PRACTICAL CHESS ENDGAME

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Editor: Brian Gosling

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The new position will appear at the beginning of each new month. You are invited to solve it. I will be pleased to receive feedback about the positions and the analysis. The solution will be published the following month with the new position. Some of these positions will come from actual historical games. Others will be composed endgame studies, but they will be relevant to the practical game. The site has over 400 chess endings and endgame studies and and has been running for over eight years.

A database of chess endings
Thanks to Antonio Senatore
THIS MONTH

POSITION 382

White to play and WIN

FEN:3N3K/1pp5/2P5/2b5/2k5/8/4n3/8 w - - 0 1:

WARNING: The solution to this study when considering best play against best defence is very difficult and requires knowledge of an exotic section of endgame theory.

It is good training to try initially to solve the endings without the assistance of a chess playing programme.

Solution for the above, plus new position: 1st JANUARY 2007.


LAST MONTH, POSITION 381

Paul Keres, (1916-1975). Estonian and Soviet Grandmaster. World Championship Candidate. After World War II, Keres became a Soviet citizen due to Estonia being returned to the USSR. He won the Soviet Championship three times: 1947, 1950 and 1951 and was runner up in the Candidate tournaments of 1953, 1956 and 1962. In the 1955 Soviet Championship Keres was not in his best form, just finishing behind Geller, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Petrosian and Spassky but he did produce this fine ending shown below. The 1955 championship is chiefly remembered as the passing of the Botvinnik era as it was the last time he would play in the Championship.

Keres' own book on the Endgame: Practical Chess Endings (1974), offers good study material for any serious student of the game.

 

Kan vs Keres

22nd Soviet Ch, 1955

Black to play and WIN

FEN:8/2k5/8/n1pB1Ppp/PpP5/3K2P1/8/8 b - - 0 1:

Here we have an exception to those rules of thumb which are supposed to help and guide us through the difficult game of chess. A quick glance might indicate that White has the better ending with his centrally placed Bishop and the Black Knight is rather "grim at the rim " of the board. but it is an illusion. In most endings the final result often depends on the quality of the pawns in respect to the placing of the pieces. Here the Black pawns are stronger than their counterparts. The White pawn at "a4" is blocked by the Knight which also attacks the enemy pawn at "c4" tying down the White King to defence. The passed pawn at "f5" is weak and will soon fall whereas the Black passed pawn at "b4" and the potential passed pawn on the h-file will decide the result in Black's favour. The White Bishop will find itself "overloaded" as it tries to defend both the advanced f-pawn and tackle the enemy h-pawn

  1... Kd6

2.f6 ...

Placing the Bishop on the h3-c8 diagonal via "f3" does not save the ending: 2.Bf3 h4 3.gxh4 gxh4 4.Bg4 Ke5 5.Bh3 Kf6 6.Bg4 Kg7!! 7.Bh3 (if 7.Bd1 h3 8.Bg4 h2 9.Bf3 Kf6 10.Bd5 Kxf5-+) 7...Kf7 8.Bg2 Kf6 9.Bh3 Kg5 10.Kc2 (if 10.f6 Kxf6 11.Bg2 Kg5 12.Bh3 Kf4 13.Be6 Kg3-+) 10...Nxc4 11.Kb3 Na5+ 12.Kc2 c4 13.Kb2 c3+ 14.Kc2 Nc6-+;

2.Ke4 h4 3.gxh4 gxh4 4.f6 h3 5.f7 Ke7 6.Kf3 b3 7.Kg3 b2 8.Be4 Kxf7 9.Kxh3 Kf6 10.Kg3 Ke5 11.Kf3 Kd4-+;

2... h4

Black plays his trump card.

3.gxh4 gxh4

4.f7 Ke7

5.Be6 ...

The Bishop holds up the advance of the h-pawn but not for long.

5... Nc6

The knight awakes to threaten a fork at "e5" to win the f-pawn

6.Bd5 Ne5+

7.Kc2 ...

7.Ke3 Nxf7 8.a5 Nd6 9.a6 Nc8 10.Be4 Kd6 11.Bc2 (if 11.Bf5 Kc7 12.Bc2 Nd6 13.Bb3 Nf5+ 14.Kf2 Kb6-+) 11...Kc6 12.Kf4 Kb6 13.Kg4 Nd6 14.Bb3 Kxa6 15.Kxh4 Ne4 16.Kg4 Nd2-+

7...Nxf7

The pieces cannot be exchanged on f7 because Black wins the pawn race. The h-pawn queens first stopping the a-pawn.

