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  3. 1 Bishop + 5 Pawns vs. 2 Bishops + 2 Pawns or how I became CM after all

Let me share this nice memory with you, way back on the 4.11.2011:

A win with Black would have enabled me to jump over the magical border of 2200 FIDE-Elo, draw wouldn't have been sufficient.

So at first everything went smoothly, I had a good position and the better time. The opponent felt compelled to sacrifice which was unsound, too. Well then!

Unfortunately I messed up everything in the time-scramble before move 40 and emerged with an probably equal game, 3 connected pawns for a bishop. So what to do? I couldn't bring me to accepting the draw offer and made some moves mechanically.
If white hadn't pushed his pawns probably draw would have been the most natural result. After 62. ... Bf1!! my mood was rising steeply - the position became difficult out of a sudden.

Exciting game. One does not get to be (candidate) master by accepting draw offers. The final checkmating net is pretty.

Thanks, all is well that ends well. I was totally disappointed about the course of the game meantime.

I always consider the pair of bishops stronger then to times a single bishop. That‘s why I played on and hoped for such a miracle starting with 62. ... Bf1!

Forcing a drawn position is usually the most natural way to loose, but I don't think that the position was "drawn" for long after the time control (of course it fluctuates during the time scramble, but that's another story :) ). The connected passed pawns are scary but Black's knight is scarier.
My impression is that White misses a clear draw with 44.Bxb5 Nxb5 45.Be1 Bg5 46.Kf1 and White's king reaches d3 on time. After 44.Bc2 and especially 45.Bc1, Black has every reason to play on. I think that the win would be clearer after 60...Bd3 (to stop the f-pawn after, say 61.Kg2 Kg5 62.Bc1+ Kh4! 63.f6 Bg6 right on time) as 60...Bd2 lets the king escape (you don't need to fear Bc1+ if you can answer it with Kh4 without letting the f-pawn promote).

You're stronger than me by good 300 points, so I turned to engines to confirm or infirm this first impression. Stockfish actually agrees and gives Black a decisive advantage after 45.Bc1 ; that might be a computer exageration (see Nunn and Burgess about this slight "tilt" in the evaluation function), but it implies that your disappointment was not justified anymore at that stage (a classical case of "retained emotion" after loosing an advantage in time scramble). Likewise, Stockfish agrees with 60...Bd3.

I couldn't make sense of what is happening around move 50, when Stockfish's evaluation jumps from -2 to -1.3 without blaming any move. I didn't notice anything by myself there before turning to engines.

In short, White's defence looks very difficult to me after move 45 and he was bound to make a mistake sooner or later, even if Stockfish sees no zugzwang after 62...Bf1! 63.Ba1.

That reminds me, I got my NM title in a R+K vs R+K time scramble where my opponent blundered a skewer.

well played

That was an instructional game for me - thanks for posting it.

- It reminded me that I need to make sure I always consider counter-attacks when I can't match defenders against attackers for a given piece.
- As obvious as it sounds, utilizing bishops to attack from behind enemy lines going "backwards" isn't something I naturally consider as it doesn't come up frequently enough in my games.
- The stalemate avoidance at the end was great also - I saw the pattern take shape when you trapped the king piece but I didn't keep the objective of avoiding stalemate at the forefront of my mind once he offered up his bishop when forced mate was only 2 moves away...

Thanks. I still can‘t believe messing the position up although I had much better time and the incorrect piece sacrifice by my opponent ...

Must be something traumatic! :D

Actually the pair of bishops is a powerful force. I just would like to point at one of the most memorable endgames I ever had. Btw. this KBB-KNPP is a 7-men TB win.

Last game of a big open - the many spectators weren’t sure who was playing for a win...

Wow, I would probably fail to checkmate with the bishops lol

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