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I'll post some lines for f4, again, with his move. Maybe not the best, but still a suggestion. As for between Re3 and a4, I'd pick Re3 - it's safe, retains the f3 pawn which actually seems critical to the defense of the king, and as you said, allows movement to d-file or even c-file if things need be. a4 doesn't need to be hurried, I think. a4 can be played after Re3, to remove threats of checks.
f4 is a decisive move - it allows the game to progress - but whether it's good or bad is
Sorry for the delay in getting back to everyone. I thought that I knew what direction I was going in, and then @John_D had to suggest the Qb3 move. It took me a while to go through some different sequences to see how that move would play out.
Of course, @ScarredEyes also did an extensive analysis that I had to go through to weigh all the pros and cons of the f4 move. So that took me some time to run through.
In the end I think that the f4 move is a pretty volitile move, in the sense that the game could start getting out of control and then start to swing in favour of either player. The other thing is that it is not an aggressive move. It would give @zrylam the time to decide the best way to take advantage of it.
The Re3 move seems to have the same problems as the f4 move. @zrylam would be able to start stirring up problems for me, and forcing me to start responding to his moves. Also, if he plays the f4 move, then he is going to start cutting off some exits for my King. I would also be forced to continue to protect my f3 pawn, to make sure that his Queen does not move in.
The Qb3 move seems like a practical move. However, I think that @zrylam would respond with Qh4 and he would then be in control of that open rank. I think that I would prefer to keep my Queen on the 4th rank and stay in control of it (at least for now).
I think that the best move to make would be the a4 move. It forces @zrylam to make some difficult choices and use up his resources to enforce them. If he decides to capture my f3 pawn, then he would be removing a doubled up pawn for me. At my end I would be evening things up by capturing the b5 pawn and having a second passed pawn (it also establishes a White dominance of the Queen side of the board).
So for good or bad I think that will be my official move . . . . . 27.a4
Ok back to this game, 27... Qxf3 seems legit, let's see where that takes us
It looks like @zrylam has taken care of my doubled-up pawn problem. Although, I did like having that f3-pawn holding off the advancement of his e5-pawn. I could end up regretting not defending that f3-pawn when I had the chance.
One of the problems with chess is that when you try to make gains in one area, you create weaknesses in another. In this case I am gambling that trading my f3-pawn for his b5-pawn puts me in a stronger position for the eventual end game.
I figure that I will now have two past pawns and a slight dominance of the Queen side of the board. The question is, how will @zrylam respond to my official move of . . . . . 28.axb5
I like White here A LOT
Yeah, White's now got a definite advantage here, where Black could hold him a while ago.
The b5 pawn was important - it meant the difference between 1 or 2 passed pawns for White. There's no gamble in that trade of pawns - the creation of White's 2nd passed pawn is far stronger than Black's Queen position. The only trouble is, is that White MUST press home that advantage before Black advances his mass of pawns, or causes a massive counterattack on the pawn(s). Seems very easy to press home the advantage, though. A possibility for White is Qa5 - Bb6 - Bc7 - b6, solidifying the position, and allows ease of transferring rooks to cover both advanced pawns or remove the blockade.
If I were Black, I'd highly recommend about now Qg4+, forcing the exchange of queens in exchange for an isolated pawn and a slightly weaker pawn structure. Without this, White can push ahead with Qa5, or a R+Q battery, or some other queen move to retain his queen.
Analysis board coming up. Oh for crying out loud, it did not submit.,...again. Perhaps for the better - from move 3 the moves were just about forced to me, and move 2 have a little bit more variety...
Suffice to say, Black is finished. Utterly finished. Qg4+ may trade queens, but White can then play on the idea of the weak back rank. If Black does certain moves, or if he uses a tempo to solidify it, White can play to just push the pawns, use the bishop for support; in fact, just play b6 and Ra1-Ra7. Moving Black's bishop will allow tactics going down into, at best, a 2R vs R+B endgame, and at worst without being stupid/suicidal, 2v1 rook endgame.
Other possible moves for Black is h5 to try to rectify the back rank immediately, but can be replied with Re3 if White wants to exchange queens; e4 weakens dark squares, but it may be the most resistant move (to change: White's Re3 can now be met with Qe4. Who knows what can happen after White's f3.) Ra8 allows Bb6, and Rb7 just pretty much complies to b6.
So did zrylam resign? I certainly hope not, because I don't think this game is even close to being over. With the f3 pawn eliminated Black can safely make the e4 push he has been striving for all along, after which the vulnerability of White's king, and the amount of counterplay that ought to result from it, should not be underestimated. At the very least, White will be hard pressed to prevent a draw by perpetual (due to the threat of Qg4+ Kf1 Qh3+ Ke2 Qf3+ etc.)
And ScarredEyes, Re3?? by White allows the unpleasant ...Qxd1+.
