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  1. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    29 Oct '12 01:13 / 6 edits
    Hi all,

    This is the ending to a game I played OTB a few weeks back. My opponent was the top seed in the section with a USCF 1899 rating. I was black.

    We had transposed in the opening into a Closed Catalan, which I do not know, and white emerged with a big advantage. I struggled mightily, and some tenacious D led to the drawn position below.

    However, my opponent let his tournament position influence him more than the position on the board, and the result is that instead of the half point he ended up with none. I think he had a hard time accepting that his awesome opening advantage had evaporated.

    I think it is an interesting situation regarding the psychology of playing in tournaments, where our decision-making can be hampered by considerations not strictly related to what's actually going on in the game.

    EDIT: I have struggled with setting up the pgn, but move 1 below was move 54 in the game, and after ...Nb6 I offered a draw, which he declined after thinking almost an hour. The position was a clear draw, but he thought it was worthwhile to try to outplay me from an equal position.

    Here are the notes I had, which I could not fit into the pgn due to my incompetence moving from chessbase to RHP!

    [Event "Orlando Autumn Open"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2012.10.13"]

    54. e5 Nb6 {Diagram [#] I offered a draw here. It's a good knight vs bad
    bishop, but black does not have enough to win, and in any event white could
    play Bxb6 right here and the draw is forced. However, Derek wanted to attempt
    to win at all costs, so we continued. His attempt to win simply turns a draw
    into a loss for him.} 55. Kb3 Nc4 56. Kb4 Nb2 {I was so intent on the
    draw, that I missed the idea of 56. ... Ne3! with the idea of 57. ... Nf5!
    attacking d4 and g3.} 57. Be7 Nc4 58. Bg5 Kb6 59. Bd8+ Kc6 60. Kc3 Nb6 61. a5{Now black wins, as the king has an entry way via b5.} Nc4 62. Kd3 Kb5 63.
    Ke2 Nxa5 {White thinks that this move will allow him to infiltrate on g5, but
    he missed that black has the e4 square as an outpost for the knight, covering
    g5 before white can get there.} 64. Be7 Nc4 65. Kf3 Nd2+ 66. Kf4 Ne4 67. g4 a5 68. gxh5 gxh5 69. Ke3 Kc4 70. Bf8 a4 0-1



    I did not win so much as he lost, and I was the fortunate recipient.


  2. 29 Oct '12 03:35
    I can't imagine any way white could try to outplay black in a position like that one. In fact, if it weren't for the possibility of Bxb6 simplifying into a drawn endgame, it is black who should not take the draw and play on to try to achieve an advantage. It is the kind of endgame in which a lot can go wrong for the side with the bishop, while the side with the knight faces zero risk.
  3. 29 Oct '12 14:00
    Classic bad bishop vs knight endgame. Black just improves his position while the bishop looks on helplessly.
  4. Subscriber Marinkatomb
    wotagr8game
    29 Oct '12 15:10
    Originally posted by Burnsider
    Classic bad bishop vs knight endgame. Black just improves his position while the bishop looks on helplessly.
    Yes i have to agree with this. Why did you offer a draw?
  5. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    29 Oct '12 16:57
    Originally posted by Marinkatomb
    Yes i have to agree with this. Why did you offer a draw?
    At the point where I offered the draw, white could have essentially forced it with Bxb6. Even beyond that, black has no real way to make progress.

    Basically, I think the only way either player loses it by trying to win it.

    I made the draw offer because there was no way I could prevent a draw, and if it provoked white to push too much to avoid it, I could win. I saw the offer as "I have nothing to lose, and if it provokes him into a mistake, so much the better." I was just fortunate that it worked this time.

    I was also surely influenced by the fact that I was worse almost the whole game, and a draw would have been a moral victory for me.
  6. Subscriber 64squaresofpain On Vacation
    The drunk knight
    29 Oct '12 20:43
    Perhaps by offering a draw, you was using "psychology"

  7. 29 Oct '12 21:27
    We need an opinion from a chess psychology expert
  8. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    29 Oct '12 21:49 / 3 edits
    That's what I mentioned in the original post( edit: the psychology part- I forgot to quote the previous posts). Draw offers involve much more than just the position on the board, and there is most certainly a psychological component at times.

