SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
There is something alluring–almost romantic– about a passed pawn in the middle of the chess board that grabs our attention and stimulates our imagination. Can this lowly pawn —the least significant piece–become an unlikely hero and break-thru to the 8th rank to win the game for us?
The analogy with the story of David and Goliath is clear. Chess is filled with numerous games where this theme is central to the outcome. It is one of the reasons why the game of chess inspires us and millions like us…superior force does not always win; the underdog sometimes emerges victorious… against all odds!
I want to thank fellow-blogger Sebastian Fell for drawing my attention to the game featured below. Played in Argentina this past Saturday in the 1st Copa ZChessClock tournament held at the Club Mariano Moreno in Buenos Aires, this game features such a heroic pawn
POSITION AFTER 31 MOVES:
fm Perez, Maximiliano
Black is an FM rated 2330-plus while White is rated almost 300 points less. As in the story of David and Goliath, the game has not been going well for the much lower rated player. A pawn down for some time now, most have written off White’s fate …
HOWEVER, Black’s last move (31…Rd8?!) shows an arrogant confidence that underestimates his oponente and gives him the chance to turn things around…
White grabs the opportunity to create a passed pawn…
32…RxQ 33.Re8+! Kh7 34.Ng5+! Kh6 35.PxR
Facing Rook , Knight and passed Pawn for the Queen, the Black pieces must play very accurately as the d-Pawn is just two squares away from promoting. Correct now is 35…Qf6! and Black should be able to control the passed Pawn.
After 36.Re7! Kg7! (not 36…Be6? 37.Rxe6!! PxR 38.d7! and the Pawn promotes and decides the game!) 38.Rxb7! Qxd6 39.Nxf7! Qf8!?–there is nothing better– 40.Ne5+ Kh6 41.Nf7+ and neither side can avoid the perpetual check.
HOWEVER, once more Goliath underestimates David:
The Black Queen can not move: 36…Qf8 allows mate in 1, while 36…Qg8 is met by 37.f4!! followed by advancing the Pawn. Black’s reply is forced…
36…PxN 37.PxP+ Kh7
The passed pawn is safely blockaded, or so it seems
A magnificent and unexpected move!
If now Black takes the Bishop then 40.g4!! cuts off the Bishop from covering the d7-square and the White pawn Queens by force!
Black’s next moves are forced:
39…QxR 40.PxQ Be8
White’s strong passed pawn gives him a won ending!
Now the simplest way to win is 41.Kf2 Kg7 ( or 41…d4 42.Ke2 b6 43.Kd3 c5 44.bxc5 bxc5 45.Bf1 Kg7 46.Kc4 Kf7 47.Kxc5 Kxe7 48.Bxa6 etc) 42.Be6 b6 43.Ke3 as in the previous note
MORAL OF THE STORY: David and Goliath, ofcourse!
You can play over the entire game HERE , plus all the other games from the tournament so far, OR follow the tournament on CHESS-RESULTS