September 2008


I was going to write about rook endgames, but something came up and changed it.

I played online a few days ago, it was my favorite Marshall attack, the forced line where I get a bishop for 2 pawns. I had that line already in 2 games, lost that advantage later in one and gave checkmate in another. Now the queens were exchanged, then rooks and we got to endgame K+B+4P vs. K+6P. Despite of my expectations, the game ended in a draw, I was pissed off at myself and decided to get to the root of it.  


Bishop equals three pawns, we learned that at the beginning of our chess careers.

So, if in the endgame you have bishop for 2 pawns, you got great winning chances, right?

Not so simple. Excellent example is the first game from the World Championship match

Fisher-Spassky in 1972.  After bizarre move 29. … Bxh2



that Fisher did ( some people say, that it was miscalculation, he counted on the following line: 30. g3 h5 31. Ke2 h4 32. Kf3 h3 33. Kg4 Bg1 34. Kxh3 Bxf2 ,




but didn’t see 35. Bd2! catching the bishop) from equal bishop ending it became bishop vs. pawns endgame. He had drawing chances later, one of them was pointed out by Speelman:

Fischer playing 37. …a6 instead of 37. …Ke4




37…a6! 38.Kf3 axb5 39.axb5 b6 ! 40.Bf8 g6 41.Bg7 f5 42.Bd4 Kc4 43.Bxb6 g5 ! 44.Bc7 Kxb5 45.Bd8+ g4+ 46.Ke2 Kc4 


with a clear draw. Finally he lost.

As for my game, looks like I didn’t have the right plan in the beginning, then didn’t use the chances that my opponent gave me, the last one:



White played 54. d6? instead of 54. Kb6 with a draw.

Black returned the favor, playing 54. … Kf7 which leads to draw, instead of

playing 54. … Bg5 55. Kc6 Kf5 56. Kc7 Ke5 57. Kc6 Kd4 with a win.




My rating got stuck at a plateau for the last 5 months and it worries me.

Yes, I need to study endgames, improve my calculation skills,
get better in positional play ( openings look OK ) – I know all that, but it’s a long story.
I need a quick fix right now to boost my confidence, let’s say 50 points increase.
It’s not a matter of points, just can I play better?
So,  is there any kind of a magic pill?

I look at the last 2 tournaments I played, 9 games.  What I see is 3 missing opponent’s combinations in 2-3 moves, 2 of them decisive.
By the way, I know these combinations, can do it myself too, but …

For some reason from here I get an idea that if I memorize a few sharp openings, try them online,  then try OTB, it can bring me the result that I want. By the way, it could be worse first, but it will disbalance that freaking straight line, so maybe next time it would be better ( like Carlsen tries to disbalance the position ).
So, a few openings to force me to look for the tactics all the time and to get advantage of some unprepared players ( though some person rated 200-300 points higher would probably get advantage of me ).
Marshall attack I already tried OTB and got a winning chance, then missed it (got a draw), played online about 40 Benko gambits ( still have to analyze that ), tried recently Two Knights Defense (with pretty good results), Blumenfeld gambit (won twice) and Albin counter-gambit (lost once). 

Immersion system works well for the languages, why not for chess?