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michael.mcguirk
04-11-2009, 10:53 AM
Just to clarify although it's in the game notes below, I didn't win this game, blundering the move before the final combination. Though technically the game was still a winning game, very interesting how the two pieces control the outcome of the game so well.

[Event "Ryde/Eastwood Open"]
[Site "Ryde/Eastwood Leagues Club"]
[Date "2009.10.4"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Biljana Dekic"]
[Black "Michael McGuirk"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteELO "1947"]
[BlackELO "1643"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 {Truth be told, I was
rusty on my opening theory on Ruy Lopez and was mostly winging it. Though I
surprisingly ended sticking to theory, albiet not your most common variation,
until my dubious improvement.} 6. c3 b5 7. Bb3 {Bc2 here transposes to a line
with better chances for White} 7... d6 8. d4 {8. a4 is the theory line with
"chances" more so than "drawish".} 8... Bb6 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 dxe5 11.
Qxd8+ Kxd8 12. Bxf7 {Well here, after Rf8 we are looking at drawish.
Unfortunately for me, I hadn't even considered this as I fell into that bad
habit of continuing with your calculated combination without checking it
closer to the point. I simply missed White's reply back on move 7 when
deciding whether to play d6 or not and allow this continuation.} 12... Nxe4
13. Bd5 Nxf2 14. Bxa8 Rf8 15. Bf3 e4 {Surprisingly, although I'm down a rook,
this activity for me and bind on her undeveloped pieces comes to bear.} 16.
Bg5+ Ke8 17. Rxf2 {As a side combination, 17. Bh4 Nh3+ 18. Kh1 exf3 and if 19.
gxh3 Bxh3 with White forced to give up the rook to stop mate, 19. gxf3 Nf4
with 20... Bh3 to come, or 19. Rxf3 Rxf3 20. gxf3 Nf4 again. Maybe not
decisive for black, but the bind that he develops from those combinations is
powerful.} 17... exf3 18. gxf3 Rxf3 19. Bh4 Rd3 {Let the bind commence!} 20.
Na3 Bxf2+ 21. Bxf2 Rd2 22. b3 Bb7 {It was a toss up, but I felt my chances lay
better if I was to pressure the h pawn more than keeping her king locked to
the kingside. If anything I wanted to force it to the centre, so I could
combine my two kingside pawns into a force.} 23. Bg3 Kd7 24. Kf1 Bf3 25. Bf4
Rb2 {Obviously wanted to keep the rook on the second rank, but g2 felt
fragile. } 26. Be5 Rd2 {I think this really is the critical point in the
position. There isn't much white can do though to improve...} 27. Bxg7 Rxh2
28. Bd4 {Here I was getting a bit carried away with the idea of locking her
down, I headed my rook back over to d2 to cover c2. I hadn't yet realised how
much my winning chances had gone up.} 28... Rd2 29. Bf2 h5 30. Be1 {White's
finally worked out how to unlock their pieces with a bishop on e1, then knight
to b1-d2, but it's a little bit late now as it lets me back over to the
kingside.} 30... Rh2 31. Bf2 {White seemed pleased to finally have worked out
how to free her knight.} 31... h4 32. Nc2 h3 {But here comes the roller.} 33.
Ne1 {And here I miscalculated and cost myself the game. I must admit I was
really frustrated with myself over it, as I simply confused myself on which
lines I'd already analysed when checking myself. Though I was getting low on
time by now. I continued Bh5 thinking to hold the pressure one more move, then
Rh1 followed by h2, etc, but missed the simple following win. The game
actually concluded with the obvious Kg1 upon which I resigned.} 33... Rh1+
34. Bg1 h2 35. Nxf3 Rxg1+ 36. Nxg1 h1=Q {Technically there is still a game to
be won here, but Black can keep white locked down still relatively well and
have a clean win. Simple lesson learned though, don't get caught up in the
nuances of a theme and play the game that's presented to you. Find the
calculated win (and follow up moves!) when the position calls for it instead
of having trouble transitioning to that point.} 0-1

Kevin Bonham
04-11-2009, 12:02 PM
Thanks for posting that; I found it interesting too.

It seems that the correct route to the kingside for the white knight for defence is via b1 and d2, not via c2. Because the bishop has to move before the N can go to c2, that path takes three moves compared to two. If white can implement a plan starting 31.Nb1 and including Nd2, Rd1, Bf2, Ke2 with Nf3 coming to round up the h-pawn then she appears to have some winning chances, although there is a risk of running out of pawns.

