronijevic also considers 44...Kg6 as a blunder giving 45.Ke3 as winning and referencing Nunn's analysis. But Black holds here with 45...g3! (Nunn only considers 45...Kg7? 46.exf5 exf5 47.Kf4 g3 48.hxg3! h3 49.Kxf5 +-) 46.hxg3 hxg3! 47.f4 (47.exf5+ exf5 transposes to the next note) 47...fxe4 48.Rg5+ Kf6 = 45...exf5 46.Ke3 Kg5? Black can't continue waiting since the f-pawn falls with check after 46...Kf6? 47.Kf4! g3 48.hxg3! h3 49.Rxf5+! Kg6 50.Rg5+ Kh6 51.Rg4+- as the h-pawn falls; However, Black can save himself 46...g3! 47.hxg3 hxg3! 48.f4 Kh5! 49.Kf3 Maric concluded White was winning which wasn't challenged by the later analysts. It does look grim for Black as it appears he will lose his g-pawn when the White king will be free to stroll into Black's position. However, Black escapes thanks to a stalemate trick 49...Kh4! 50.Ra1 Kh5! 51.Kxg3 Rxa6! 47.fxg4! Now the Black kingside structure is fatally weakened and he is doomed to lose the f-pawn. 47...Kxg4 48.Ra2 Re7+ 49.Kf2 Ra7 50.Ra3 Kf4 51.Ra4+ Ke5 52.Kf3 Kd5 53.Kf4 Kc5 a last desperate attempt, but waiting is no better since White has as many spare tempi as he needs with his rook. 53...Ke6 54.h3 Kf6 55.Ra3 Kg6 56.Ra5 54.Kxf5 Kb5 55.Ra2 h3 56.Kg4! Rxa6 57.Rxa6! Kxa6 58.Kxh3! Kb7 59.Kg4 Kc7 60.Kg5 1-0

12/30/20 - BCE-91a, Mason-Englisch, London 1883

This week's BCE position comes from the supertournament in London 1883, a massive 14 player double round robin won by Zukertort 3 points clear of Steinitz. The opponents in this game, James Mason and Berthold Englisch, were part of a 3-way tie for fifth, 6.5 points behind the winner.

Mason was one of the strongest players in the latter part of the 19th century. Sonas has him as #1 in the late 1870s. However, I don't think he is as well known as some of his contemporaries. This might be because there aren't any openings named after him. One opening that could have gotten his name was employed in this game. Mason played it 5 times in this tournament alone, but in the tournament book, it was called Irregular Opening. Today, we know it as the London System. However, it was not named after this edition of the tournament either. The opening was also played several times at London 1899, although not by Mason, but only had graduated to become part of the generic Queen's Pawn Opening. It would not come to be called the London System until the tournament in London in 1922. The opening phase of Mason-Englisch resembles a lot of modern games. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3 Mason comments say that this variation is not to be recommended, which may be a reason it doesn't bear his name 5...Nf6 6.Nbd2 Bd6

7.dxc5 Magnus Carlsen has reached the diagrammed position no less than 7 times and has exclusively played 7.Bg3 7...Bxc5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.Bg5 Qb6 Today, players prefer 9...h6 as in a recent online game between Firouzja and Abdusattorov which ended successfully for Black. I wasn't able to find any other games in the database with Englisch's move which allows White to damage Black's pawn structure at the cost of the bishop pair. Since this post is about the ending, I'm going to move ahead to that phase without further comments 10.Qb3 Qxb3 11.axb3 Bd7 12.b4 0-0 13.0-0 a6 14.Nb3 Rfe8 15.Rfd1 Be7 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.e4 dxe4 18.Bxe4 Red8 19.b5 f5 20.Bxc6 bxc6 21.Ne5 Be8 22.Rxd8 Bxd8 23.bxa6 Bb6 24.Nd2 f6 25.Nec4 Ba7 26.Nd6 Bd7 27.b4 Kf8 28.Nb3 Ke7 29.Nb7 Bc8 30.N7c5 Kd6 31.Kf1 Kc7 32.Ke2 e5 33.f3 Bxc5 34.Nxc5 Kb6

