Space in the Pawn Endgames

The EICC in Armenia produced plenty of quality chess. One interesting endgame attracted my attention:
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "EICC 2014"]
[Site "Yerevan"]
[Date "2014.03.12"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Golod, Vitali"]
[Black "Cheparinov, Ivan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E92"]
[WhiteElo "2573"]
[BlackElo "2681"]
[Annotator "Dejan Bojkov"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/2p5/1p3k1p/1Pp5/6KP/1P6/P7/8 w - - 0 50"]
[PlyCount "140"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ARM"]
[Source "Chess Today"]
[SourceDate "2009.03.11"]
[TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"]

{White has two major advantages. One of them is obvious- he has more active
king. The second one is a bit less obvious. It is the extra space. In pawn
endgames the latter is often the reason for a faster passer and a timely
promotion.} 50. a4 $4 {[%csl Rb3][%cal Yf6e5,Ye5d4,Yd4c3,Rc3b3] A hasty
decision which will cost White more than a half point! The b3 pawn is
discovered in a moment when the black king is close to the center.} ({Vitali
Golod should have improved his king first with:} 50. Kh5 $1 {thus keeping the
black king passive. Only after:} Kg7 {White should proceed with:} 51. a4 {
Which grabs extra space on the queen's side. The game then will follow:} Kh7
52. Kg4 Kg6 {and here one more space winner is the move:} 53. h5+ $1 {Both
candidates on b5 and h5 are very close to the promotional squares. The logical
sequence of moves leads to zugzwang after:} {Black cannot escape neither in
case of:} Kg7 (53... Kf6 54. Kf4 Ke6 55. Ke4 $1 {[%csl Rb5,Yb6,Rh5,Yh6][%cal
Ge4f5,Gf5g6,Gg6h6,Ge4d5,Gd5c6,Gc6c7,Rb5b6,Rh5h6] Which gives Black a sad
choice which pawn to abandon:} Kf6 ({Or:} 55... Kd6 56. Kf5 Kd5 57. Kg6 Kd4 58.
Kxh6 Kc3 59. Kg6 Kxb3 60. h6 c4 61. h7 c3 62. h8=Q $18 {and the extra space
counts.}) 56. Kd5 Kg5 57. Kc6 Kxh5 58. Kxc7 Kg4 59. Kxb6 h5 60. a5 h4 61. a6 h3
62. a7 h2 63. a8=Q $18 {[%cal Ra8h1] Just in time. White uses his advantage in
space.}) 54. Kf5 Kf7 55. Ke5 Ke7 56. Kd5 Kd7 57. a5 $1 bxa5 58. Kxc5 Kc8 59. b6
$18 {as the pawn on a5 falls. Please note, that in this line the white pawn on
h5 secures a clear deflection of the black king on the queen's side and
deprives the second player from the rook pawn draw resources.}) ({There is a
second winning attempt. It is the straightforward march for the queen's side
pawns with:} 50. Kf4 {but it fails to-} Ke6 51. Ke4 ({White cannot repeat the
position as after-} 51. Kg4 c6 $1 {Cheparinov can create a passed pawn in time-
} 52. bxc6 ({Or:} 52. a4 cxb5 53. axb5 Ke5 54. Kh5 Kd4 55. Kxh6 Kc3 56. Kg6
Kxb3 57. h5 c4 {In comparison to the line from above White misses his two
extra tempos and the queens are promoted simultaniously-} 58. h6 c3 59. h7 c2
60. h8=Q c1=Q $11) 52... Kd6 53. Kh5 b5 $11 {as} 54. Kxh6 $4 {even loses-} c4
55. bxc4 bxc4 56. Kg6 c3 57. h5 c2 58. h6 c1=Q) 51... Kd6 52. h5 c6 53. bxc6
Kxc6 54. a4 b5 $11 {when Black gets timely counterplay on the queen's flank.})
50... Ke5 51. Kh5 Kd4 52. Kxh6 Kc3 53. h5 Kxb3 54. Kg7 c4 55. h6 c3 56. h7 c2
57. h8=Q {White succeeded to promote first but is in trouble as his pawns on
the queen's flank will be lost.} c1=Q $17 58. Qa8 Qa1+ 59. Kg6 Qxa4 60. Qf3+
Kb4 61. Qf4+ Kxb5 62. Qxc7 Qe4+ {The tables have turned and even though this
position is defendable and Golod managed to keep the balance for a while he
succumbed to the pressure at the end. Indeed, fatigue and frustration did not
cheer his fighting spirit.} 63. Kg7 Qd4+ 64. Kh7 Kb4 65. Qc2 b5 66. Qb1+ Kc5
67. Qf5+ Qd5 68. Qf2+ Kc6 69. Qe1 Kd7 70. Qa5 Qc5 71. Kg6 Ke6 72. Qa6+ Ke5 73.
Qf6+ Ke4 74. Qh4+ Kd3 75. Qh3+ Kc2 76. Qg2+ Kb1 77. Kf7 b4 78. Qe4+ Kb2 79.
Qe2+ Qc2 80. Qe5+ Qc3 81. Qe2+ Ka3 82. Qa6+ Kb3 83. Kf8 Qc5+ 84. Ke8 Qc4 85.
Qg6 Ka4 86. Kf8 b3 87. Qe8+ Qb5 88. Qa8+ Kb4 89. Qe4+ Ka3 90. Qe3 Qb4+ 91. Kg7
Ka2 92. Qe6 Qc3+ 93. Kg8 Qd3 94. Qf7 Qd8+ 95. Kh7 Qd4 96. Qe6 Ka3 97. Qa6+ Kb4
98. Qb7+ Kc3 99. Qc7+ Kd2 100. Qh2+ Kc1 101. Qc7+ Kd1 102. Qg3 b2 103. Qf3+ Kd2
104. Qg2+ Kc3 105. Qc6+ Qc4 106. Qf6+ Kc2 107. Qf2+ Kb1 108. Qe1+ Qc1 109. Qb4
Qc7+ 110. Kg8 Qg3+ 111. Kh7 Qd3+ 112. Kg8 Ka2 113. Qa5+ Qa3 114. Qd2 Qg3+ 115.
Kh7 Qh4+ 116. Kg8 Qg4+ 117. Kh7 Qe4+ 118. Kg8 Kb3 119. Qd1+ Kc3 0-1


