This quote belongs to Mark Twain,  looks relevant describing my game yesterday. I played with this guy 3 months ago, so I had White and we played again the same Moscow variation of Sicilian, here is the game. As before, his d5 was premature and he lost a pawn, though in a different way. I saw that he loses it before he played d5. Then it became different, in previous game he lost a piece on move 26 due to some tactics, in this one he resisted much longer.

Interesting that 20. Rc3 was a best move, but also was a trap, if 20… Rxa2 21. Rxa2 Qxa2, then 22. Bxg5 and if Rxe2, then Rc8 with a mate. He said after the game that he saw it. I could win another pawn on move 32, but thought that after Qxb7 he will play Rb8 and will get “b” pawn back with some activity, but I didn’t see that I can play Rc8+ with rooks exchange and keep the pawn. I am not sure about all the lines Fritz gives starting from move 38 forcing rooks exchange, it could be perpetual. I didn’t want to go into queen endgame, so finally we went into the rook one.

I stopped writing moves at some point, what happened then is we exchanged pawns on the kingside and my king was able to join the “b” pawn. Finally with a little time left I realized that I have Lucena position. I gave a check to get his king separated by 2 verticals, and then moved my rook to the 5th row to build a bridge. I had probably less than 2 minutes  at that time, he – no more than 30 seconds. When he attacked my rook with the king I didn’t know what to do and felt that I am doing something wrong. I was, because the rook supposed to be on the 4th row. You can do it like I did too, but it’s more complicated and not an exercise for that little time that I had. While I thought how to rebuild my bridge his flag fell, I had 34 seconds.

So, it’s just a second time I have Lucena.  I screwed it up a couple of years ago, losing a pawn due to a simple tactics, now I couldn’t build the bridge. I was a bit ashamed, but what can I do now?  I went through it,  so third time should be a charm.


I recently had a blitz game which came to a rook + pawn vs. rook endgame. My opponent resigned in the following position:

Black can reach Lucena position here: 74. Kd1 Rc5 75. Rg8+ Kf3 76. Rf8+ Kg2 77. Rg8+ Kf1

and then it’s a known win: 78. Rg7 Rd5+ 79. Kc1 Ke2 80. Re7+ Kf3 81. Rf7+ Ke3 82. Re7+ Kf4 83. Rf7+ Rf5

By the way, Crafty found a neat and faster win – 74. … Rc8!

After I looked at all this stuff I thought that my opponent probably missed a draw earlier.  With a help of online Nalimov tablebases I found the moment where it went wrong for him:

Only rook moves – Rd2, Rd5, Rd6, Rd7, Rd8 lead to a draw. It is actually a second method of defense in Philidor position when white rook can’t get to the third line. It was found by M. Karshtedt, that you still can draw by checking from behind. White king should stay on the short side, to allow, if necessary, checks from the long side.
In my game White lost after 70. Kf2 Rc2+ 71. Ke1 Kg3 72. Rd3+ f3 73. Rd8 f2+.