White has a huge edge. He has an extra pawn, superior minor piece and Black has a damaged kingside. 35.Kd3 Ra7 In the tournament book, Mason demonstrates the win after 35...Bxa6+ 36.Rxa6+ Rxa6 37.Nxa6 Kxa6 38.c4 h5 39.g3 Kb6 40.h3 Kc7 41.Ke3 Kd6 42.g4 fxg4 43.fxg4 hxg4 44.h4 36.g3 Rg7 Mason suggests 36...h5 as an improvement, but Black is ultimately getting squeeezed. I wonder if a desire to prevent ...h5 was the source of his later blunder. 37.c4 Ra7 38.Ra5 Bxa6 39.Rxa6+ Rxa6 40.Nxa6! Kxa6 BCE-91a except Fine has the king on e3. The position of the king is not relavent in this case 41.g4? 41.h3 wins as in the correction link 41...f4? As in BCE, Black can hold with 41...fxg4! 42.fxg4! h6! 43.h4 Kb6 44.Ke4 (now we are back to Fine's line) 44...Kc7 45.g5 fxg5! 46.hxg5 hxg5! 47.Kxe5 g4 48.Kf4 Kd6 49.Kxg4 Ke5= 42.Ke4 h6 43.h4 Kb7 44.g5 fxg5 45.hxg5 hxg5 46.Kxe5 g4 47.Kxf4 gxf3 48.Kxf3 Kc7 49.Ke4 Kd6 50.Kf5 Ke7 51.Ke5 Kd7 52.Kf6 Kd6 53.c5+ 1-0

12/23/20 - BCE-391, Capablanca-Yates, Hastings 1930/31

Capablanca famously won the drawn rook ending with 4 pawns vs. 3 on the same side of the board. Although his opponents made defensive errors to allow this, Capablanca's play was also not without flaws. One example was in the Hastings congress in December 1930 through January 1931 against Frederick Yates. This ending has been subject to numerous analyses over nearly 90 years since it was played, so I'll just present it with very light notes. The 4 vs. 3 ending was reached after 35...Rxb5

36.Ra6 Rb4 37.h3 Rc4 Today, it is known that the formation with 37...h5 is the best way to defend 38.Kf3 Rb4 39.Ra5 Rc4 40.g4 h6 41.Kg3 Rc1 42.Kg2 Rc4 43.Rd5 Ra4 44.f4 Ra2+ 45.Kg3 Re2 46.Re5 Re1 47.Kf2 Rh1 48.Kg2 Re1 49.h4 Kf6 50.h5 Re2+ 51.Kf3 Re1 52.Ra5 Kg7 53.hxg6 Kxg6 54.e4 Rf1+ 55.Kg3 Rg1+ 56.Kh3 Rf1 57.Rf5 Re1? Allowing the e4-e5 advance without a pawn trade is fatal. Black could still defend with 57...f6 58.e5 Re3+ 59.Kg2 Ra3 60.Rf6+ Kg7 The starting position for BCE-391 61.Rb6?! Fine doesn't comment this move, but it gives black more chances than 61.Rd6 when the White rook can block checks from the side. Benko gives it a full question mark, but that is incorrect 61...Re3 For a long time, it was believed that Black could hold here with 61...Ra4 62.Kf3 Ra3+ 63.Ke4 Ra4+ 64.Kf5 Rc4, and Benko gives this as a drawing line in the revised edition. However, Müuller has demonstrated how White still wins See the 5th edition of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual for the details. 62.Rb4 Rc3 62...f6 63.Rb7+ 63.Kf2? White should win in similar fashion to the game after 63.Rb8 as Black can not cope with the ultimate advance of the f-pawn. 63...Ra3? 63...h5! is the subject of the BCE correction 64.Rb7 Kg8 65.Rb8+ Kg7 66.f5 Ra2+ 67.Ke3 Ra3+ 68.Ke4 Ra4+ 69.Kd5 Ra5+ 70.Kd6 Ra6+ 71.Kc7 Kh7 72.Kd7 Ra7+ 73.Kd6 Kg7 74.Rd8 Ra5 75.f6+ Kh7 76.Rf8 Ra7 77.Kc6 Kg6 78.Rg8+ Kh7 79.Rg7+ Kh8 80.Kb6 Rd7 81.Kc5 Rc7+ 82.Kd6 Ra7 83.e6 Ra6+ 84.Ke7 Rxe6+ 85.Kxf7! Re4 86.g5 hxg5 87.Kg6 1-0

