Goa GM 2018: What is Troitsky's line?
A lot of theoretical endgames in chess are difficult to learn. One of them is the king + two knights versus king + pawn. It is a complex ending where a lot of people go wrong. In this article we explain to you this endgame with the help of a key game in the Group B of the Goa International Open Chess tournament. Also you can learn the art of calculation and imagination from Goa's first GM Anurag Mhamal. After four rounds we have eight leaders with the score of 4.0/4. They include Idani Pouya, Samvel Ter-Sahakyan, Deepan Chakkravarthy, Ziaur Rahman, Anurag Mhamal, Stany GA, Vitaly Sivuk and Sergey Kasparov. An illustrated report.
The A-group is surely the event from which you can learn a lot because there are 22 GMs and 26 IMs and over 80 titled players fighting it out over there. But the B-group becomes interesting, especially in the final rounds, because of the money at stake. The first prize of Rs.1,40,000 for some participants can help them survive for the next few months, for some it can be a promise made to their parents that I will bring some money home, for some it is a gateway to a better livelihood. And when you motivate the below - 2000 rated players in this fashion, what you get is good quality play which is much higher than their Elo.
|5||5||Singh Soram Rahul||IND||1945||ASSM||7,5||0,0||48,5||53,5||43,00||7||20||16,2|
|8||45||Karthik Gopal G||IND||1810||AP||7,0||0,0||51,5||56,0||41,00||7||20||43,6|
|10||63||Anwar N K||IND||1764||KER||7,0||0,0||49,5||54,0||41,25||6||20||40,2|
|15||2||Lakshmi Krishna Bhushan D||IND||1982||AP||7,0||0,0||46,5||48,5||35,75||5||20||-4,4|
|16||28||Ajay Kumar Rai||IND||1870||DEL||7,0||0,0||46,0||49,5||38,00||5||20||11,8|
I would like to draw your attention to the fifth board game in the ninth round between Anwar NK of Kerala and Pankaj Sharma of Punjab.
The position was drawn for quite some time, but the white player wanted to win. It's not at all easy. The two knights not only blockade the pawn but also stop the white king from entering the position. At such a point you have to be objective and tell yourself, let's make a draw and get ready for the next game. But Anwar (White) was not going to accept the draw easily. He played his rook to c5 - Rc5. Pankaj quickly moved Kf4. Now something amazing happened. Anwar was running short of time and with just five seconds left on his clock he couldn't understand what is to be done. He grabbed his rook and played Rxe5?? Of course Black simply recaptured the rook with his king and we reached the following position.
We all know that two lone knights cannot checkmate the white king. But when white has a pawn on the board, things are different. That's because stalemates would not occur. Whenever you have the white king boxed into a corner, instead of being a stalemate white will have to move his pawn and this gives Black the chance to win the game. Let's make it more clear.
But imagine, if in a similar position you had a pawn on e5!
Now when you go ...Nd4 White is not going to move his king. He will push his pawn to e6 Nc6 e7. As you can see things are now much different from what we looked at in the position without the pawn. Instead of stalemate, it is now a race of time. Can Black checkmate his opponent with the two knights before he can make a queen is the question! Well, in this regard, the great composer Troitsky came up with the Troitsky's line.
It means that when white has a pawn and if it can be blocked on the line or before it, with the knight, the side with two knights can win. Let's take an example.
Impossible to calculate! But if you know Troitsky's line you can be sure that this position is drawn because the pawn on b4 is ahead of the line. It should have been back on b3 in order for Black to win. Let's take another example.
Sagar Shah vs Deepthamsh Reddy, Hyderabad 2013
This happened in one of my own games. It's very difficult to calculate. But I knew that the pawn on b6 is the guy that will help me win the game. My knight has to stay on b5 and the king and the knight have to round up the other pawns. And so after a few moves we reached the following position:
Now I knew that the pawn has been blocked on the Troitsky's line. I didn't know how to win from here. But that's the thing about these endgames. You don't need to know everything. Just knowing the evaluation is good enough for you to be able to play confidently. The fact that I knew this was winning made my task easier. I have to keep my knight on b5 as the pawn should not be allowed to advance and meanwhile I can use my other knight and king to push the black king into the corner. Seems like a tall task, but it is completely possible. Here's how the game ended:
Now let's check how the game between Anwar and Pankaj Sharma ended.
Anurag Mhamal holds the unique distinction of becoming the first GM from the state of Goa. In a land where there no IMs, leave alone GMs, he blazed ahead and became one of India's best players. How did he do it? In this video you get to the unleashed form of Anurag Mhamal. The way he calculates, the way he is able to see variations. Not all of them are flawless, but you understand how a GM of his calibre thinks. Anurag was kind enough to spend nearly half an hour with us and you are bound to learn a lot from him. Also do not miss his thoughts on why you should play the main lines in the opening and not always go for sidelines which he did for many years.
Laxman Khadilkar is an octogenarian who has been able to keep up his love for chess over the years! His family consists of chess players. His father, grand father and even grand uncle were chess players. His grand uncle VK Khadilkar was the first Indian to have travelled abroad for a chess tournament and had also played a 10-game match against the greatest player of that time Sultan Khan. Laxman had a career high Elo of 2156, but has played in National A and still keeps his love for chess going by attending chess tournaments at the age of 80 years! We ask him what keeps him going and at the same time what are the changes he sees in the game of chess from when he was young and now!
Results of round 4:
|1||15||GM||Neverov Valeriy||2488||UKR||3||½ - ½||3||GM||Kravtsiv Martyn||2654||UKR||1|
|2||2||GM||Amonatov Farrukh||2615||TJK||3||0 - 1||3||GM||Rahman Ziaur||2473||BAN||17|
|3||4||GM||Popov Ivan||2611||RUS||3||0 - 1||3||GM||Kasparov Sergey||2453||BLR||19|
|4||21||GM||Himanshu Sharma||2444||RLYS||3||0 - 1||3||GM||Idani Pouya||2588||IRI||5|
|5||22||GM||Laxman R.R.||2443||ICF||3||½ - ½||3||GM||Malakhatko Vadim||2552||BEL||7|
|6||27||IM||Das Sayantan||2425||WB||3||0 - 1||3||GM||Ter-Sahakyan Samvel||2547||ARM||9|
|7||10||GM||Sivuk Vitaly||2545||UKR||3||1 - 0||3||IM||Rakesh Kumar Jena||2388||ODI||31|
|8||65||Pranav V||2263||TN||3||0 - 1||3||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||2540||ICF||11|
|9||114||Venkata Ramana J||2086||TEL||3||0 - 1||3||IM||Stany G.A.||2502||AAI||13|
|10||14||GM||Anurag Mhamal||2495||GOA||3||1 - 0||3||FM||Deshpande Aniruddha||2213||MAH||81|
Rankings after round 4
|11||GM||Deepan Chakkravarthy J.||IND||2540||ICF||4,0||0,0||8,0||10,0||10,00||4||10||5,0|
|15||25||IM||Viani Antonio Dcunha||IND||2430||KAR||3,5||0,0||8,0||9,5||8,00||3||10||1,3|