Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

4/24/19 - BCE-86, Böök-Fine, 1935 Warsaw Olympiad

This week concludes the triplet of pawn endings from Fine's own games with one from the 1935 Olympiad against the Finnish player Eero Böök.

The Warsaw Olympiad was a big success for the US team, which won their 3rd straight Olympiad powered by strong performance on the bottom boards by Kupchik (+6 -0 =8), Dake (+13 -0 =5), and Horowitz (+10 -1 =4) all of whom won individual medals, including gold by the latter two. Fine held down the top board and got off to a slow start, losing 3 times in the first 6 rounds. However, he rallied to finish with a positive score (+5 -4 =8)

In today's game, Böök held a slight advantage in the rook ending thanks to his more active rook after 29.Rxe6

26...f4 Taking away the White king's path to the center. Immediately challenging the White rook is no good 29...Rf6 30.Rxf6 gxf6 31.Kg3 Kf7 32.d5 and White wins 30.Kg1 White could still try to press with 30.Rc6. Now, Black is able to challenge the White rook 30...Rf6 31.Re8+ Doubling Black's pawns with 31.Rxf6 doesn't help now as Black uses the second f-pawn to cover e4 31...gxf6 32.Kf2 Kf7 33.Ke2 Ke6 34.Kd3 f5 It also appears that Black could play as in the line in the correction with 34...b5 35.Ke4 a5 36.Kxf4 Kd5 37.Kf5 a4 38.Kxf6 Kc4 39.f4 Kb3 40.f5 Kxb2 41.Kg7 a3 42.f6 a2 43.f7 a1Q 44.f8Q Kxc3 with a likely draw 31...Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8! 33.Kf2 The starting point of BCE-86 33...Kf7 34.Ke2 Kf6 This doesn't lose, but is a step in the wrong direction. Fine thought he had to cover the f4 pawn with his king. As the correction link shows, Black could draw by advancing on the queenside 34...Ke6 35.Kd3 b5 (he could also start with 35...a5) 36.Ke4 a5 35.Kd3 Kf5? Black could still go back with 35...Ke6 36.Kc4 c6 37.d5 cxd5+ 38.Kxd5 Kg5 39.Ke5 b5 40.b4?? As also shown on the correction link, White could have won easily by creating a passed c-pawn here or on the previous move. Now, the US could have made a clean 4-0 sweep. 40...g6? The final correction is that 40...Kh4 41.Kxf4 a6! puts White in zugzwang 41.Ke4 Kh4 42.Kxf4 h5! The difference of having the pawn on g6 instead of g7 is shown in the variation 42...a6? 43.Ke5 Kg3 44.Kf6 Kxg2 45.Kxg6 Kxh3 46.f4 and Black can't stop the f-pawn 43.Ke5 Kg3! 44.Kf6 Kxg2 45.Kxg6 Kxh3 46.f4 46.Kxh5? Kg3-+ 46...h4 Here, the Black pawn is further advanced, so both sides get queens 47.f5 Kg3 48.f6 h3! 49.f7 h2! 50.f8Q h1Q! 51.Qb8+ Kg4 52.Qc8+ 52.Qxb5 Qe4+! 53.Kg7 Qe7+ 54.Kg8 Qd8+ 55.Kf7 Qc7+ and Black picks up the c3 pawn 52...Kg3 53.Qc7+ Kg4 54.Qd7+ Kg3! 54...Kf4? 55.Qxb5! Qe4+ 56.Kf6! and Black doesn't have a good check 55.Qd6+ Kf2 56.Qd2+ Kg3! of course Black can't allow a queen exchange on h1 when White easily wins the race to the queenside in the ensuing pawn ending. 57.Qg5+ Kf2! 58.Qxb5 Qe4+ 59.Kf6 Qf3+ 60.Ke6 Qxc3 61.Qc5+ Qe3+! and the draw was agreed 1/2-1/2

4/22/19 - Kantans-Jodorcovsky, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

When wanting to play the Sheveshnikov variation of the Sicilian, Black sometimes adopts a move order using the Four Knights variation. The purpose of this is to avoid sidelines such as the the Rossolimo variation (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) or lines with an early Nd5 (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Nbd5 d6 7.Nd5) both of which were seen in the Caruana-Carlsen World Championship match. White still has ways to avoid the main line Sheveshnikov, one of which was featured in a survey by Iva Videnova in Yearbook 128 and was played in the Olympiad game between Toms Kantans and Paulo Jodorcovsky in the match between Latvia and Paraguay.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Nxc6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5 reaches the main line in the Sheveshnikov with an extra move by both sides. 6...bxc6 7.e5 Nd5 8.Ne4 Qc7 9.f4 Qb6 10.c4 Bb4+ 11.Ke2 f5 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Be3 Qd8 14.Nd6+ Bxd6 15.Qxd6 Bb7