12/18/20 - TCEC Season 17 Superfinal, Games 21-22, Kings Indian - Samisch Panno

Season 20 of the TCEC is kicking off, but I'm going to continue my survey of openings from the 17th Superfinal. Games 21 and 22 featured the Panno system against the Saemisch variation of the Kings Indian. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rc1 Bd7

The starting postion for this set of games. 10.h4 A number of moves have been played here, the main move being 10.Nd1 I had an up close view of the game Hyatt-Hoang at the 2018 US Amateur Team when Black got in trouble with routine play 10...b5 11.c5 e5 (11...dxc5 12.Rxc5 stops ...e5. Black probably had to try; 11...e6) 12.d5 Ne7 13.c6 and White already had a big plus and went on to win a key game for our team.

In Stockfish's White game, play continued 10.Ng3 White needs to move Ne2 to develop his light squared bishop, but I've always thought it is awkward here since it is dominated by the g6 pawn and is further away from the queenside where Black has shown he wants to play. Indeed, after the typical 10...e5 11.d5 Nd4 Stockfish showed it had gotten nothing out of the opening and moved the knight back 12.Nge2 (12.Bxd4 exd4 13.Qxd4 Nxe4 is the tactical point ) ] 10...h5 11.Nd1 e5 12.d5 Ne7 13.Nf2 b5 13...Nh7 was an unsuccessful try in the only GM game to reach this position Kovalenko-Smirin, Poikovsky 2016 14.c5 dxc5 15.Bxc5 This makes more sense than 15.Rxc5 White can't prevent ...c6, so arranges his pieces to support the d6 push. 15...Re8 16.Rd1 c6 17.d6 Nc8

This position looks better for White. Lc0 went for the attack with 18.g4!? and eventually won the exchange, but Stockfish hung on with a long defense earning a draw after 138 moves.

10/7/20 - BCE-532, Capablanca-Tarrasch, St. Petersburg 1914

I'm back after a couple of week's hiatus with more BCE corrections. The ending in today's correction is somewhat technical in nature, but the game it comes from was one of the key results in Lasker's great comeback at St. Petersburg 1914. This game was played in the last round of the finals. In the previous round Lasker famously defeated Capablanca using the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez. This brought Lasker to within a 1/2 point of the Cuban, who had entered the 10 round finals with a 1.5 point lead from the preliminaries. In the final round, Lasker crushed Marshall, while Capablanca blundered a piece early in his game with Tarrasch after 12...Rxe5

