By Donny Gray
Many times a student and I will be reviewing one of their recent tournament games when they say, “I resigned here,” and I will say, “Why? You are winning!”
Resigning too early is a well-known occurrence in chess throughout history. Many times even GMs will miss the fact they have a winning shot and just resign. Sometimes the position looks so hopeless, the only thing they see is resignation. Only after the game when their super blunder is pointed out do they see it.
It would be very easy to see nothing but gloom and doom here for white in this position. There are 29 moves possible. All lose but one. If you had this in a tournament with the clock clicking, you may well miss the winning move and just resign. The winning move, of course, is the spectacular 1.Qb7+!!
Black is forced to take the queen and now the knight picks off both the queen and rook. With a piece up, white wins the ending easily.
One of the things I like to do to my students is take GM games where one of them resigned. I will then give them the position and tell them to win it against me. You would be surprised how hard this can be sometimes! A super GM resigns to another one his own level because it looks simple to the both of them. But to normal mortals, not all is as simple as you might think.
For some examples I have decided to use a couple of games from the recent super tournament, the London Chess Classic. The tournament had not only the current world champion Magnus Carlsen playing, but also most of the top players in the world. The lowest rated player in the 10-man round robin was Michael Adams, sporting a hefty 2744 rating! At the end of this article I will post the entire games. By the way, Carlsen won 1st place. No surprise there.
A good learning tool is to put the end position on a computer program and let it take the side of the one that just resigned. Now before you check to see the best way to do it, you try to win the game against the computer. Make sure you can win against the computer. See if the GM that resigned had any play left.
In our 1st example we find the game from round 7, World Champion Carlsen vs USA’s #1 Nakamura.
White: Magnus Carlsen 2850
Black: Nakamura, Hikaru2793
White has just played 78.Ba4 and black resigned.
It does indeed look bad for black. In fact, I see nothing for black at all! But before you continue, set up the position on your computer and take white. See if you can win against black, who just resigned.
Let’s see how play could have gone and see if black indeed has any play at all.
White, in just a few moves, is now a full queen up.
Now for Nc5+
Again, white is a full queen up. Seems that black was justified in resigning.
Next up we have the game from the 5th round Anand vs Topalov.
White: Anand, Viswananthan 2803
Black: Topalov, Veselin 2803
Here, Anand just played 74.Rg4 and black resigned. Here is a great example of a position that a GM resigned, but for normal mortals it looks like a lot of play is left.
Again, for this exercise you take the white pieces and let the strongest computer program you have take black and see if you can win. I bet you will find that black has a lot of play left, especially if your computer program is rated over 3000! Play this position until you can beat the computer several times in a row. This is good training.
Now let’s take a look at the best lines for both sides according to Komodo.
Wow! Now that was a lot of work. Never would I have resigned with that much play left. Many places white could have gone wrong.
Now below I give the entire games of the two above examples:
2015 Georgia Senior Open Next Post:
2015 Southeastern FIDE Championship, at the Charlotte Chess Center in NC