Endgame Solving Competition



A difficult set to solve but illusrates the importance of knowing the basic endgame positions and the classical studies.  

POSITION 1. White to play & WIN

G. Thomas v Maroczy, 1930

FORSYTH NOTATION:8/3k2pp/1p3p2/2p2K2/P4P2/8/1P4PP/8:

In order to win White needs to get his King to b5 but first he has to gain some tempi on the kingside by advancing his h-pawn. Having reserved tempi is very important because it allows the King to penetrate into the enemy position. 1.h4 Ke7 [1...h5? 2.Kg6 Ke6 3.Kxg7 Kf5 4.g3+-; 1...Kd6? 2.h5 Ke7 3.Ke4 Ke6 4.f5+ Kd6 5.Kd3 Kd5 6.Kc3+-] 2.h5 Kf7 3.Ke4 Ke6 4.f5+ Kd6 5.Kd3 and Black resigned because he cannot stop White winning on the queenside. The game could continue as follows: 5...Kd5 6.b3 h6 7.g3 Kd6 8.Kc4 Kc6 9.g4 Kc7 10.Kb5 Kb7 and now the black queenside pawn structure is broken up. 11.a5 bxa5 12.Kxc5 Ka6 13.Kc6 and White wins.


Szabo v Botvinnik

Budapest, 1952


FORSYTH NOTATION:2b2k2/7p/5P2/P3N1R1/6P1/r7/3K4/8:  

White has an advantage of two extra pawns and threatens f7 and then Rook to g8+ winning. How can Black save the game? Over 200 years ago the Italian, Del Rio discovered an amazing draw in a basic RP v B ending: (5k2/R7/5P2/6K1/2b5/8/8/8=) Botvinnik draws by reaching this position. 1...Rxa5 2.Nd7+ [2.Ng6+ hxg6 3.Rxa5 Bxg4 4.Ra7 Bf5 =] 2...Bxd7 3.Rxa5 Bxg4 4.Ke3 Be6 5.Kf4 Bc4 6.Ra7 h5 Black doesn't even need the h-pawn to draw so he decides to jettison it. 7.Kg5 h4 8.Kxh4 Bb3 9.Kg5 and now we reach the Del Rio position. White cannot make any progress. Black's Bishop has enough space to control e6 and g6 so it is a draw. 

POSITION 3. White to play & WIN

Buerger v Yates, 1927

FORSYTH NOTATION:2B3k1/pp2PR2/3p2pp/8/1PP5/6P1/P3qbKP/8:

1.Be6! [1.Bg4? Kxf7 2.Bxe2 Bd4 3.Bd3 g5 4.Kf3 Kxe7 5.Ke4 Bc3=] 1...Bc5+ [1...Bd4+ 2.Rf2+ Qxe6 3.Rf8+ Kh7 4.e8Q+-] 2.Rf2+ Qxe6 3.Rf8+ Kg7 4.e8Q Qxe8 5.Rxe8 Bxb4 6.Re7+ Kf6 7.Rxb7 Bc5 8.Kf3 Ke5 9.Rg7 Kf6 10.Rg8+- and White wins. 
POSITION 4. White to play & WIN

J. Hasek, 1936

FORSYTH NOTATION:R7/8/4KP2/8/8/8/p5k1/r7:

Understanding the Lasker manoeuvre may help to solve this difficult study. 1.Kf7! [ 1.f7? This only draws; Re1+ 2.Kd7 (2.Kf6 a1Q+ 3.Rxa1 Rxa1=; 2.Kd5 Rd1+ 3.Kc4 Rc1+ 4.Kb3 Rf1 5.Rxa2+ Kg3=) 2...Rd1+ 3.Ke7 Re1+ 4.Kd6 Rd1+ 5.Ke5 Re1+ 6.Kd4 Rf1 7.Rxa2+ Kg3 8.Ra7 Kg4 9.Ke5 Kg5 10.Ke6 Kg6=] 1...Kf3 Staying on the e, f and g files will be fatal because Blacks King blocks the checking action of his own Rook so he tries to reach a drawing square which is d4. [1...Kf2? 2.Ra4! (2.Kf8? Ke3 3.Kf7 Kd4!=) 2...Kg1 3.Kg8! ( 3.Kg6? Kh1 4.Rh4+ Kg1 5.f7 Rf1 6.Ra4 Rf2 7.Rxa2 Rxa2 8.f8Q Rg2+with perpetual check ) 3...Kh2 4.Rh4+ Kg2 5.f7 Rg1 6.f8Q a1Q 7.Rg4+ Kh3 8.Qf3+ Kh2 9.Qf2+ Kh3 10.Qh4#] 2.Ra4! This puts an end to Blacks idea of reaching the safe d4 square. 2...Kf2 3.Kf8 Ke3 If he goes towards h-file White wins by the Lasker manoeuvre. 4.f7 Kd3 5.Ke7 Re1+ 6.Kd6 Rf1 7.Ke6 Re1+ 8.Kd5 Rf1 9.Ra3+ Kd2 10.Rxa2+ and White wins.  
POSITION 5. White to play & WIN

Original, 1998

FORSYTH NOTATION:5k2/5p2/4r3/8/8/8/6P1/5K1Q:

 1.Qh8+! [The King must not be allowed on to either g7 or g8, as Black reaches a fortress position=.] 1...Ke7 2.Kf2 Rg6 [For best defence the f-pawn has to stay at f7 and the Rook has no real choice but to alternate between g6 and e6. White can take different routes to the winning position.] 3.g3 Re6 4.Kf3 Rg6 5.g4 Re6 6.Kg3 Rg6 7.Kh4 Re6 8.g5 Rg6 9.Kh5 Re6 10.Qb8! [This position occured in a study by Dedrle, 1925 ] Rg6 11.Qb4+ Ke8 [11...Rd6 12.Qc5 Kd7 13.Kg4 Ke6 14.Kf4+-] 12.Qe4+ Re6 [ 12...Kf8 13.Qxg6+- ] 13.Qxe6+ fxe6 14.Kh6 and White wins.  

In a similar position in a game between Samisch v Prins, Hastings 1938, the players agreed a draw !! After the game Keres, who was taking part in the Premier, pointed out to them Dedrle's winning method. Without the g-pawn the position would have indeed been a theoretical draw. 
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