13.Rfd1 A case of the wrong rook. After 13.Rad1 the game continuation 13...Bg4 14.Qg3 Bxd1 15.Bxe5 would likely lead to a very small edge to White after 15...Nh5 16.Bxd6 Nxg3 17.Bxg3 Bxc2 18.f3 although Black should be able to hold a draw with 18...Rb8 intending Rb1 and relying on the bishops of opposite colors 13...Bg4 14.Qg3? White could maintain the balance with 14.Rxd6 Bxf3 15.Rxf6 gxf6 16.Bxe5 14...Bxd1 15.Bxe5 Qd2! With the White rook on a1 instead of f1, the mate threat prevents White from regaining his piece. Perhaps Capablanca had only considered 15...Qd8 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Rxd1 when entering this line when White would have a clean extra pawn. Despite losing a piece, Capablanca managed to drag it out a long time, but the result was never in doubt. 16.f3 Nh5 17.Qf2 Qxf2+ 18.Kxf2 Bxc2 19.Rc1 Ba4 20.Bxc7 Rc8 21.Rb1 Bb5 22.Rd1 Kf8 23.Be5 Ke7 24.a4 Bc4 25.Rd4 Be6 26.Rb4 Bd7 27.Rb7 Ra8 28.Ke3 Nf6 29.a5 Ke8 30.Bd4 a6 31.f4 c5 32.Bxf6 gxf6 33.Rb6 Ke7 34.f5 Bb5 35.g4 Rd8 36.Kf4 Rd1 37.h4 h6 38.Rb7+ Kf8 39.Rc7 c4 40.g5 hxg5+ 41.hxg5 Rf1+ 42.Kg4 Rg1+ 43.Kf4 fxg5+ 44.Ke5 Re1 45.Kf6 Rxe4 46.Rxf7+ Ke8 47.Rg7 g4 48.Rg5 Bc6 49.Kg7 Bd5 50.Rg6 Re7+ 51.Kh6 Be4 52.Rxg4 Bxf5 53.Rxc4 Re5 54.Kg5 Bd3+ 55.Kf4 Rf5+ 56.Kg4 Rxa5 The one pitfall Black must avoid is ending up with only a bishop and the a-pawn. 56...Bxc4? 57.Kxf5! and the White king will reach a1 with a draw. 57.Rd4 Bb5 58.Kf4 Ra3 59.Ke5 Bd7 60.c4 Kd8 61.Rd2 Kc7 62.Kd4 a5 63.Rd3 Ra1 64.Kc3 Rc1+ 65.Kb2 Rh1 66.Rd5 a4 67.Rd2 Bc6 68.Ka2 Kb6 69.Rb2+ Kc5 70.Rb1 Rh3 71.Rg1 Kxc4 finally reaching the starting point of BCE-532 72.Rc1+ Kb5 73.Rb1+ Kc5 74.Rc1+ Kd6 75.Rd1+ Bd5+ 76.Kb2 a3+ 77.Ka1 Kc5 77...a2?! is the subject of the BCE correction. Tarrasch's technique is more to the point. 78.Rc1+ Bc4 79.Rg1 Rh2 80.Rg5+ Kb4 81.Rg1 Ra2+ 82.Kb1 Rd2 0-1 Capablanca resigned. He might have tried for some stalemate tricks with 83.Ka1 Bd3 84.Rg4+ Kb3?! [84...Kc3 85.Rb4 Rd1+ 86.Ka2 Bc4+ is a simple win] 85.Rb4+ Kc3 86.Rb3+ Kd4 87.Rxa3 although even here the poor position of the White pieces allows Black to win the R+B vs. R position.

9/23/20 - BCE-343, Seyboth, 1899

Today's BCE position is a theoretical rook ending that was first presented as a study. I was unable to find a link to the original presentation, but from the information in the van der Heijden database it appears that the mistakes were added by Fine. I found a couple of practical examples, one where the defender was successful and another where the same mistake given by Fine was made.

