SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Canada’s top player participates in the Barcelona Sants Open!
My readers who have been following my progress (Link 1,Link 2, and Link 3) thru Barcelona’s strongest annual Open might not be aware that this week some of the hottest and most humid weather of the year has come down on the city.
For those who like it hot, then great! But not having the time to go to the beach, I find myself having to change clothes twice during the same day (I perspire a lot!) …the positive side is that I will probably lose weight by the time the tournament is over!
FORTUNATELY, there is air conditioning in the tournament hall, not an easy thing considering that there are more than 300 players just in my hall. By the time the game is over and I return to the street , it is already night and the weather is much more manageable–even pleasant!
At half time–after 5 rounds– I find myself with 4 points, something that I suppose I should not complain about, though yesterday’s loss was quite undeserved since I had a slight positional advantage the whole game up until the time I found myself with only a minute to play.
This is the position after White’s 27th move. The Bishop pair and a strong, compact pawn formation in the centre make for some chances in the ending. Plus, White’s Bishop is not very well placed.
But to be fair, White has some play along the d-file, and I was not cautious enough in how I handled this. Here Black should play probably 27…Rc3!? –to exchange one of White’s Rooks–or even 27…Rc7.
Instead, I played the natural looking 27…h4 which allowed White to equalize the game. Mutual blunders in the next 10 moves did neither of us proud, but as Tartakower used to say: the winner is he who makes the second to last blunder!
My 4th round game was against the Cuban international master (to be confirmed officially in Istanbul later this summer) featured an interesting ending where I had Bishop and Knight against Rook and Pawn.
Objectively the game should end in a draw, though White has the better practical chances, especially since it is likely that he will get a passed e-pawn. The weakened Queenside pawns gives Black counterchances, but only enough for a draw. White certainly runs no risk of losing at all…
In the game continuation my young opponent did not show the necessary patience required to defend such a position, and I scored a relatively simple (and quick !) victory.
Curiously, I have been studying this exact kind of ending recently , characterized with unbalanced pieces (2-pieces vs Rook; 3 pieces or 2 Rooks vs Queen, etc) These endings are often difficult to evaluate properly, that is: it is sometimes not at all easy to assess the winning/drawing chances of each side.
Even world champions sometimes err in this department, and I might later on this blog give some interesting examples of this kind of ending.