White to play and seal a move
JMGB v T. Bates, Thames Valley League 2013
So here we are in Penarth, knee-deep in the South Wales International - as you'll already know if you've had a gander at Saturday's post - John Lewis III.
Anyhoo, as of now I'm in Wales and with 9 rounds to play I'll have a fairly decent chance of adding to my rook endings of 2013 tally (Amateur Hour; Amateur Hour II) and the five-hour sessions will mean if I do get one I'll more than likely have the time to appreciate it. One of the joys of tournament chess.
A couple of years ago I came to the conclusion that league chess was just inherently endgame unfriendly. Necessarily short sessions meant steam-powered blitz finishes and if you don't like them you have the choice of adjournments which tend not to materialise in practice. Well not usually.
My favourite slowplay rook ending of the year so far - and I'm sure this is no coincidence - came from an adjournment that actually got played. The session ended with the position you see at the head of today's blog, at which point my opponent effectively offered me a draw by saying he was happy for the game to go to adjudication.
OK, I'm obviously not winning, but still I wanted to play on. For a start I think I have the more active rook and therefore am objectively better, but also as my opponent was 30 odd points lower rated than me I felt that the longer the game went on, the more chance he might make a mistake. On top of that, though, I was acutely aware that it could be a very long time before I got another chance to play out a rook ending at such a leisurely pace.
So an adjournment it was and off to Ealing for the second session I went. There wasn't much computer analysis to aid either of us - my opponent didn't own an engine and I didn't have the time for more than a cursory peek - and no doubt it wasn't the most accurately played ending, but it was enjoyable. Certainly well worth the trip west.
If I get the chance to play out a rook ending adjournment in the 2013/2014 season I'll definitely take it if at all possible. First, though, there's Penarth. I'll let you know next week whether that turns out to be worth the journey too.
Rook and pawn Index