Sunday, December 31, 2006

What a way to close the year! I am a piece down and battling my opponent to the very end. It pays to fight on. Playing black, he played 66... Rg4? This is exactly the moment I have been waiting for. I replied with 67. Rf2+! If 67... Ke4, then 68. Rf1. Of course, 67... Kf2 is stalemate,
and this was his move.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What a fool I am! I exchanged my queen for two coordinated rooks. Nothing wrong with that if you look at the position on the left. I figured that with an outside passed pawn that can be easily defended and sheperded by my rooks, I can win this game. So, I continued with 40. h4. This game actually ended in a draw after black went on perpetually checking my king after several moves. I won't show how that went, but I can tell you that I missed 40. Rb7+, Qb7 41. Rb7+, Kb7 42. h4 and winning. You see some, you miss some.

Most of you will remember the mate-in-one that Vladimir Kramnik missed when playing against Deep Fritz10. After the fact, many theories were put forward as to why such an oversight could happen at that level. One proposed reason was that there are knight positions in a mating net that do not raise a red flag in our minds when it occurs. As you might recall, DeepFritz's mate occurred in a queen and knight combination with the knight at the last rank, at the edge. Picking up on this theory, although at a much lower level of play, here I was playing black with some initiative but quite wary of my opponent's bishop pair viz-viz my knights pair. If my opponent saw my threat, he would have played 28. Kg1. However, not sensing my awkward-looking threat, he played 28. Rb1 instead. Of course, I followed up with my threat and played 28... Ne1. The bishop on g2 is lost unless white takes the knight on e1 with the rook. White resigned in a couple of moves even though mate was not threatened.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Knight Deflection

Only a few days ago, I was studying knight and pawn endings and one of the themes in this kind of ending is the deflection of the opponent's knight away from a passed pawn. When the opportunity actually came up to apply it, I missed it and chose instead to chase the knight away. Here we are at the critical moment when I should have played 53... Nd6+. White must capture the knight to avoid a quicker loss. Analysis shows that the winning line will be 54. Nd6 h3 55. a5 h2 56. Ka7 h1(Q) 57. Kb6 Qh6 58. Kc7 Qg7+ and from here on black will have to maneuver his queen and king to the queenside through a series of checks for the win albeit a difficult one.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Simplify and Survive

I should have been happy because I was a piece up, or maybe not. That outside passed A pawn will require some attention and could draw some resources away from the kingside. My king was not in a good position to help stop the G pawn although if it stepped aside there would be a fork by the knight. Anyway, I wasn't clear on the winning technique here and my clock was running down. Black gave me the opportunity to keep it simple when he played 36... g3. I replied with 37. Ng3+ Rg3 38. Rf6+ Kg1 39. Ra6 and all three passed pawns are gone in exchange for the knight. It was a theoretical draw, but my opponent's time ran out. Tough.