20 July, 2019

A combination from 1919

Here's a missed combination from a 1919 game featuring Max Euwe.

 As White, Hendrik van Hartingsvelt is playing against Max Euwe in Haarlem, 1919.

White to play

Van Hartingsvelt misses a nice combination to win a pawn, and a few moves later plays the strange Qe4, which must surely be a fingerfelher, since he captures the pawn next move after 13...fxg 14. Qxg2.

13. Qe4 ??
He then seals his fate with 21.Bf4


None of these are too hard to find, and the combination in the first diagram is a sweet one, so its interesting to see the difference in play ( or maybe that should be in expectations ?) between 1919 and 2019 as van Hartingsvelt was a top player in the Netherlands at the time ( EDO rates him as 2251 and Euwe as 2300 ).

In 2019, would you expect a 2350-rated player to miss a pawn-winning combination just 7 moves into the game ?

In fact, I find the same position 2 more times since Euwe's game and neither plays the best move,although 2039-rated Milan Lizner finds a similar combination after missing it first time around !

14 July, 2019

Drawn ?

I'm playing in a weekend tournament at the moment : last game today.

Saturday's game saw me reach an endgame with just pawns and knights, where I thought it could be drawn, or at least tricky to win.

Black to play on or accept a draw

As White, I was a pawn down and had played my way to this position, exchanging both rooks to reach it, and at this point ( about 3 hours played ) I took a chance on a draw offer, as it looked that way.

It also felt like a Black advantage.

After about 5 minutes thought, my opponent accepted but gave the line of 34...Nd8 35. Ng1 Nf7 36. Nf3 Nh6+ 38. Kg3.

He still thought it a draw.

We had no time to talk further, but I think that Black should play on the Queenside for an simpler win, and probably shouldn't have exchanged down to the single pawn in front of the King.

I his position, I believe I would have played on longer, but circumstances often prevent us from always continuing to the end.

Overall, an enjoyable game versus an Advanced French defence with 5...c4, which I had only ever seen in Blitz !

05 July, 2019

Imagination required

I can fool myself that I solved this, but really, I didn't.

These types of endgames are calculable, but as always, it helps if you don't assume that there is just one way to promote...

Black to play (being in check:)

This is Topalov - Aronian from 2016, and ended in a draw.

Solution if required