The starting point of Videnova's survey 16.Rd1 Rc8 The main move in this position, preparing ...c5. Earlier in the Olympiad, the novelty 16...Kf7 was seen in the game Bacrot-Roselli Mailhe. White eventually won a long game. 17.g4 17.Rg1 c5 18.g4 transposes 17...c5 18.Rg1 Rc6 19.Qe5 0-0 20.g5 Nh5 21.Bh3 d6 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Qg4 Vindenova considered this move dubious, but did not think that Black had any problems against the main move 23.Rgf1 23...Qe8 24.f5 Vindenova continued 24.Kf2 Bc8 25.Qh4 Bxh3 26.Qxh3 Nxf4-+ The engines on ChessBase's Let's Check say the position is equal after 24.Rgf1 24...Rb6 24...g6 looks like a sensible alternative, trying to open lines. Then 25.f6 is refuted by 25...Bc8 26.Qf3 Bxh3 and White can't recapture because of the fork on f4. 25.b3 d5 26.Kd2 d4 27.Bf2 Ra6 28.a4

A critical position. Both sides have some awkwardly placed pieces. 28...g6 Now this move may be a bit mistimed as White seizes the initiative with a piece sacrifice. I found this a very difficult position to come to grips with. The engines show that it is a tactical mess recommending the cold blooded 28...Qe5 intending to capture h2. This leaves Nh5 loose, but White can't take it immediately as the attack after 29.Qxh5 Qf4+ is a bit too much to handle. Another bizarre computer line that I didn't even consider is 28...Rxa4 29.bxa4 Qxa4 with a strong attack. The engine thinks 30.Bxd4 is the only move that is not immediately losing. In the days before engines we would call this position unclear. It is a good one to try to analyze yourself before turning the beast on. 29.Bxd4+ cxd4 30.Qxd4+ Kg8 31.f6

Three pawns plus the awkward positions of the Black pieces give White great compensation 31...Qb8 32.Kc3 Qxh2 Again the engine recommendation is a very hard move for humans to play is 32...Bf3 which leaves the bishop out in midair. However, White doesn't seem to have a way to exploit the loose bishop and it prevents Bg4xh5 removing a key defender. 33.Bg4 Nxf6 White was trheatening Bxh5 followed by Qd7. Covering the seventh with 33...Qc7 34.Bxh5 gxh5 35.Rge1 also gives White a strong attack. 34.gxf6 Raxf6 35.Rd2 Qb8 36.Re1 Bf3 37.Be6+ Kh8 38.Re3 Qf4 39.Qxa7 Qh4 40.Rd7 Qh1 41.Kb4 Qh2 42.Qd4 Qf4 43.Qxf4 Rxf4

White is much better since the Black king is not participating. He slowly but surely brings the point home. 44.a5 g5 45.a6 g4 46.Bd5 Bxd5 47.Rxd5 R4f7 48.Rg3 Rb8+ 49.Rb5 Rg8 50.Rh5 Rg6 51.Rh4 Rxa6 52.Rhxg4 h6 53.c5 Rb7+ 54.Kc4 Kh7 55.b4 Ra1 56.Rb3 Rc1+ 57.Kd5 h5 58.Re4 Rd1+ 59.Kc6 Rdd7 60.b5 Rbc7+ 61.Kb6 Rb7+ 62.Ka5 Rd1 63.b6 Ra1+ 64.Kb5 Rg7 65.Rc4 Ra8 66.Ra4 Rb8 67.Rd3 Rg1 68.Ra7+ Kg8 69.Rc7 h4 70.b7 Rb1+ 71.Kc6 1-0

4/19/19 - Smith-Bereolos, 2018 Kings Island Open

Another one of my once per decade opponents is GM Bryan Smith. We have played over the board three times, all at the Kings Island Open. (We also played in the US Chess League in one of the few matches the Tempo won) In 1999, I beat him when he was just a National Master. He got his revenge in 2008, when he beat me as an International Master. Now, he is a Grandmaster, but I managed to keep the score even in an interesting struggle.

