I recently played a correspondence game, where the final part was quite interesting.  It was “Marshall attack” thematic game, where I played White,  successfully defended in the middlegame and went into N vs. B endgame with a spare pawn. 

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You can use books in these games,  so I looked at Averbakh’s “Chess endings” – “Bishop vs. Knight”.  What he says about the situation like mine is that you should maximally improve the position of your pieces and pawns. You shouldn’t hurry to create, especially to advance, a passed pawn. The most important is weakening of your opponent’s pawn configuration to create points of entry for your king penetrating into enemy’s terrytory and creating another passed pawn.

34. f3 f6 35. Kf2 Kf7 36. Ke3 g5 37. Nb1 – knight is going to c3. 

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37. … Ke6 38. Nc3 Kd6 39. Nb5+ Kd7 40. Nc3 Kd6 41. f4

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Crafty wants to play b4 right away,  I do it on the next move – 41. … g4 42. b4 axb4 43. axb4 f5? – the idea is to lock the game, it doesn’t work. Crafty’s estimate drops from 1.95 to 2.50,  it wants to play Bf5. I didn’t like g4 either,  it makes the bishop really “bad”.

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44. Kd2 Be6 45. Kc2 Kc6 46. Kb3 Kb6 47. Ka4

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47. … Bf7 48. b5 Bg8 49. Kb4 – with the threat Na4+ 

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49. … Kc7 – loses right away, but there is no survival – 49. … Be6 50. Na4+ Ka7 51. b6+ Kb8 52. Nc5 Bf7 53. Kb5 Be8+ 54. Ka6 Bc6 55. b7 Bxb7+ 56. Nxb7 

50.  Kc5 – 1:0.

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I played my regular OTB game this Sunday. I played with a  boy rated 30 less than me and drew. Since I had a good attack in the middlegame, it left me kind of scratching my head. Of course, as I came home, the computer was merciless.  OK, so how it went? I was Black and he played  (as I learned later) Konstantinopolsky Opening.  It is a rarely played opening that begins with the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. g3.  It was introduced in the game Konstantinopolsky–Ragozin, Moscow 1956.

Anyway, even more rare than the opening was the speed with which he played (90/SD). It was lightning first 12 moves, then blitz another 8-10 moves, then active the rest of the game.  I simply couldn’t get out of the table. After some not very good opening-middlegame phase (mostly half a pawn down according to computer) I was able to intercept the initiative with the move 19. ..f4.

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White answered 20. gxf4 – big mistake.  20. .. Nxf4 21. Ng4 Bxg4 22. hxg4 Nxg2 23. Kxg2 Qg6

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24. f3 Be7 25. Re4 Rf8 26. Qd1 Rf7 27. Qh1 Rbf8 28. Rf1 Bg5 29.
Bc3 Rf4 30. Qh3 Rxe4 31. dxe4 Be3 32. Qh4 Bg5 33. Qh5 Qf6 34. a4 Qf4 35. Qg6

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Here I was glad that I can execute my long planned penetration of my Queen into the enemy’s territory – Qe3 and didn’t notice the winning move – Bh4.

36. Be1 Qe2+ 37. Kg1

konst31

37. … Rxf3 Another miss. Of course I saw Be3+, but I thought that White covers with the bishop not seeing that then Rxf3 wins.  38. Rxf3 Qxf3 39. Qf5 Be3+ 40. Kh2 Bf4+ 41. Kg1 Be3+ 42. Kh2  I saw that he has a perpetual check and didn’t see the win (there wasn’t already), so I traded queens.

konst41

42. .. Qxf5 43. gxf5 Bg5 44. Kh3 Kg8 45. Kg4 Kf7 46. Kh5  1/2:1/2

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Allowing king there was a final mistake , though I don’t think there is a win here after 43… g5 44. hg Kg6. The bishop is bad, that’s it.

OK, I’ll just follow Dan Heisman’s rule: “Losing can be a great motivator if it helps you identify and correct things you are doing that cause the loss”. Yeah,  if the position tells you there is a win, you should believe it and just find it.  Another Dan’s rule, that I didn’t fully followed:  “When looking for tactics – for either player – look for Checks, Captures, and Threats …”.

The good thing I managed my time pretty well, spending on the first 15 moves in the unknown opening 24 minutes.  OK, it’s 26.7% of all the time, not 20%, still good result for me.