Challenge de la Ville de Differdange

The weekend 14th and 15th of Mai town and chess club of Differdange organized tournaments in the premises of the International School. Eight youngsters from Bonnevoie joined the youth team competition: Konstantinos Basinas, Jakub Michalak-Palarz, Sebastien Fohr, Eric Östling, Carl Östling, Daniel Sterlin, Mark Alex Maiquez Seitam and Noah Chané. The two teams were fairly even in strength and with a little bit of luck in the last round they would have been equal on team points. The first came in 3rd behind Schifflange and Differdange, only half a point behind the latter which had suffered a painful draw against our second team. The following day Konstantinos won the individual youth contest, this time with a perfect score. In the adult event another Bonnevoie player landed on the podium as the winner of the last edition, Geoffrey Stern, took 3rd price.
For an old coach the kids were playing at a terrifying speed at times. Which can be useful, but in certain situations, e.g. when a pawn endgame is reached, it is good to take a few minutes to calculate, count pawn and king moves and visualize. In the last round Mark Alex had been defending desperately with black against Andre Power James of Differdange 2 when he suddenly got the opportunity to equalize an then even win. Both players had close to 10 minutes left on the clock but continued to « blitz » out plausible moves :

1. – Rd3! A rookfork. Either black gets two pawns, pulls the rook back and draws. Or a dangerous passed pawn securing the same result – at least.
2. Rxd3 exd3
3. Kd2?? seemed necessary but 3.c6! Ke7(!?) 4.gxf5 d2 5.f6+! draws – both sides work with equally distant passed pawns. 3. – Ke5 ?? throws away the win as after 3.-fxg4 white has no way to stop both pawns nor time to queen himself – black is « in the square » of defense.
4. gxf5 Kxf5? –g4 would still have drawn – with the help of « some higher power » as in the end black uses queen checks and stalemate motivs being two pawns down (e. g. 5.c6 g3+ 6.Kxg3 d2 7.c7 d1=Q 8.c8=Q Qxb3!! 9.Kg4 Qd1+ 10.Kg5 Qg1+ 11.Kh5 Dh1+ 12.Kg6 Qc6+!!).
5. e4+! Is the only move now, diverting the black king out of the square or gaining time for Ke3. Most likely the move played in the game as white went on to win.

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