Last weekend, I was again playing for e2e4.org.uk in the 4NCL. In round seven, the second team faced BCM Rhinos and I was on board four against Chris Fegan. The match was tightly contested and ended as a draw. Unfortunately, I was defeated in the last game to finish.
My encounter with Chris had many twists and turns. I managed to gain a good position out of the opening, which transposes into a sort of Bird’s Opening where I was able to benefit from avoiding …d5. Round about move 25 my opponent started to go wrong, and I had several chances to establish a decisive advantage in the run up to the time control, but was unable to take them. My fortieth move was a definite error, and led to an endgame which should be tenable for me, but is definitely awkward to hold. My opponent was the first to miss a chance, after I had slipped up by moving the king the wrong way, but he chose the wrong square for his knight. I seemed to be holding for a while then, but missed a chance to establish a clear draw by pushing by b-pawn at the appropriate moment. I had calculated another line as holding easily, but had overlooked a rook move by my opponent. This forced me to give up the exchange and go into a position where my opponent had a rook against a knight. I was upset by my oversight and for some reason assumed that I was lost, and indeed was after a crude blunder a couple of moves later. However, after I subsequently consulted the tablebases for the endgame in question, it seems that it is a draw.
I give the game below with some notes. I have not attempted to add any analysis of the rook vs knight endgame. I may return to this in a subsequent post.