The first example comes from the 1964 World Student Olympiad, an event that no longer exists. Appropriately, the game is from match between two countries that no longer exist, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. These teams finished first and second. The game Mnatsakanian-Janata had a couple of key moments before the position that is relevant to BCE. After 47. Kxf5

47...Rc5+? It appears Black can hold with 47...Rb8! which allows him to slow the advance of the f-pawn because he can check on the 6th rank after 48.Kg6 Rb6+! 48.Kg6! Rxb5 49.f5! Rb2 50.Rxc4 Rxh2 51.f6 Rf2

52.f7? Surprisingly, this move causes the White king to get overloaded. The win could have been had with some very accurate moves 52.Rxa4! Kh3 53.Ra5! g3 54.Rh5+! Kg4 55.Rg5+! Kh3 (55...Kh4 56.a4 g2 57.a5! Kh3 58.f7 Kh2 59.Kg7) 56.f7 52...Kh3! 53.Rxa4 g3! 54.Ra5 g2! 55.Rh5+ Kg4 56.Rg5+ Kh4! 57.a4 Rxf7! With the pawn still on f6 in the previous variation, Black doesn't have this resource as the White king would still guard his rook after a capture on f6. 58.Rxg2 Ra7! 59.Ra2 Kg4! 60.Kf6 Kf4! 61.Ke6 Ke4! 62.Kd6 Kd4! 63.Kc6 Kc4! 64.a5 Ra6+! 65.Kb7 Rh6! 66.a6 Rh7+! 67.Kb6 Rh6+! 68.Kc7 The position of the White rook on the second rank allows Black to hold after 68.Ka5 Rh5+! 69.Ka4 Rh6! since 70.Rc2+ Kd3! hits the rook 71.a7 Ra6+! 68...Rh7+! 69.Kd6 Rh6+! 70.Ke5 Rh5+! 71.Kf6 Rh8! 72.Ke7 Rh7+ 73.Kd6 Rh6+! 74.Ke5 Rh5+! 74...Rh8? 75.a7! Ra8 76.Kd6! Kb5 77.Kc7+- 75.Kf6 Rh8! 76.a7 Ra8! 77.Ke6

The White pieces are on slightly different squares, but the same defense as in BCE-343 works for Black. 77...Kc5! 78.Kd7 Kb6! 79.Rb2+ Kc5! 80.Ra2 Kb6! 81.Rb2+ Kc5! 82.Rb7 Rh8 83.Ke6 1/2-1/2 One of the two games Mnatsakanian failed to win in taking the Board 4 gold medal with 10/11.

The second example comes from a 2005 junior tournament in Slovenia. In Budihna-Ursic after 42...Kxb5

This should be an easy win for White with the Black king far from the action and a path for the White king into the Black structure 43.Kg6 Kc5 44.g5? This lets Black trade too many pawns. White wins by going after the g-pawn 44.f5 first securing the f-pawn 44...Ra7 (44...Kd5 45.Re8) 45.Re8 Ra4 46.Kxg7 Rxg4+ 47.Kxf6; Alternatively, White can even go directly for the pawn 44.Re8 Rd4 45.Kxg7 Rxf4 46.g5 blocking the g-file 46...fxg5 47.Kxh6! 44...fxg5 45.fxg5 hxg5 46.Re5+ Kd6 47.Rxg5 Ke6 48.Kh7 Kf6 49.Rg6+ Kf5 50.Rxg7 Rd1 51.h6 Re1?! This doesn't spoil the draw, but bringing the king closer with 51...Kf6 seems more logical. 52.Kg8 Re8+ 53.Kf7

53...Rh8? Black draws by getting checking distance with 53...Ra8 then 54.h7 Ra7+ (Reaching the mutual zugzwang position with 54...Rh8 also holds, but it is simpler to first drive the White king away from the pawn.) 55.Kf8 Ra8+ 56.Ke7 Ra7+ 57.Kd8 (57.Kd6 Ra6+ 58.Kd5 Rh6) 57...Ra8+ 58.Kc7 Rh8 54.h7! Reaching the mutual zugzwang position from the BCE correction 54...Ra8 55.Rg2 Ra7+ 56.Kg8! Ra8+ 57.Kg7 Ra7+ 58.Kh6 Ra8 59.Rg8 Ra6+ 60.Kh5 Ra1 61.Rf8+ Ke6 1-0

9/9/20 - BCE-250a, Englisch-Wittek, Vienna 1882

This week's BCE position is from the international tournament held in Vienna in 1882, which many consider the strongest chess tournament in history to that point. It was a massive 18-player double round robin won by Steinitz and Winawer with 24/34.

