First, again, with only a few days before the world open, like last year, my crap top lossed it again. Fortunately, this time I have a 500GB external drive I was storing all my chess database material. I’ve been building up a new laptop since I had spare parts from my college kid’s debris pile…Seems like I have a side business of restoring laptops abused by fraternities and other college related accidents.
Last night was my first glimpse of a lesson with Jorge Sammour-Hasbun ( I Norm away from an official GM title from FIDE). It was more of a warm up to the up coming Wednesday evening session. In getting to know me, he feels he wants to focus mainly on the endgame. I am being completely open minded since my previous methods seems to yield only so much. We talked goals and other things. He’s going to help me warm up for the WO and then help train me to get to Class A. A tall order I’m sure.
He went over some basic endgame fundamentals with me with King and Pawns like knowing the exception to the rule of opposition. Opposition doesn’t work when your opponents pawn is on the fifth rank for instance.
The highlight of the pre-lesson was going over an endgame he studied when he was 11. It’s one where Capablanca , playing Black in the following position:
First, Capablanca saw something in the Pawn at b4. I guessed… not really what it was all about.
Jorge asked me three questions:
1) Is Rc1 a good move for White? ( which was played)
2) If not, What is Black’s correct plan?
3) Can Black force a win?
At face value I knew offering the rook exchange wouldn’t be good for white. Pawn Islands make the position weak. After the exchange 1…Rxc1 2. Kxc1 I saw the first plan was to go after the weak pawns on the King side. 2…Kf6 3. Kd2 Kg5 4. Ke1 Kh4 5. Kf1 Kh3 6. Kg1 Then What? ( I was lost...I admit...but my instructor shown some light)
First part of the plan was correct. But Capablanca also believed in simplification. The best way was to exchange the pawns down on the king side.
However you chose to do it, white will basically rock the King back and forth on h1 and g1 with a passive defense. So, for instance:
6… e5 7. Kh1 f5 8. Kg1 g5 9. Kh1 h5 10. Kg1 f4… now if white exchanges, what happens is Black can gain the upper hand ( 11. exf4 exf4 12. Kh1 g4 and after 13.fxg4 hxg4 14 Kg1 g3 15. fxg3 hxg3 16 hxg3 Kxg3 ….) Passive defense prolongs it to some extent but the simplification will still come.
The end result at about move 16 or 17 deep into this study is the kings are in opposition with white to move. Using what Dvoretsky calls “shouldering” The Kings head over to the other side of the board. Say: 17. Kf1 Kf3 18. Ke1 Kf3 19. Kd1 Kd3 20 Kc1 Kc3 and now White loses these pawns 21. Kb1 Kb3 with Kxa3 and Kxb4 to follow and two connected passed pawns. The AMAZING thing is that Capablanca SAW this 20 moves deep when White played Rc1. He knew he could exchange rooks and win that endgame on b4 since the pawn wasn’t on b2 to protect the shouldering technique.
Blows me away…. I’m enjoying this.