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8/28/19 - BCE-590, Shipley-Lasker, Philadelphia 1902

This week's BCE example is another Lasker example, this time from an exhibition game against Walter Penn Shipley. Looking at the comments on chessgames.com, it seems that this may have been a one-on-one encounter although ChessBase notes it as a simultaneous game. It is hard to gauge Shipley's strength. In my database I see wins over Steinitz, Gunsberg, Lasker and Janowski, as well as a draw versus Capablaca. However, most of these are marked as from simuls, exhibitions, or casual games. Probably Sonas' ranking on Shipley at #12 in the world in 1901 is optimistic, but he was clearly no pushover. After 35.Qg8 Lasker was a pawn up, but his king was a bit open. Here, he walked into a tactical shot

35...Ke5?Better was 35...Qf7 offering to trade queens, protecting c4, and increasing the pressure on f2 36.Bf4+! Rxf4 the only move, 36...Kxf4? 37.Qg3# while 36...Kf6 37.Rh2 planning Rh6+ should be a winning attack37.Rg5+ Qxg5 38.Qxg5+ Rf5 Black has close to level material compensation with a rook, bishop, and pawn for the queen. He also has pressure on f2 as well as a compact formation where he can protect all of his pawns. Based on all of that, I think it is very Laskeresque that he would have declined a draw offer here or on the following moves as White begins to play aimlessly. 39.Qg7+ Kd5 40.Qg8+ Kc5 41.b3 cxb3 42.axb3 d5 43.Qa8 a5 44.c4 Kd4 45.cxd5 Rxd5 46.Qc6 Rc5 47.Qa4+ Kd3 48.Qa1 The starting position of BCE-590, Black has made enormous progress, but White should still be able to make a draw. 48...Rc2 49.Qb1 Kc3 50.Qa1+ Rb2 51.Qc1+ Kxb3 52.Qd1+ Kb4 53.Qg4 Bxf2+ 54.Kd1 Bd4 55.Qxe4 c5 56.Qe1+ Ka4 57.Kc1 Rf2 58.Qd1+ Ka3 59.Qd3+ Kb4 60.Qa6 a4 61.Qb6+ Ka3 62.Qb5 Rb2 63.Qa6 Be3+ 64.Kd1 Rd2+ 65.Ke1! Rd4 66.Qe6? 66.Qb5 is the subject of the BCE correction, now the Black king gets free while the White king is kept at bay. 66...Bd2+! 67.Kd1 Kb2! 68.Qb6+ Bb4+! 69.Ke2 a3 0-1


8/21/19 - BCE-516, Em. Lasker-Ed. Lasker, New York 1924

As I teased last week, I'm going begin a series of BCE positions featuring the second World Champion, Emanuel Lasker. Lasker isn't particularly renowned for his endgames, but his career was so long that he played numerous instructive ones. Today's example is celebrated for its finale, a rare case where a lone knight holds off a rook and pawn. That position is covered correctly by Fine in BCE-506, but today's position comes several moves before that.

Although the starting position does not have many pieces, it is very tricky with many subtleties. One of the greatest analysts of all time, Garry Kasparov, analyzed this endgame in Part 1 of his Great Predecessors series, using a strong engine circa 2003 and still got a lot wrong. I suspect he might have been too deferential to the computer at that point in time. With today's faster, stronger engines, supplemented by tablebases, many more truths can be revealed.

Lasker reigned as World Champion from when he beat Steinitz in 1894 until he lost a one-sided match to Capablanca in 1921 (+4 =10), still a record for longevity. As Lasker was over 50 when he lost the title, it might have been thought that age had finally caught up with him. However, dominant performances in strong tournaments at Maehrisch-Ostrau in 1923 (10.5/13) and New York 1924 (16/20 a point and a half clear of Capablanca showed that he was still a force to be reckoned with. He had strong results well into his 60s, but never got another shot at the title. Today's game against his namesake, Edward Lasker, was one of the few games he didn't win in the New York supertournament. After 69...Rxh7 Black has an extra exchange, but White has compensation with his connected passed pawns.

