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William N Watson vs John Eric Littlewood
London (1991)
Spanish Game: Closed. Bogoljubow Variation (C91)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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  al wazir: <The17thPawn>: That loses the ♕: 37. Rh7+.

After 36...Ke8 (which I believe is forced) I would play 37. Qg8.

Dec-27-06  The17thPawn: You're correct <al wazir> - do you wish to claim a win at this point or play on from your suggested line?
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Let's play on. If you change your move to 36...Ke8, then I play 37. Qg8.

BTW, white has no other good move. 37. Qxb5 and 37. Rh7 lose to 37...Ra1+ 38. Kh2 Qf4+ 39. g3 Qf3, threatening 40...Rh1# while defending against white's threat. 37. Bc5 loses to 37...Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Qe5+, and I think 37. Bg7 is defended adequately by 37...Ke7.

Dec-28-06  The17thPawn: <al wazir> - 37...Kd7
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  al wazir: 38. Qf7+.
Dec-29-06  The17thPawn: 38...Qe7
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  al wazir: <The17thPawn>: Your 37...Kd7 was a stronger move than I initially realized. It looks as if black will at least reach an endgame, contrary to my expectations.

Let's cut to the chase. My analysis is that the best continuation for both sides is the following:

39. Qxg6 Ra1+ 40. Kh2 Qd6+ 41. Qxd6+ Bxd6+ 42. g3 Nxd4 43. cxd4. (Most of those moves are forced.) If you agree we can go on from there.

Dec-29-06  The17thPawn: <al wazir> I think this is your opportunity for a second chance as you afforded me. I believe white has to exchange queens as 39.Qxg6 allows 39...Qe1+ 40.Kh2,Bd6+ 41.g3 (Or 41.Qxe6+ to stave off the mate and pick up the rook with a queen sacrifice but black can definitely draw and probably win this.)41...Rxh8+ 42.Kg2,Qh1#
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  al wazir: <The17thPawn>: You're absolutely right! After 39. Qxb6 Qe1+ 40. Kh2 Bd6+ 41. g3 Rxh8+ 42. Bxh8 Qxf2+, white has nothing better than a draw by repetition, if that (43. Kh3 Qf1+ 44. Kh4 Qh1+ loses the ♗.)

This is very embarrassing -- not just because I was mistaken, but because in other lines I looked at I did notice the ♗ check on d6 and the discovered attack on whites's ♖ or ♕.

After 39. Qd5+ Qd6 40. Rh7+ Be7 (40...Kc8 is also playable), white doesn't have anything (if 41. Rxe7+ Kxe7 42. Bc5, then 42...Ra1#). So I guess I have to exchange ♕s.

39. Qxd7+ is my move.

Dec-30-06  The17thPawn: <Al wazir> I did miss the bishop recapture on h8 in your first line but after42...Qxf2 + 43.Kh3, Qxg3#, but thats all academic now. I must reiterate how much I have enjoyed and profitted from this excercise. I think 39...Kxd7 looks like my best try but the knight recapture may be better as it deters immediate exchanges yet ties black up a bit. I just can't calculate far enough out to see the benefit.
Dec-30-06  The17thPawn: <Al wazir> In case my last post was not definitive 39...Kxd7 is my move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: If you capture with the ♔ I'll play 40. Bc5+ and trade off ♗s and ♖s. I would be much more sanguine about my chances in the endgame if the ♙ on g6 weren't there.

I think we've established that white doesn't have a win by force in my line, but you'll have to agree there were a lot of near misses, for both sides.

Dec-30-06  The17thPawn: Agreed. I guess the lesson is master strength players and above usually have very good reasons for their moves even if another line looks promising. We can play out the ending if you wish or simply call the draw. Either way is fine with me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: With unbalanced material I don't think a draw is a likely outcome. It's probably a win for one side or the other, but it's likely to go on for another 10 or 20 moves.

You said earlier that you "Look forward to playing this out as I think it will definitely add to my endgame knowledge." I don't want to rob you of your fun, so I'll leave the choice up to you.

If you want to continue, let's try to speed it up. Assuming that after 40. Bc5+ you play 40...Kf7, I will play 41. Rxf8+ Rxf8 42. Bxf8 Kxf8 43. f4. If you accept that continuation, your 43rd move is next.

Jan-01-07  The17thPawn: <al wazir> Thank you my friend I would enjoy the endgame play. Bye the way Nxd7 was stronger as confirmed by Fritz 9. I waited to play my King move before plugging in the knight move as I wish to improve and having Fritz play for you accomplishes nothing. Apparently, my lack of calculation past five moves did'nt let me see that even though blacks pieces get a bit tied up the avoidance of exchanges gives black a slight advantage. I don't know what Fritz will think of my play after we finish but I'm betting the exchanges I allowed won't be evaluated favorably. I accept your line and will attempt some queen side play with 43...Na5
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  al wazir: I'm not sure I agree that you won't learn anything by using an engine, but I do think it's beside the point -- it's a little like hiring a GM to make your moves for you. Since I never play anything but 5-minute chess (aside from this), I seldom use chess programs.

You wrote that "master strength players and above usually have very good reasons for their moves." Well, yes, but masters can miscalculate too. Sometimes a sacrificial attack fails abjectly. But (usually) doesn't choose those games for its puzzles, so the Puzzle of the Day makes the pros look more infallible than they really are.

Yes, I thought that 39...Nxd7, was stronger, as your ♖ would probably be freed to attack my queenside ♙s. I also thought that 34...Nc4 was stronger than 34...Nc6, but I didn't look at it in any detail.

My move is 44. Kf2.

Jan-02-07  The17thPawn: 44...Nc4
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 45. b4.
Jan-02-07  The17thPawn: 45...Nb6
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  al wazir: 46. f5.
Jan-02-07  The17thPawn: 46...Nd5
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  al wazir: 47. c4.
Jan-04-07  The17thPawn: 47...bxc4
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  al wazir: 48. b5.
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  al wazir: <The17thPawn>: Are you still there? I've decided to call a halt to the proceedings; this has gone on long enough.

Black wins with 48...g5, followed by 49...Nb6. This blocks the advance of white's b-♙ while defending black's own ♙ on c4.

Then black's ♔ marches over by way of c5 to take the b-♙. (He can always force the opposition, preventing white's ♔ from defending it; the only tempo white has is g3.) If necessary, his ♘ can go to d7 to keep the f-♙ from promoting. Then the black ♔ and ♙ push white's ♔ down to the bottom of the board. In the final position,

click for larger view

Black wins regardless of whose move it is. Black can always avoid stalemate by moving the ♘.

I've gone back over the moves and, though white could have prolonged the game by avoiding exchanges and possibly gotten a draw, I don't see any way for him to win.

Thanks for being a good sport, and congratulations on your successful analysis!

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