Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Inter selecta
Hyper, hyper, hyper
That's what we make ya
Making moves yeah...

 No, not that Artful Dodger

Not that this will come as any surprise, but I've been talking a lot of guff of late. Increased self-awareness as a result of a few problems I've had, together with a desperate desire to improve my game, having rather plateaued, are to blame. 

This article, written in October, was perfectly good until I went on a results-oriented rampage. IM John Cox, in the comments, was absolutely right in what he said. However, I guess part of the entire concept of improvement is those epiphanic moments when you work out for yourself what other people have told you to be true.

Take Monday night. I had this position against FM David Haydon, having had rough equality for most of the game, but it appeared a draw was likely once all the bits had been hoovered off. 

Here, I had a practical decision to make. Should I play 33... Bc5 or 33... e5? I reasoned that I was unlikely to lose anyway, and I might as well make life more difficult for my opponent by giving him zugzwang to worry about. With the bishops on, that cannot happen. So I hoovered them off too.

33... Bc5 34. Kd3?

And now I realised that my opponent had missed the point. The g4 square and, indirectly thus, the e4 square are essential to white if he is to hold. With an adrenaline-fuelled flourish, I whipped out 34... Bxd4 35. Kxd4 e5+ 36. Kd3 h5.

Black is winning, and it came as much as a surprise to me as it did to my opponent. The game finished 37. g3 g4 38. f4 exf4 39. gxf4 Kc5 40. Kc3 h4

All I'd done is play the little wooden things, without any thought of a result. Might this be a turning point?



ejh said...

However, I guess part of the entire concept of improvement is those epiphanic moments when you work out for yourself what other people have told you to be true.

Old saying of mine: the whole point of good advice is that you understand why it was right after you've ignored it.

Jonathan Rogers said...

Are you sure this is winning? Say, 37 g4 hxg4 38 fxg4 f4 - anything else for Black looks closer to losing - 39. Ke4 and now, after say ...Kc5 40.h4 it looks like a situation where both players will queen and a draw is the most likely result.

Tom said...

In that line Jonathan after 40.h4 gxh4 I think Black wins. The main point is that after ...h3 Kf3 Black has e4+! and Queens first.

dfan said...

I feel like one of the things associated with my recent modest (~100 pts) improvement at my modest (1900 USCF) level is that I have been much more willing to just make my position better and keep my pieces as happy as possible rather than trying to figure out how to make things happen in order to win.

One frequent result is that my opponent makes the first mistake and my pieces are in a nice position to take advantage of it.

PJM said...

Equally, after 40. h4 gxh4 41. g5 h3 42. g6 h2 43. g7 h1Q is check!

Jonathan Rogers said...

Ah yes, you're right. Funnily I had considered Tom's line, but for some reason thought that the sides queened simultaneously. Silly me.

So well done Phil.

My "breakthrough" endgame moment probably came v Colin Crouch in 1995. Black is a pawn up in this bishop ending:

White: bishop g5, king d3, pawns c4, b3, a4

Black: bishop c7, king d1, pawns d4, c5, b6, a5

Nice extra pawn then but how to breakthrough?