8.a5 Nd6

9.a6 ...

The cheap offer of the Bishop at 9.Bb7 fails. Not ...Nxb7?? which allows the pawn to queen but 9... Kd7 10.a6 Kc7 etc.

9... Nc8

The Knight has been a super piece in this ending in both attacking and defending.

10.Bg2 ...

10.Bb7 Kd7 11.Bg2 Kc7 12.Kb3 Kb6-+;

10...Kd6

11.Kb3 Kc7

With the a-pawn no longer a threat the win is easy.

12.Bb7 h3

13.Ka4 h2

White Resigned.

With the Bishop having to guard the queening square "h1" it is only a matter of time before the other White pawns are captured.

PRACTICAL CHESS ENDINGS CD

ChessDevon, in collaboration with PCE has produced a CD that includes practically all the endgame positions that have appeared  on this site. This CD contains 363 endgame positions taken from games and studies.  Nearly all the positions are preceded by a pen portrait of the player or composer.  A built-in programme is provided on the CD to play through the endings.

"PRACTICAL CHESS ENDINGS" is available at £12:50 (including UK postage) from "ChessDevon".

  Order by E-Mail from: bill@frostw170.fsnet.co.uk

Chess Devon: http://www.chessdevon.co.uk (Chess news and games from Devon and the West of England.)

 


I would like to briefly summarise the type of endings found on the site. These are; (a) Basic endings. (b) Practical chess endings. (c) The Endgame study.

All these are interrelated and important and you cannot understand (b) or (c) without a knowledge of (a).

(a) Basic Endings. These are theoretical positions in which we know the correct result with optimum play by both sides. They may consist of three pawns or less and also include all the non-pawn and five piece endings which have now been extensively analysed by computer and of which we have tablebases. In the days when we had adjournments some of these endings could be looked up in text books to give us some idea how to play the position. As we no longer can do this, knowledge and memory of these endings has become important in practical play. Fundamental Chess Endings (2001) by Muller and Lamprecht and Basic Endings (1992) by Balashov and Prandstetter and the earlier A Pocket Guide to Chess Endgames (1970) by David Hooper are good introductions to these endings.

(b) Practical Endings. These occur in over-the-board play where usually more pawns are present. The above ending is an example of this type. Some of these endings are in the process of being transformed to basic endings but often they finish before this stage is reached. Endgame strategy is very different from the middlegame and has its own set of rules and exceptions. Fine's book Basic Chess Endings (1941,2003) recently revised by Pal Benko and Batsford Chess Endings (1993) by Speelman, Tisdall and Wade are about basic and practical endings and both can be recommended.

(c) Endgame Studies. These are positions which have been composed and will contain elements of one or both of the above types of endings. But there are important differences between these types and the study, such as artistic form and economy of construction. An endgame study has to follow strict rules of composition, especially if it is entered into a composing competition. One of these rules states there should only be one solution. If there is an unintended second solution then the study is unsound and said to be "cooked".

Endgame studies are important to the practical player because they enhance his imagination and help him learn and enjoy areas of theory without too much effort.

John Nunn's Endgame Challenge (2002) is an excellent introduction to using endgame studies as a training tool. Walter Korn's American Chess Art (1995) is a basic introduction to the endgame study and a more comprehensive work is John Roycroft's Test Tube Chess (1972).
Pre 17/10/04 Archives

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01/11/06

Position 380

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01/10/06

Position 379

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Position 378

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01/08/06

Position 377

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01/07/06

Position 376

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01/06/06

Position 375

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01/05/06

Position 374

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Position 373

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01/03/06

Position 372

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Position 371

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Position 370

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01/12/05

Position 369

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Position 368

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01/10/05

Position 367

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Position 366

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Position 365

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Position 364

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Position 363

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Position 362

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01/04/05

Position 361

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Position 360

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01/02/05

Position 359

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16/01/05

Position 358

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19/12/04

Position 357

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12/12/04

Position 356

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05/12/04

Position 355

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28/11/04

Position 354

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21/11/04

Position 353

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14/11/04

Position 352

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07/11/04

Position 351

Santasiere

31/10/04

Position 350

Kubbel

24/10/04

Position 349

Botvinnik

17/10/04

Position 348

Mattison