Gull - Bobcat
This game is Gull's last chance to qualify without tiebreaks. It currently has 13.5 points and its last game is against Andscacs, not expected to get more than a draw there. Two draws gets Gull to 14.5 where Chiron and Booot and possibly Fire are expected to be.
move 5: looks like a quiet opening, small eval advantage for Gull.
move 8: White's queen side looks awkward, knight on the edge and bishop blocked. Black's DS bishop is also blocked while its LS bishop is strong but can be threatened. There Gull plays Bd3 to exchange bishops, Bobcat blocks with the knight.
move 10: Both engines see the bishops coming off soon. Gull expects a6, what will Bobcat play? Will we see an eval jump? so far Gull is happy. Bobcat played Qf6 and now the bishops are not coming off, but evals stay around 0.3.
move 11: Bobcat boom to 0.54, and it is following its own PV so what's the surprise? Gull's eval also increased a little, the white knights look better now.
move 14: one pair of knights exchanged and Gull retreats to Na3 again, Bobcat ruined its queen side pawn structure. Evals still trending up.
move 15: Gull booms to 0.69, but without thinking, don't believe it yet. It has a rook ending with a pawn up in the PV. OK, now Bobcat jumps to 0.94, so maybe Gull has something.
move 17: Bobcat's king has to move, so no castling. Gull's PV looks a bit wild, knight sacrifice and black king walking, here we go...
move 20: both engines don't have tablebase support. As we get closer to a rook ending I fear that this will cause Gull to miss a possible win. Gull's eval remains around 0.7.
move 22: Bobcat's queen is hanging, Gull uses the pin on the bishop to get the knight back, a pawn up. Several moves agreement in PV, Gull's eval a little higher.
move 27: PV played out, Gull is temporarily two pawns up but will lose f4 soon. Now the queens stay in the PVs, they keep changing their mind.
move 29: took me a minute to realize that black cannot take the bishop a3 - it loses its queen. Now the DS bishops come off. Gull's eval at 0.93.
move 31: Bobcat changed the pawn structure, Gull has connected passers in the center. Eval jump for both engines.
move 33: Gull attacking with the g pawn, trying to disrupt the king side as well. Bobcat eval crashes to 0.64, and Gull's climbs to 1.39 -What's happening?
move 36: Bobcat's eval is coming down, is it a draw? Gull having a long think. Now eval goes down to 0.99, Gull not happy.
move 38: Gull with another long think. Where will the eval go now? Down to 0.84. Only thing going for Gull now is that Bobcat is low on time, but that's only a fool's hope.
move 45: Bobcat seeing the draw, Gull is still holding on to an eval of 0.5. Looks like Bobcat will have to blunder badly to lose this game.
move 52: Bobcat's eval jumped suddenly to 0.76. Temporary nonsense? Yes, back down to 0.
move 59: exchanged a pair of rooks, Gull still optimistic at 0.3. Now queens are gone, draw for sure.
move 65: Gull lowers eval to 0 and the draw countdown starts.
move 73: engines chose a different path to the draw, exchanging pawns for a bishop.
move 78: reached a R vs RB ending, now it is Bobcat that is stopping the draw counter with its small negative eval.
move 95: a drawn 6-man position, we may be here a while.
move 106: finally a tablebase draw.
For a while Gull seemed to be doing well in the game, Bobcat held the position and Gull couldn't convert a pawn to a win. Gull facing Andscacs in the last round, a draw may not be enough for the top 8.