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The Wit and Wisdom of Imre Leader
Posted on 2004-12-20 01:50:56
In my last article, "High-F.A.T. Diet”, I analyzed a game between Canadian greats Jacky Fu and Tim Krzywonos from the 2004 Canadian Championships. As I mentioned, while Jacky won the first game of their series in a dominating fashion, Tim ended up winning the next two games and the championship. In the interest of fairness, I'm going to give those games equal (OK, more) time to speak out. I should mention that Krzywonos was a bit out of practice, which may explain certain instances of missed superior sequences on his part.
For Game 2, provided in the applet above, Krzywonos played black, and Fu takes him into No-kung at move 8. Unlike game 1, where both players played best until move 29, Krzywonos varies early with 9.f3. This sets up an error-filled opening and midgame for both players, while all of the errors are fairly minor and many are hard to explain what's wrong with them. The first of these is immediate with 10.e3, a move that can wait since black has no access to it, but is certainly reasonable. This pattern of a sudden advantage being returned on the very next move shows up five times in total, while most of them are close both ways. After 11.c5 12.c6 13.d7, the position below is reached.
econd lead exchange, as 13.g4 is better. Here I think Jacky makes a more discernible error with 14.c7, as my eye (and Zebra's, upon analysis) favors 14.b5 15.b4 16.b6 17.c7 18.c8 or 18.a3. Between choices of 14.c8 or 14.c7 I understand the move, and perhaps he considered those his primary options.
After 15.f8 16.e8 17.b6, shown above, Zebra says Jacky made a minor error with 18.g6 instead of 18.g5. This difference is easier to understand when you see the best response of 19.c8 20.g8 21.f7! as white has used up the potential g6 tempo already. That being said, Tim makes this error moot by going for a more controlling position with 19.d8?, shown below.
This position shows a parallel to my article about line avoidance as Jacky plays 20.c8?, eliminating his option for a b8 move later on. This completes the third lead trade-off. After 21.b8 22.g3 23.f7 24.c2 25.c1, 26.b4 sets up the fourth exchange with 27.a3 (b3 preferred) 28.a4 (b3 again). This pair o' errors is tougher to see, and while I didn't see the rationale behind either they are both appear to lead to close positions. After 29.a5 30.b3 31.h5 32.b5 33.a2 34.a7 the position below is reached.
Now the potential danger of the southern uneven edge is realized as Krzywonos has to play to the east. However, he still has a +2 advantage with 35.g5 36.g7 37.f5. Tim bounces between potential draws, +2 and +4 positions through the series of 38.e2 39.g4 40.h7 41.f2 42.h4 43.d1 44.h6, depicted below.
This is the scene of the fifth, and most extreme, lead exchange of the game, as 45.d2 takes Krzywonos from +4 to -20, and Fu's e1 takes Tim right back to +4 again! I'll explore both sides of this series, but first it's worthwhile to see black's winning line from the position above, 45.b2 46.d2 47.e1 48.a1 49.a6 50.b1 51.a8 52.f1, shown below.
Here the combination of the white-controlled a1-g7 diagonal and the black discs at c6 and d5 make for a beautiful Stoner trap with 53.g2! White can play 54.b7 but black is guaranteed access to h8 without flipping g7 and getting parity, for example, 55.h3 56.h1 57.h8 and black can play out the northeast and take g8 at the end.
Back to the actual game for a moment, Fu had a chance to win the tournament with 46.b2!, as afterwards black can protect two edges but white's parity is overpowering. This move may seem like it can be postponed, though, and Fu played 46.e1 first. The problem with playing against people like Tim is that while he can make wild moves, he has a great ability to see swindles. For example, as in this game, 46.e1 is followed by 47.h3!, depicted below.
This is another great example of the power of diagonal control. 48.h2? 49.g8!! and white has no access to h8. What about following up with 50.b2? 51.a1 52.b1 53.g2!! keeps the main diagonal. So 48.h2 is out of the question, how about 48.b2 instead? This leads to several narrow black wins, the most entertaining being 49.f1 50.h2 51.b1 52.g2 53.h1 54.g1 55.h8, shown below.
Does this look familiar? The line avoidance along the b2-g7 diagonal may remind you of a position from "Toeing the Line”, and this wins for similar reasons; it gives white a losing choice between letting black protect the north and west edges (-6) or the south (-4). How can the difference between giving up two edges or just one be so narrow? Witness the best line of 56.a1 57.g8 58.a6 and black passes! This forces white to give up the h1-a8 diagonal for the loss.
Back to the actual game after 47.h3, Fu plays 48.g2 (shown below), which is equivalent to the 48.b2 just mentioned.
The threat of the potential g8 inspires the play of 49.h1 50.g8 (50.h2 is -2) 51.h8. The bottom line here is that 50.g8 is early but a largely inconsequential mistake; as soon as Krzywonos gains access to g8 that move is going to be played by one or the other (for example, 50.h2 51.g1 52.f1 53.g8!! is a 40-disc win). This threat forces Jacky's hand to g8 himself at one point or another, and Tim is bound to come out winning.
