Monday, 28 December 2009

Missed Opportunities

I'd like to show you two interesting positions from my games in the London Chess Classic festival. In both cases I didn't find the best continuation and ended up losing both games.

The first position is from my game against the top seed of the tournament, IM Susan Lalic. After a long positional struggle earlier in the game I ended up in the worse endgame. However, after some inaccuracies from Susan I could have made a draw at this point. Can you find the right continuation?

Maria Yurenok (1968) - Susan Lalic (2310)
11 December 2009
London Classic - Women's Invitational

The solution is quite simple:

51. Nd4! + (51. f7 also draws but unfortunately I played 51. Nc7+? Sadly for me, I only had a few seconds left on the clock to finish the game and there was no increment. Otherwise I should have found the solution.)

Unfortunate position of the black's bishop and a5 pawn means white would capture one of them. Now black must take one of white's pawns or she would be the losing side. E.g. 51... Kd7 52 f7; 51... Kf7 52. d7 and one of white's pawns queens.

51... Kxd6 52. f7 Ke7 53. Nc6 Kf8 54. Nxa5 Kxf7 55. h3 =


51... Kxf6 52. d7 Ke7 53. Nc6+ Kxd7 54. Ne5+ (or simple 54. Nxa5=) Kd6 55. Nxd3 =

The next example is a lot more complicated and I'm not sure if I would have found the solution if I had more time. It is, however, easier to find the solution when you know there is one, so try to find it before looking below.

Maria Yurenok (1968) - Maria Ikonomopoulou (2065)
14 December 2009
London Classic- Women's Invitational

I was looking at 23. Nxf7 for a while but it only leads to equality. Here is an example variation, which I didn't see anyway 23... Rxf7 24. Rxf7 Kxf7 25. Qg4! Qc6 26. Bd4 Ne4 27. Bxe4 dxe4 28. e6+ Qxe6 29. Qxe6 Kxe6 30. Bxg7 =

During the game I couldn't come up with anything better than moving my knight back with 23. Nf3 and I lost later in the time-trouble.

I did consider the winning move for a few seconds, but quickly dimissed it:
23. e6!

There are many variations to consider, but my favourite is with the queen sacrifice:
23... hxg5 24. exf7+ Rxf7 25. Rxf7!! gxh4 (25... Kxf7 26. Qh7 +-) 26. Rxg7+ Kf8 27. Bxg6 Nd7 28. Rf1+ Nf6 29. Bxf6 Qc4 30. Rf7+ Kg8 31. Bd4  +-

Other responses for black:
23... f5 24. Nf7 Nxe6 (24... Bxc3 25. Qxh6 Bg7 26. Qxg6 Ne4 27. Rxf5  +-) 25. Nxh6+ Bxh6 26. Qh6 d4 27. Qxg6 Ng7 28. Bxf5 Rxf5 29. Rxf5 dxc3 30. Qf7+ Kh8 31. Rf4  +-

23... f6 24. Bxg6 fxg5 (24... Qc6 25. Bf7+ Kh8 26. Rxf6! exf6 27. Bxf6 with unavoidable checkmate) 25. Rxf8 Rxf8 26. Bf7+ Rxf7 27. exf7+ Kxf7 28. Qh5+ Kg8 29. Qe8+ Kh7 30. Qf7 Ne6 31. Qf5+ Kh8 32. Qe6 (threatening 33. Qxh6) 32... Qd6 33. Qxd6 exd6 34. Bxa5  +-

I guess strong chess players would make 23. e6 move intuitively even if they haven't seen through all variations.

I'm going to historical Hastings tomorrow to play in the traditional international tournament there. Unfortunately I had to miss the first game, so will play only 8 games this time. I haven't done a lot of preparation, but I've enjoyed watching the Russian Championship Super Final for men and women in the past few days. With one round to go GM Grischuk leads in the men's and IM Galliamova in the women's. But, I think it's not fair that women's tournament has shorter time limit compared to men's. I wonder if that was for the entertainment value as there seems to be an awful lot of chess in time trouble.


Alberto Santini said...

Thanks for sharing the positions.

The endgame position is very interesting: two pawns passed on the sixth promoting on dark square (vs. light square bishop). The theme is giving the two pawns capturing a5 pawn with tempo. I worked out f7 solution. I think you missed the opportunity only for the time trouble.

The middlegame position is that classic position where you know there is something, but you don't find the right path. Sacrifice in f7 or pushing e6 is in the air, but calculating concrete lines is behind my comfort line. No... intuitive e6 with queen sac is enough for me. :)

Enjoy your next tourney.

Maria Yurenok said...

Hi Alberto, I'm glad you've enjoyed these positions.

Anonymous said...

Doing lots of difficult chess puzzles(genuine positions) helps a great deal in developing this intuition for these moves.

I would not be able to calculate so far ahead to mate but something feels very threatening about it and I could see an endless attack forming. It is very difficult with the clock running though.

Maria Yurenok said...

Hi there. You are right, I have to solve a lot of puzzles to get the right kind of intuition. It's hard work, so may be that's the reason I don't do it as much as I should.