Chess Psychology: Being Objective

I had to travel out of town this past weekend and decided to play in the Virginia Open . This was my worst tournament in quite a while but like all of life’s setbacks it is rich with lessons. I am going to start with my third game because it demonstrates how emotional factors can cloud our judgment during play, leading to incorrect assessments. I was playing against an opponent whose rating appeared to be much lower than mine. Of course this was completely misleading since he had a great tournament, but that didn’t stop me from thinking that I was ahead the entire game! Fritz, a computer engine, proved my hubris. I’m going to provide the full text and a few positions where white can safely tuck away a draw and live to fight another day. Can you find the drawing lines? Some positions cannot in fact be won no matter how many risks we take. In fact, by trying too hard to win to and ‘prove’ our rating we end up with nothing!

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg5 O-O 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 b6 8. cxd5
exd5 9. Qc2 Bb7 10. Bd3 Nbd7 11. Bxf6 Nxf6 12. Rb1 c5 13. a3 Re8 14. O-O c4 15.
Bf5 Bc8 16. Ne5 Bd6 17. f4 Bxf5 18. Qxf5 Qe7 19. Rbe1 Qe6 20. Qxe6 Rxe6 21. f5
Re7 22. e4 Bxe5 23. dxe5 Rxe5 24. exd5 Rae8 25. Rd1 Ne4 26. Rfe1 Nxc3 27. Rxe5
Rxe5 28. bxc3 Kf8 29. g4 Ke7 30. d6+ Kd7 31. Kf2 Rc5 32. Rd4 Rc6 33. a4 Rxd6
34. Ke3 Kc6 35. Rxd6+ Kxd6 36. Kd4 Kc6 37. Kxc4 a6 38. Kd4 b5 39. a5 ?? Kd6 40. h3
f6 41. h4 Kc6 42. Ke4 Kc5 43. Kd3 Kd5 44. Kc2 Kc4 45. Kd2 b4 46. cxb4 Kxb4 47.
Kd3 Kxa5 48. Kd4 Kb5 49. Kd5 a5 50. Ke6 a4 51. Kf7 a3 52. Kxg7 a2 53. Kxh6 a1=Q
54. Kg6 Qg1 55. g5 fxg5 56. h5 *

The fourth diagram is interesting. How do you evaluate this king and pawn endgame? Do you see my plan? Even in this admittedly hopeless situation I am confident in the position’s resources.

Leave a Reply