Sunday, September 28, 2014

One Game, Several Positions

I have chosen the following Jerome Gambit game to be illustrated by a series of diagrams. The first shows an opening oversight by both players - where White's Queen could have been won before move 10.

The remaining diagrams show the game after it has reached a pawns endgame. The computers say the first player has the advantage - but how does he win?

Black's drawing method is worth remembering.

ainafets - cmdeats

blitz, FICS, 2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Nxe5+ Nxe5 6.d4 Bxd4 7.Qxd4 Qf6 8.0-0 

White slips, as covered in "Something To Watch Out For" and "Why Did He Play That Move?" - although Black overlooked his opportunity on the next move.

A game played 10 minutes after this one, on the same date, continued with the same tactical theme, only this time Black caught on: 8.f4 Nf3+ White resigned, ainafets - Papaflesas, FICS, 2007

Later on, the players reached the following position. White has recovered nicely, and reached a winnable endgame.

23.Kf2 Ke6 24.Kf3 Ke5 25.c3 a6 26.h4 h6 27.h3 g6 28.b3 c6

White is in no hurry, and slowly advances his pawns, avoiding anything drastic.

29.b4 c5 30.a3 h5 31.a4 d5 32.exd5 cxb4 33.cxb4 Kxd5 34.e4+ Kc4 35.b5 axb5 36.axb5 Kxb5 

The Queenside pawns have been exchanged off - maybe not the most efficient solution, but leaving much less for White to worry about. He still has a won game.

Houdini actually evaluates the position as a "checkmate in 18 moves" for White, but average players don't have to calculate that far to see a winning plan. The only "trick" is that the first player must realize that it needs to be his e-pawn that gets promoted.

37.Kf4 Kc5 38.Kg5 Kd4 39.Kxg6 Kxe4 40.Kxh5 Kf5

White has a 2-0 pawn advantage, but, due to the nature of those pawns - both Rook pawns - he now has only a draw. Instead, 38.Ke5, followed by shepherding the e-pawn to the 8th rank, was the way to go.

But - don't go away yet.

41.Kh6 Kf6 42.Kh5 Kf5 43.Kh6 Kf6 44.h5 Kf5

Having shown his opponent that he understands how to hold the draw - by keeping White's King trapped on the h-file in front of his pawns - Black suddenly has his King give way.

White now wins by springing his King with 45.Kg7.


Or, not.

45...Kf6 46.Kh7 Kf7 47.h6 Kf6 

Again, Black falters. (It was, after all, a blitz game.) Holding the draw was 47...Kf8.


And White, too, misses another chance to free his monarch. So the point gets split.

48...Kf7 49.Kh8 Kf8 50.Kh7 Kf7 51.Kh8 Kf8 52.h7 Kf7 53.h6 Kf8 Game drawn by stalemate

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