Sunday, November 12, 2006

World Championship

It's obvious that black is a bit unfortable in this position. If only black could get his queen coordinated with his rook on a1, he might have some chances at counterplay via the a8-h1 diagonal. Now that his queen is under attack, Lasker had to find a way to get out of the line of fire of white's rook and still defend the knight on f8.

Lasker played 47... Qd6. Capablanca delivered the crushing and game-winning move 47. Qf8+! Lasker's cigar must have dropped out of his mouth and unto his lap. If 47... Qf8, then 48. Rh7 mate. Fritz suggested 47... Ra8 as a desperate way out, but 48. Qb7 is completely winning for white.

Tal Memorial
Nov., 2006

This is the final position where white resigned after a heroic effort to promote his pawn on the H file. I said " heroic " because Shirov sacrificed his bishop earlier just to get the black king one more square away from the action along the H file. It's a game worth looking at. Here, at the end, it seems that white still has good chances. The advanced H pawn seems unstoppable unless black sacs his rook for it. Aronian, however, makes use of a zugswang involving the pawns at the other end of the board, namely white's b pawn.

So, 58... Rf7 (diagram) and white resigned. After 59. h7, the not-so-obvious winning technique goes 59...rf8 60. kg7 rh8! 61. kf6 ( if 61. kh8, then 61... kf7 or kf8 zugswang ) rh7 62. ke6 rh2 63. kd5 rb2 64. kc4 rc2. Black should win in this position. Fritz4 gives this position a -3.88 advantage for black.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The bishop pair is most dangerous in open positions. We have been told this many times, but I missed a good move to unleash their power upon my opponent whose rook is still undeveloped. Before I proceed, it is obvious to those who are better players than me that 26... Rc2+ is the best move since it wins the knight on b2 outright after 27. Kd1. If 27. Kb1, then 27...Rc4 discovered check. Anyway, I missed this continuation and usual excuse is that this was a blitz game---as most of the games in my blog are.

In this position, I played 26... Rg1+ followed by 27. Nd1 Bf3 28. Kd2 and so on. I could have tried 26... Rb2! 27. Kb2 c3+ 28. Kb1 c2 mate. Nice. Other variations will result in the capture of the rook on a1 and black will be a piece up.

Aronian -Svidler
Tal Memorial
November 2006

Aronian has become one of the world's top GMs in a very short time, but here he committed a gross blunder more typical of a B club player. Aronian played 24. ed? and Peter Svidler took advantage of this oversight with 24... Re1+.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I was beginning to recover from a slump, having lost several blitz games in the most stupid fashion, when this position came up. Playing black, I could have wrapped up the win in a few moves if only I played a bit more carefully. Alas, that was a big IF. White played 36. Rf1 as if in a desperate move to save his F pawn. Indeed, I could finally promote my A pawn and played 36... a1(Q). White took the queen with 37. Ra1 and here I should have been more careful by playing 37... d3+ for the win. However, I hastily played 37... Ra1 and it turned out to be a stalemate. This was a great save by white. Another variation is not to promote the A pawn on the 36th move, but to play 36... d3+. This move forces the white king back to the first rank, like 37. Ke1, and only then should I have promoted the A pawn with 37... a1(Q) mate.