Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dueling Doubled Rooks

We know the power of the doubled rooks. Their ability to penetrate the opponent's position, rule the 7th and 8th ranks, and effect a back rank mate makes for an exhilarating time at the chessboard. Above, both my opponent and myself with the White pieces, nursed our doubled rooks to their greatest advantage. As you can see, if it was White's move, I would just capture his bishop for a mate. But, it was Black's move. We arrived at the position above after 32...Ra2+  33. Kb1

Then, 33... RgB2+  34. Kc1 Rc2+ Black pinned his hopes on a mate somewhere along the a,b,c, and d files. Unfortunately for him, the White rook on e1 sat far enough from the White king to disallow a mate. The White King could not be hemmed in by his own rook. White king avoided checkmate by toggling between the a,b, and c files when checked plus not giving up the a1 corner to Black's rooks. If the White rook on e1 was on c1, hemming in the White king, the mate could be achieved.

35. Kb1 It is with the utmost importance that White did not allow Black's rook to reach the a1 square for a checkmate. 

The 800-pound gorilla in the room is Black's 3-pawn advantage on the queenside. This game went the way of Black never realizing this 3-pawn advantage. After running this position on a computer, it seems the best move for Black here is 35... a5. That is a tough decision to make, allowing the capture of two minor pieces via 36. Rd8+ Ka7  37. Rd7. However, life would not be easy for White who may have an extra Knight but must contend with three, connected passed pawns. 

Feeling frustrated, Black decided to support his pinned bishop, essentially hang on to his extra piece with 35... Kc8???. A colossal blunder that led to his own checkmate by White. From the position above, White played the not so obvious killer move 36. Ne7+. That necessitated the Black king to move away with 36... Kb8 after which 37. Rd8++ checkmate. Game over. See position below.


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