Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: One Short Step

If making mistakes in the opening is frustrating, making them in the endgame is painful. Not only because the fact of making the mistake and losing the game in a miserable way (sometimes the player is lucky in the misfortune and a winning game ends in a draw!), but also because the game can last some hours and many moves, which means a huge effort of attention.

That is what happened in a recent game played in the Tata Steel tournament early this year.

American GM Samuel Shankland played Black against Hungarian GM Richard Rapport in round 2. After almost 6 hours and 74 moves, the following position appeared on the board.

GM Shankland probably thought that advancing the h-pawn two steps he would have more chances of winning because the pawn would be closer to promotion. For sure he already considered the need to take the white h-pawn. But he failed to evaluate the white setup “knight-pawn” which would appear two moves later.
Chess can be a frustrating game if players lose attention. As Bobby Fischer clearly stated “Chess demands total concentration”.

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