One vs. Many => Examples a Plenty! (conclusion)


Last time I showed you some interesting examples from the games I played against the members of North Penn Chess Club in Lansdale, PA.  In this article I will show some more examples from that simul.



Example #5

In this endgame, White just played 1. Ke4.


Diagram 5 Black to Move

How would you assess the position? What move would you play?




Please stop – SOLUTION is below.





As much as I liked my position (White), I had no clear idea how to make a progress. Black is worse here, but he can maintain his resistance. The Bc8 is guarding Pa6 and Pe6 and can’t move. The Rc7 is guarding Pc6, but can move to a7, since 2.Rxc6? is bad due to 2…Bb7. 1…Kf7? Runs into 2.Pf5! The pawn moves on the K-side result in loss of flexibility and lead to creation of holes. 1…Pf5+ 2.Ke5 or 1…Ph3 2.Ke3 aiming at g3. Finally, after 1…Pg3 (was played in the game!) 2.Pxg3 Pxg3 3.Rd3! White quickly won the g-pawn and the game. Thus by process of elimination we can conclude that 1…Ra7 was the best choice and Black’s position is passive, but sound.

Summary – when your position is passive, but solid, try to keep it that way. Any unprepared activity could backfire.


Example #6

Take a look at the next diagram - 

Diagram 6 White to Move

What result do you expect? What should White play?



Please stop – SOLUTION is below.




This position tests your knowledge of basic rook endgames. I’d like to hear that you were able to answer correctly and very quickly! The pawn on b2 is dangerous and must be tamed in a certain way. Winning the pawn on b2 would lead to an easily won R+2 vs. R endgame, but if you have to give up   one of your pawns for it, it would likely lead to a drawn position.

Thus not only you must watch out for checks that the Black Rook can make, but also for any other Rook moves that attack one of your pawns.

These nuances seem to create a lot of problems even when you have two connected pass pawns and the K nearby. That is unless you know this basic idea - keep one of your pawns on the 2d rank and send your King and the other pawn forward!

White wins easily after 1. Kf5 then Kf6 then Pg6. After 1…Rf1 2.Rxa2 White R defends the Pf2 (that is why we kept the pawn on the 2d rank!)

Summary - learn your basic endgames!



Example #7

Now, onto the next position - 


Diagram 7 Black to Move

How do you assess position? What should be Black’s plan? Next Black’s move?




Please stop – SOLUTION is below.




This is an interesting endgame. Black is better because of his active Rook, solid pawn structure and advantage of two 2 Ns over N+B in this closed position. White has one major plus – the pass a-pawn supported by the Rook. He also may try to break through via e3-e4 in hopes to either activate his B after d5xe4 or create a weakness on d5 after e4xd5.

So, my plan was

  1. to block the a-pawn with the N.
  2. to keep the other N on f6 to prevent e4
  3. to start bringing my K to c6 where it would support d5, thus freeing my Nf6. Also, from c6 my K can easily attack a-pawn and pressure d-pawn (in case of e4).

And I played 1…Nb8. Below is how the game progressed based on my recollection. If you are interested, you can practice the starting position against a friend or computer. 2.a5 Na6 3.Bf1 Kf8 4.f3 Ke7 5.Kf2 Kd6 6.Ke1 Ne8 7.Kd2 Nec7 8.Be2 Nb5 9.Kc2 Kc6 10.h4 Na3+ 11.Kd2 Kb5 12.Nc3+ Kb4 13.Nd1 Kxa5 14.Ra2 Kb4 15.Rb2 c3+ 0-1

Summary - it often helps to neutralize your opponent's pluses in the earlier stages of your plan.


Example #8

Next example deals with the Endgame. Take a look -



Diagram 8 Black to Move

Do you think Black can win? What should be Black’s plan? Where would you move the King?





Please stop – SOLUTION is below.



The opposite color B endgame is always tricky. Since majority of the White pawns are on dark squares, his B could attempt to defend them, while preventing c1Q. White K, if given a chance, would go after Ph4 or/and Pf7. However, the latter is less likely, since Black B could easily defend it from g6.


