PRACTICAL CHESS ENDGAME or BRIAN'S CHESS FOLLY. 23/8/98


Welcome to this active site. Each week I am going to present to you a endgame position for you to solve or to workout the best continuation. Computer analysis will also be considered. Some of these positions will come from actual historical games. Others will be composed endgame studies, but all the solutions will be relevant to the practical game.

The new position will occur each SUNDAY and I will always be pleased to receive POSITIVE feedback about the positions and the analysis and I will try to acknowledge these where relevant.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thanks to Stephen Jackson and Valentin Albillo

THIS WEEK

POSITION 52

White to play & WIN

FORSYTH NOTATION:k7/B6r/8/3K4/8/2Rp4/B1p5/8:

 
LAST WEEK, POSITION 51

Sir George Thomas ( 1881-1972 ) played chess regularly for England between the two World Wars. In 1934 after winning the British Chess Championship he had his best result ever when he came =1st with Euwe and Flohr at Hastings after beating both Botvinnik and Capablanca. He was also an expert badminton player and he won the All-England Badminton Championship several times including in 1923 when he also won the British Chess Championship. He is fondly remembered for his sportsmanship and his encouragement of young players.

Menchik v Thomas

Plymouth 1938

Black to Play & DRAW

 

FORSYTH NOTATION:8/7k/5p2/3r1P2/5K2/5P2/5R1P/8: 

Sir George finds himself having to defend a difficult ending against the ladies World Champion. In the 1920's Vera Menchik had been coached by G. Maroczy who had given her a sound understanding of the endgame.

1... Rd4+

[ The King is driven to the third rank. 1...Kg7 is also worth considering so that the King doesn't get cut off along the g-file.]

2.Ke3 Ra4

[One of the defensive ideas in these type of endings is being able to check the King along the ranks or files. The Rook has to have good checking distance so having three ranks between the Rook and King is a good idea.]

3.Rd2 ...

[ 3.Rg2 comes into consideration cutting the King off along the g- file but the result is probably still a draw; 3...Rh4 4.Rg6 Rxh2 5.Rxf6 Kg7 6.Re6 Kf7= ]

3... Kh6

4.Rd4 Ra2

5.h4 ...

[The h-pawn is going to be exchanged for the f-pawn.]

5... Ra5

6.Kf4 Ra7

7.Rc4 Ra2

8.Rc6 Kg7

9.h5 ...

[ 9.Kg4 is probably a better move with the idea of getting the King forward to support the pawn and Black has to play very carefully to draw; 9...Ra5 10.Rc7+ Kh6 11.Rf7 Ra6 12.f4 Rb6 13.Re7 Rb1 14.Re6 Rg1+ 15.Kf3 Rf1+ 16.Ke4 Kg7 17.Re7+ Kg8 18.Kd5 Rxf4 19.Ke6 Rxh4 20.Kxf6 (20.Rf7 Re4+ 21.Kxf6=) 20...Kf8= ( not 20...Rh5?? 21.Kg6 Kf8 22.Kxh5 Kxe7 23.Kg6+- ]

9... Ra7

10.h6+ Kxh6

11.Rxf6+ ...

[Black cannot get Philidors drawing position because his Rook cannot get control of the 6th rank but Black can still draw by getting his king in front of the pawns. Having the extra pawn is of little consequence.]

11... Kg2

12.Rd6 Ra1!

[This is the move that secures the draw. White cannot make any progress. The Rook is placed in its optimum position to give checks along both the files and the ranks.]

The rest of the moves for completeness; 13.Rb6 Kf714.Rb3 Kf6 15.Rb6+ Kf7 16.Kg3 Rg1+ 17.Kf2 Ra1 18.f4 Ra5 19.f6 Rf5 20.Kf3 Rxf6 21.Rb7+ Kg6 22.Kg4 Ra6; Draw agreed.

In the 21st USSR Championship Suetin had double f-pawns in a Rook and pawn ending against Kholmov but was unable to win after trying for many hours. Also at Amsterdam in 1956 Petrosian with double e-pawns against Spassky could not make any progress.

Sir George went into this ending two pawns down confident he could hold it. This again illustrates the importance of knowing the basic endings. This knowledge becomes extremely useful when trying to reach the safe haven of a theoretically drawn ending. It is an important defensive weapon especially when things go wrong in the middle game and you seek to escape by exchanges.

Rook endings occur often so it is worth studying them but they are difficult and even World Champions have been known to go wrong. Many years ago when I was recovering from a serious illness I read a small book by GM Edmar Mednis called "Practical Rook Endings." I 'm not certain if it helped my recovery but I began in a small way to understand these difficult endings.

The above ending was chosen by Stephen Jackson who is preparing a brilliant, definitive biography of Sir George Thomas. He would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who has met him, or played him at chess. The connection doesn't need to be confined to chess. If you can help, please send me your details and I will pass them on to Stephen. Thanks.
UPDATE ON THE MACKENZIE STUDY (POSITION 50)

Valentin Albillo using Crafty 12.9 (Unix version) confirms the cook !!

Conclusions drawn from the analysis quoting from Valentin's letter (25/08/98) :


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16/8/98

Position 50

Mackenzie

09/8/98

Position 49

Chigorin

02/8/98

Position 48

Zalkind

26/7/98

Position 47

Alekhine

19/7/98

Position 46

Bahr

04/7/98

Position 45

Fine

28/6/98

Position 44

Checkover

21/6/98

Position 43

Dus-Chotimirsky

14/6/98

Position 42

Kasparyan

07/6/98

Position 41

Reshevsky

01/6/98

Position 40

Korn

24/5/98

Position 39

Rubinstein

17/5/98

Position 38

Hooper

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