Endgame Lovers Tournament: Aronian-Hou, R+4 vs R+2
Image courtesy of Chess.com.

Endgame Lovers Tournament: Aronian-Hou, R+4 vs R+2


    Hi everyone,

    Before we get going, I have some important news: I submitted an application for Top Blogger three days ago and plan to message Support sometime soon, just in case they skimmed over it.

    If all goes according to plan, this should be my last post as an unlisted blogger.

    I have a long history of botching endgames. In the endgame, after all, the difference between a draw and a win is no longer a piece, a pawn or a gaping hole in the opponent's camp, but rather the position of your king, your rook or even your h-pawn. That's why when I became sick of blowing games like this one, I joined the Endgame Lovers group and began playing VC in earnest.

    This event is my first and only Endgame Lovers daily tournament to date, starting with White to move in this position:

    Hou resigned here, and anyone who is good at endgames will immediately see why: White simply pushes his pawn to a7 and makes a passed f-pawn, winning.

    At 1400-1600 Daily Chess, though, it's a much different story, and when the event was done, I had managed to defend 4 of my 7 Black games, and it could have been more if I didn't play rather lazily in the first round, as is typical for me. In addition to that, I also won my White games easily enough that I only show one of them here. It's hardly a coincidence - my rating when I entered was just south of 1600, and by the end of the event I was over 1700 - a strange, but just barely legal entry.

    Round 1

 Despite playing fairly lazily and giving up a point to @t_taylor through a one-move blunder, I managed to win my group without too much difficulty, winning my three White games in a variety of ways, including two by obtaining connected passers on the kingside. I also established the primary method of defense as Black, which I used to save this game and at least one other in a later round. Once White puts a pawn on f4 and their King on h3, there is no way to win.

     Round 2

    I have not one, not two, but four (!!!) games to show you here. In the most interesting round of the three, I started by dropping a relatively quick one to @jabarramadan and had to scramble to make up some points.

    My games against @Nkd2 became key, and I scored 1.5/2 between them. The first one features a defensive motif we've seen before, and the second was a repeat of doubled isolated h-pawns with a twist.

 These two games were enough to get me to a healthy 3.5/5, but @jabarramadan still had a White game and a Black game left with 2 points, so drawing my Black game versus @Sateeshmr became important to secure first place. In the resulting 47-move fight, my opponent came within inches of winning, but blundered just when they could finally bag a full point for good.

    Having won my group again in Round 2, I was paired in the finals with @lerodriguez. His path to the finals was quite a bit bumpier than mine, losing his extra material in one or two games and being the beneficiary of a couple of timeouts. Here's his best win:
    I won my White game rather quickly and had to hold as Black to win. However, that's easier said than done in the finals of a tournament themed on this endgame, and despite defending well for the umpteenth time in a row, I was never even close to a draw.

    Once again, thanks for stopping in and reading my posts. You made this blog what it is today, and you will continue to make this blog what it is in the future. Your comments, suggestions and feedback make this blog a better place, and everyone is appreciated. Once again, thanks for stopping by and I'll see you next time, hopefully in my Top Blogger intro.