The First App

According to Wikipedia an app is a software that causes the computer to perform useful tasks. It is also a software which runs on smartphones or other mobile devises.
The beauty of the new mobile world is that it gives you a chance to make better use of your free time. Whenever you travel for work or for pleasure you are spending time in various vehicles, precious time that you are mostly wasting.
It is no longer like that thanks to the new app culture. One can use his/her time more productively by learning new things.
A chess app is an idea too.
My first app pays a tribute to one of the most ingenious players ever- Paul Morphy. The way that he attacked his opponents revolutionized the game and brought it to the next level.
What was his secret?
You will find the answers in the app, and here is a bit of it:

You can download the app from here.


A Different Look at the Match Battle

I never knew that it was that difficult to win a match for the World Championship. Watch the exciting battle of Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short revealed.
At least, according to BBC ;)




The White Rose of York is the symbol of the House of York and has since been adopted as a symbol of Yorkshire as a whole. During the civil wars of the fifteenth century, the White Rose was the symbol of Yorkist forces opposed to the rival House of Lancaster. This period of the English history is known as the Wars of the Roses. Ever since, the lovely flower became a symbol of the whole Yorkshire to the present. The main city of the Yorkshire area is Leeds.
What does this have to do with chess? Nothing, except for the fact that one of English teams is named White Rose. The people in charge were kind enough to invite me to take part in their wonderful 4NCL.
The British system of play is very interesting. Sixteen teams are divided in two pools of eight each. They compete in all-play round robin tournament where the four winners get a chance to qualify to the top eight and the bottom four will have to show their best in the lower pool to stay in the League. The direct encounters of between the teams in the groups count in the final eight matches.

Each team consists of eight players which have at least one woman in the squad, just like in France.
An interesting point is the eighty-point rule which means that a player who is rated 80 points below a teammate cannot play in front of him/her in the matches. On the other hand, a team which is homogeneous enough provides plenty of unpleasant surprises for their counter parts and tough moments of preparation.
Another interesting point is the wild card rule. This allows any team to add a new team member at any moment during the season. The new player does not have to subscribe in advance, he/she just appear for the weekend games to make things interesting. Saying that, it is not unusual to see at the last and decisive round a player like Ivanchuk popping up out of the blue or Judith Polgar at the female board. True, this usually happens to one of the two best teams. In this year those seem to be Guildford 1 and Wood Green.
One squad can have more than one team in the league and this allows some additional strategies. Guildford was not shy to bring a strong second team in their encounter against Wood Green. The attempt to steal points from the main rival though was unsuccessful and Guilford lost 2.5-5.5.
The weekend games on 15-16 February gathered together the cream of the British chess. Those were accompanied by almost all the best Scottish players and many more players from abroad. The lovely Hinckley Island hotel hosted the event and provided excellent conditions to all.
The White Roses managed to win both the matches and got a nice chance to qualify for the final eight upper division.


