Archive for February, 2010

Taming a GM

Posted on: February 16th, 2010 by Phil Ramsey

Playing in the Stockport Chess League we don’t meet many Grandmasters but new member Sean Hewitt did once hold seasoned GM Mark Hebden to a draw. Sean describes how he did it:

[Date "2008.11.24"]
[White "Hebden, Mark [246]“]
[Black "Hewitt, Sean [161]“]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. d4 Nf6
2. Nf3 g6
3. Nc3 d5
4. Bf4 Bg7
5. Qd2 Ne4
6. Nxe4 dxe4
7. Ne5 Nd7
8.O-O-O O-O
9. Nxd7 Qxd7
10. Bh6 Rd8
11. Bxg7 Kxg7
12. e3

Knowing that I was playing Mark I had done some prep and seen that he had had this position before and I was quite compfortable playing into it as I have no real weaknesses. However, I had decided that being meek for the whole game would get me nowhere.

12. … Qa4
13. Kb1 Be6
14. b3 Qa3
15. c4 c6
16. Be2 b5
17. Qb2 Qxb2+
18. Kxb2 bxc4

Although there are still 4 rooks on the board, I decided it was time to activate my king as I figured it couldn’t get into trouble.

19. Bxc4 Kf6
20. Bxe6 Kxe6
21. Rc1 Rac8
22. Rc5 Rd5
23. Rhc1 Rxc5
24. Rxc5 Kd6
25. Kc3 f5
26. Ra5 Rc7
27. Kc4 Rb7
28. h4 e6

I figured this to be pretty level now. I’d be happy if I didn’t have to move!

29. b4 h6
30. a4 g5

Classical he attacks on one wing, I attack on the other. If I can make my kingside majority count…

31. hxg5 hxg5
32. f3 exf3
33. gxf3 Rg7
34. e4

This puzzled me as it gives me a passed pawn. But then I saw his plan. If I push the passed pawn after we swap he plays e5+ followed by Rxa7+ and the rook on g7 bites the dust.

34. … fxe4
35. fxe4 e5

But this clever pawn sacrifice stops all the GMs tricks! After the game, Mark told me that he had missed this move – GMs are human too. (35… g4 36. e5+ and the rook is lost after Rxa7+)

36. Rxe5 g4
37. Rh5 g3
38. Rh6+ Kd7
39. Rh1 g2
40. Rg1 Kd6
41. Kd3 Rg3+
42. Ke2 a6
43. a5 Ke6
44. Kf2 Rd3
45. Rxg2 Rxd4
46. Rg6+ Kd7
47. Ke3 Rxb4
48. Kf4 Rb5
49.e5 Rxa5

And now I have the draw. This position is drawn even if I don’t have any pawns. I just have to make sure they don’t get in the way, and that I don’t do anything stupid. If you don’t know how to draw this ending a pawn down, learn it. It will make you many draws!

Many moves later…

81. e6

Moving the pawn admits defeat, and accepts that white cannot win. The white king now has no shield from checks from the black rook.

81. … Rb1
82. Rg8+ Ke7
83. Rg7+ Ke8
84. Rg5 Rf1+
85. Ke5 Re1+
86. Kf6 Rf1+
87. Rf5 Re1
88. Rf4 Re2
89. Rf1 Re3
90. Rd1 Re2
91. Kf5 Rf2+
92. Ke5 Re2+
93. Kd6 Re3
94. Rd5 Re1 1/2-1/2

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