mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: Not wanting to remain in your memories with my painful loss from the world
open, I thought it would be nice to show that I actually did win at least one
game there... So, I chose this fascinating endgame from my eighth game, played
with the black pieces against Charles Adelman, a 2350 rated player. The game had
been a very intriguing one. It seems my longer than usual break from
competitions, created in me the desire and need for very complicated positions,
so I unnecessarily complicated matters by sacrificing a rook and two bishops for
a queen and a couple of pawns. Correct play on the part of my opponent would
have probably held the position, but a mistake was enough to give me decisive
advantage. Unfortunately, in time trouble I didn't take advantage of a forced
win, but I still managed to win one of the bishops, and that is in short how we
ended up in this position.
Now, Ref3 had been white's last move, and also a fatal error on his part. There are way too many problems in white's piece configuration for them to be safe. The bishop is pinned by the rook, the rook on g3 is pinned by my queen, the rook on f3 is attacked by my queen, and the bishop on h3 and rook on f3 are prone to a simple fork by my 'g' pawn. It doesn't take a Grandmaster to see that black has a simple combination allowing him to win material. The nice first move of this combination is 1...Rh3!
With sufficient thinking time, any player should be able to find
this very simple combo. My more experienced combinative vision allowed me to see
it in only seconds, but that didn't prevent me from spending considerable time
thinking before taking the bishop. Why? Well, because things are not that
simple. Let's take a look at the position after the almost forced 2.Kh3
g4 3.Kg2 gf3 4.Rf3
So, what is so complicated about this position... I did win a
bishop for a pawn, didn't I? Well, yes. But, as usual, endgames are very tricky.
You see, the problem is that while the queen is undoubtedly stronger than the
rook, there are certain positions which are drawn because the side with the rook
manages to build a fortress which not even the queen can infiltrate. One of
those positions is exactly the one one the board, with the pawn on f2, and my
pawn on the 'g' file.
For instance, imagine that I play here a bad move such as 4...Qg4. All white has to do is play 5.Rg3 and he automatically reaches a theoretical drawn position. From this point on, his only task is to move the rook between g3 and e3, thus keeping it permanently defended, while the king keeps patrolling the g2-g1 perimeter.
As it so happens, I can't even claim a superior knowledge of endgame theory with this, because I didn't learn it from the book - I learned it the hard way, about six years ago in a game which I tried unsuccesfully to win from such a position. At least I am grateful to my memory for not letting me down...
There are times though, when knowing less is better than knowing more, and this is such an example. My opponent saw this position, assessed it a draw, and thus allowed me to win the bishop. But you see, if black were to see the position after the combination, and decree it a draw because of the pawn on f2 and rook on 3rd rank, it would be a huge mistake. Just knowing which endgames are drawn and which are not is not enough - it is important to know why!
In this particular type of endgame, the reason it is drawn is that the rook stays between g3 and e3, and thus forbids any penetration on the part of the black king. At the same time, the king can stay on g1 and g2, and there is no way black can force him out of there. And that is why the position is drawn!
However, a more perseverant look at the position we have on the board, shows that it is not exactly identical to the theoretical endgame we have been discussing. Why? because of the unbelievably strong 4...Qe4!
This move pins the rook and thus forces white to move his king with 5.Kg3. My reply was 5...g5. At this point, white has to move his rook, since Kg2 would be punished by g4. My opponent chose to move it to e3 with 6.Re3, since Rf7 would run into Kg6..
And this is where the turning point of this endgame lies. There is one and one move only that does the job for black and that is 6...Qh1!
This is the position I saw before deciding to take the bishop,
and that is why I entered the whole thing. You see, white's pawn is on f2, and
the rook is on e3, but the other requirement of the draw, king on g2 or g1,
isn't there, nor will I allow it to be ever there. What this does is basically
win the position. Pushing the pawn is impossible, and with no good king moves,
white will be forced to move his rook to an undefended position. At that point,
I can maneuver around to get to the much desired check rook configuration.
Here is how the game continued: 7.Ra3 Kg6 8.Re3 Kh5 9.Rc3 (Pushing the rook back to a3 fails because of 9...Qg1 10.Kf3 Qg4 11.Ke3 Qh3 and white has to push his pawn to f3, which allows black to force the pawn trade) 9...Qe1 10.Ra3 Qc1
This is a perfect demonstration of how bad the king's position
hurts white. Not only can't the white rook go to g3, but it can't go the e3
either, because of Qg1 followed by g4 or Qg4 mate, depending on which square the
white king chooses. Also, almost every single square the rook can go to is
11.Rf3 Qg1 followed by g4 mate
11.Rd3 Qf4 12.Kh3 g4 13.Kg2 Qe4 and the rook falls
11.Rb3 Qg1 12.Kf3 Qd1
11.Ra2 Qg1 12.Kf3 Qg4 13.Ke3 Qe6
11.Ra4 Qg1 12.Kf3 Qd1
11.Ra6 Qc7 12.Kg2 Qb7
11.Ra8 Qc7 12.Kh3 g4 13.Kg2 Qc6
Thus leaving only 11.Ra7. Still, after a few checks, black's queen moves into an even stronger position: 11... Qg1 12.Kf3 Qg4 13.Ke3 Qd1!
Now white's rook finds itself once again in a minefield. I will leave you the pleasure of going through all the squares it can head to, but you should see that the only one relatively safe is c7. But after 14.Rc7 Qb3 15.Ke2?( Of course Kd4 or Kd2 is better, but at that point the white king is too far from the 'f' pawn, and the black king can enter the scene decisively) 15...Qb5 16.Kf3 Qd5
And white resigned since wherever his king goes, he will be met
by Qe5 and the capture of the rook on c7...
Winning such a nice endgame provides at least a little bit of consolation for an otherwise really tough tournament...