70.Kf3 Kb7 71.g4?Analysis of this ending has focused on move 72, but it appears that this move gives away the draw. 71.f5 Kc6 72.Nf4 a5 73.bxa5! b4 74.Nd3 b3 75.Ke4 Ra7 (75...Kb5 76.a6 Kxa6 77.Nc5+) 76.g4 Rxa5 77.Kd4 and White will reach his defensive position. 71...Kc6 72.Ke4 The starting position of BCE-516. This position is also where Kasparov begins his analysis. 72...Rh8 72...Rd7 in the main BCE line 73.Ne3 Re8+ In presenting the game variation, Fine skips over this check and the one on the next move and just gives the immediate 73...a5 but this misses a critical moment 74.Kd4 Rd8+ 75.Ke4? Kasparov gives this move an exclam stating that if 75.Kc3! then 75...Rd6 is unpleasant. However, this was the road to the draw. The following variation shows some nice tricks with the knight 76.f5 Kd7 77.g5 Ke7 78.Ng4 Rd5 79.g6 Rxf5 80.g7! Rg5! 81.Nh6! Rxg7 82.Nf5+! Kf6 83.Nxg7! Kxg7! with a drawn pawn ending 84.Kd4 Kf6 85.Kc5 Ke6 86.Kb6 Kd6 87.Kxa6 Kc7 88.Kxb5 Kb7!= After the text, the position is the same as it would have been after 72...Rd7 73. Ne3 except the Black rook is on d8 instead of d7, but this isn't enough to change the assessment of the position as a Black win. 75...a5! 76.bxa5 b4 77.a6 Kc5! 78.a7 b3? 78...Ra8! is the only winning move. Kasparov's line has it right up until the last move 79.f5 Rxa7! 80.Nd1 Re7+ 81.Kf3 Rf7 82.Nb2 Kd5 83.Kf4 b3? allows White to draw (83...Rh7 is one way to win, for example 84.g5 Rh2 85.Nd1 Rh4+ 86.Kg3 Rd4 87.Nb2 Ke5 88.f6 Kf5 89.f7 Rd8 90.Kf3 Kg6 91.Ke3 Kxf7) 84.Ke3! heading towards the queenside as in the game. If Black tries to cut this off, either the White king becomes active or his pawns can advance. For example, 84...Kc5 85.Ke4! Re7+ 86.Kd3! Kb4 87.f6= 79.Nd1! Ra8 80.g5 Rxa7 81.g6! Rd7 Kasparov's line beginning with 81...Kd6 should also be a draw similar to the game 82.Kd3 (instead of Kasparov's 82.Kf5?) 82...Rc7 83.f5 Ke7 84.Nb2! Kf6 85.Na4! Kxf5 86.g7! 82.Nb2! Rd2 83.Kf3 Rd8 84.Ke4 Kasparov gives a blunder-filled line here with 84.f5? Kd6 85.Kf4 Rc8? 86.Nd1? Rc4+? 87.Kg5? (87.Ke3!=) 87...Rc1 88.Nb2 Rc2 89.Nd1 Ke5? and he stops here saying there is no obvious draw. White does have a narrow path with 90.Ne3! b2 (9090...Rc7 91.f6! b2 92.g7) 91.g7! b1Q 92.Ng4+! with a draw (but not 92.g8Q? Qg1+! 93.Ng4+ Qxg4+! 94.Kxg4 Rg2+!) ] 84...Rd2 Kasparov suggests that Black was still winning here, but his variation has a serious hole 84...Kb4 85.f5 Kc3 86.Na4+ Kc2? (Black has to repeat the position with 86...Kb4!) 87.g7! (instead of Kasparov's 87.f6?) and it is White who wins 87...Ra8 88.Ke3 and White will queen 85.Kf3 Rd8 86.Ke4 Kd6 87.Kd4 Rc8 88.g7 Ke6 89.g8Q+ Rxg8! 90.Kc4 Rg3 91.Na4 Kf5 92.Kb4 Kxf4 Reaching BCE-506, although Fine presents it with the colors reversed 93.Nb2 Ke4 94.Na4 Kd4 95.Nb2! Rf3 96.Na4! Re3 97.Nb2! Ke4 98.Na4 Kf3 99.Ka3! Ke4 100.Kb4 Kd4 101.Nb2! Rh3 102.Na4! Kd3 103.Kxb3! Kd4+ 1/2-1/2