Also in the game line white has the option 33.Nd4 and after Rh1+ 34.Bg1 h2 35.Kf2 it does not appear that black has better than winning back the piece for the h-pawn with a likely draw.

The missed promotion combination is a neat one, well worth knowing.

Igor_Goldenberg
04-11-2009, 04:27 PM
It seems to me that the final position is very difficult for black to win, draw is the likely outcome.

In the game white had many chances to untangle. Playing Rc1 and Nc2 or playing b4 and then c4, or moving rook to d1 or e1 and then bringing the knight back through b1.
All those scenarios require a pawn sacrifice, but the freedom worth it :); white would still have enough material to win, especially if they did not exchange h2 pawn.


On the other hand, excellent struggle by black by causing opponent most problems and exploiting white's lack of action. Path of the most resistance saved many resignable positions and won numerious unwinnable.

Alexrules01
04-11-2009, 06:41 PM
Nice game Micheal, shame you lost :(

BTW- This is Alex Mehan, from Junior Chess Club. Glad to see you here :D

Jesper Norgaard
04-11-2009, 07:40 PM
This shows with all clarity that control is everything in chess, and material is nothing. However, often an extra pawn and a little consolidation (from a slightly disorganized position) can bring a player back on track of winning the game, but only because control is gained in the end. White's entangled pieces, where one piece has to protect this pawn, the other piece has to protect that pawn etc. ... was just a recipe for disaster. It only became real with yet another blunder Ne1. A single extra pawn with good control is much much better than a piece extra for a pawn and a position in discoordination.

White should have thought about coordination way before, which she never really gained until the final little point Kg1. When I saw 18.gxf3?? Rxf3 19.Rh4 Rd3 I almost threw up. Surely white should think of development so that 18.Nd2! is the right thing. Maybe she was afraid of 18...fxg2 19.Bh4 Bb7 but that doesn't look so scary even allowing this, but white has much stronger 19.Re1+ Kd7 20.Be3 so probably 18...Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2 fxg2+ 20.Kxg2 is necessary with an easily winning game for white, all the pieces are out, no entry points for black's pieces, and there is only a pawn for the piece.

Cute way to get a queen in the end by the way! (although it didn't happen). Great fighting spirit all along.

michael.mcguirk
05-11-2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks for posting that; I found it interesting too.

It seems that the correct route to the kingside for the white knight for defence is via b1 and d2, not via c2. Because the bishop has to move before the N can go to c2, that path takes three moves compared to two. If white can implement a plan starting 31.Nb1 and including Nd2, Rd1, Bf2, Ke2 with Nf3 coming to round up the h-pawn then she appears to have some winning chances, although there is a risk of running out of pawns.

Also in the game line white has the option 33.Nd4 and after Rh1+ 34.Bg1 h2 35.Kf2 it does not appear that black has better than winning back the piece for the h-pawn with a likely draw.

The missed promotion combination is a neat one, well worth knowing.

Yes this is the correct path for the white knight to take, but it also brings down points too. Namely, that the rook can then invade the back rank and pin it down to the rook, followed by doubling up with the bishop on it.

As for 33.Nd4, that was my intention actually all along was to just win the piece back for the pawn and go for the end-game. It was only about 15 minutes after my game that I realised I had the promotion. By no means do I think I was 'winning' this game, nor do I think I had the better position. I just find it entertaining to see how the two pieces coordinate so well to lock up white's position so thoroughly.

I suppose it's more the psychological strain of having to deal with such a position for my opponent that I find, I dare say, fun :) Playing such a 'cramped' position with me only having 2 pieces? As well as there being such space on the kingside. Not usual and quite entertaining I found :)

Capablanca-Fan
05-11-2009, 11:58 AM
White should have thought about coordination way before, which she never really gained until the final little point Kg1. When I saw 18.gxf3?? Rxf3 19.Rh4 Rd3 I almost threw up. Surely white should think of development so that 18.Nd2! is the right thing. Maybe she was afraid of 18...fxg2 19.Bh4 Bb7 but that doesn't look so scary even allowing this, but white has much stronger 19.Re1+ Kd7 20.Be3 so probably 18...Bxf2+ 19.Kxf2 fxg2+ 20.Kxg2 is necessary with an easily winning game for white, all the pieces are out, no entry points for black's pieces, and there is only a pawn for the piece.
Very good suggestion; simple coordinating moves like 18.Nd2 (along with the Zwischenschach 19. Re1+) would be worth a pawn to avoid the bind, and here it would not even cost material compared with the game continuation.