Thursday, October 10, 2013

(276) The new queen ending stalemate

During a tournament in Roquetas de Mar in January 2013 I spotted an unusual possible stalemate saving resource in an ending for my opponent, Azerbaijani Grandmaster Mirzoev.
I had this position as White -

Play continued 62...c3
A critical alternative was 62...Re8+ when white can reach a won queen ending after 63 Re4 Rxe4+ 64 Kxe4 c3 65 axb4+ Kd6 66 g7 axb2 68 g8=Q b1=Q 69 Qd8+ and the a pawn drops off.
Note in this line white should avoid the smartarse trick of an x-ray check after 65... Kxb4 66 g7?? since after 66...cxb2 67  g8=Q b1=Q 68 Qb8+ black has the dastardly resource of 68...Ka3! 69 Qxb1 and stalemate!

Instead, of course, 66 bxc3+ wins easily.

Well, at a Rapids event in Carboneras in August 2013 I had this position as White vs Jose Comacho Collados, an IM rated 2318 -

Instead of resigning some moves earlier I had been holding out for the trick I had only learned of in January and which now materialised -
1...Qc7?? 2 b8=(Q) Qxb8 


Endgame study enthusiast, Fide Master Paul Lamford said he found the stalemate idea cute. It was new to him, even with his experience and expertise in this specific area of chess.

Incidentally, in November 2014 I was looking at the DVD of Dvoretsky´s Endgame Manual and saw this position from the game

Yates Vs Marshall, Karlsbad 1929

The game ended 1 Kc3? b1=Q 2 Qxb1+ Kxb1 3 Kb4 Kb2! 4 Kxa4 Kc3 and the king caught the pawn.

But Dvoretsky noted that white could have won by 1 Qc2 a3 2 Kc3 Ka1 3 Kb3 b1=Q 4 Qxb1+ Kxb1 5 Kxa3 and the pawn queens.
Neither 1 Qc4+ Ka3 2 Qb5? nor 2 Qc2? worked because of the same stalemate trick of 2...b1=Q! 3 Qxb1
...   ...   ...
(As the faintest of codicils I may add that I received from Byron Jacobs the diagrams included in this example on August 21st 2013. The text I quickly wrote up but, with characteristic energy, did not get around to adding the diagrams until the morning of December 3rd 2013.
That afternoon I saw that a copy of The British Chess Magazine of September 2013 had just arrived. I had requested it of BCM co-editor James Pratt on Facebook who could only have posted it on November 31st at the earliest, specifically because this issue contained my game with Mirzoev with my annotations. Yet it had winged its way over to Spain rapidly enough to arrive on the very day that I added the stalemate coincidence related to it to my blog. I had also drawn the attention of co-editor Shaun Taulbut to the second part of the coincidence - the game with Comacho Collados - but that he had not included.)

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