    My opponent rejected the draw in spite of the position, not because of it. He let his hope for a different outcome trump his judgment about what was actually happening on the board.

    We're chess friends and have played before, and after the round I asked him "Dude, what were you thinking? It was a clear draw, and while it was good knight vs bad bishop, there wasn't enough to win unless you let me."

    His reply was "I had already lost a game the previous round, and a draw meant nothing to me, so I wanted to try to make something happen. I had a crushing position out of the opening, and I can't believe I let it slip away."

    Basically, he was playing for money. When I was his age (20-something), I used to be the same way. I used to make an art out of declining draws and losing simply because I wanted to win, and it took years before I grew out of it.
  9. 29 Oct '12 23:06
    Hi Paul, what an interesting endgame. Psychologically perhaps you were both influenced by the earlier course of the game into looking at the position through white tinted spectacles. I think black should be thinking of winning fron the initial position.

    Instead of 7...Nb6, 7...Ne3 is very strong, threatening 8...Nf5.
    For example 7...Ne3. 8 Kb4 Nf5 9. Ka5 Kb7 10. Kb4 Nxd4 11. Kc5 Nf5
    holding the d6 square and threatening d5-d4 etc.

    White really needed to keep his bishop on the c1-h6 diagonal to prevent this, so
    7. Kc3? looks like a losing move in a drawn position.

    I am wondering if there isn't an alternative wining plan for black meeting 1 e5 with 1...Nb8, followed by Kd7 and Nc6 with the idea of N-e7-f5.
    I'm not sure if black can win, because white can prepare to meet Nf5 with Bf2 and black is too poorly placed on the queenside to make progress.
    But the knight looks ideal on c6 keeping the white king out of b4, so black can keep the knight there and try to activate the king. Unfortunately Kf7 and g5 looks just too risky, while playing the king to a5 is liable to end in Bd8 mate!

    So I can't see a decisive advantage for black.

    You did better!
  10. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Oct '12 04:50 / 1 edit
    If black moves his knight to c5 in the 18th move, isn't pawn promotion unstoppable?
  11. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Oct '12 05:24 / 1 edit
    EDIT
  12. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Oct '12 05:34 / 6 edits
    To me, it seems that black has a clear advantage.


    Or, look at this line:




    One more:


    I don't think black should've offered a draw. Black could've gained material advantage, either by winning the bishop, or promoting to a queen.
  13. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    30 Oct '12 06:03
    Originally posted by vivify
    To me, it seems that black has a clear advantage.

    [pgn][Date "????.??.??"]
    [Result "*"]
    [FEN "5B2/8/4p3/3pP2p/p1kPn2P/4K3/8/8 w - - 0 1"]

    1.Ke2 Nc5 2.Kd2 Kb4 3.Kc2 a3 4.Kb1 Kb3 5.Bxc5 a2+ 6.Kc1{And black now has a huge advantage. This game seems far from over.}
    *[/pgn]
    Or, look at this line:

    [pgn][Date "????.??.??"]
    [Result "*"]
    [FEN "5B2/8/4 ...[text shortened]... material advantage, either by winning the bishop, or promoting to a queen.
  14. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Oct '12 06:13
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    [pgn][Date "????.??.??"]
    [Result "*"]
    [FEN "5B2/8/4p3/3pP2p/p1kPn2P/4K3/8/8 w - - 0 1"]

    1.Ke2 Nc5 2.Kd2 Kb4 3.Kc2 a3 4.Kb1 Kb3 5.Bxc5 a2+ 6.Ka1 { Why would you not do this? }
    *[/pgn]
    Crap. Very true.

    But still, black could've gained material advantage.


    Again, kudos on pointing out the obvious. I'm going to smash my head into a wall for the next hour.
  15. Standard member vivify
    rain
    30 Oct '12 06:31 / 2 edits
    Honestly, in my diagrams, white could've just the knight with his pawn. WTF was I thinking. But even though Paul could've went up in material, it still would've been a drawn out game. Paul was probably right to offer a draw. But I still would've tried to go up in material first; there's a chance that would've caused white to resign.