Blindfold Endgame Visualisation 21/50
#21, Stoyanov - Silva, 2020
I was going to write something on elite-level chess players and the disproportionate likely likelihood of them being right pillocks. In end I decided that writing about the problem with chess would be more interesting.
Black to play
What do you think of this position? White has just pushed 10 g4, Black is throwing his pawns forward on the queenside. It all looks very sharp. Both sides attacking, both sides in danger. The very essence of exciting chess.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s a forced draw.
Don’t believe me? Put the fen
rnb2rk1/4ppbp/p1pp1np1/qp6/3PPPP1/2N1BQ1P/PPP5/1K1R1BNR b - - 0 10
into your engine and let it run for a while. It won’t take long to decide that 10 … b4 is Black’s best move and give it the dreaded 0.00 evaluation.
After Black pushes the queen’s knight pawn forward play becomes totally forced. A sequence of nine moves follows in which both sides have one specific move that is clearly superior to every other choice available. Failure to play it means taking on a position that is at best much worse and often totally lost.
Must do this … must do this … must do this … and the then the game ends with a three-fold repetition as Black continually attacks White’s queen.
This game was one I played against my friend Angus. Part of a correspondence series in which I tried out various lines of the Pirc.
When we reached the position after 10 g4 I remember thinking that it looked very risky for Black but that I had plenty of counter chances. This was exactly what I was looking for in a line that I’d only be trying in a must win situation.
And then we continued and … all of a sudden everything burned out. As pleasing as it was to discover afterwards that we had both played 'perfectly', I also remember the sense of frustration.
This is a real problem for chess. What good is 'correct' play if there’s no game?
One of the joys of looking at studies is that you don’t have to worry about this sort of thing.
Nor do you have to deal with Radjabov and Nakamura giving it the full bellend. Which can only be a good thing.
OUTCOME: Half Solved
RUNNING TOTAL: 17/21