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Hello Chess.com. I played the following game against GM Pascal Charbonneau today in a simul. I played a nice but slightly strange opening, similar to a grunfeld but originating from the english opening. After some middle game troubles, I reached a slightly disadvantageous ending, but I think I could have held a draw. Any thoughts?
Here is the game:
I thought you were pretty close at times... just a bit mixed up with what defense you were going for. What the moves say to me:
31...Bb7 -- less active than on a6 maybe, but I think your plan is to tie defenders to d5 with a possible Nf6 in the future.
32...Nd7 -- I like how your knight helps fill in the dark square holes.
33...Kf6 -- Takes away f6 from the knight, so Bb7 seems a bit more passive now. The king wants to be in front of the passed pawn anyway, not on the kingside. This was the beauty of your Bb7 idea. The knight holds e5 for you until white tries to bring his bishop into the game, them boom, Nf6 keeps white tied to defense.
34...a6 -- Not bad, but again your king seems misplaced in all of this.
35... h6 -- you pass? His bishop is starting to come around, get your king off of f6 and your knight on f6 to tie him back onto the pawn. 35...b5 with Nb6 with the same idea is interesting too.
36...h5 -- Yeah, turns out h6 was worse than a pass, because it meant you had to look out for h5 by white. I think white gets the better of the kingside structure. e5 control, your pawns on light squares, things like this.
37...Kf7 -- Yes!!
38...Kf6 -- No!!
You might not be lost, but for each move you leave your king out of the game, it gets a tiny bit harder to defend the position.
39...Kg7 -- A painful move, gotta try Kf7 again. White actually wants his pawn as far back as possible. Each advance limits his options and ability to coordinate around it. Which is why 41.d6+ would be a scary move to have a GM play against me. It basically means his position has reached the maximum he can hope for.
41...Kg7 -- You absolutely misunderstand the king's role in this endgame. He has to help. You're a piece down on the queenside and center. You can't draw a GM a piece down :)
42...Bc8 -- Yeah, I wonder what he had planned on 42...Bc6? I don't really see how he's breaking through. 42.Bd5 seems to win a pawn (as what might have happened in the real game) because of a combo with black pieces on: Kb5, Bd8, and Bc6 or similar.
So to answer your question on move 42, no, I think white has shut your king out, and frozen your minor pieces, his king can probe your Q-side. Again I'm thinking of the general Bd8 Bxd7 combo. Since you're more or less forzen in place, he can pick the best timing.
Okay - I agree, but 41 Kg7 was more or less forced. My bishop can't move or the king enters, my knight can't move or the white king enters, and if Ke8 white should put me into a zugzwang within a few moves as my pawns and king can't move as well. I think the only win would be to play Bd8 and eat the b6 pawn from the position in question, which is more or less unstoppable after Bc8?. The idea of h5 was to fix the kingside pawns, making the position more drawish. It was either that or play g5 and try to activate my king, but I feel like that gives black more entry points. Bxd7 isn't a good move and should lead to a drawn opposite bishop position though. I was considering bringing the king to the pawn, but earlier in the position (before I was boxed out by the bishops or threatened to be put in zugzwang) I was worried that he might be able to initiate a kingside breakthrough and bring his king in. After the pawn structure became fixed I needed my king to get to the d file more quickly, but he played Bc4 e7 and d6. Was there any way for me to clear out his rooks without going into this probably lost ending?
31... Bb7 - Plan was to pin the d pawn and attempt to keep bishop from leaving. I also expected Bb8 which leads to a drawn ending. My opponent looked as if he was going to play this, and almost reached for the bishop, but changed his mind.
32... Nd7 - A knight is the best piece to blockade a pawn, and it also keeps the white king out. The pawn won't queen, but it's hard for me to defend my other pawns.
33... Kf6 - I like my knight on d7 more than f6, and a kingside breakthrough might help matters. I believe the most accurate way to draw is to trade all of the queenside and kingside pawns through b5, h6, g5, f5 etc. After this I can sac for the d pawn and reach a drawn position.
34... a6 - so the pawn can't be attacked - ties my bishop to the defense of it though.
35... h6 - preparing to initiate pawn trades and attempt to draw.
36... h5 - going back on the previous idea, I decided pawn trades were too risky so I try to fix the pawn structure to draw
41... Kg7 - 41... Ke8 loses faster to a zugzwang.
The kingside pawn play I thought favored white... maybe a prejudice going off of the general idea that pawns are better on their original squares in an endgame like this. i.e. your weakness moved closer (from h7 to g6) and you have less options / tempi in certain endgames that may be traded into.
You're right about the opposite bishops, but black is all tied up. I'd expect an expert or higher level player to find the correct timing and sequence to win. Looking for zugzwang combos would be 2nd nature for them.
The rest of the game I thought you played quite well. The endgame looks advantageous for white, but I think it should be draw-able. You have no weaknesses and his pawn rushed to the 5th rank... a bit of a surprising move. I'd try every trick I could think of, giving my lower rated opponent maximum chance to self destruct. Then when we get close to the 50 move rule I'd advance the pawn 1 square. If he drew me after 150 moves, then good for him
Was there anyway I could save myself with out playing Bxd4? - That was a painful move, but I couldn't find anything else, I needed the e file to be opened to clear out his rook. Nd3 was also an interesting move, the idea is Nc5 when he can't win a pawn with Bxc5 due to Rxc7 and also Rxd7 Bxd7 Bxc5 bxc5 Rxc5 Rb1+ mates after Bf1 Bh3. It made him play Rc8+ as anyother move had his rooks becoming more passive.
I like your knight on d7, but keeping your king on f6? Seems you want to have your cake and eat it too ;). Trading pawns would be great, but I don't think you have time for it. I think you need to try and find a fortress. If your plan had went as you'd hoped, I think the open position would favor his bishops, and a holidy on the kingside is so far out of play from his passer... the plan is very dangerous.
41.Kf7 seems perfectly safe.
Bxd4... I dunno, it changes a lot of stuff. I really liked the move and your rook stuff when I first saw it, but I can see how it'd be scary to play too.
Yeah his back rank let you get rid of all that pressure. Again I thought you did well.
I was more worried about a zugzwang after ke8. If white can get the same position with black to move I will lose instantly. However, I'm having trouble, finding a decent waiting move for white, it seems as if we are in mutual zugzwang. I think a GM could figure out how to win this with my king trapped and my bishop stuck on b6, and my knight on d7 and my pawns stuck (I have no moves), but he would have to somehow burn a tempo. I wanted to play this move but it looked to risky. In retrospect I think it drew with perfect play.
I've been looking at the position in more depth now with and without an engine, and as far as I can tell ke8 led to an easy draw. I'm frusterated with myself now, I considered that move for a while and then decided that allowing my king no squares to move to would create a zugzwang. I needed to actually calculate more lines. Could have drawn a grandmaster for the first time in my life and I blow it
should have gone more king's indian setup
I'm more used to the grunfeld and don't know any fianchetto kings indians, and I've been looking at grunfelds vs the english with my coach. I felt pretty good out of the opening.