Saturday, April 25, 2020

Hey, I'm Winning! Now I Can Relax - NOT! (LCCC Still Dark - Due to C-19)

IM Yates (White) vs GM Tartakover (Black) - Hamburg, 1927
Having a winning position in a chess game is a great feeling. But sometimes you can feel too good and lose your focus.
Is there a psychological reason for this? Yes, as we all tend to let our guard down when we no longer perceive any danger. We all tend to relax when no threat seems imminent.
But, in chess that is rarely the case even in dominating positions.
We also tend to want to 'finish things up'. In our minds we are screaming "Look pal, this game is over. You are toast! Resign already. I want to go grab a sandwich and get ready for the next round."
And it can be especially true if you have been playing for a long time before getting the advantage or have been building an ever bigger advantage over time.
Look at the position here, as played by two very strong chess masters. Black has a big advantage both material wise and position wise.  According to Igor3000 the lead is the equivalent of 11 pawns (-10.9)! An overwhelming advantage.
But the GM was frustrated that his opponent had not given up yet and decided to end things quickly.

1. ……          Qxb4?
Black gives up his queen to eliminate White's last defender while winning a pawn (-2.2)and is sure his extra pawn will bring his queen back to life to win the game

2. axb4           axb3
3. Kb2            Kc4
4. Ka3            ........

Black to make move #4

 None of this was a surprise to GM  Tartakover. He had seen all of this. He also saw that if he plays 4. …Kc3, it is a stalemate.
Tartakover saw that 4.....b2 5. Kxb2, Kxb4 is a win for Black. So, 

4. ……            b2
5. Ka2!
But White had one other legal move available to him and he took it!
Now the game is a book draw.

GM Tartakover was guilty of shutting down his full analysis of the position and getting in a hurry to win a won game.

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