Now, specific plans for Black –

  1. Attacking a5 seems of little value, since with B on d2, Black could at best get a trade of c2 pawn for a5.
  1. Going towards c1 to help the pawn c2 and to win the B. Then White would win Ph4 and send his K to g5 and the h-pawn forward.  I hope you noticed that, unfortunately for White, his K and Ph wouldn’t be able to go forward in unison. If the Pawn reaches h6 with the K still on g5, Black could play Bd3 freezing all progress on the K-side. If White K runs first to h6 and the pawn is on h5, then with the B on e2, the White K is stuck. Only with the K on h6 and the P on h4, White can create pressure. Specifically, he could play Kg7 threatening Pf7 and the B would not be able to defend the Pf7 and avoid threats from the K and Ph. The result would be a draw. Hypothetical position – White K reached g7, Black plays Bg6, and White plays Kh6 and threatens Ph5, then Kg7. Of course, all this analysis assumed that Black K is not present to help. In reality, the K is not that far and should be able to come and help. The bottom line, this plan looks promising, but you must calculate accurately, else White could escape.
  1. Not committing to anything and trying to win Pe5 or Ph3, or both. In return we would be ready to give up Ph4. Any of the above trades would enable Black K to go to c1 without any risk. White wouldn’t be able to generate any play on the K-side without Ph. Also, if Black wins Pe5, he could play Kf5, Pe5 and win Pf6. The initial setup would be very simple – Kd5, Bf1.

Now that we outlined all plans, let's proceed. We know that plan 1 is bad. Plan 2 seems OK, but we need to calculate. If you selected 1…Kd3 or 1…Kc3 after careful calculation, your decision is correct. If you played one of these moves without any calculation, your decision-making could be improved. Plan 3 seems pretty good too and requires no real calculation, just a basic setup – Kd5 and Bf1.

As you can imagine, under the condition of a simul, walking around in circles taking 20-30 seconds on each move, I choose the plan 3. After 1…Kd5 2.Bc1 (planning Bb2) Bf1 White’s choices were not very exciting - 3. Bb2 Bxh3 4.Kg5 Ke4 5.Kxh4 Bf5 and Black K goes to d1, while Black B is guarding the Ps; or 3.Kg4 Kxe5 4.Bb2+ (4.Bg5 Ke4 5.Kxh4 Kf5) Ke4 5.Kxh4 Kf4 soon winning Ph3 or Pf6. As you can see, the whole premise of the plan 3 is a “no rush” strategy. Just a mere threat of sending his K to d1 gives Black so many different opportunities.

Summary - in the Endgames you often have a choice - continue building your advantage and leaving yourself with various winning ideas or going for a kill. The latter often puts you at risk and thus requires a very accurate calculation.




Example #9

Next example deals with the early Middlegame position. Take a look -



Diagram 9 White to Move

How do you evaluate the position? What should White do?





Please stop – SOLUTION is below.


Black’s position is a super-mess! Weak King, mainly due to absence of the Bg7, misplaced pieces and doubled pawns – just to name a few of his problem things. White, on the other hand, a picture perfect setup – well developed, pieces are ready for attack and unbalanced pawn structure that enables dynamic shots. Specifically, White has various sacrifices on d5, advance of c-Pawn and an easy way to build pressure on the e-file.

In the game, White played crushing 1.Nxd5. Black didn’t take the N and very soon resigned. However, taking the N wasn't a real option either. I hope you didn’t stop after 1…Pxd5 2.Bxd5 Rf7 3.Bxf7+ conclduing that White wins the R+2 pawns for 2 minor pieces and keeps his strong attack. Nope, after 3…Kxf7, White has 4.Pc6 and the Nd7 is lost due to the pin.

Summary – don’t give away your Bg7(g2) unless you are getting a lot in return. When ahead in development and opponent’s King is weak try to open up position, if necessary – with sacrifices.





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