I wasn't really familiar with the two Austrian players in today's game, Berthold Englisch and Alexander Wittek. They both finished with plus scores with Englisch 7th on 19.5 and Wittek 9th on 18. Neither player appears to be a pushover. Englisch drew his two games with Steinitz and Sonos ranks him in the top 10 in the world at that time. Meanwhile, Wittek scored wins against both Steinitz and Winawer and Sonos has him within 100 rating points of both players.

In the BCE subject game, Wittek enjoyed the better side of a bishop versus knight ending after 36...Kf7

37.Bxh6 Temporarily restoring material equality, but the White h-pawn is doomed 37...Kg6 38.Be3 Kh5 39.Kd2 Kh4 40.Kd3 Kxh3? Keeping the White king out of e4 with 40...d5 would give Black great winning chances. The knight is ready to come to g6 to stop f4. 41.Ke4 Kg4 42.c4 Ng8 Annotations in Oesterreichische Lesehalle indicate 42...Kh5 as safer. Given some free moves, Black would play Kf6, Ke6 and d5, but after 43.f4 there are likely few winning chances for Black in the 4 vs. 3 ending. 43.f3+ Kg3 Allowing his knight to be dominated, but Black was obviously not keen on allowing the White king to penetrate after 43...Kh5 44.Kf5 so he goes on the counter attack 44.Bg5 The starting position of BCE-250a. A very interesting position. The Black knight is dominated, but this also freezes the White bishop. The activity of the Black king prevents White from simply collecting the knight. 44...Kf2 45.f4 exf4 46.Kxf4 Ke2 47.Ke4 c6 48.a4 a5 49.b3 c5 49...Kf2 should also draw as discussed in the correction link 50.Kd5 Kd3! 51.Kxd6 Kc2? Also losing is 51...b6? 52.Kc6 Kc3 53.Kxb6! Kxb3 54.Kb5, but Black holds with 51...Kd4! as shown in the correction link 52.Kxc5! Kxb3 53.Kb5! Kc3 54.Bd8? I think the simplest win is to create a passed pawn without releasing the knight 54.c5 Kd4 (54...Kb3 55.Kxa5) 55.c6! bxc6+ 56.Kxa5! although the more complicated lines given in Oesterreichische Lesehalle and by Fine beginning with 54.Kxa5 also win 54...Kd4? Black had to take the opportunity to activate his knight even though it is far from the action 54...Nh6! 55.Bg5! correcting his mistake and locking the Black knight up again. 55...Kd3 56.c5 Kd4 57.Bh4? 57.c6!+- wins as above 57...Nh6! not missing the second chance 58.Bf2+ Kd5! 59.Kb6 Nf5 60.Kxb7 Ne7! 61.Kb6 Nc6 62.Bg1 Nb8 63.Kb5 Nc6! 64.Bf2 Nb8 65.Bh4 Nc6! 66.Bf6 Na7+ 67.Kb6 Nc8+ 68.Kxa5 Kxc5 69.Ka6 Nb6 70.Bd4+ Kb4! 1/2-1/2

9/2/20 - BCE-382b, Levenfish-Botvinnik, 1937 USSR Championship, Game 11

At the time BCE was published, the 6th world champion, Mikhail Botvinnik, had not yet claimed the highest crown in chess, but was still one of the world's top players. Several of his endings appear in BCE including this week's.