8/19/19 - Neiksans-Paiva, 2018 Batumi Olympiad

Today's post concludes my Olympiad/Yearbook 128 series as I have worked my way through all of the surveys. I think this was an interesting way to look at a variety of opening ideas and see how they were implemented in practice. It was a mixed bag as some of the surveys did not see relavent games during the Olympiad. Still, I think the majority had theoretical impact that was demonstrated in the games. I hope readers also enjoyed the games that were only marginal to the survey.

The concluding game is between Arturs Neiksans and Donaldo Paiva from the first round match between Lativa and Mozambique. The featured survey is a new anti-Najdorf line in the Sicilian developed by Ioannis Simeonidis. He tells the story of how he came about finding this line and then having Vasilios Kotronias look it over. When Kotronias didn't find anything wrong with it, they decided that if it was as good as they thought, then it should be good enough for the World Champion to play. So they forwarded their idea to Magnus Carlsen! When Magnus used it to defeat Wojtaszek they had the final stamp of authority.

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Another anti-Najdorf system with a queenside fianchetto is the pet line of the veteran Chicago master Andrew Karklins 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Qf3 e6 7.b3 which he used to beat a young Peter Svidler 2...d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2

The key move of the system. The white queen retreats to prepare a fianchetto of the queens bishop. It had only been played in a smattering of games before Carlsen played it against Wojtaszek in the 2018 Gashimov Memorial. 5.Bb5 is the primary alternative, which was often played by Gashimov. 5...Nf6 6.b3 e6 Black could also try combating the bishop along the long diagonal with 6...g6 7.Bb2 Bg7 which was also seen in the next round of the Olympiad in Nayhebaver-Turqueza 7.Bb2 Be7 8.0-0-0 a6 9.Kb1 b5 10.f3 0-0 11.g4 Bb7 In the final round of the Olympiad, Black didn't wait for the knight to be kicked and played 11...Nd7 and was ultimately successful in Sulskis-Lupulescu. 12.g5 Nd7 13.h4 Nc5 14.Nh3 b4 15.Nd5!?

A typical Sicilian sacrifice to split the board in two. There is no immediate win, but White maintains long term pressure. It reminds me very much of Tal's famous win over Larsen in the last game of their 1965 Candidates match. 15...exd5 16.exd5 Nb8 17.Qxb4 Nbd7 18.Qd4 f6 19.h5 Bc8 20.Be2 Rf7 21.g6 Rf8 22.gxh7+ Kxh7 23.Rdg1 Rf7 24.Rg6 Bf8 25.f4 Qe8 26.Bf3 Re7 27.Bc3 Nb6 28.Ng5+ fxg5 29.h6 Bh3 29...Qxg6 30.hxg7+ Kg8 31.Rh8+ Kf7 32.gxf8Q# 30.hxg7 Qxg6 31.Rxh3+ Kg8 32.Rh8+ Kf7 33.g8Q+ Qxg8 34.Bh5+ 1-0 It's mate after 34...Qg6 35.Bxg6+ Kxg6 36.Qf6#


8/14/19 - BCE-202b

I was going to start a series on the winner of New York 1924, Emanuel Lasker, this week, but didn't have time to prepare a post. Instead, I'll put that off for a week and just go with a filler position featuring an opposite colored bishop ending with two connected passed pawns against none.


