09 October 2012

Lesson of the Week

After a few inaccuracies, Akiba Rubinstein found himself in a hopelessly lost position against Ossip Bernstein. The game was played in an early round of a grueling event in the Belgian resort town of Ostende in 1906. The format, designed to accommodate 36 players, favored youth. Rubinstein finished in third place, and Bernstein in fourth. The event "greatly enhanced their reputations," according to John Donaldson and Nikolay Minev, Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King (1994), 42.

Bernstein,Ossip -- Rubinstein,Akiba [D37]
Ostend, 1906

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Bb4+ 11.Kf1 Be7 12.h4 Nd7 13.Rc1 Nf6 14.Nd4 Qb6 15.Qb3 Qxb3 16.Nxb3 Bd7 17.Ke2 Rfc8 18.Be5 Ne4 19.f3 Nd6 20.Nc5 Bc6 21.b3 Re8 22.a4 Nf5 

White to move

Some positions require clear calculation of a series of exchanges that might proceed in any of several ways, and then accurate evaluation of the resulting position. After eleven moves of piece trading, the players reached the critical position in the endgame.

23.Nxb7 Bxb7 24.Bxf5 Ba3 25.Bd4 Bxc1 26.Rxc1 g6 27.Bd7 Re7 28.Rc7 Ba6+ 29.Kd2 Rd8 30.Rxa7 Bc4 31.bxc4 dxc4 32.a5 Rexd7 33.Rxd7 Rxd7

White to move

This week's lesson begins with this position. We ask the questions introduced last week:

1) Who is better?
2) What are the plans for both sides?


Bernstein commented that this hasty move cost him the win. If we arrived at clear and correct answers to our questions, will these answers help us find the correct line of play?

34...Rd6 35.a7 Ra6 36.Kc3 Ra4 37.e4 h5 38.Be3 f6 39.Bb6 Kf7 40.Kd4 Ke6 41.f4 Kd6 42.f5 gxf5 43.exf5 Kd7 44.g3 Kc8 45.Bc5 Kd8 46.Ke4 Kd7 47.Bd4 Ke7 48.Bc5+ Kd7 ½–½

Imbalances are the heart of chess strategy. In the second diagram above, White has a bishop and one pawn for a rook. The common material point value system puts pawns at one, bishops at three, and rooks at five. Materially, Black has the advantage. But, the interplay between these pieces, the positions of the pawns, and the position of the kings all affect the position.

1 comment:

  1. After 33...Rxd7 is really a great instructional position I thought.

    It's seems pretty subtle and a good test of endgame principles.

    It looks like White's probably a lot better with a probable win with 34. Kc3 then Kb4 but the answer to why is White better and how to convert is really a good test of chess sense.

    It looks like it might deal more with tempo & move efficiency than anything else which Black maybe overlooked. I think with the position if it was Black's move you probably get the same type of text draw.