dinsdag 23 augustus 2011

Endgame technique

Endgame technique Simultano vs. Randy

After a tense battle we reached the following position. The last move of white was 25.Rc1. At this point it was very important to play accurately, I realised that black had a difficult endgame ahead and that Simultano had all the asses in his hand. There was no win for black and the best I could hope for was a draw.


Analysis of the position: Black has a better pawn structure on the King's side but Simultano has a potentially passed pawn on the Queen's side giving him the advantage of the distant pawn which can be used to distract my King so that the white King can enter on the black King's side. Black has no passed pawn! Conclusion: Simultano has a huge advantage, I had no winning chances so I had to play for a draw. And I had to play all accurate moves.

At this point I had to think in terms of ideas and not concrete moves as how to steer the game forward. My first thought was that it would be easier to calculate with less pieces on the board and try to wrestle the initiative out of the hands of Simultano. The following moves were played

25...Nb4 26.Rxa5 Rxa5 27.Nxa5 Nd3 reaching the following position.


I have the initiative! Simultano must defend, his rook cannot leave the back rank otherwise I'll deliver mate. Part one of the plan is completed.

In order to reach a draw I had to exchange a couple of pawns on the kingside and reach a position in which my King would be in front of a pawn. The pawn acting as a shield against a check from behind. My Rook had to hold the White King on the king's side just long enough to allow the a-pawn to march forward and at the right moment my Rook had to seize the a-file behind the a-pawn with enough fields on the a-file to allow the rook to shuffle up and down in case the king would attack it. The idea was clear now the moves. My rook had to be on e5 at the right moment!

28.Rb1 Ra8 29.b4 Nxb4 30.Rxb4 Rxa5 31.Kf2? Re5!


So far so good. The next stage.

32.Rb5 I expected this move and I already had a response. ...Re4! 33.Ra5 reaching the following position.


White had to defend the pawn. The black Rook holds a key position, will be defended by the f-pawn and keeps the white King on the flank. But there are not enough squares (4 aim is 5)behind the a-pawn! Mission accomplished. Start of a new phase. Transferring my King.

33...f5 34.Ra7+ Kf6 35.Kf3 h6 36.Ra6+ Kg5 37.h4+ Kh5 38.Ra7 Re1! 39.a5 and now there are 5 squares behind the pawn! ...g5! to exchange a couple of pawns. 40.hxg5 Kxg5 41.Rg7+ Kf6 42.Th7 Kg6 43.Rb7 Ra1!


Another phase completed. Now I had to manoeuvre my King in front of the f-pawn.

44.Ra7 Ra3+! The g-pawns will fall soon and it's all about tempi! 45.Kf4 Ra4+ 46.Ke3 Ra3+ I'll be back (Terminator, J) 47.Kd4 Rxg3 48.Kc5 Rxg2 49.a6 Ra2!! And I'm back! 50.Ra8 forced Kg5 51.a7 Kf4!! Draw.


Simultano cannot make any progress any more. There is a perpetual. He might try to free his Rook and push the pawn to a8 but then there will be an exchange, leaving him with a rook and a King vs. 2 pawns and a black King but his King will be too far away to support the rook in a battle against the f-pawn. A very instructive endgame till the end.



maandag 22 augustus 2011

My Old club

My Old club.

The new chess season is knocking on the door. In less than 4 weeks I’ll be playing OTB at the club again. This year I intend to end higher on the ranking list and to achieve this, I’ve been doing some home preparation and training. My repertoire stands already but it has to be tweaked a little bit to find out the holes in my preparation and knowledge.
Thinking of how to do this the best way possible I realised that I have a good sparring partner at home.

My Old chess club!

In the early nineties I went to the Netherlands to study, leaving my beautiful island of Aruba where I was born and spend 18 years of my young life. Leiden is where I settled. The first year in Holland I didn’t spent much time to chess, there were other new experiences in my life at that time. A new environment, new friends, medical school, etc.

After a year I came across an old friend from Aruba, I knew he was in Leiden too, and the chess flame was ignited again. We used to play chess at high school in the free hours between lessons and at the Aruban chess club. In Leiden we, his brother too, spend many hours playing chess, talking chess and dreaming about our own club that we would found after finishing our studies.

In the late eighties and early nineties chess computers made their entrance into the chess world. We didn’t stay behind!
GK 20000, Conquistador, Cavalier, Travel mate (All Saitek chess computers) were participating in our own chess competitions. It was fun and we saw them as “real human players”. R. Dijkhoff had it’s own club (some of the above mentioned computers) and so did his brother M. Dijkhoff. I didn’t have a chess computer at that time. On a students budget I had to save some money first before buying my second club member. I had already seen a Cavalier chess computer at a local store (Kijkshop) and at that time it was priced at f150, - Dutch guilders. To give you an impression, my students budget was a f850, - guilders a month. After a couple of months I bought my club member. My club consisted now of two players! And I was looking forward to acquire my 3rd member. Simultano, at that time a very strong chess computer, but also very expensive f600, - Dutch guilders. I saved some money again and the day came. It was 1995 and at the Bijenkorf (The Hague) they had “drie dwaze dagen” three days that everything was at half price, so I was there very early on the first day and bought a Simultano. My club consisted now of 3 players.

Old pic. :-)

We had many hours of chess fun, my two friends finished their study and went back to Aruba.
They founded the club we dreamed of, that later merged with the Aruban chess foundation. They are still very active in the chess scene over there and are training our young prospects. They are doing a great job in their spare time and deserve a medal for that!

Ok, back to the main story.
Now days I can afford chess programs such as Fritz etc. But the mystique, the good old memories and the playing style of Simultano are much more worth to me. My Simultano is still a strong opponent, still seeing it as a human player though, and he is really putting it’s finger on the weak spots in my preparation. He plays like a strong club player and that is exactly what I need. An important factor is that it looks and feels like playing a game against a real human opponent. I find a chess program running on a computer a bit distant. The score is now 4-1 for Simultano. Two draws and three losses. But the difference is that he is not beating me like he used to do in the opening and middle game, but in the transition from middle to endgame. At the end I will be prepared to start the club competition on a good pace.