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FIDE World Cup Khanty Mansiysk 2011 (1 Armaggedon Game)

How not to play with black in an Armaggedon game

Players at the start of the only Armaggedon game of the round

Players at the start of the only Armaggedon game of the round |

I take a look at Alexander Motylev's elimination by Yuri Drozdovskij in a final Armaggedon game. He just couldn't get his tempo right. Needing only a draw he was slow at the start he didn't speed up until it was physically impossible to make the time control at move 60 (where he would have got all of 3 seconds per move). Watching it live was painful, "For god sake speed up!" By playing so slowly he lost almost regardless of the chess content of the game.

Alexander Motylev had this position in the second 10 minute game where he only needed a draw.

Yuri Drozdovskij


Alexander Motylev

Position after 23...Re4. A game up and with 24.Nf4 winning quickly (a6 isn't bad) Motylev is almost home and dry. 24.Rfe1 allowed black to equalise and eventually go on to win this minute plus 10 second a move game.

24. Rfe1?! Rxe1+ 25. Qxe1 Rd8 26. Qe4 Qe6 27. Qxe6+ fxe6 28. Ne3 Nfd4 29. Kf1 e5 30. c4 bxc4 31. Nxc4 Re8 32. Re1 Nb3 33. Be3 Rd8 34. Rb1 Rd3 35. Rb2 Rc3 36. Nd2 Nbd4 37. Rb1 Rc2 38. Bg5 Nxb4 39. Ne4 Nbc6 40. Ra1 Nb3 41. Ra3 Ncxa5 42. Bxh4 b5 43. Be7 Nd4 44. Kg1 Nac6 45. Bf8 b4 46. Ra1 b3 47. Kh2 b2 48. Rb1 Na5 49. Bxg7 Nc4 50. f4 Na3 51. Rxb2 Rxb2 52. fxe5 Ne6 53. Bf6 Nc4 54. Kg3 Re2 55. Nf2 Nxe5 56. h4 Rxf2 57. Bxe5 Rf1 58. Kg4 c5 59. h5 Rh1 60. Kf5 Kd7 61. g4 Ke7 62. Kg6 Rg1 63. Bf6+ Ke8 64. h6 Nf8+ 65. Kh5 Rh1+ 66. Kg5 Nh7+ 67. Kg6 Nxf6 68. g5 Ne4 0-1

After losing this game the two 5 minute + 3 seconds a move games were drawn. Motylev should have been at least a bit warmed up.

This was only match that went down to a final armaggedon game. Every competitor should watch the video on the official site just to see how badly one can mess this up. Drozdovskij, white had 5 minutes to get to move 60 but had to win the game, Motylev, black 4 minutes. But Motylev went into slow motion brain freeze. Probably he was a little tired and annoyed he hadn't finished the match off. But once the opening started he was afflicted by indecision and that's just so fatal in blitz chess.

Incredibly exciting tiebreaks in Khanty today. The only armageddon game showed how hard it is to switch after playing with inc[rement] all day...

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Drozdovskij,Yuri (2614) - Motylev,Alexander (2685) [D90]
FIDE World Cup 2011 Khanty-Mansiysk RUS (1.9), 30.08.2011

1.Nf3 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d4 Bg7 6.e4 Nb6 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.Be3 0-0 9.Be2 Bxf3 10.gxf3 Nc6 11.d5 Ne5 12.Qb3 c6

Motylev 2:30 left. Already he has used too much time in the opening, for not a very good result.

13.0-0-0 cxd5 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Rxd5 Qc8+

Motylev 2 mins left

16.Kb1 Qh3

Motylev 1:29 left. Already losing on the clock and a bit worse on the board (Drozdovskij must already have been thinking that he only had to play reasonable moves to win) and he hesitated in playing this move too.

17.Bd4 Nc6

Black is almost equal but he now has 1:04 left. Drozdovskij 4 minutes still!!

18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Qxb7 e6 20.Rd2 Qg2 21.Rc1 Ne5 22.Qc7 Qg5

Alexander Motylev


Yuri Drozdovskij

Position after 22...Qg5

Motylev brain-freeze

Alexander Motylev's brain freeze. Photo © FIDE World Cup Khanty Mansiysk 2011 Website

Now 17 seconds left against 3 minutes 22. Motylev now speeds up but I think it is absolutely impossible to make 38 moves in 17 seconds although Motylev finally starts to try! The position is only a tiny bit better for white.

23.Rdc2 Rfc8 24.Qa5 Rxc2 25.Rxc2 Qf4 26.h3 Nxf3 27.Qc3+ Ne5 28.Qd4 Qf6 29.Rc5 Ng4

1:37 for Drozdovskij vs 9 seconds left for Motylev.

30.Qxf6+ Nxf6 31.e5 Nd7 32.Ra5 Rc8 33.f4 Rc7 34.b3 Nb6 35.Kb2 Nd5 36.h4 Nxf4 37.Bf3 Nd3+ 38.Ka3

Black is objectively winning but with 5 seconds for 22 moves white only has to avoid getting mated. Motylev managed three moves in a second at one point in this blitz.

38...Nc5 39.b4 Nd3 40.Be4 Rc3+ 41.Ka4 Nb2+ 42.Kb5 Nc4 43.Rxa7 Nxe5 44.a4 Re3 45.Bb7 Rb3 46.a5 Rd3

white is back winning again.

47.a6 Ra3 48.Ra8 1-0

Somehow in these games you need to get a good rhythm and when you don't get that force yourself to make moves and perhaps even work out a short term schedule if you start to waste time. Motylev was great once he started playing blitz chess, but it was just way too late to make time control (from 17 seconds left he did really well for a while!). With black just good enough is surely the way to go. This isn't chess, it is blitz chess.

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