22 October 2010

Simple Opposition

White to move

Skilled players need no more thought to play this position correctly than to speak the basic phonemes in their native language. That's the contention of Rashid Ziyatdinov, whose book I discussed last February in "GM-RAM: Essential Knowledge."

The position arose in Malakhov-Najer, Moscow 2007 and came to my attention via the CD Chess Informant 5-99 Endings Section. Endgames have been part of every issue of Chess Informant since issue 5 in the late 1960s. Most problems are more difficult than this one.

11 October 2010

A Blow to the Back of the Head

In this weekend's Eastern Washington Open, I started well. I won two hard-fought games on Saturday, then took my traditional third round bye. Sunday morning I was paired against the top A Class player on board two. I labored to get an advantage, thought that I had achieved one, but overlooked the power of a check. As things started to turn my opponent's way, I offered a draw. He refused, but did not capture the free pawn, opting to first resolve a back-rank vulnerability. We played a lot of moves in a position that I thought was a dead draw before he returned the offer.

In the final round, I was part of a pack battling for second place and was paired against an ambitious young player with a provisional B Class rating. I chose the Devil's Opening:

Joshi,K (1648) - Stripes,J (1843) [B19]
Eastern Washington Open, Spokane 2010

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bd2 Ngf6 12.0–0–0

We have reached a fairly typical Caro-Kann position in under one minute of play. I took a walk while my clock ticked to decide whether I had the fighting spirit for something novel, or should hunker down and make my upstart opponent prove that White can secure an advantage.


Either 12...Qc7 or 12...Be7 is fine.

13.Bf4 Nd5 14.Bd2 Rc8 15.Rhe1 c4!?

Again either 15...Qc7 or 15...Be7 is quite reasonable.

Now Kairav went into a long think. There are only two moves worth looking at, I thought, both bad. The queen must move to e4 or e2.


The blow to the back of the head, which I thought was a desperate gamble. He is lost, so he plays for some cheap checks. I was wrong.

16... fxe6??+-

16...Be7 is the only move 17.Rxe7+ ( 17.Qf5 c3) 17...Nxe7 and White has an advantage.

17.Qg6+ Ke7 18.Nf5+ (I thought this move was impossible) exf5 19.Re1+

I resigned in view of 19... Ne3 20.Rxe3+ Ne5 21.Rxe5+ Kd7 22.Rd5+ Kc7 23.Rxd8 Rxd8+-


Kairav Joshi will be over 1800 soon. He's also a terrific chess organizer in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.