Advice for Boston Blitz

With the Yankees and Mets disgraced, the New York Knights hope to restore the Big Apple’s winning way by demolishing the Boston Blitz tonight in the United States Chess League. Hikaru Nakamura, on Board One for the Knights, has made public his plan to “crush” Beantown’s Jorge Sammour-Hasbun. My advice to Jorge is not only to brush up on irregular chess openings but also to review simple endings.

For instance, after a tense see-saw battle, Jorge as White may be happy to take a draw in the following, apparently sterile position:

But Hikaru will want to play on, hoping to wear him down before the 50-move draw rule applies. Now, Jorge, try to keep your king centralized. Hikaru will try to intimidate you into tucking the king away on h1:

If you reach the above position, Jorge, it would not be good to withdraw your bishop to g1:

Because then Hikaru will mate you!

Let’s go Knights!

7 Responses to “Advice for Boston Blitz”

  1. bioniclime Says:

    Paul… You need to look at my blog which discusses what happens if this very situation appears on ICC. The ICC server will declare this a draw because of lack of mating material, which is actually a violation of the Laws of Chess, as the Laws say that in B vs. B, the Bishops must be the same square-colored. See:

  2. paulhoffman Says:

    That’s pretty funny that you. too, wrote about this very important and difficult endgame. So given that Hikaru and Jorge are playing on an ICC server, I guess ICC will cut Hikaru off before he can try to wear Jorge down.

  3. HA81 Says:

    I kind of suspect that both of you guys are speaking from some sort of personal experience, possibly indicative of some repressed memories from your youth? Or maybe some past life? Anyway, I think you should be focusing on the real matter at hand… the real likelihood that Nakamura is aiming for checkmate with 3 knights!

    Well good luck to both teams.

    P.S. your guys diagram is wrong, the bishops on on the wrong colors

  4. CRR Says:


    Do you have a cite for the USCF/FIDE rule which states that opposite colored bishops constitute sufficient mating material?

    The reason I ask is that I once had an opponent try to claim a win on time with K+N against my K+N+P, arguing that it was possible for a mate to be constructed. When we looked up the rule, the language specifically excluded help-mates from consideration (no doubt because an earlier “creative” player had tried to make the same argument). I’d be surprised if the same didn’t apply to K+B vs. K+B, regardless of color.

    (And this concludes another exciting edition of “Taking internet comments way too seriously.”)

  5. bioniclime Says:

    I don’t have that rule, but I found the converse…

    USCF Rules of Play

    14D. Insufficient material to continue. The game is drawn when one of the following endings arises…

    14D3. King and bishop vs. king and bishop. King and bishop vs. king and bishop, with both bishops on diagonals of the same color.

  6. paulhoffman Says:

    So in other words, Bioniclime, you are just gently trying to tell me that my post, and erudite endgame analysis, is for nought.

  7. Jon Jacobs Says:

    My understanding, drawn from separate conversations with US TDs and a Playchess (=international chess server operated by Chessbase), is that USCF and FIDE rules differ on this point.

    In a nutshell, USCF rules DO NOT allow helpmates when deciding whether the side whose flag fell is assigned a loss or a draw when his/her opponent lacks sufficient material to force mate. That leads directly to the familiar “mating material” rule we all learned as kids, which says the side with nothing but K+N or K+B (with no pawns) can never win on time. (I’m not sure how the USCF rules treat K+N+N when the side that flagged has a pawn.)

    FIDE rules, on the other hand, definitely DO ALLOW helpmates when assessing a time-forfeit. That leads to many absurd outcomes, whose absurdity does not seem to bother officials in the slightest. I.e., K+B vs K+B is awarded a win on time if the B’s are opposite colors (as Paul showed above), but only a draw if the B’s are the same color (because the side who fell cannot use his own and his opponent’s same-color bishops to mate himself, no matter how hard he tries).

    K+N gets only a draw (per FIDE) if the side that flagged has either a bare K, or K+Q and nothing else. But, K+N gets a win if the side that flagged has a N, a B, a R (obviously a helpmate can be constructed by using any of those pieces to obstruct its own king in a corner) — or even a Pawn…because that pawn — let’s call it a Zombie, shall we? — under the control of its enemy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers also comes to mind) can be mind-controlled to UNDERPROMOTE to a B, N, or R, any of which can then participate in checkmating its own king.

    K+B, as noted above, gets a win when opponent flags while holding opposite-color B, and only a draw when opponent flags having same-color B (and no other pieces). K+B also gets a win on time vs K+N, but NOT vs K+R (here note that a N is superior to a B in this regard — K+N does win on time vs K+R, since a corner mate position can be constructed).

    Hopefully, the near-universal adoption of time delay and/or time increment, will soon make the FIDE nonsense almost moot.

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