Learn to Play Chess (2)

Today I present you another "Learn-to-Play"app by Simon Louchart.
The short description of Lesson 2:
Pieces' value, captures, exchanges and threats. How to mate with 2 queens, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 1 rook.


Chessbase 12 Publishing

Just a quick test on Albert Silver's explanations for web publishing.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 12)

[Event "Schaakfestival 2010 Open A"]
[Site "Groningen"]
[Date "2010.12.28"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Bojkov, D."]
[Black "Bok, Benjamin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C45"]
[Annotator "Dejan Bojkov"]
[PlyCount "99"]
[EventDate "2010.12.??"]
[SourceDate "2001.12.26"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 {Played for the first time in my life. But there is
always a first time.} exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nxc6 Qf6 6. Qf3 bxc6 7. Nd2 d6 8. Nb3
Bb6 9. a4 a5 10. Bd2 Qxf3 11. gxf3 Ne7 12. Rg1 Ng6 {Another possible plan is:}
(12... O-O 13. Be3 Bxe3 14. fxe3 {as Anand-Aronian, Bilbao 2008 is more usual,
but as a whole this line is still in developing progress.}) 13. Be3 Bxe3 14.
fxe3 {Diagram [#]} Bd7 {The beginning of a wrong idea. The bishop is
vulnerable on d7. The simple:} (14... Ne5 {is more to the point, for example:}
15. Be2 g6 16. f4 Nd7 17. Bf3 c5 18. e5 Ra7 19. exd6 cxd6 20. Nd2 {with a
slight pool for White occured in Radjabov,T (2744)-Aronian,L (2737)/Bilbao
2008/CBM 126 (34)}) 15. f4 O-O 16. O-O-O c5 17. Nxc5 Bc6 {[%csl Rc5][%cal
Gc6a4,Gc6e4] The point behind Black's play. However, it seems that he
underestimated the follow up:} 18. Na6 Ra7 {Both:} (18... Rfc8 19. Bh3) (18...
Bxe4 19. Rd4 {cannot be recommended.}) 19. e5 {Bad is:} (19. Rd4 Rfa8 20. Rg5
Rxa6 21. Bxa6 Rxa6 $15) ({But serious attention deserved:} 19. Rg5 $5 Rfa8 20.
Rxa5 Bb7 21. Nxc7 Rxa5 22. Nxa8 Rxa8 23. b3 Bxe4 24. Rxd6 $14 {and as the
pawns become more valuable in the endgame, White has the better chances.})
19... dxe5 20. f5 Nh4 21. f6 g6 (21... Ng6 22. fxg7 Kxg7 23. Nc5 $16) 22. Nc5
Nf5 {[%csl Re3][%cal Rf5e3,Gf5d6] Diagram [#] So far the game for more or less
forced. Black needs to make one more move-Nf5-d6 to put his pieces together,
after which he will be out of danger. Therefore:} 23. Bb5 $1 {Much better than:
} (23. e4 Nd6 24. Bg2 Raa8 {and Black is only marginally worse.}) {Temporarily
sacrificing the pawn I manage to get the maximum of my pieces, while keeping
the rook on a7 in a "box".} 23... Bxb5 24. axb5 Nxe3 25. Rd7 {With the threat
b5-b6.} Nc4 26. b3 (26. Re7 a4) 26... Nb6 27. Re7 a4 {White's idea is
supported tactically:} (27... Nd5 28. Nd7 $1 Nxe7 (28... Rfa8 29. Rxe5 $16) 29.
fxe7 Rfa8 30. Nf6+ Kg7 31. e8=Q Rxe8 32. Nxe8+ Kf8 33. Nf6 $18) 28. bxa4 Nxa4
29. Nd7 {'!' I was also considering the position after:} (29. Nxa4 Rxa4 30. Rg5
Rf4 31. Rxc7 Rxf6 32. Rxe5 $14 {But then realized that the move in the text is
even stronger.}) 29... Rfa8 (29... Rd8 30. Nxe5 Nc3 31. Nc6 $18) 30. Rg5 {Not