4/17/19 - BCE-93, Bernstein-Fine, New York 1940

In winning the 1940 Marshall Chess Club Championship, Fine gained another extra half point in a pawn ending against Sidney Bernstein, who was one of the defending co-champions. I couldn't find a full game score of this game, so I'm not sure how the transition to the pawn ending took place. However, I did find Fine's annotations starting from the same position as BCE in the April 1940 issue of The Chess Review. It is interesting that Fine's conclusion then was that Black was winning. However, by the time BCE came out in 1941 he had changed his evaluation to a draw. This isn't too surprising as he concluded his analysis in The Chess Review with the comment The variations given above are so enormously complicated that I am not at all sure that there is no flaw in the analysis! I won't repeat all of Fine's analysis here. Instead, I'll show how the game played out and just touch upon a couple of points of interest.

1...Kd4 2.Kd2 a5 3.Ke2 b5 4.Kd2? Fine was originally correct that the starting position was a draw, but for the wrong reason. As shown on the correction link 4.c4 secures the draw. White could also start with 4.c3+ 4...c4! 5.bxc4 bxc4 6.dxc4 Kxc4 7.Ke3 a4 8.Ke4 The main focus of Fine's analysis was on the line 8.f4 gxf4+ 9.Kxf4 Kd4 10.Kf3 h5 11.Ke2 Ke4 12.Kf2 Kf4 where in The Chess Review he showed the winning line against 13.Ke2 (In BCE he changed to 13.Kg2 when Black can immediately invade the queenside with 13...Ke3) 13...Kg5 14.Kf2 Kg4 15.Kg2 Kf4 16.Kf2 h4 17.Ke2 Kg4 18.Kf2 Kh3 19.Kg1 c5! 20.Kh1 c4 21.c3 Kg4 22.Kg2 h3+ 23.Kf2 Kf4! 24.Ke2 Ke4! 25.Kd2 Kf3! 26.Ke1 Ke3! Black can't win the h-pawn as his king would get trapped in the corner 27.Kd1 Kd3 28.Kc1 a3 29.bxa3 Kxc3! 30.a4 Kb4! and here Fine concludes and Black wins by one tempo. I'll play it out a few moves to demonstrate 31.Kc2 Kxa4! 32.Kc3 Kb5! 33.Kc2 Kc5 34.Kc3 Kd5 35.Kc2 Ke4 36.Kc3 Kf3 37.Kxc4 Kg2! 38.Kd3 Kxh2! and White is a move short of being able to play the drawing Kf2 8...c5! 9.f4 gxf4! 10.Kxf4 Kd4! 11.h4 c4 12.c3+ Kd3! 13.Kf5 Kc2 0-1

4/13/19 - Issa-Dube, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

Back to the Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series with a game in the queen pawn openings which the Yearbook calls The Anti-Chigorin Line in the first of a two part series by Laszlo Gonda. This one is a somewhat one-sided game between Rafat Issa of Jordan and Rene Dube of Nauru.

1.Nf3 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.g3 Bf5 3...Bg4 is the topic for part 2 of the survey. 4.Bg2 e6 Gonda's looked at one game with the more aggressive 4...Qd7 which I have faced in both this position and the corresponding one with ...Bg4 5.0-0

5...Bd6 Gonda's survey was mainly focused on 5...Nb4 6.Na3 e6. He also mentions a novelty 5...h5!? which got its first test earlier this year in the game Vergara Anton-Curien 2019 Basel Open 6.Bf4 Gonda didn't consider this move, which does not seem to be a critical test of Black's idea 6...h4 7.Nxh4 g5 8.Nxf5 gxf4 9.Nh4 here Black did not play the consistent sacrifice 9...fxg3 10.fxg3 Rxh4!? 11.gxh4 Qxh4 with compensation 6.c4 dxc4 7.Nh4 Nf6 8.Nxf5 exf5 9.Qa4 0-0 10.Qxc4 Rb8 11.Nc3 Without the Black light-squared bishop, this position is much different than Piorun-Kryvoruchko so White could just grab a pawn here with 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Qxc6 and I don't think Black has a whole lot of compensation 11...a6? This move seems rather pointless 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.Qxa6 Now White has an extra pawn and Black is still left with his doubled c-pawns 13...Rb6 14.Qd3 Qd7 15.a4 f4 16.gxf4

