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Baku Move of the day: …Rc2!! by Michael Adams

September 12, 2015

The World Cup in Baku has started, with many excellent games, and the usual good coverage on Chessbase and elsewhere.

One of the best things I did at the end of last year, in readiness to starting to work for myself, mainly from home, was to buy a second screen for my desktop PC. Having got so used to the advantage of having different programmes open on different screens, I sometimes wish I had three screens; but two is sufficient for weekends: some work, mainly of a minor nature on one screen, and…Playchess.com on the other, with q handful of games from Baku.

My number 1 game to watch today was Mariya Muzychuk against Mickey Adams. Their first game had been a fairly even draw in the Open Ruy Lopez. Today, my impression is that the game was also a very even draw, with Mickey never much if any better.

Towards the end, I started to accept that it would go to tie break; being sanguine about it, I knew that Mickey would be strong favourite in the rapids, but fast chess must heighten the risk element.

In the position below, the game was heading to a totally drawn opposite coloured bishop ending. 1 Rf2[] and if the rooks and a pawns are traded, it is time for the rapids. White took a long time before playing 1 Rf2 (why?) during which time I saw 1…Be2, which Mickey played, when 2 Ba3 Ra2 and 1/2-1/2.

No: I suspect a book or a long article could be written on the number of times when ‘he takes me, I take him’, automatic recaptures, is wrong.

Mickey instead played the exquisite last chance 2…Rc2!! putting White in near zugzwang. Its point is that on c2 the rook prevents Bc5, and so enables the breakthrough d5-d4, with strong possibilities. It is still drawn, with 3 f5!, which White played, 3…d4! 4 ed[] e3 and 5 Bc1!, exploiting the pin: if Black wants to carry on he has to hope that 5….Bf3+! is sufficient, but I suspect it is a draw. However, White played 5 Rf4?, losing after Mickey’s precise exploitation of his opponent’s mistake.

This game file contains my brief comments. http://www.viewchess.com/cbreader/2015/9/14/Game114846468.html

A class performance, finding and taking the smidgen of a chance he was given.

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