Wednesday, November 21, 2007
What did I miss?
On Saturday, for whatever reason, the Scotland v Italy match was live on terrestrial television in Spain, kicking off at six o'clock our time. This posed a problem for those of us who, while desirous of watching the match, were playing in the eighth round of the individual championship of Huesca Province. Which kicked off at four. (It's not a new experience for me: this game took place on the same day as the World Cup Final and extended sufficiently far into the first half of that game for me to miss both of the goals.)
How to play properly while nevertheless keeping one eye on the clock? I solved the problem, as you might imagine, by playing not very properly at all. Ineptly, to be honest, which ineptitude started with a passive fourth move - game at foot of article - which, had it been replaced with 4....c5, might have led to a quick win for Black. (The line features in John Cox's book on d4 deviations, which I really ought to have remembered, since I reviewed that book for Kingpin.) Anyway, at about the time the match started my opponent had let slip a promising early middlegame. By half-time, I was a couple of safe pawns up and hoping for a resignation and home for the second half.
As it was, my game limped on for almost another hour, and after it was over I rushed to a bar, just in time to catch the last couple of minutes, and the couple of thoroughly dubious refereeing decisions which led to Italy's winner and Scotland's elimination. Dubious, but not, perhaps, quite as dubious as my play - and attitude - over the preceding dozen or so moves. Since, in between his resignation and my departure, my opponent had time to show me a move he thought would have drawn the endgame, even though he was two pawns down.
But would it? I'm not so sure, but I've not been able to find a clear winning line. Can you do better? The diagram at the top of the column shows Faro Perella-Horton, Huesca 2007, if White had played 37.Rd2-b2 rather than 37.Rd2-h2. The question is as simple as the answer is not: is the position a draw?