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Ray Charles vs Larry Evans
"I'm Busted" (game of the day Jul-23-2011)
Chess Life Interview (2002), Reno, NV USA, Mar-08
Four Knights Game: Scotch Variation. Accepted (C47)  ·  0-1

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Ray Charles vs Larry Evans (2002) I'm Busted


Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-13-08  amadeus: Not this one...
Dec-31-08  blacksburg: i think it says something about ray charles's strength as a chess player that he resigned in the final position. that he understood it was lost for him means that he knew a thing or two about endgames.

ray charles was obviously better than sting.

Dec-31-08  RookFile: <HannibalSchlecter: the win is as follows: Black uses his 3 to 2 pawn majority on the kingside to create a passer. White must chase it down, then black goes pawn munching with his king. Ray knew this was coming, and resigned. >

I don't think it's this simple. The move 25. a4!! creates remarkable problems in this position, and was well worth playing.

Dec-31-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: What's the problem after 25.a4 c5? Even after 26.b3 black will play c4+ bxc4 Kc5 somewhere. Black always has more tempi at the King side. If white doesn't play b3 then black has c5-c4 and again ...c5.
Mar-12-09  pleutman: Blind sight:The phenomenon in which a patient has no concious visual experience in some direction,yet functions effectively in various tasks involving temporal location of objects.
Mar-12-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Did Ray ever recieve an invitation to Amber ?
Feb-06-10  ruelas007: dood that's too harsh and meanie
Nov-20-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I played chess with a Blind player there times in the 60s as a teenager in NZ - he had the (dark?) Squares) elevated also. Once I got him with knight fork and he said: "Oh, I didn't see that.! " Every one watching laughed. My score with him ( a Mr Terry Free) was =

i.e. it was -

1 loss, 1 win, 1 draw.

He played in the World Blind Champs later. I read via Oliver Sachs; books that blind people get quite used to being blind and when one person had his sight restored after years being blind, he was very disorientated and upset - it almost destroyed his life, that had been reasonable until then. He had got so accommodated to being without sight and responding to the world in non visual ways.

Jul-15-11  ColeTrane: Coltrane & Monk & co.
Jul-23-11  Shams: Great pun! Step forward, author.
Jul-23-11  goodevans: The ending after 25 a5 c5 26 b3 is non-trivial. White should have played on.

Perhaps he was more interested in playing the next game than trying to fight out a draw.

Jul-23-11  mack: I played a blind chap at Bury St Edmunds in 2006. I rather cruelly thought that it would be to my advantage to get him out of his comfort zone as soon as possible, so after his 1.d4 (with Colle intentions) I played 1...Na6. We drew.
Jul-23-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: I'm impressed by Ray. Something I didnt understand was 20 Kc1. Ke2 looked obviously right (to and endgame klutz like me anyway) and the rest of his game makes me think he would have realised that
Jul-23-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think Mr.Charles was distracted by having Georgia on his mind.
Jul-23-11  crawfb5: <goodevans: The ending after 25 a5 c5 26 b3 is non-trivial.>

It's fairly straightforward. Black can force a passed pawn on the kingside with 3 vs 2 pawns. White's King will have to leave the queenside at some point to stop it and then Black infiltrates with his King.

<scormus> Yes, 20. Kc1 was a waste of time, but I doubt it would have affected the outcome.

Jul-23-11  BiggCojones: Sunday game will be:
Andrea Bocelli vs Stevie Wonder!
Jul-23-11  SirChrislov: "Chess? I love chess! If you woke me up at 3:00 in the morning to play a game, I'll do it!" --Ray Charles

When I saw it in the magazine back in 2002, I thought, "two old guys playing chess?, pfff" but I ended up reading the whole interview and played through all the games. melvyn won most of them but it was interesting to see the moves of a blind man. and the interview had its funny moments. thanks for taking me back.

One part I sort of remember goes something like

"Ray: "You play pretty well" Larry: "I'm 5-time US champion." Yeah, but can you sing a good note?

Jul-23-11  David2009: <crawfb5: <goodevans: The ending after 25 a5 c5 26 b3 is non-trivial.> It's fairly straightforward. Black can force a passed pawn on the kingside with 3 vs 2 pawns.> Right strategy, there are difficulties in the detail. Try to win the ending colours-reversed:


click for larger view

using this interactive link: http://www.chessvideos.tv/endgame-t... Accurate play is required - the ending is not trivial.