28...Qg4+ would of course be a blunder. Not only does it remove any chance to exploit White's weakened king position, but it also leads to an endgame, where the passed queenside pawns would most likely prove to be decisive.
Of course, Re3?? ?!?!?!? I've seen that mistake before, a few moves ago. Looks like I've missed it...yet again. Thank you for pointing it out. And yeah, White's king position is not likeable, it's literally Black's trump card now. Black has GOT to create weaknesses for a longer-term harrying...and if with your sequence --- Ke2 Qf3+ what will happen if White then plays Kd2? c3 is adequately protected, and Qf4+ is met with Kc2 (Not Be3 as that will lose the d pawn, and th rooks will have more freedom...possibly enough freedom to give Black a great game.) after which I can't see any more good moves for Black to continue the perpetual. Maybe I really am not having a good time with chess-o-vision at the moment, but I see no perpetual check - just a huge chase. Better for Black, but still...
I hope zrylam has not abandoned this game :(
I do not think he has. I think he is just tied up with Christmas and New Years holidays.
I have been in Mexico for the last week and a half, and I will not be back till next week. I can only get to a computer sporadically.
Sorry about the wait, have been superbusy
Looks like @zrylam has got all of his pawns nicely lined up and is ready to start marching them down toward my King. He has also opened up a nice long file for his Bishop. On the 'down' side, his e4 pawn is blocking in his Queen a little.
I think a simple and straight forward move for me to make would be to advance my b-pawn one square to the b6 square. That way my Bishop will be doing double duty by protecting both pawns, and I am sure that @zrylam will begin to start worrying about two past pawns only steps away from promotion. One thing for sure, he is going to have to start using his valuable resources to make sure those two pawns do not get any closer.
So unless someone can come up with a better move, I will make the b6 move my official move tomorrow night.
Why not delay that by one move and play Ba7?! first? It seems a bit risky though (hence the ?!) in that Black's best reply might be Rd8.
Plus, if b6, then what if ...Qg4+ 30. Kh/f1 Qf4, bringing a new attacker on the d6 pawn? It might not be viable either, but if Black wants to neutralize the pawns, then he can simply play Bf8 with the intention of Rxb6 followed by Rxd6 or Bxd6.
I don't see much other plans though, so I'd go for b6, the safest plan.
I don't see an advantage with playing 29.Ba7, as he would probably respond with 29...Rxa7 and move up a free piece.
As far as @zrylam playing ...Qg4+, I assume that he will be playing that at some point. There are several reasons why he might, but mainly to have the tempo to allow him to maneuver his Queen into a different location and apply some pressure.
As per my comments in Post #172 and #174, and that @ScarredEyes concurs that b6 is the safest plan, then I am going to make that my official move . . . . . 29.b6
Ah yes, b6, daring black to blockade the pawns by further giving up white squares, a gutsy move
Double duty for your bishop is like double plassive here (although black's rooks aren't doing much either). Bd4 would have offered a favorable trade for white, and perhaps another favorable point is it clears the c file (only your rooks can contest the light squares).
As for black, Qg4 is nearly a perpetual so if white wants to win need to look closely at those kinds of lines too... because like you said those pawns should make black nervous.
Need to consider moves like this.
I liked your sequence of moves for perpetual. But first things first...
@4m4z1ng, what's the point of Be5? Yes, it's useful for sure, but if you were looking for taking out the pawns, you need the queen too. Secondly, if you were thinking of Be5 - Bxh2+, that won't lead to perpetual, since as wafflemaster has shown, White has an exit on f1-e2. And the two open files are less powerful than White's advanced pawns.
Now, @wafflemaster, I liked your sequence. On your second alternative variation, what is Black trying to do? The only way I see that'll work is with a little exchange sacrifice, or White moving his d1 rook. I haven't looked much, but that's what I see - Rxd6?! would have been !! if not for White's Rd1xd6...
I'll make a suggestion with your line though...which should avoid the perpetual. I've looked at 35...Bh6+ before...but I can't remember if it was the same situation. However, my suggestion lies at 36.Re3, sacrificing an exchange for avoiding the perpetual. My board will show it, and the crappiness of 36.Be3?? (which I put ?! on the board because it looked good, and then followed a sad ending...). Please find an error in my calculation - I think the 36.Re3 defense I've calculated before against Bh6, but that was with slightly different piece location. Look thoroughly please.
Nice work, @ScarredEyes, with the analysis board in Post #179 and @wafflemaster in Post #178. That was a lot of work you both put in, especially entering the comments after several of the moves. It took me a while just to go through all of the lines and their alternatives, so it must have taken you a very long time to put it all together.
Most likely I will be going the 'dangerous' route rather than having the game end in a Draw. After all of the work and comments and time put in, I figure that the game is in a 'do or die' situation. A Draw would be just too anti-climactic.
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