25 February 2012

Annotated Game #32: A somewhat embarrassing draw

This next tournament game features an unusual variation of the English Four Knights, where Karpov's 4...Be7 is followed up by Black exchanging knights on d4.  White gets a pleasant plus out of the opening, which after a series of subsequent exchanges on d5 rapidly turns into an ending.  White's outside passed pawn gives him all the winning chances, but the double rooks and bishops mean that it won't be easy for him.  White fails to maintain the tension and exchanges off the outside passer for Black's d-pawn, essentially ensuring the draw for Black, as the resulting bishop ending with 4 vs. 3 pawns on the kingside is very easy to defend.

Useful points from the game analysis:
  • The early knight exchange on d4 does not appear to challenge White in this variation.
  • Provoking the series of exchanges on d5 and going into a double rook and bishop ending appeared to be the correct decision, due to the weakness of Black's isolated queen pawn.
  • White should have developed his rooks earlier and seized the c-file, although Black ultimately lets him do this anyway.
  • Silly 18th move by White was due to a poor thinking process and not examining his opponent's potential responses (i.e. failure to falsify the candidate move).
  • Unwillingness to preserve tension in the position on move 30 (a common amateur error) led to the disappearance of White's winning chances.
After my initial look at the game, I'd felt quite embarrassed, since I thought I had thrown away an easy win.  In fact, the win was likely there, but it wasn't so easy to realize (at least for a non-endgame expert) and the final position was in fact drawn, despite White's one-pawn advantage.  So I'm now just somewhat embarrassed by the draw.


  1. I just wish the game was visible on iPhone...

  2. But that would mean exposing it to the evils of Flash...the horror, the horror