Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Never let a chance go by

I'm not a great swindler. Once my position starts to sink, I'm usually the one drilling extra holes in the bottom of the boat. And when I do claw my way back from a lost position it is normally due to my opponents poor play, rather than my skill.
But there are exceptions, as this evenings game from the chess club shows. We join the action after I dropped a couple of pawns by simply failing to count the captures, although I do have tricks. My best hope was to clear a path for the pawn on c6 to promote, although with the bishop planted on d8, at best I was winning a piece. Of course to achieve even this I had to jettison all my pawns.

37.f4 exf4 38.e5 dxe5 39.d6 cxd6 40.Nxd6 e4 41.c7 Bxc7 So I've won the piece, but my opponent now has 5 pawns for it! But with my Rook heading for the 7th rank, and my knight close by, I spot a chance to set up a draw by perpetual. 42.Rxc7 e3 43.Ne8 Heading for f6. 43. ... Ra1+ 44.Kg2 e2 45.Nf6+ Kf8 46.Rd7 The key move. The rook has to be 5 files from the edge, so when the knight checks on f6 it also protects the rook on d7. 46. ... Rg1+?? So tempting, but so wrong. Instead planting the rook on h1 straight away stopped any tricks. 47.Kf3 Black missed this move. 47. ... Rh1 48.Kxe2 ½-½
Now before you ask, the perpetual has indeed disappeared, as the Black king can head to h8 (and not get mated). But with Black king confined to the back rank, my rook and knight can pick up enough black pawns to secure the draw.

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