16...Nd5 16...Qg4+ 17.Kh1 Bxf4 18.Rg1 Qh4 19.Bxf4 Qxf4 20.Qg3 Qxg3 21.hxg3 Rxb2 gets Black back to material equality, but White is still much better thanks to his superior structure and passed a-pawn 17.Qf3 Rb3 18.e4 Nxc3 19.bxc3 c5 20.d5 f6 21.Kh1 Re8 22.a5 c6 23.a6 Ra8 24.e5 fxe5 25.dxc6 Qf7 26.c7 Rc8 27.a7 Rxc3 28.a8Q

It's usually a bad sign when a second queen appears in the middlegame 28...Rxf3 One queen disappears, but the engine announces mate in 13. 29.Qxc8+ Bf8 30.Ra8 Rxf4 31.Bxf4 1-0

4/10/19 - BCE-89b, Reinfeld-Fine, New York 1940

Fine was not primarily a chess author, he was also one of the strongest players in the world. Sonas ranks him #1 in beginning late in 1940 and extending into 1941. That is a somewhat tough time period to judge as the war in Europe reduced the interaction between players. However, Sonas has him in the top 10 for long stretches before and after the war. Therefore, besides author's perogative, it is no surprise that many of Fine's own games are featured in BCE.

Fine played many events in the Americas during the war, including winning the championship of the Marshall Chess Club in 1940 and 1941. In the first of these, Fine went 14-2 to win a full point clear of Milton Hanauer, who was one of the defending co-champions, while the club founder Frank Marshall was another point further back. However, the result could have been closer as this week's and next's BCE entries will show.

This week we will look at Fine's game with Black against another noted chess author, Fred Reinfeld. The first chess book I ever owned was authored by Reinfeld, but is no longer in my collection. After 21...Ke7

The position is level as the pawn weaknesses on the queenside for each player balance each other out. Reinfeld opted to simplify to a pawn ending. 22.Rxd7+ Kxd7 23.Nb6+ Kc6 24.Nxa8 Kb7 25.Ke1 Kxa8 26.Kd2 The starting position for BCE-85b. Here or over the next couple of moves, White could consider 26.h3 to prevent ...g4 26...Kb7 27.Kc3 Kc6 28.Kc4 g4 now Black will have a spare move or two with his other g-pawn 29.f3 f5 30.f4 Kb6 31.Kd3 Kc7 32.Kc3 Kd6 33.Kc4 Kc6 34.Kd3? letting Black seize the opposition 34...Kd5! 35.Kc3 35.e3 e5 or 35.Ke3 c4! 36.bxc4+ Kxc4 37.Kd2 Kd4 are also both winning for Black 35...e5? as shown on the correction link, Black should win after 35...Ke4! 36.Kd3! e4+ This was Fine's idea, to take d3 away from the White king. However, this narrows his beachhead and the extra tempo with ...g6 should not be enough to win. 37.Kc3! Kd6 Benko adds a line that was not a part of Fine's original analysis, showing that there was one other trap Black could try to set 37...Kc6 38.Kc4! Kb6 39.Kd5? (instead 39.Kc3! keeps the draw in hand) 39...Kb5 40.Ke6 Kb4 41.Kxf5 Kxb3 42.Kg6 Kxb2 43.Kxg7 a4 44.f5 a3 45.f6 a2 46.f7 a1Q when Black should win 38.Kd2 Kc6 39.Kc2? As Fine gives in BCE, 39.e3 would hold the draw 39...Kb5! 40.Kd2 Kb4 41.Kc2 e3 0-1

4/3/19 - BCE-274b

Before starting the next BCE trilogy, position 274b stands on its own, but is a logical followup to Wagner-Bereolos. Back in 1896, the German magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung published a series of articles by Friedrich Amelung examining the ending of B+N vs. N. Mein Deutsch ist nicht perfekt, but it looks like he reaches the correct conclusion that against this configuration

with Black to play his knight needs to be on a square where he can capture one of the White pieces or give check on e5. Fine adds the square h3, but White still wins with the knight there as shown in the correction link.

I was a bit surprised that the attacking side has chances even if the defending king is not in the corner controlled by the bishop. In the following position, Black to play wins.

