Almost one hundred years ago, Don Capablanca wrote: There have been times in my life when I came very near thinking that I could not lose even a single game. Then I would be beaten, and the lost game would bring me back from dreamland to earth. Nothing is so healthy as a thrashing at the proper time, and from few won games have I learned as much as I have from most of my defeat.

And that is! Chess mastery is a mix of knowledge in chess openings, endgames and creativity, deep calculation and developed intuition, self confidence and prudence. But mainly, to be able for learning from our own games. Many people try to excuse their losses thinking that they had not their best day, the main problem was the chosen opening, they break down, etc.

We will see how quickly learned Grand Master Marc Narciso from this defeat:

Ftacnik,Lubomir (2580) - Narciso Dublan,Marc (2510) [D37]
Lisbon open (7), 27.08.2001

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5


[A typical position with an isolated pawn. Thanks to Doctor Tarrasch we can play this kind of position without a feeling of being completely lost and therefore we can find hundred of games with this position in the OM chess database.
Anyway, it is usually said that two knights are a better help for an isolated pawn rather than two bishops and looking at this game you will not feel wanting to play this chess opening as Black.]

10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Be7 [White was threatening Bxh7+ or Qc2, in both cases winning a pawn.]

12.b4 Bg4 13.0–0 a6 14.h3 Bh5 15.Rc1 Re8 [The opening is over and White needs to put pressure on the d5 pawn somehow. ]


16.Re1! [This rook is going to d2 via e2.]

16...Bf8 17.g4 Bg6 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Re2 Re7 20.Rd2 Rd7


21.Rc3 [It looks clear what this rook is planning.]

21...Rc8 22.Rcd3 d4 [Black has to give up the pawn, and even so there are still many problems, with more active pieces for White and some difficulty for defending the queenside pawns. Grand Master Ftacnik shows now a great technique. ]

23.Nxd4 Nxd4 24.Rxd4 Rxd4 25.Rxd4 Qf6 26.Rd7 g5 27.Bg3 Qc6 28.Qd5 [Of course]

28...Qxd5 29.Rxd5 f6 30.Rd7 Rc3 31.Rxb7 Rxa3


[This kind of ending can be a hard nut to break when you are not a strong Grand Master. But, even if any chess engine can be happy here as Black, probably it is already lost, while they just realize when you advance some moves.]

32.Bc7 Kh7 33.Kg2 Kg6 34.Ba5 Ra2 35.Rb6 Be7 36.Kg3 Ra3 37.h4 gxh4+ 38.Kxh4 Ra2 39.Kg3 Ra3 40.Kf4 Ra2 41.f3 Bf8 42.Ke4 Kg5


43.Rb8! [Ftacnik sees that the bishop has some problems to find a proper square, which will decide the game.]

43...Bd6 44.Rd8 Bg3 45.Rd5+ Kg6 46.f4 [Black's bishop problems will decide now]

46...Be1 47.Rd1 Bc3 48.Kd3 Bb2 49.Kc2 [Black has to trade rooks and then the ending is completely lost. Ftacnik choses the prettiest conclusion, continuing with the idea of trapping the unfortunate Bishop.]

49...Ra1 50.Rxa1 Bxa1


51.b5! axb5 52.Kb1 1–0

Let’ see what happened in the next round:

Narciso Dublan,Marc (2510) - Akesson,Ralf (2481) [D37]
Lisbon open (8), 28.08.2001

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Bf4 [Why not to play this variation trying to emulate Ftacnik? ]

4...Nf6 5.e3 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Bb6 [A desviation from the previous game, but the kind of position and the plans are obviously the same ones.]

12.b4 Bg4 13.0–0 Re8 14.h3 Bh5 15.Ra2


15…Qf6 [Akesson directly gives up the pawn trying to get some play.]

16.g4 Bg6 17.Bxg6 hxg6 18.Qxd5 Rad8 19.Qb3 Rd7 20.Kg2 Qd8 21.Rc1 Rd3 22.Rc3 Rd1 23.Rac2


23…Qd5 [Probably this makes things easier, but it is hard to find some counterplay for Black here.]

24.Qxd5 Rxd5 25.Nd2 Bd8 26.Nc4 Bf6 27.Rb3 g5 28.Bg3 Red8 29.b5 Nb8 30.Na5 b6 31.Nc6 [Trading some pieces White gets a winning position, just like in the previous game.]


31...Nxc6 32.bxc6 Rc8 33.a4 Be7 34.c7 Kf8 35.Rb5 [White wants to play a5 if the d5 rooks goes away.]

35...Rc5 36.Rbxc5 Bxc5 37.Kf3 Ke7 38.Rd2 f6 39.Ke4


[Depending on what Black is doing, White with penetrate with his king via d5 or f5. Black resigned.] 1–0

Chess Editor

Eduardo Serrano Salvador


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