Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

3/27/04 - Scooped

As a part of my series on tablebase discoveries in the R+BP+RP ending, I had wanted to make a post on the game Timman-Short, 1993 Candidates Final, game 11. This ending has been incorrectly analyzed in many sources. So far, it is the only error I am aware of in Muller's Fundamental Chess Endings (this is position 6.86 and should have the evaluation +/=). Unfortunately, Dr. Nunn beat me to the punch! In Issue 2004/#1 of New In Chess magazine, he has a 6-page article entitled, “The Silicon Detective” devoted to tablebase analysis of this ending. However, since he used different sources than those I had been looking at I do have a little bit to add to his excellent article.

The second critical position occurs after Timman's 75. Ra4

Here, Short blundered with 75... Rg2? Instead 75... Kf6 (or 75... Kf5) would lead to a draw. After 76. Ra6+ (76. Rf4+ Ke5! 77. Rf7 Ke6 78. Rf3 Rh8+! 79. Kg5 Rg8+! 80. Kh5 Rh8+ 81. Kg4 Rg8+! 82. Kh3 Rh8! =) Nunn notes that Timman and Speelman gave conflicting evaluations of the moves 76...Kf5 and 76...Kf7. Nunn notes that both moves draw and gives a correction of Speelman's variation after 76...Kf5, which is repeated in FCE. I don't have the issue of Informant with Timman's misevaluation of 76...Kf7, but perhaps it is the same incorrect line as in FCE. After 76... Kf7 77. Ra3 Rg6+ draws, but is erroneously given an exclamation point by Muller indicating that it is the only drawing move. Instead, the 4th alternative 77... Rh8+ also draws after 78. Kg5 Rg8+! 79. Kf5

And now the very hard to find 79... Rf8! allows Black to draw because the discovered x-ray attack on the f-pawn gives Black the time he needs to get his king to the key defensive square g7.

In other tablebase news, I notice that there are a few more 6-piece endings with pawns posted on the Crafty FTP site. However, none of these looked to be of much practical interest to players. It is the nature of tablebase generation that endings such as KQNP vs. KB have to be generated before something of more interest like KNPP vs. KB can be made. Still, every additional ending is a step in the right direction. I would be very interested if anyone knows of a schedule for when we might expect further developments. Without knowing that, I'll continue checking the Crafty site and pass along news of any notable additions.

3/25/04 - Linares

The annual Linares supertournament finished up a couple of weeks ago. As usual, this tournament provides a view on where the upper eschelon of the chess world stand. Here is my take on this year's participants in order of finish.

1. Vladimir Kramnik - Many people were critical of the World Champion's play in this tournament, since he played many short draws. But you can't argue with results. His usual +2 was enough to win the tournament, and he was never in danger of losing a game. He also beat Peter Leko with Black, his first win ever over the man who he will be defending his title against later this year. I decided to keep my World Championship poll going with the results rolling over (I also enabled some comments to be viewed which Tripod never notified me were pending). Readers are still favoring Leko to topple Kramnik by a 2:1 margin. I doubt you'll be able to get those kind of odds at Betsson once the match starts.

2-3. Garry Kasparov - The question about the Boss after this tournament comes down to was he rusty or is he slipping? Undefeated and only a half a point behind Kramnik is a great tournament for anyone, unless your name is Garry Kasparov. The Boss certainly had opportunities for a higher score. He missed clear wins in at least 3 games. I don't remember him being in time pressure as much in the past as he was in this tournament. However, he only played 6 classical games since the last Linares tournament so rust could have been a factor. Still, after his amazing run of tournament success over the past couple of years it is now well over a year since he won a classical tournament.

2-3. Peter Leko - I think this tournament re-affirmed Leko as a legitimate contender for Kramnik's title. He led much of the tournament and still only finished a half point behind. On the down side, it didn't seem like he tried very hard after losing to Kramnik.

4-5. Teimour Radjabov - This kid will certainly get invited back to the next Linares tournament. He finished with two wins to reach an even score and for the second straight year his mini-match with Kasparov was critical in deciding the top place. This time he didn't score a win, but managed to reach two draws from lost positions which was enough to stop Kasparov from winning the tournament. If all that wasn't enough to make him attractive to organizers, he was also the biggest rating point winner for the tournament.

4-5. Veselin Topalov - For some reason we haven't been seeing Topalov in the big tournaments the past couple of years. Here, he played his usual brand of combative chess, but I was quite disappointed that he didn't try to push Kramnik with the White pieces in the final round. A win would have given him a tie for first and really boosted his stock. Instead, a quick draw left him with an even score.

6-7. Alexei Shirov - Another combative player who is a fan favorite. He had a share of the lead in the first half of the tournament, but got in trouble with the Black pieces in the second half. On the bright side, he looked like he had Kasparov in some difficulties in both games, but the Boss managed to draw both games, so Alexei is still looking for his first win against Kasparov.

6-7. Paco Vallejo Pons - He finished last, but this was still a respectable showing. Like Radjabov, he is somewhat over his head with this crowd and can expect every player to be targetting him for a win. Yet he only lost two games and gained a few rating points in the process.