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Wesley So vs Varuzhan Akobian
US Championship (2017), St Louis, MO USA, rd 6, Apr-04
Queen's Gambit Declined: Charousek (Petrosian) Variation (D31)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-04-17  offramp: Akrapian will be laughing into his khash tonight.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Draw. Utter, total draw...
Apr-04-17  BOSTER: Now white has a good possibility to win.
Apr-04-17  cro777: Interestingly, after 38.Qb7+

click for larger view

38…Kh6 was the only move for Akobian (!) not to lose.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <BOSTER> Don't be ridiculous. There are no wins here. If you think otherwise, please provide analysis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes, it's a forced draw.
Apr-04-17  cro777: Draw because there is no safe place for the white king.

Caruana: "I wouldn't be surprised if So wins this position, if he can get his king to a safe place.”

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Dom: There are no wins here. If you think otherwise, please provide analysis.>

Wesley might write a note?

Apr-04-17  offramp: <Domdaniel: <BOSTER> Don't be ridiculous. There are no wins here. If you think otherwise, please provide analysis.>

<BOSTER> is talking about real life chess, not ENGINE chess. Boster has a point, if Akrapian decides not to take the draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Draw or not, this was an excellent game.
Apr-04-17  offramp: Was that a fourfold repetition?
Apr-04-17  Imran Iskandar: <Domdaniel> Yes, it was. Akobian played very well, but unfortunately faltered at the critical moment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Yes, of course, in a live game anything can happen. Akobian might win. So is terrified of blunders as we all are and thus his notes to himself...So anything can happen Booster is right if Black had gone to g6 it was forced win for White and now anything can happen but it looks like a draw on the computer. So as long as they are both using computers it's a draw!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <offramp> Em, I do know a little about 'real world' chess - I've played three 'real world' tournaments in the last month, and my posts do not rely on engines.
Apr-04-17  offramp: <Domdaniel: <offramp>> In that case we can both agree that this was a draw.
Apr-04-17  SirRuthless: Very entertaining game. Some errors and brilliant moves on both sides. Fair result.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <offramp> Fair enough. A draw it is.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Draw. Good fun game.

Glad Qd3 did not work as I missed it completely. (usually I can spot and then play missed wins on tap). Qc2+ which I thought stopped the Nxd5 idea looks like it was very difficult to meet.

Apr-04-17  cro777: Akobian explained why he didn't play 18…Bd6 instead of 18…N8h6?

After 18…Bd6 19.Ne5 Bxe5 20.exf5 he missed the move 20…Qf5 (threatening ...Qd3) with clear advantage:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Uhhh, didn't wake up in time for this game. :(
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

"Ah, I forgot he cannot castle here"

Akobian said this after asked why he did not follow his original idea to bring the Queen to f5 after 18...Bd6 19 Ne5 Bxe5 20 dxe5 Qf5

Krogius in "Psychology in Chess" long ago identified errors which happened when a piece left its square, as the knight on f3 here, but the calculator retains the image of it blocking something, in this case the bishop on g4 which prevents castling.

Apr-04-17  cro777: Akobian also admitted that 31...Qd3? was the big mistake. "I missed that the king escapes, I really thought that I was going to win", he explained.

Position after 31.Qxb4

click for larger view

Here, Akobian's first idea was 31...Ng1, and not 31...Qc2+ what commentators expected, but both moves win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: There's times I just can't believe what these players say about what they're thinking. What would possess him to play Qd3 instead of Qc2+? I mean, if this was a Tuesday POTD, any club level player would start by looking for a forcing move, preferably with a check. He passed up a Rook protected Queen check on a square adjacent to the King, and instead played a non-checking move to a square with an intervening piece between the Queen and the opposing King. I guess their intuition gets them through most of the game, but when they make mistakes, they seem to be so fundamentally poor.
Apr-05-17  cro777: Miscalculations in time pressure.

The effect of time pressure on expert chess performance has been studied. According to research, an increase in time pressure during a game selectively hinders the ability to engage in slow processes such as calculation.

Position after 31.Qxb4

click for larger view

Why did Akobian in this position commit the big mistake by playing 31…Qd3? throwing away win instead of 31…Qxc2+! (or even 31…Ng1 his first choice, a less forcing alternative but still doing the job well)? He admitted that it was miscalculation.

The method strong players most often use in important moments or turning points of a game (mostly subconsciously) appears in three stages: a position features as well as the outcomes of possibiites are in the end evaluated.

Akobian probably considered these two lines:

31…Qc2+ 32.Ke1 Qc1+ 33.Bd1

click for larger view

31…Bd3 32.Bxd5+ Kg7 33.Qb3 Nf2+ 34.Ke1 Rc1+ 35.Kxf2 Qxd2+

click for larger view

See also Sally Simpson’s commentary Wesley So (kibitz #206928)

In time pressure even a strong player may misevaluate these two positions.

Apr-05-17  cro777: Wesley So about his "close shave":

"The point is I was looking for another win … and then I get all these complicated positions that turn out to be worse for me."

In this game as well as in the game against Shabalov, declining the repetition of the position, Wesley was taking on deliberate risks to try to win.

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