I chose this position from my game with Wagner if on move 61 instead of moving White could just remove all the pawns from the board. It turns out to be one of those tablebase wins that doesn't offer much to the practical player. I'll just give the longest line with the lightest of notes because I still haven't been able to come to grips with some of the Black maneuvers. 1...Bg3+ 2.Kh1 Ne6 3.Nc4 Bc7 4.Nd2+ Kf2 5.Ne4+ Ke3 6.Nf2 Kf3 7.Nd3 Nd4 8.Nb2 Nb5 9.Nc4 Ke2 10.Kg2 Nc3! 11.Nb2 Nd5 12.Nc4 Kd3 13.Nb2+ Ke3 14.Kf1 Bg3! 15.Kg2 Bb8 16.Na4 Bd6 17.Nb2 Ke2 18.Na4 Ne3+ 19.Kh3 Kd3 20.Nb6 Ke4 21.Na4 Bb4 22.Nb6 Kf5 23.Na4 Nc4 the knight is finally trapped, but Black still needs to hold the White king back in order to collect it 24.Kg3 Ke4 25.Kg4 Kd4 26.Kf5 Bf8 27.Ke6 Bg7 28.Kf7 Be5 29.Ke6 Bh8 30.Kd7 Kd5 31.Kc7 Bd4 32.Kd7 Be5 33.Ke7 Kc6 34.Ke6 Ba1 35.Kf5 Kb5 Very strange stuff. Particularly striking are the moves of the Black bishop to the two corners.

In case you are wondering, if it is White to move in the initial position, with best play it is a draw after 1. Nc4 or 1. Kg1 because it takes black over 50 moves to capture the knight. However, 1.Kh1? loses by a thread. Again I'll give the longest line, but here instead of the normal Nunn convention, !! will mean the only winning move, while ! is the only winning move because of the 50-move rule. Again, this is one that takes a much higher level in order to offer explanation. For a long time it doesn't look like Black is achieving much of anything. 1...Ne2! 2.Nc4 Be1 3.Kh2 Bg3+! 4.Kh1 Kf2 5.Ne5 Kf1! 6.Nf3 Bf4! 7.Nh2+ Kf2!! 8.Ng4+ Kg3! 9.Nf2 Be3! 10.Nd1 Bg5 11.Nb2 Bf4 12.Nd3 Bd6 13.Ne1 Kf2! 14.Nd3+ Kf1! 15.Nb2 Bf4! 16.Nc4 Kf2! 17.Nb6 Kg3 18.Nd5 Bd6! 19.Nb4 Nc3 20.Nd3 Ne4 21.Kg1 Nd2!! 22.Kh1 Kf3! 23.Nf2 Bc7 24.Nd3 Bg3 25.Nb4 Bd6! 26.Nd5 Ne4 27.Kg1 Ng3 28.Nf6 Bc5+! 29.Kh2 Nf1+ 30.Kh3 Ne3!! 31.Ng8 Ng2! 32.Nh6 Nf4+! 33.Kh2 Nd3! 34.Kh3 Be7! 35.Nf5 Nf2+! 36.Kh2 Bf6! 37.Nh6 Kf4! 38.Kg1 Ne4 39.Kg2 Kg5 40.Kf3 Nd2+!! 41.Ke2 Nc4!! 42.Ng8 Bd8!! 43.Kd3 Nd6 44.Kd4 Nf5+ 45.Kc4 Kg6! 46.Kd5 Bg5 47.Ke5 Ng7! 48.Kd4 Kh7 49.Ke4 Kxg8 and White's heart is broken one move short of the goal. I suppose Black could really rub it in with something like 49...Bh4 waiting until move 50 to capture the knight.

A rather famous B+N vs. N ending is from the game Anand-Kasparov, Linares 1999. In this case, the 7-piece tablebases shed new light on this ending. After, 31...Kxg5

Kasparov has an extra bishop and it is difficult for White to trade all the pawns. On the down side, the a-pawn queens on the wrong colored square for the Black bishop so Black cannot trade knights. 32.Nb6 Be6! 33.bxc3 Kxg4 34.Kb2 Kf4 35.Ka3 a5 36.Na4 Ne4 Kasparov believed that this was the move that threw away the win, but this is not the case. 37.Nb2 Nxc3! 38.Nd3+ Ke3! 39.Nc5 Bf5! 40.Kb2

