Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Never say die

Junta Ikeda has a reputation of being incredibly difficult to beat. Even when he looks like he down for the count, he can always be counted on to keep fighting.
The diagrammed position is yet another example of this. Andrey Bliznyuk was white in this position and had just played 65.Rd6. Faced with a totally lost position, even if the knight is protected Ikeda decided that stalemate was the way out, and gave away the knight with 65. ... Kxa5. After 66.Rxc6 h6 Blinzyuk avoided the first trap by playing 67.Rc5+ Kb6 68.Rb5+ Ka6 69.Nxd4. Now the king has a 3 squares on the a file to move along, so everything should be OK. But ... 69. ... Rh4 encouraged the knight to move and Bliznyuk chose 70.Nc6?? The moment his hand left the piece both players realised that the king had no squares to move to. Ikeda played 70... Re4+ as dxe4 is stalemate. If the king goes to d1 or d2 Ikeda just checks on e1 and e2. Bliznyuk played  71.Kf2 but after 71. ... Rf4+ both players knew the rook could just check across the 4th rank and a draw was agreed.

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