Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rook Endgames

Today I'm the proud owner of a loss from a "dead drawn" Rook+3 vs Rook+2 with all pawns on one side endgame. As I don't want to be such an owner again, I have decided to investigate the details of drawing this endgame all the way down to the possible Rook+1 vs Rook positions. Actually I think I played the position correctly for quite a while but that's clearly not good enough. So here's the theory:
Quite amazingly I lost as White in this position.
This just goes to show that chess is not easy. It's hard to get a sense of how to continue this type of position for 20 moves or more from grandmaster games because ( except for Carlsen! ) GMs generally take a draw here.
I'm going to play this out vs a computer until I can convincingly hold the draw here as practice. I will post the result when I have it.

Now here's how I should have played that:

While I'm on the topic I'm going to investigate some of the key drawing ( and winning ) ideas in the Rook+1 vs Rook ending as well. As GM Melik Khatchiyan points out in his excellent rook endgame video set on, it's not enough to know the theory in these positions. It is important to actually play out the positions to get practice vs a computer or a training partner.

This position happened during the game. I don't have all the moves to the ending but I found myself in this marginal situation after trying to play too actively. This is clearly the wrong strategy in an inferior rook ending of this type. As it turns out, this position is still a draw with correct play. I almost worked out the key idea but not quite and I lost.

Here are some interesting theoretical rook and pawn positions with some typical lines

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Central Pawns as Compensation for Material

Sometimes pawn(s) are not needed as additional compensation for the positional justification of an exchange sacrifice apparently.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

English Opening Mikenas Line

I don't usually play into this line preferring to transpose to QGD lines. My main interest is in the pawn sacrifice that White often employs in these lines. Obtaining, maintaining and then extending compensation for a pawn is one of my joys within the joy that chess is to me.

Aronian-Kramnik 2011

Monday, February 3, 2014

GM Li Chao You Have a New Fan

This interview / game review by GM Li Chao of China is really refreshing. All strong players improved by studying their losses. It's rare to see a GM analyzing a game they lost and with such good humor. Kudos to you Li Chao, this author is now a fan. GM Li Chao Analysis