Converting the Advantage With Opposite Colored Bishops

Converting the Advantage With Opposite Colored Bishops

Dec 18, 2009, 4:12 PM |

Hey everyone, I'm sharing a game where I managed to win this time.

In the team match between the groups Chess Association vs Chesstempo Members, I was paired with Jhoetam, a 1900+ rated player from Philippines. I was playing for the Chesstempo team, and I'm proud to score a win. But more important for me was that I finally succeeded to convert a won endgame, especially after the disastrous draw from my last game, where I had failed to win a game with a whole rook up. The main difficulty here was that we had opposite colored bishops, which gives amazing resistance chances to the defending side. 

Here's the game. I'd like to mention that you'd make the most out of this blog entry if you really try to put yourself into the players' position and try your best to find answers where I ask "what would you do here?"

I think this d5 move was the most logical way of dealing with white's threats. The other choices were Nxe4 followed by Qxe4+, giving up a piece for two pawns with a strong center (still losing though) and some Bb7 variations. But it's not over yet. You're white, and black's queen is looking very funny, he can't castle, you've got him. You need to keep your hands on his throat or he'll escape. What would you do here?

How to claim the win here? What would you do to eat that juicy pawn?

OK, now black is two healthy pawns up. BUT, there's a very important issue here, that you might have noticed. The bishops are of opposite colours! And it makes it a hell lot more difficult for black to make any progress here. See black's pawn majority on the queenside? It's useless unless black finds a way around that bishop. Now try to go deep and come up with a plan. How is black going to make any progress? Is it possible to somehow convert your advantage to a win?

Now, to my surprise, engines, even the ones that are very stong in endgames like Rybka 3 and Deep Shredder 12 evaluate this ending with a less than decisive advantage for black, probably due to the opposite colored bishops. However, black does have a very clear way to make progress here. I'm not asking for exact variations of course, but an abstract plan, do you see it?

                                                         {white resigned here.}

            As a conclusion, I must say that I'm not exactly pleased how I handled some critical positions of the game, I made quite a few inaccuracies that could well have cost me the game like 13...b5? or reduced my advantage, like 22...Rhc8. Besides these, however, I believe I found the correct idea in the opening, and played the 2 pawns up opposite coloured bishop ending cleanly.
           I have another round against Jhoetam, I hope I'll score another win for the team there. I would appreciate any feedback and comments. Bye!