While you are playing relax to the magic of Ray Charles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMfB...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFeB...

Jul-23-11  WhiteRook48: hey, he's actually pretty good.
Jul-23-11  sfm: Ray has a very good understanding of what it is all about, and must have seen ghosts when playing the odd 17.Rd1 and 20.Kc1. The ending after 17.Nxe4 is clearly not attractive for Black with his weak Q-side pawns. Who knows how it could have ended.

<David2009> I tried the crafty-link. (They are great, keep them coming!)

Crafty plays it poorly, though, after (with reversed colors) 1.Kd4,Kd6 2.g4,b6 (why make this hole?) 3.h4,Ke6 4.f4,h6 5.g5 it is clearly over. Crafty played 5.-,h5, then 6.g6,f5 7.g7,Kf7 8.Kf5 and I resigned on behalf of Crafty.

But I read in the earlier comments that 25.a4!! might draw. Before that, I tried 25. Kb3.

If Black tries to defend the a-pawn:
25.-,Kc4 26.Ka4,Kb6 27.b4


click for larger view

It is clearly not trivial.

Maybe 26.-,Kb6 is a mistake? Maybe Black should keep the good position of the king on c5? We try 26.-,g5 27.KxP,h5 28.a4,g4 29.fxg,hxg


click for larger view

Doesn't look good for White. The f-pawn speeds right home, while White has to get his king off the a-file and deal with the black king as well.

But still: 30.Ka6,f5 31.a5,Kb4 32.c3+,Ka4 33. b3+,Kxb3 34.Kb7 Hmm.

If instead of 31.-,Kb4 Black goes 31.-,f4 White makes it in time with 32.Kb7

So - a draw?

Jul-24-11  newzild: I tried the Crafty link (with colours reversed) and only drew after 1. g4 a5 2. f4? b5! 3. axb5+ Kxb5 4. g5 fxg5 5. h4. Black's King can gobble up White's K-side passed pawn and return to the c-pawns while White is busy catching Black's passed a-pawn.

However, the win is indeed trivial after 1. g4 a5 2. c4!, or at least it is the way Crafty defends:

2...Kc5 3. Kd3 c6 4. f4 b5 5. cxb5 cxb5 6. axb5 Kxb5 7. g5 fxg5 8. fxg5 Kc5 9. c4

White's passed c-pawn stops Black from defending the K-side.

Feb-09-16  RookFile: In an over the board game, the way you play this is to try 25. a4 with white, and have a total air of resignation about yourself. Maybe you can catch black napping and sneak in a timely b4 (or c3 and b4), forcing the a pawn down the board, especially if black just runs his king over to the kingsside as some suggested. It was probably worth a few moves to play for this basic idea.
Dec-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: <goodevans: The ending after 25 a5 c5 26 b3 is non-trivial.>

Old thread, but played properly, this one's not too difficult. So starting after 25.a5 c5 26.b3


click for larger view

There is no need for the black king to move to the kingside; there is superiority there already, and the point is to make white chase an eventual passed pawn. The easiest way to go is 26...g5! (leaving white with nearly no moves on the kingside). Now if 27.Kd3 c4+! is winning, but it requires some counting, and it's easier just to insert 27...f5 first. White has no hope here;


click for larger view

If the white king shuffles, say 28.Kc3, then 28...h5 and very soon he will need to leave the queenside to catch the passed pawn (and the black king scoops up all the queenside pawns). If 28.Ke3 then 28...c4 (or h5) and it's all over. 29.bxc4+ Kxc4 is obviously busted, and 29.b4 axb4 offers nothing either;


click for larger view

since the black king can easily stop the a pawn, and black now has passed pawns on both sides of the board. Running the a pawn can't work for white, e.g., 30.a5 Kc5 31.a6 Kb6 32.Kd4 b3


click for larger view

and no dice. The only other real choice is moving the king (say 29.Kf2) but then 29...cxb3 30.cxb3 Kd4


click for larger view

and again white's queenside will fall. 31.b4 is the same as before, black can just take it.

Ray Charles is not a bad chess player though!

Dec-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  drleper: Or wasn't a bad chess player, I should say.
Sep-23-20
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Well, Ray was good enough to know that the Pawn ending in final position is lost but why he did not retake the Pawn in the move 17? After 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.fxe4 Re8 19.Rf5 white is better. Maybe it is not enough for win but with a bit reasonable play white cannot lose it, even if a solid amateur is facing a grandmaster.
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