40...Nd5? It is only here that Black finally goes astray. Kasparov dismissed 40...Nb5! because of 41.Kb3 with no further analysis. This seems like a reasonable conclusion as it looks like White will soon gobble up the a-pawn, but Black has an amazing win with 41...Nd6! 42.Ka4 Kd4! 43.Nb3+ Kc4! 44.Nxa5+ White wins the pawn with check, but it is still not sufficient. Black also wins after (44.Kxa5 Bxc2 45.Nd2+ Kc3 46.Nf3 Nf7 and the White knight is dominated, for example 47.Nh2 Bd1 48.Nf1 Kd3 49.Ng3 Nh6 50.Kb5 Bf3 51.Kc5 Ke3! 52.Nf1+ Ke2 53.Nh2 Bg2 54.Kd4 Kf2 55.Ke5 Kg3-+) 44...Kc3! 45.Ka3 Bxc2 46.Ka2 (46.Nc6 Bb3 and mate next move) 46...Ba4 47.Ka3 Bd7 48.Nb3 (48.Ka2 Kb4) 48...Nb5+ 49.Ka2 Be6 winning the knight. Even so, Anand didn't manage to reach the draw, blundering just when it was finally in reach. 41.Nb7! a4 42.c4! Nb6 43.Nd6! Bd3 44.c5! Nd5 45.Ka3 Bc2 46.Nb5 Ne7 47.Na7? The simplest way to draw was 47.Nc3 and 48.Nxa4 47...Kd4! 48.c6 Nd5! 49.Nb5+ Kc5! 50.c7 Bf5! 0-1 Black wins after 51.Kxa4 (51.Na7 Nxc7! 52.Kxa4 Kb6-+) 51...Nb6+! 52.Ka5 Nc4+! 53.Ka6 (53.Ka4 Bc2#) 53...Bc8+! 54.Ka7 Kxb5! 55.Kb8 Nd6-+

4/2/19 - Wagner-Bereolos, Louisville 2019

Only a few days after posting BCE-274, which involved B+N vs. B, I was involved in an ending with an unusual distribution of minor pieces against Mark Wagner in the final round of a tournament at Michael Johnson's 3 Tables Chess Club. After 39...Bxa1 Black has an extra piece, but there are many practical difficulties. With all the pawns on the same side, White should have good chances to trade them off when the ensuing KBNN vs. KNN or KBN vs. KN are most likely drawn. If Black trades his Bishop for a knight, White should have no troubles and at worse bail out to a 2N vs. P ending. There are also problems for Black in that if he ends up with an h-pawn (if White plays g4 and h4), his bishop is the wrong color as the queening square. On the plus side, the White king is somewhat confined to the corner, which gives some chances in the pawnless endings. We each had a little over 30 minutes here with a 10 second increment.

40.Nxf7 Kg6 41.Nfd6 Bd4 42.Kf3 threatening to fork all 3 of Black's pieces with Ke4 42...Nf6 43.Nd2 Ne5+ 44.Kg2 Nd5 45.N6c4 I was surprised he didn't play the other knight here to keep the knight on d6 to stop the Black king from advancing. However, White has a concrete idea to exchange the last Black pawn with Nf3, g4, h4, and for that purpose he keeps the knight on d2. The one thing White can be criticized for though is that he had spent about half of his remaining time to get to this point. 45...Nd3 Black can trade both sets of knights with 45...Nxc4 46.Nxc4 Ne3+ 47.Nxe3 Bxe3 but then White draws with 48.g4 and 49.h4 Black could just trade one set of knights, but I didn't want to make that trade if I didn't have a clear winning plan. I figured I could always do that as a last resort. Instead, I wanted to keep improving the postion of my pieces, possibly attacking g3 three times to provoke the move g4. 46.Kf3 Nf6 47.Kg2 Bc5 48.Nf3 Now he was down to 10 minutes 48...Kf5?! somewhat double edged as White will now have the possibility of playing g4 with a gain of tempo. The plan that works later, doesn't quite work here with 48...Bb4 49.g4 Ne1+ 50.Nxe1 Bxe1 51.Ne5+ Kg7 52.Nf3 Bh4 since White can eliminate the last Black pawn with 53.Nxh4 gxh4 54.g5 and the king walks up and captures h4. Although the assessment of the engine is not very useful in this ending, its suggestion here of 48...Be7 actually makes some sense as it gets the bishop out of harms way and keeps on eye on the h4 square.