the most accurate. Better is:} (30. Nxe5 Nb6 31. Rg4 Ra1+ 32. Kd2 Rd8+ 33. Ke2
{when White keeps all his active pieces on the board.}) 30... Nb6 {I spent
most of my time calcuating the line:} (30... Nc3 31. Rgxe5 h5 {Diagram [#]} 32.
Rxf7 $1 Kxf7 33. Re7+ Kg8 34. f7+ (34. Rg7+ $2 Kh8 35. Ne5 Ra1+ 36. Kb2 Nd1+
37. Kb3 R1a3+ 38. Kb4 R8a4+ 39. Kc5 Rc3+ 40. Kd5 Ne3+ 41. Ke6 Re4 42. Kf7 Rxe5
43. Rg8+ Kh7 44. Rg7+ Kh6 45. Rxg6+ $11) 34... Kh8 35. Re8+ $18) 31. Nxb6 (31.
Nxe5 Ra1+ 32. Kd2 Rd8+ 33. Ke2 Ra2 34. Rxc7 Nd5 35. Rd7 Rxc2+ 36. Ke1 Rc1+ 37.
Kd2 Rcc8 {is not something that you would like to enter in the coming
time-trouble.}) 31... cxb6 {Black can also keep the second rook, but his
situation is no better:} (31... Ra1+ 32. Kd2 cxb6 33. Rgxe5 Rd8+ 34. Kc3 Raa8
35. Rc7 $16) 32. Rxa7 Rxa7 33. Rxe5 {Diagram [#] The arising endgame is
technically won for White. He has more active pieces, and will soon organize a
strong distant passed pawn.} Ra8 (33... Kf8 34. Rd5 Ke8 35. Rd6 Rb7 36. Kb2 g5
37. c4 g4 38. Kc3 h5 39. Rd5 (39. Kb4 Rb8 (39... h4 40. Rd4) 40. Rd5 (40. c5
bxc5+ 41. Kxc5 Rc8+ 42. Kd5 Rc2 43. b6 Rd2+ 44. Kc6 Rc2+ 45. Kb7 h4 46. Rc6 Rd2
47. Kc7 Rd7+ 48. Kb8 Rd2 49. Rc4 Kd7 50. Rxg4 Rxh2 51. Rd4+ Ke6 52. b7 Rb2 (
52... h3) 53. Rxh4 Kxf6 54. Rh5 Ke6 55. Ra5 f5 56. Ka8 f4 57. b8=Q Rxb8+ 58.
Kxb8 $18)) 39... Ra7 40. Rxh5 $18) 34. c4 Kf8 (34... Rc8 35. Kd2 Kf8 36. Kc3
$18) 35. Kc2 Rd8 36. Kc3 $6 (36. c5 $1 bxc5 37. Kc3 {is more precise.}) 36...
Rd6 37. c5 bxc5 {In time trouble Bok did not find the best defense:} (37...
Rxf6 $1 38. Kc4 Rf4+ 39. Kd5 f6 40. Re2 Rf5+ 41. Kc6 Rxc5+ 42. Kxb6 Rc3 43. Ka6
Ra3+ 44. Kb7 $16 {compared to the game, Black will have several extra tempi.})
38. Kc4 Rxf6 39. Kxc5 Rf2 40. b6 Rb2 (40... Rxh2 41. b7 Rb2 42. Kc6 Rxb7 43.
Kxb7 $18) 41. Kc6 f6 42. Rb5 Rc2+ 43. Kd7 {Diagram [#] Now there is not even a
reason to win the rook immediately, as Black will not have any counterplay.}
Rd2+ 44. Ke6 Rd8 45. b7 Rb8 46. Kxf6 Ke8 47. Ke6 h6 (47... Kf8 48. Kd6 Kf7 49.
Kc7 Re8 50. b8=Q Rxb8 51. Kxb8 Kf6 52. Kc7 g5 53. Kd6 $18) 48. h4 Kf8 49. Kf6
g5 50. Rc5 {I believe this was my best game in Groningen.} 1-0


Learn to Play Chess App

We live in times where speed is everything. The flow of information is faster than ever before and this affects our beloved game of chess. New ideas are discovered, played and used by other chess player in days and sometimes in mere hours.
This might be extremely unpleasant for the creative part of the chess world.
On the other hand, technology widens the boundaries of the game.
More and more products help new people learn how to play chess from their homes or even vehicles while travelling back home.
The following app is one of those, it teaches
Piece and pawn moves, captures and special moves, checkmate and stalemate.

Players who have never tried the game of chess before can use it for free. People who are willing to give it a try can use the arrows on the app for changing the pages.
The creator Simon Louchart of France was kind to grant permission for anyone who wishes to learn something new and fun.