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?


Anonymous said...

Scotland should've won, damnit!

Anonymous said...

I'm watching the England game as I write this. I wish I was playing chess.

Taxi for Steve McClaren

John Saunders said...

My feeling is that it is very problematic but that Black should probably win... Sample line:
1 ..Rf1 2 Bg5+ [2 Rf2 Rb1 3 a3 Ra1 4 Bg5+ Ke8 5 Kf4 Kd7 6 Ke5 Bf5-+] 2 ..Ke8 3 Bh6 Rf3+ 4 Kd2 e5!? 5 dxe5 [5 Be3!? may be better] 5 ..Rf2+ 6 Kc3 [6 Kc1 Rf1+ 7 Kd2 d4 is similar] 6 ..d4+ 7 Kb3 Bd5+ 8 Ka3 Re2 9 Rxe2 [9 Rd2!? Kf7 10 Kb2 Kg6 11 Rxe2 dxe2 12 Bd2 Kf5 is similar to the game] 9 ..dxe2 10 Bd2 Kd7 11 Kb2 Ke6 12 Be1 Kxe5 13 Kc2 Bc4 14 Kd2 Ke4 15 Bf2 a5! 16 a3 Ba6 17 Bg1 Kd5 18 Bf2 Kc4! 19 Kxe2 axb4 20 axb4 Kxb4+ 21 Kd2 c5 22 Bg1 Bc8 23 Bf2 Kc4 24 Be1 Bf5 25 Bh4 Kd5 26 Kc1 c4 27 Kb2 c3+ wins

I used to be a Surrey League / Civil Service League adjudicator and I reckon I would have spent at least a day on this! But I've only given it about 20 minutes so have probably not seen very far into it yet.

ejh said...

Thanks, John. It really is like an adjournment position, isn't it? Probably careful study would teach me a great deal - wheras in fact a short period of study has taught me what a careless idiot I am when I think I'm winning easily....

Anonymous said...

Cool Position. I think it is only problematic until the ...e5 idea is spotted, as in 1...Kd7 2 Kd2 e5 3 dxe5 d4.

Can White prevent this line?

3 Bxe5 won't work, because 3...Rg2+ and White has nothing better than dropping the rook!

So, White is reduced to reviewing his options on the 2nd move:
-2 Kf2 drops the rook to 2...Rg2+, so that takes care of all legal king moves.
-The rook needs to stay both on the file and on the rank that it's on, I think.
-Against most bishop moves (2 Bh2), 2...Rf1 forces 3 Rf2, except that White's rook shouldn't move (3...Rb1 is the reply).

However, 2 Bh6 is clever, and Black doesn't have a crusher in 2...Rf1 3 Rf2 Rb1 4 Bf8! White has gotten away with moving his rook off the b-file, here, because his bishop can defend the b-pawn.

I figure that Black proceeds with (2 Bh6) Rh1 3 Bf5 Rh3+ 4 Kd2 Rf3 5 Bh6 (or 5 Bg5 doesn't seem too different--white is either way keeping the bishop where it eyes the d2 square, because otherwise for example 5 Be5 Rf2+ and White has nothing better than dropping the rook) and then the familiar ...e5 idea (5...e5 6 dxe5 Rf2+) works, except that White does have one idea that should be mentioned: (5...e5) 6 Kc3!? no problem, however, d2+ 7 Kxd2 Rd3+ and ...Rxd4 and the situation has become shockingly clear.