49.Ncd2 Already here White could go for 49.g4+ Kf4 50.h4 gxh4 51.Nxh4 Kxg4 52.Ng6! and the tablebase says it is a draw despite the scattered position of White's pieces 49...Nd5? Probably 49...Bf2 was best at this point 50.Nf1? With the clocks ticking down, both players overlooked the basic tactic 50.Nxg5 50...Nc3 51.N1h2 Ne2 52.g4+?

probably the losing move. He thought he was going to trade the pawns with 53. h4 but there is a tactical flaw. It is still up to Black to demonstrate progress after 52.Ng4 52...Kf6 52...Kf4 53.h4 and White trades off the last Black pawn. 53...gxh4 54.Nxh4 Nd4 55.g5 Kxg5

and the only drawinng move 56.N4f3+! The seemingly equivalent 56.N2f3+? loses to 56...Kg4! 57.Nxd4 Bxd4! 58.Ng6 (58.Nf3 Nf4+!) 58...Bf6 59.Nf8 Nc5 60.Nh7 Be7 and the knight is trapped. 53.Nf1 Here 53.h4 loses a pawn after 53...Ndf4+ 54.Kf1 (54.Kh1 Ng3#) 54...Ng3+ 55.Ke1 Ng2+ 53...Nef4+ 54.Kg3 Bf2+ Now White will be unable to trade the last Black pawn and his king is stuck in a box, so Black is winning. 55.Kh2 Ne1 56.N1d2 it is very straightforward for Black after this but Black should still win in similar fashion after 56.N3d2 Ke5 56...Nxf3+ 57.Nxf3 Bh4 58.Nd4 Ke5 59.Nf5 Ke4 60.Nd6+ Kf3 61.Nf7 Bg3+ 62.Kh1 Nxh3 63.Ne5+ Kf2 64.Nf3 Bh4 65.Nd2 Kg3 66.Ne4+ Kxg4 67.Nxg5

We were both around 3 minutes here. Eventually the g-pawn is going to cost White his knight, but maybe he should try to postpone this for as long as possible to leave Black with less time to mate with B+N. My opponent had stopped recording several moves ago when he went under 5 minutes. I asked about it at this point because I thought it was required when playing with the increment. The TD said the USCF rule about not having to record when either player was under 5 minutes was in effect. It isn't totally clear to me how this rule should be applied when playing with an increment. What if a player makes several fast moves and builds back above 5 minutes? Anyway, I stopped recording here as well, but I think I managed to accurately reconstruct the rest. This was the 3rd time I have had to demonstrate mate with B and N over the board, but the first time that I had to do it with limited time. 67...Kxg5 68.Kg2 Kg4 69.Kh1 69.Kf1 sets the stalemate trap 69...Kf3? 69...Nf2+ Here, Black is less likely to fall into 69...Kg3? 70.Kg2 Bg3 71.Kf1 Kf3 72.Kg1 Bf4 73.Kf1 Bh2 74.Ke1 Ne4 75.Kd1 Ke3 76.Kc2 Nd2 77.Kc3 Bd6 Having recently analyzed the game Jakovenko-Dragun provided a good refresher on this efficient move, which reduces the time to mate by 10 moves. 78.Kc2 Be5 79.Kd1 Kd3 80.Kc1 Nc4 81.Kb1 Bf4 82.Ka2 Kc2 83.Ka1 Bc1 I knew the winning method of confining the king ito the squares a1 and a2, so that Black just needs to maneuver his knight to a square where he can deliver check when the king is on b1. If I had more time, I probably would have found the faster mate with 83...Kb3 84.Kb1 Na3+ 85.Ka1 Be5# 84.Ka2 Nd2 85.Ka1 Bb2+ One small hiccup at the end. Black needs to reposition the knight before giving this check 86.Ka2 Bc1 87.Ka1 Ne4 88.Ka2 Nc3+ 89.Ka1 Bb2# 0-1

Lessons from this ending: 1. Always be alert for tactics (50. Nxg5) even if there are not many pieces on the board. 2. Time management is critical with sudden death time controls. Either attacking or defending, there isn't much time for several long thinks, so sometimes you just have to put your opponent back on move. On the attacking side if there isn't'a clear plan you can just try to slowly improve your pieces. On the defending side, you should pick a setup and stick with it. 3. Know the concepts of the basic endings. Even though 83...Kb3 was a faster win, 83...Bc1 let me pretty much play out the rest on autopilot.

4/1/19 - Bereolos-Ehlvest, 2010 Southern Class Championships

I've posted my titanic struggle with Jaan Ehlvest from the final round of the 2010 Southern Class in the GM games section. All kidding aside, I should have just played a normal game instead of worrying about the tournament result. Getting to play a tournament game against a grandmaster is a precious opportunity that shouldn't be wasted.