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Old 12-03-2012, 06:40 PM   #1
XaQ Morphy
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Draw in 15 moves?

I was cleaning up some things in my home office and found my old notation notebooks from high school. I found one funny game where I played white vs. my mentor at the time. He taught me a variety of fun openings, most notably the Bird-Larsen, and we ended up getting matched up in a tournament. Here's the position:



After I moved, he looked at the board for a little bit, then we just sort of both looked up and said "draw?" with looks of wtf do we do now on our faces.

Thoughts? After it was over we both agreed that it seemed like whoever started taking pieces first was screwed. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting position.

Last edited by XaQ Morphy; 12-03-2012 at 06:42 PM. Reason: updated position
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #2
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Both sides have a bad position. Ideas for Black include Rac8, Rfd8, Be8-h5 to activate the bad bishop (or maybe even Bc8-b7), Qe7 to probe the a3-pawn (gotta make sure there are no accidents with d5 there). For White: the e-rook looks misplaced, it could go back to d1. Queen could maybe go to b1. Getting in g4 would be nice for White since the b2-bishop is pointing at g7, but it looks pretty hard to carry out. If feels to me like Black shouldn't be releasing tension for the time being, at least I don't see a good way of doing it. White could consider taking on c5 but this involves some risk as the b3-pawn might turn out to be weak. I'd take Black here if I had to choose.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:56 AM   #3
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

There's no way I draw that from either side. Way too many things that can go on, and each side can work on some plans. I think a draw should be used when the position is unlikely to be won by either side and both sides understand why. It shouldn't be used to avoid playing in an unclear position.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Positions like this with so much pawn tension in the center are really tricky.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:52 AM   #5
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

White's Queenside is a bit weak. Black can start targeting it with Qe7 next. Maybe White should try some plan with dxc5 to start using the long diagonal.

The position is roughly equal, but too early to agree to a draw.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:30 PM   #6
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Positions like this are tough for piece placement because the opponent can often relieve the tension at anytime and leave some of your pieces rather silly looking. In games like this, I almost invariably put my rooks behind the pawns (usually c and d files) and just try to play solid, principled chess and wait for a time to resolve the tension favorably.

This position is a bit less flexible with both sides already committing their f-pawns to the f4 and f5 squares, respectively. Like has been said by two players stronger than me, it isn't a draw yet, but the prospects for either side don't excite me.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:12 PM   #7
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

dxc5 and then cxd5 looks good for white imo, black probably ends up with an isolated d pawn on an open file and our dark squared bishop is now a monster that Black will need to spend a couple moves to exchange. Though it is a shame white wasted the tempo on Rae1, it would be much better placed on c1 or d1.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

It's often a good idea to switch to a hanging pawns structure and the b2 bishop would indeed look mighty, but I was concerned that here b3 and e3 would be weaker than c5 and d5
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:52 AM   #9
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

No shame in calling this abominable position a draw between friends...i hate stonewall positions from either side.

If pressed for a move, i'd suggest Kh1 with ideas of Rg1 or improving the horrible e2-knight.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:58 AM   #10
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Kh1-Rg1-g4 came to my mind as the first possible plan, but I dumped it due to Nf2 And I thought spending a tempo to prevent it will result in Black breaking through in the center before we have meaningful pressure on g7. This is all of course somewhat academic without concrete lines.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:12 AM   #11
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

i thought maybe something like Kh1, Ne5 and then Ng1-f3 but this might run into some timely centre opening by black.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:28 AM   #12
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

I'm not too keen on moving into a hanging pawn structure for white here with dxc5 and cxd5. Our main move to break up the pawns, e4, isn't possible. The only other break would be b4, but that doesn't look possible for a while given how well black controls the b4 square.

I think Stonewall positions are at the top of my "hate to play against" list.

On a related note, GM David Smerdon writes an incredibly entertaining letter to the Stonewall, announcing his breakup with it haha.

http://www.chessvibes.com/davidsmerd...-the-stonewall
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #13
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Amazing link Tex!

http://www.chess.com/echess/game?id=58819096

This was the one and only time i ever played a half-serious game in the stonewall. It doesn't really encourage me to add another one.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:54 AM   #14
XaQ Morphy
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Wow thanks for all the replies. Giving away my age here, but this game was played when I was in high school, in 1989. My "final" rating was near 1600 but at this time it was 1450 or so, and my opponent was in the 1700s. To say I was intimidated was an understatement. After I made my move I noticed he had a confused look on his face. I studied his possible moves and what I was going to do next and as I wrote in the OP, we both just sort of looked at each other and shrugged while saying "draw?"

I set this up the other day online against a friend of mine. He decided to prove that playing black while drunk was a losing side. He was right.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:06 PM   #15
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Re: Draw in 15 moves?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noir_Desir View Post
Amazing link Tex!

http://www.chess.com/echess/game?id=58819096

This was the one and only time i ever played a half-serious game in the stonewall. It doesn't really encourage me to add another one.
In your game, it's amazing how quickly white's pieces came to life. Certainly didn't expect that conclusion after the first 15 moves or so.

I'm glad you liked the link, I think it's fantastic. Did you check out the links in the article for the related games and analysis? TONS of instructive material in those too. Smerdon is a great writer, I'd love to read more of his stuff.
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