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  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    21 Dec '08 02:12 / 5 edits
    I just finished a game that was an important game to my hopes of advancing in the tournament. I had a dead even game going into a knight and pawn end game. I was convinced I had a draw in the bag. I even offered one, but it was declined.

    Then things started to fall apart for me. I tightened up and started playing "not to lose" rather than to win (to borrow a sports phrase). I felt the pressure to "save" an even game and I cracked and somehow managed to lose it.

    Game 5598999



    [/pgn]

    Can someone tell me where I went wrong and how and where I should have secured the draw?

    Thanks.
  2. 21 Dec '08 03:07 / 1 edit
    The lad played the ending well.

    42.b4 instead of 42.bxc4 looks better at a quick glance.
    He may then have 42...a5. But it does appear you can set up a
    blockade where neither side can do anything.
    Though don't put any money on my ending advice.
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    23 Dec '08 14:05
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    The lad played the ending well.

    42.b4 instead of 42.bxc4 looks better at a quick glance.
    He may then have 42...a5. But it does appear you can set up a
    blockade where neither side can do anything.
    Though don't put any money on my ending advice.
    Yes, you're right. I fell into the trap of trying to get as many pieces as possible off the board, figuring that's the best way to a draw, but sometimes there's safety in numbers (of pawns on the board) which can lock down the position.
  4. 23 Dec '08 14:37
    Originally posted by sh76
    I tightened up and started playing "not to lose" rather than to win (to borrow a sports phrase).
    That's what you did from the very beginning of the game, not just in the ending. The decisive mistake was probably 42. bxc4, indeed, but your opponent already has a clear advantage in that position, thanks to your passive play early on. 33. dxc5, for example, gives him space, control of the center and allows the creation of a strong passed pawn.
  5. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    24 Dec '08 00:26
    Originally posted by danilop
    That's what you did from the very beginning of the game, not just in the ending. The decisive mistake was probably 42. bxc4, indeed, but your opponent already has a clear advantage in that position, thanks to your passive play early on. 33. dxc5, for example, gives him space, control of the center and allows the creation of a strong passed pawn.
    Okay; I'll admit I was playing for the draw from move 1. I often do that when I am playing against better players (my opponent in that game was rated about 200 points above me when the game started). I guess I need to work on that, but I'm too tentative when playing better players.

    Sometimes playing for the draw works, like in

    Game 5623049

    Game 5399552

    Sometimes it doesn't, as in the game cited above and in

    Game 5598938

    Sometimes, however, sitting back and playing for a draw and waiting for a mistake by one's opponent can work. Take Game 5598868 against the same opponent



    I played 20. Nxe5, figuring he'd play 21. Qe3. I was then prepared to play 21. ... Nf3+ 22. gxf3 (not 22. Qxf3 Bxd4+ and white is in trouble) Qg3+ 23. Kh1 or Kf1 Qxh3 check and I have a perpetual check. I don't think he can play Ke2 because of ... Qg2+, in which case Qf2 loses the bishop and white is down 2 pawns and moving the King to the d file allows me to pin and probably win the bishop by moving a rook to d8. I haven't calculated all the variations, but I was pretty confident I'd have at least a draw.

    In any case, he played what I think was a weaker move 21. Bxe5 and then followed it up by 22. Nd5 overlooking 22. ... Qc5+! winning the exchange and eventually the game.

    As long as you're playing against a human being, sitting back and waiting for a mistake can be a good strategy.
  6. 24 Dec '08 18:16
    Originally posted by sh76
    As long as you're playing against a human being, sitting back and waiting for a mistake can be a good strategy.
    That can be true in unbalanced positions where a side can overextend and expose itself to a counterattack, like in the game you posted. That's not playing for a draw from move 1, though.

    In balanced, equal positions, passive play can leave you in a situation where your opponent has a lasting initiative and you have no chance for a counterattack - that's what happened in your two losses, and also in the two draws.

    If you want to wait for your opponents to make mistakes, you should at least give them opportunities to do so. Exchanging down to an inferior ending makes things too easy for them.
  7. 26 Dec '08 18:48
    looks to me that you may still qualify for the finals. clap clap clap
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    26 Dec '08 19:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by thadeusman
    looks to me that you may still qualify for the finals. clap clap clap
    LOL. Yes, I can still make it if:

    1) I win Game 5599010 (GIP, no commenting of course)

    OR

    2) I draw that game and hope that User 452869 can get at least one draw in his 2 games against User 19960

    OR

    3) I lose that game and have User 19960 lose or draw at least one of his 2 remaining games with User 452869 AND hope that User 452869 does not run the table and win all of his remaining games in the bracket.


    Am I taking this too seriously?
  9. 26 Dec '08 20:19
    Originally posted by sh76
    LOL. Yes, I can still make it if:

    1) I win Game 5599010 (GIP, no commenting of course)

    OR

    2) I draw that game and hope that User 452869 can get at least one draw in his 2 games against User 19960

    OR

    3) I lose that game and have User 19960 lose or draw at least one of his 2 remaining games with User 452869 AND hop ...[text shortened]... table and win all of his remaining games in the bracket.


    Am I taking this too seriously?
    I would choose option 1, if I were you