Last week I mentioned about the Doeberl Cup being played in Canberra over Easter and hoped that Bobby Cheng would come up with some interesting puzzles for us. I tried to follow the games live on the internet but the organisers made a fatal mistake. They allocated 4 live game boards to the Premier Division but invited 8 foreign grandmasters to play in the tournament. It’s simple maths! 8 grandmasters, 2 players per board, 4 live boards – there were no live boards left for me to watch the Australian players’ games! ARGHHH! Never-the-less, if you waited long enough, eventually the games would appear on the website so I did get to see a few of Bobby’s games. He started very well with an impressive win against Australia’s top player, Zhao Yuan-Zhong and in the last round a win would have given Bobby an IM result. I’m still waiting to see that game, but Bobby did come good with a puzzle for us.
In round 5 he was white against GM Attila Czebe from Hungary and they reached the following position. Czebe played 53…Nxc4 54.Kxc4 Ke5 and offered a draw. Bobby thought for a while and accepted. In this sequence of events there were two blunders and one “brilliancy”. What were they and why?
[fen caption="What were the blunders and brilliancy?"]8/4p3/3k4/4n3/2BK4/4pP2/4P3/8 b – - 2 53[/fen]
The first blunder was 53…Nxc4? as the pawn ending should be lost for black. Keeping the N on the board is surely a draw as the N can sacrifice for White’s last pawn when required. Black offering the draw after 54.Kxc4 Ke5 was the brilliancy. Nigel Short suggested that when your opponent offers a draw you should ask yourself why he thinks he is worse. Bobby’s accepting the draw was his big blunder as he was winning! The analysis goes as follows:
55.Kd3 Kf4 56.Kd4 e6! now:
A) 57.Kd3? e5 58.Kc3 Kg3 59.Kc4 Kg2 60.Kc3 Kf1 61.Kd3 Kf2 0-1
B) 57.Kc3 Kg3 58.Kd3 Kf2 59.f4 1-0 or 57…Kf5 58.Kd3 Kf4 59.Kd4 e5+ 60.Kd3 1-0