13 February 2014

Blowing It

In a blunderfest during my lunch break, my opponent and I reached a rook and pawn ending that should be drawn. Suddenly, however, I found myself with a clear advantage and seized the moment, only to toss it away a few moves later.

Black to move
After 37.Re2??
37...Ra3+ 38.Kd2 Rxa2 39.Kd3 Rxe2 40.Kxe2 Ke6 41.Kd3

Black to move

Black's d-pawn will become the queen. The plan is simple: both kings move towards the a-file, which will be the only opening for the kings. As White yields way, the a-pawn advances until the Black king can occupy c4. That's how it worked when I replayed the game from the first diagram against Hiarcs after the game concluded.

I played the game on FICS through the Chess-Wise Pro iPad app. Having some time for review after the game, I reviewed how and why I blew a simple ending.

41...f5?! 42.Kc3 g5? 43.Kb4 f4??

White to move

44.g4 not only deprives Black of the win that he had a few moves ago. It presents Black with an unresolvable set of problems. After rounding up Black's a-pawn, the White king will outflank the Black king to win the d-pawn and the game.


White returns the favor. instead of winning the game.

44...fxg3 45.hxg3 h5 46.Kxa6 h4 47.gxh4 gxh4 0-1

It is almost embarrassing to evaluate the truth of the positions that occur during blitz in the light of the result of these games. It sometimes appears that players lack rudimentary skills that every elementary student should know. Indeed, faced with the position in the first diagram this afternoon, a fourth grader that I coach was able to win the game from the Black side against my best efforts while carrying on a conversation concerning Valentine's candy with his classmates.

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