Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

5/30/02 - Chicago Open

I made my annual trip to the Chicago Open over the Memorial Day weekend. I was hoping to do a bit better than my 4-3 score. It was a bit disappointing when I later realized that 4.5 was enough to qualify for the US Championship. A big blow to my hopes came in Round 3 when I was completely crushing John Bartholomew. Somehow, in the time scramble I threw away my entire advantage and even ended up losing! Other than that fiasco, my play was fairly good. The worst game was probably my loss to GM Yermolinsky in Round 2. I didn't really put up much resistance from a only slightly worse middlegame position with Black. I had better chances in one of my draws, but again let it slip in time pressure. The other draw was a complicated affair that ended in perpetual check. I should have highlights and lowlights in the next few days

There was the usual strength at the top of the 116-player Open section. I believe the final tally on titled players was 19 GMs and 11 IMs. There was a huge 7-way tie for first with 5.5 points after Kaidanov beat Onischuk in a great final round battle. In addition to Kaidanov, GMs Ehlvest, Shabalov, Yudasin, Ildar, Kacheishvilli, and Yermo split the top prize.

5/21/02 - BCE #348

I'll conclude my discussion of rook vs. rook and two connected passed pawns for the time being (unless I play one in Chicago this coming weekend) with an example from BCE. In #348 the pawns are further back than in our earlier examples. Also, the white king is cut off from the pawns. Since the knight pawn is the more further advanced, the black king prevents White from building a bridge with his rook to bring the king back into play, so the result is a draw. However, White still has a winning try by sacrificing the c-pawn to win with the b-pawn. Fine has a double blunder in his analysis which allows a couple of half point swings.

5/20/02 - van Wely - Nikokic 2000 Corus Wijk aan Zee

I think this game was in the back of my mind during my endgame with Schneider. Long time readers will remember that one of my earliest series of articles (in January and February 2000) covered rook endings during the 2000 Wijk aan Zee supertournament. I analyzed all but 2 of those endings. One of those was the complex battle in Round 11 between Loek van Wely and Pedrag Nikolic. This game fits in very nicely with the R vs. R + NP + BP topic, so I dug out my old notes that I had never managed to get posted and finally present them now. We pick up the action at the start of the rook ending after 52...Kg8xQf7

White is much better here. He has an extra pawn, and Black's pawn majority is crippled by his doubled d-pawns. 53. Kf4!? van Wely immediately takes the bull by the horns with this active move, which sacrifices the d-pawn. Personally, I would have probably played the slower 54. Rd2 with the aim of trying to improve the king's position as much as possible before surrendering the d-pawn. If Black sits passively White can play Kf4 g5 Kg4 f4 Kf5 and then activate the rook 53... Rd3 54. Ra2 Rxd4+ 55. Kf5 Rd3 56. Ra7+ Kf8 57. f4 Re3 58. Rd7 d4 59. Rxd6 d3 60. g5 60. Kg6 seems more direct to me, keeping the Black king passive. For example, 60... Re4 61. Rxd3 Rxf4 62. g5 and wins.60... Kf7 61. h6 gxh6 62. Rxh6 d2 63. Rd6 Re2 64. Kg4 van Wely's simple plan is to collect the Black d-pawn and win with the connected passers, so Nikolic must play actively. 64... Ke7 65. Rd3 Ke6 66. Kf3 Rh2 67. Ke3 Kf5 68. Rd5+ 68. Rxd2? Rh3+ and 69... Kxf4 with a draw.68... Kg4 Black must maintain his attack on the f-pawn or else Rxd2 will be a straightforward win. 69. Rxd2 Rh1 Now 69... Rh3+ doesn't serve much purpose after 70. Ke470. Rg2+ Kf5 reaching a blockaded pawns position, although in this case it is the g-pawn that is more advanced.

This example is also a bit unlike the others in that the White rook is behind the passed pawns giving him the option of 71. g6 71. Ra2 Rh3+ = 71... Rh8 72. g7 Rg8 73. Rg5+ Kf6 74. Ke4 Re8+ The only move 74... Rxg7? 75. Rxg7 Kxg7 76. Ke5+-; 74... Kf7? 75. Kf5 Ke7 76. Kg6+-75. Kf3 Kf7 76. Kg4 Ra8 77. Kh5 77. g8=Q+? Rxg8 78. Rxg8 Kxg8= since Black has the opposition77... Kg8 g8Q was now a threat. 78. Rg6 Black seems to reach a draw after this move, but after the principled 78. f5 Ra6 it is not clear how White can make further progress. Black can stay on the 3rd rank preventing f6, checking the White king from the side as necessary. Rg6 will always be met by Rxg6, so where did White go wrong? Was it all the way back on move 60? 78... Ra1 78... Ra5+ looks more straightforward cutting down on White's options. Nikolic actually goes for that plan a bit later.79. Rg4 White must back off since 79. f5 Rh1+ 80. Kg5 Rg1+ and 81...Rxg6 is equal.79... Rh1+ 79... Ra7!? 80. Kg6 Rh4 81. Kf5 Rh6 82. Ke5 Ra6 83. Rg5 Ra5+ 84. Kf6 Ra6+ 85. Kf5 Ra5+ 86. Kg4 Ra4?! Why not take the simple draw with 86... Rxg5+ and 87...Kxg7 87. Rg6 Ra1 88. Kf3 Ra3+ 89. Ke4 Ra4+ 90. Kf5 Ra5+ 91. Kg4 Ra1 92. f5 conceding the inevitable. The game is also drawn after 92. Rg5 Rg1+ 93. Kf5 Rxg5+ as in the note to Black's 86th.92... Rg1+ 93. Kh5 Rxg6 94. Kxg6 stalemate [½:½]

5/6/02 - Ten Years After

It looks like happy days are here again. Mark Crowther is reporting at The Week in Chess that the world of chess is again going to be made whole. No details on the qualification format yet, but since all of the disputing parties were involved in the agreement I think you can mark your calendars: October 2003, a match for the UNDISPUTED CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD!!!