In game 3, Jacky had the choice of color, as he had won his game by a larger margin. Not surprisingly, he chose black, assumedly eager to unleash F.A.T. again. As I mentioned in the previous article, though, Tim thwarted these plans by playing No-kung himself this time. While in game 1 there were no deviations until move 29, and in game two Krzywonos varied at move 9, this game strikes a fairly happy medium as neither player goes off the draw line until after 21.e1, shown below.
ove at h6, with h5 to follow. Tim uses these moves to make quiet moves on the west with the sequence 23.h6 24.d1 25.h5 26.b5.
Jacky has a good advantage here, but misses an opportunity to stop Krzywonos' series of quiet moves. In the position above, black can play 27.c1 and take white's access to b6 away. Instead Fu played 27.h4, threatening 28.h7 29.g2! Unfortunately for Jacky, Tim declined this particular invitation and played 28.b6, making for a very close game. The real nature of this error is that c1 and h4 do not even really constitute a choice; after 27.c1 black can still play h4 in the near future with confidence. I think this mistake (and possibly one near the end of the game) may have been residue from the previous game; he knew he had missed a win, and that may have still been bothering him on some level. After 29.a6 30.c7 31.d8 32.c8 33.b8, the position below is reached, and white has only one win. Can you guess?
The answer is 34.g1!! This solves the problem of the east edge, as it is unassailable after 35.f1 36.h7 or 35.c1 36.h7. If black plays 35.h2, then 36.f1 and black has to play into the northwest and the southeast becomes very playable for white anyway. Zebra also recommends g1 as a slight favorite over Krzywonos' 30.c7 also, for similar reasons. The actual move played in the position above is 34.f1, which is -2, while 34.g1 is only +4, so this can really only be commented on as an interesting move, not something that Tim should have seen.
Fu and Krzywonos play a strong series up through move 42, with Jacky losing only a single disc. 35.h2 36.d7 37.c2 38.e7 39.e8 40.g7 41.c1 42.b1, reaching the above position. At this point Jacky makes what I saw at the time as a serious error, 43.g2?? This move, much like the h4 earlier, seems like it can wait, and white's 44.b3 response is fairly obvious. This leaves very little for black to play to in the west. 45.a5 46.a4 47.a3 and the position below gave Krzywonos great pause.
With my kibitzing skills the best move of 48.b2 leapt out at me, but Tim was more cautious. If memory serves, he was contemplating playing into the southeast parity area with 48.h7, and was worried about 49.b2. His concern was 50.a1 51.h8, and black gets a couple of free moves in the southeast. White still wins though, as long as he does not play a7 before b7 (52.a2 53.g8 54.a7 55.f8! is a black win, for example, while 54.b7 is not). Even better after the theoretical 49.b2 is 50.h1 51.g1 52.a1 53.a2, as long as white plays the same 54.b7! (otherwise 54.a7 55.f8! 56.b7 57.f7). Nevertheless, Tim was very wise to avoid the 48.h7 play, as 49.f7 is a draw! There are three possible draws from that f7, all worth looking at; 50.b2 51.a1 52.f8 53.h8! 54.a8 55.g8 56.a2 57.g1 (and white gets the last three moves but no victory), 50.b7 51.b2 52.a7 53.a8 54.h1 55.g8! 56.h8 57.f8, and 50.b7 51.b2 52.a7 53.h8 54.a2 55.g8! 56.f8 57.a8 58.a1. Bear in mind that if Jacky were to earn a draw in this game, he would win the tournament on discs, so Krzywonos' 48.b2 set up a much simpler position which created no further hurdles on the track to victory.
What if Jacky had played 43.a3 (above) instead of 43.g2? Theoretically this leads to a number of possible draws, which again is good enough for him to win the championship. This is also well worth playing around with, as one of the draw lines begins with 44.h7 45.a5! 46.h1. An unpoisoned move to f8 with an f7 tempo, as well as the future g1 wedge, helps insure that black will get the north and south edges from here. More entertaining is 44.a4 45.a5 46.b7 47.g2 48.g1! 49.h7 50.b3 51.a7 PASS 52.b2 53.a1 setting up the board below.
In all my recent examples of diagonal control, this is the wildest; 54.f7!! denies a2 and accesses h1 simultaneously. Crossing the b7-g2 diagonal twice (b7 and d5) is important here, as 55.g8 56.a2! 57.a8 58.f8 59.h8 and black has all-important access to h1 at the end for the win. White's best is 55.f8 56.g8 (maintaining diagonal control) and now black simply plays out the two pairs of moves; if a8, wedge at a2, if h8, protect the east with h1. This would have been an amazing way to win a tournament for Jacky, on such a wild draw sequence.
These games are the mark of a truly exceptional player; even when out of practice his creativity and vision can still create wins, even against a greatly skilled player like Jacky. And while his style is beneficial to his rating, it also makes for highly interesting games, which I'm always happy to find.
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