PRACTICAL CHESS ENDGAME

*chessending.com*

Editor: Brian. G. E. Gosling

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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 397

White to play and WIN

 

FEN:6n1/bPB1p3/4Pp1p/1p1p3P/1P1P1P2/8/5K1k/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 APRIL 2008.
LAST MONTH POSITION 396

Bobby Fischer, (1943-2008).

American Grandmaster. World Champion (1972-75). The story of Bobby Fischer also reminds me of another world champion, A. Alekhine. Despite their personal flaws both are inseparable from the history and development of the game. Fischer became the first American world champion when he defeated Spassky in their famous 1972 encounter. Such was the impact of this match that years later non-chessplayers could speak with confidence about the participants. Fischer like Alekhine was separated from his mother country. They knew the triumphs that chess could bring but they also knew about the "Agony". 

Fischer vs Tal

Candidates, 1962

White to play and WIN

  

FEN: 2k2n2/8/3B2pK/p4r1p/1p5P/5PP1/PR6/8 w - - 0 1: 

In a number of games in his career and especially leading up to his world championship match Fischer showed superb technique in the handling of Rook and Bishop versus Rook and Knight endgames. So much so that these games began to be looked upon as the ideal way to play this type of ending. Fischer showed the superiority of the Bishop over the Knight (with the Rooks) in the presence of certain positional features. As this was a new addition to chess knowledge at that time this type of ending became known as Fischer's Endgame in honour of the player who was it's greatest exponent. At the heart of Fischer's Ending is the activation of one's own pieces and the restriction of the opponent's. As in most endings the King infiltrates into the enemy position and the defender's chance of counterplay is kept to a minimum.

With a pawn sacrifice Fischer brings about a winning endgame. The g-pawn is going to be the candidate for queening as the Black g-pawn will soon be captured.

1.g4! ...

1.f4 Kd7 2.Bxf8 Rxf8 3.Kxg6 Rg8 4.Kxh5 Rxg3 5.Re2+- still wins but Fischer's idea is more forcing.

1... Rxf3

1...hxg4 2.fxg4 Rf7 3.Bxf8 Rxf8 4.Kxg6+-;

2.g5! Ne6

2...Kd7 3.Bxf8 Rxf8 4.Kxg6 Ke6 5.Re2+ Kd5 6.Kh7+-;

3.Kxg6 Rd3

Black is now in deep trouble and can offer no real defence.

4.Be5 Re3

5.Kf5! ...

The Knight is dominated and the pawn has a clear path for queening..

5... Nf8

6.Rg2! ...

The Rook takes up the ideal position behind the passed pawn ready for its advance but also still keeping an eye on the queenside.

6... Rf3+

7.Bf4 Kd7

Better maybe 7... Kb7 but 8.Re2! seems to win rather than 8.g6? Nxg6 9.Rxg6 Rf2 10.a3 bxa3 11.Rg3 a2 12.Ra3 Kb6 13.Kg5 Kb5 14.Bc7 a4 15.Kxh5 Rg2 16.Bd6 Rd2 17.Bf4 Kb4 18.Bxd2+ Kxa3 19.Bc3 Kb3 20.Bf6 Kc2 21.Kg6 Kb1 22.h5 a3 23.h6 a1Q 24.Bxa1 Kxa1=;

8.g6 ...

The advance of the pawn is relentless.

8... Ne6

9.g7! Rxf4+

10.Ke5 Rf8

11.gxf8Q Nxf8

12.Kd5 a4

13.Rg7+ Ke8

--14.Kd6 b3

15.a3! Resigns

15...b2 16.Rb2 and Black's cause is hopeless.

Tal was soon to be hospitalized and had to withdraw from the tournament. It is said that the only player to visit him in hospital was Bobby Fischer. Photographs exist recording the meeting and show them playing each other at the bedside.

This ending is also famous for an indirect reason. It was one of the last games ever to be commented by Fred Reinfeld, the famous American writer who analysed Fischer's early games in his: Great Games by Chess Prodigies.(1967)

 

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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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