Botvinnik won the Soviet championship in 1931 and 1933, but did not participate in 1934/35 nor 1937 and both times Gregory Levenfish was the winner (equal first with Ilya Rabinovich in 34/35). The reasons aren't completely clear, but in the fall of 1937 Botvinnik and Levenfish played a match for the Soviet Championship. The rules were a bit peculiar, especially in view of what happened in the negotiations for the Fischer-Karpov match, but the rules were that it took 6 wins to win the match, but if the match reached 5-5, the match would be declared drawn and Levenfish would retain the title. After 10 games, Botvinnik led 4-3 with 3 draws. In game 11, Levenfish was able to win a pawn when Botvinnik blundered on move 40 40...Rcc8?

41.Nd5+ Kf7 42.Nxf6 exf4+ 42...Kxf6 43.fxe5+ Kxe5 44.Rxd4 Rxd4 45.Rxd4 Rc2 46.Rd5+ Ke6 47.Rxb5 is worse 43.gxf4 Black should also have enough activity to hold after 43.Kxf4 Kxf6 44.Rxd4 Rxd4 45.Rxd4 Rc2 43...Nf5+ 44.exf5 Rxd3+ 45.Rxd3 Kxf6 46.fxg6 hxg6 The starting position of BCE-382b 47.Rd6+ Kf7 48.Rd5 48.Rb6 Rc5 48...b4 49.axb4 49.a4 Rc2 50.Rd2 Rc4 51.b3 Rc3+ 52.Rd3 Rc2 49...axb4! 50.Rd4 b3 51.Rd3 Rh8 52.Ke4 Rxh2! 53.Rxb3 Re2+ 54.Kd3 Rf2 55.Ke3 Rg2 56.Rb5 Rg1 57.Kd3 Rf1 58.Rb4 Rf2 59.b3 Rf3+! 60.Ke4 Rg3! 61.Rb5 Rg1 62.Rd5 Fine gives this move as 62.Rb4, which doesn't seem very logical blocking the advance of the b-pawn. It may have been Fine trying to cut out all of the move repetitions, but his line gives an opportunity for White to win with 62...Rb1 63.Ke5!, which did not arise in the game. 62...Rb1 63.Rb5 Kf6? As the correction link shows, Black should head the king towards the b-pawn with 63...Ke6. A key point of this ending is that with the kingside structure, it is very difficult for White to trade his b-pawn for the g-pawn. If the Black king gets in front of the b-pawn he can play Rg4 simultaneously attacking the f-pawn and defending the g-pawn. 64.Rb6+ Kf7 65.Rb8? This is the beginning of a strange sequence. I don't know what the rules for repetition were, but the position gets repeated several times with both players committing the same mistakes over and over again. Levenfish may have been trying to reach an adjournment while Botvinnik was trying to reach some drawn by repetition. White wins with 65.b4! as he eventually plays on move 73 65...Kf6? 65...Ke6 66.Rb6+! Kf7 67.Rb4? 67.b4! 67...Kf6? 67...Ke6! 68.Rb6+! Kf7 69.Rb8? 69.b4! 69...Kf6? 69...Ke670.Rb6+! Kf7 71.Rb7+? 71.b4! 71...Ke6! Curiously, Botvinnik shunned another repetition and finally played the correct move 72.Rb6+ Kf7? As shown in the correction link 72...Kd7! would hold the draw 73.b4! The fifth time's the charm! 73...Re1+ It's too late to go to the queenside as the Black king gets stuck on the back rank 73...Ke7 66.Ke5 Kd7 67.Kd5 Rf1 68.Rb7+! Kc8 69.Rf7! g5 70.f5! g4 71.Ke5 g3 72.Rg7 74.Kd4 Rf1 75.Ke5 Re1+ 76.Kd6 Re4 77.b5 Rxf4 78.Rc6! 1-0 The Black king can't support the pawn 78...g5 79.b6 g4 80.b7 Rb4 81.Kc7 g3 82.b8Q Rxb8 83.Kxb8! g2 84.Rc1 followed by 85.Rg1 and 86.Rxg2

Thus, Levenfish evened the score. Botvinnik struck back with White in Game 12, but Levenfish immediately recovered to win the 13th game and the match was drawn at +5 -5 =3.

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