|KEG: Post II
Showalter certainly had much the better position in the last diagrammed position in my previous post, but from here it was all downhill for Showalter.
Perhaps Showalter missed this saving resource in his calculations. His play from this point was poor.
This timid move virtually gives away the entire advantage Showalter enjoyed. He should have played 25. Rxa7 and after 25...Nxd4 defended with 26. f3. The chances would all have been with him after that.
All of a sudden, Marco has defended all his weak points.
26. Rc8+ Rf8
Allowing Marco to trade off the powerful White Rook on c8 was clearly misguided. Now, Showalter will have to play well just to survive, since all the chances now lie with Marco.
The position now was:
click for larger view
A comparison of the above position with that at move 24 reveals just how thoroughly Showalter has ruined his winning chances. Any advantage now lies with Marco.
28...g5 was stronger.
29. Kf2 Kf7
30. Ba6 Ke7
As Rosenthal correctly noted in the Tournament Book, 31. g4 was better. But Rosenthal's analysis of the move is flawed. After 31. g4 Nd6 (much better for Black would be 31...Nh4 32. Be2 Kg6 [or 32...Rf4] with only a slight edge for Black). 32. Kg3 (very weak, 32. Rc1 would have been better and given White some advantage) 32...g5 33. Rf1 gives--contrary to Rosenthal--some edge to Black after 33...Rf4 or 33...h5.
32. f4 Rf7
32...h6 was better.
33. g4 Ne7
34. Kg3 Nc6
33. Bb5 was better.
Surprisingly timid. 35. Nb8 driving away White's Bishop was much better. All of a sudden, chances are about even. But from here Showalter collapses.
Rosenthal's proposed 36. b4 would have been even worse, since--even crediting his line--Black is much better after 36...Nb6 37. Bb5 (37. b5 is a bit better) a6 38. Ba4 b5 39. Bd1 Rc4.
But Showalter could have maintained the balance with the simple 36. Bb5
Heading for a perch on c4.
Needlessly burying his Bishop. Rosenthal's suggested 37. Be2 would have been better, though Marco would still have excellent winning chances with 37...Rc1. Showalter's best chance was to play 37. b4.
The position was now:
click for larger view
In the course of 13 moves, Showalter has transformed his superior endgame to the above lost position.
What followed is almost painful to watch, as Showalter's weak play continued and Marco mopped up. I will review this final stage of the game in my next post.