8/12/19 - Bereolos-Hevia, 2017 US Masters

My loss to Carlos Hevia in the first round of the 2017 US Masters was a bad night at the office. I landed on the White side of an IQP position, which I rarely play, gave up the bishop pair to grab a pawn, got my rook trapped to a simple tactic, and pretty much went down without a fight. About the only positive was that it gave me motivation to avoid such a debacle when I faced the same opponent in the first round the following year.


8/7/19 - BCE-415a, Tartakower-Bogoljubow, New York 1924

We conclude the series of positions from the games of Tartakower with his encounter against Bogoljubow in first round of the 1924 supertournament in New York. The former world champion Emmanuel Lasker came out on top with a superb 16.5/20 outpacing the reigning world champion, Capablanca, by a point and a half despite losing one of their individual encounters. The future world champion, Alekhine was another point back in third.

Today's protagonists looked to be contenders early in the tournament. Tartakower was the clear leader after 4 rounds and Bogoljubow recovered from this loss to join a tie for first after 6 rounds. Bogoljubow had the bye in round 6 and lost 3 straight after that to fade from contention. Tartakower slowed after his fast start and completely faded down the stretch only collecting half a point in the last 6 rounds plus a bye. Both players finished with a minus score.

They reached a roughly level rook ending after 28...Kxf7

29.Re3 b5 30.Ke2 Rc6 31.Kd3 h4 32.Re2 g5 33.Rb2 Rb6 34.d5 Ke7 35.Kd4 g4 36.Kc5 Rb8 37.Kd4 In the tournament book, Alekhine considers the pawn ending drawn after 37.Rxb5 Rxb5+ 38.Kxb5 but his variation seems to give White some chances in the ensuing queen ending 38...f5?! (better is 38...Kd6) 39.Kc6 (instead of Alekhine's 39.Kc4) 39...f4 (39...Kd8 40.c4 f4 41.Kb7 f3 42.gxf3 gxf3 43.c5 f2 44.c6 f1Q 45.c7+ Ke7 46.c8Q doesn't appear to be much better as the White passed pawn is more advanced.) 40.Kc7 f3 41.gxf3 gxf3 42.d6+ Ke6 43.d7 f2 44.d8Q f1Q and White seems to have good chances with an extra pawn and the move. 37...Rb6 38.h3 38.Re2+ Kd7 39.Rf2 38...g3 39.a3 Kd7 40.Kc5 Rb8 41.Rb4 The starting position of BCE-415a a recurring theme is that Black wins the pawn ending after 41.Rxb5? Rxb5+! 42.Kxb5 f5! 43.Kc4 f4! 44.Kd3 f3! 41...f5 42.a4 Again, 42.Rxb5? Rxb5+! 43.Kxb5 f4-+ 42...a6 43.Kd4?! 43.d6 is a surer draw 43...Re8 Possibly another BCE correction is 43...a5!? 44.Rb2 (44.Rxb5 Rxb5! 45.axb5 a4-+) 44...b4 when engines strongly favor Black. 44.Kd3 44.axb5? Re4+! 45.Kd3 Rxb4! 46.cxb4 axb5! is another winning pawn ending for Black 44...bxa4 45.Rxa4 Re1 46.Rxa6 Rg1 Like Fine, Alekhine also gives this as the losing move, calling it deplorable 47.Ra2 Kd6 48.c4 Ke5 49.Re2+ Kd6 50.Rc2 Kc5 51.Rd2 Rf1? 51...Re1= is the subject of the BCE correction. Black could also hold in the variation given by Alekhine 51...Rc1 52.Ke3 Kd6 53.Rd4 Rc2 54.Rxh4 Ke5 (instead of Alekhine's 54...Rxg2?) and there doesn't seem to be a way for White to make progress since 55.Rd4? again results in a losing pawn ending 55...Rc3+! 56.Rd3 f4+! 57.Kd2 Rxd3+! 58.Kxd3 f3! 52.Ke2 Rg1 53.Ke3 Kd6 54.c5+ Kxc5 55.d6 Re1+ 56.Kf4 Re8 57.d7 Rd8 58.Kxf5 1-0


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