PRACTICAL CHESS ENDGAME

*chessending.com*

Editor: Brian. G. E. 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 now reached its 10th year.

A database of chess endings
Thanks to Antonio Senatore
THIS MONTH

POSITION 394

White to play and WIN

FEN:r6k/3R3p/4p1pB/1n1p1p2/3P4/2P2P1P/6PK/8 w - - 0 1:

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 2008.
LAST MONTH POSITION 393

Henry Bird, ( 1830-1908).

Henry Bird was a member of a select group of players who dominated the English chess scene in the latter half of the 19th century, the others being Blackburne and Burn. In 1866 he played a long match against Steinitz and only lost by two games (-7 +5=5). Although Steinitz was not yet in his prime this was a good performance by Bird.

Bird vs Steinitz

London, 1866

White to play and draw

FEN:8/8/1p3bp1/1pp5/1P1p1kP1/P1P1NP2/5K2/8 w - - 0 1:

The Black queenside pawns are very threatening. The immediate threat is the d-pawn fork against the c-pawn and the Knight. Fortunately White has a good reply in an obvious but powerful Knight fork on the King and Bishop followed by a knight sacrifice to save the game. The former World Champion Dr Emanuel Lasker was particularly fond of this ending and it was he who discovered White's saving resource.

1.Nd5+ Ke5

2.Nxf6 dxc3!

This is Black's best winning try. Capturing the Knight loses.

2...Kxf6 3.cxd4 cxd4 (if 3...c4 4.f4+-) 4.f4 Ke6 5.Ke2 Kd6 6.Kd3 Kd5 7.g5! (if 7.f5? gxf5 8.gxf5 Ke5 9.f6 Kxf6 10.Kxd4 Ke6=) 7...Ke6 8.Kxd4 Kf5 9.Ke3+-;

3.Nd7+! ...

Unfortunately in the game Bird played: 3.Ke3? and after Black had captured the Knight the ending was lost: 3...Kxf6 4.f4 c4 5.Ke2 Ke6 6.Kd1 Kd5 7.Kc2 Ke4 8.f5 gxf5 9.gxf5 Kxf5 10.Kxc3 Ke4 11.a4 bxa4 12.Kxc4 b5+ White Resigned.

3... Kd6

4.Nxc5! ...

This sacrifice is the key move to White's defence and Black has to accept or he is easily lost.

4.Ke3 Kxd7 5.Kd3 c4+ 6.Kxc3 g5 7.Kd4 Kd6 8.Ke4 c3 9.Kd3 Ke5 10.Kxc3 Kf4 11.Kd4 Kxf3-+;

4... bxc5

5.Ke2 cxb4

6.axb4 ...

The Black pawns are no longer dangerous. White has an easy draw.

6... Ke5

7.Kd3 Kf4

8.Kxc3 g5

9.Kd4 Kxf3

10.Kc5 Kxg4

11.Kxb5 =;

Both sides will queen at the same time.

My Lil Reminder

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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).
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Position 392

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Position 390

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Position 389

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01/03/06

Position 372

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01/02/06

Position 371

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01/01/06

Position 370

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01/12/05

Position 369

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01/11/05

Position 368

Spielmann