[Chess^Summit] The Difficulty of Reaching Master

NM blitzcopter
Jul 19, 2016, 8:17 AM |

In today's Chess^Summit post, I discuss some of the challenges of reaching master through my background and some of my recent games. Below is a selected excerpt; view the full post and more at https://chesssummit.com/2016/07/19/the-difficulty-of-reaching-master/.

Black has sacrificed a pawn to reach this mutual time-trouble position. Both kings are in some danger; Black's somewhat more so due to White's ability to open the kingside at will. However, Black's powerful knight and f-pawn are not to be ignored, since ...f3 would seriously restrict any major piece action on White's part.

25...Kh7 26. g5 Nf5! With 26...f3 stopped, Black quickly prepares ...Ne3, seemingly to prevent White from using the g-file. The second reason is a little less obvious. 27. Qe2 Ne3 28. Qh5?!

 Black prepared for an ending! In time trouble, it's easy to forget that not all pawn-up, time-up endings are winning. It certainly takes some effort to untangle the situation on the kingside. It turns out White can't avoid the ending, but had I been more aware of the challenge ahead, I would have chosen something more constructive like 28. Re1. Instead, with 7 minutes to Black's 4, the game continued 28...Qg4+ 29. Qxg4 Nxg4 30. Rf3 hxg5 31. Nxg5+ Kg6 32. Ne4 Rh8 33. h3 Ne3 34. R1f2 Rag8.

Black has made some scary progress, but amazingly has no immediate threats yet! White has enough time to try an Exchange sac on e3 with 35. Re2, with approximate equality. Unfortunately, time trouble does some weird things to the human chess brain and despite still being up time, I panicked with 35. d4??, which lost immediately to 35...Kf5+.


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