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The Last Pawn Revisited
In pawnless endings usually a very large material superiority is needed to win. So the last pawn is often worth its weight in gold. I continue the discussion from Endgame Corner 121.
146.01 Womacka, Mathias (2442) – Sandipan, Chanda (2590)
White is winning, but he must be careful:
This loses one all important tempo.
38.Ke2 is called for: 38...gxh4 (38...Kg6 39.Be4++-) 39.Bg2 Kg6 40.Bh3 White has reached a more active blockading set up and wins; e.g., 40...Kg5 41.Kd3 Kf4 42.Kxd4 Kg3 43.Bxe6 h3 44.Bd5+-
39.Bg2 is met by 39...Kxg5 40.Bh3 Kf4=.
39...Kxg5 40.Kd3 Kf4 41.Kxd4 h4
Black has become so active that the draw is secured.
42.Bg2 Kg3 43.Bc6
43.Bf1 h3 44.Bxh3 Kxh3 45.Kc5 Kg4=; 43.Bh1 Kf4 44.Bd5 exd5 45.e6 h3 46.e7 h2 47.e8Q h1Q=.
43...Kf4 44.Bd7 Kf5 45.Bb5 h3 46.Bf1 h2 47.Bg2 Kf4 48.Be4 Kg3 49.Ke3
49.Kc5 Kf4 50.Kd4=.
49...Kg4 50.Bg2 Kf5 51.Kd4 Kf4 52.Bh1 Kf5 ½-½
As two knights alone can't force mate difficult problems can arise:
146.02 King, Daniel (2517) – Rudd, Jack (2291)
White must be winning of course, but it is an amazingly long way to prove this:
Of course not 63.f5?? Bxf5=.
63...Kc5 64.Nh4 Kd4 65.Nhf5+ Kc5 66.Ke5 Bd3 67.Nd6 Bg6 68.Nd5 Bh7 69.Nf6 Bc2
69...Bg6 70.Nd7+ Kc6 71.Nf8 Bd3 72.Ne4+-.
70.Nfe4+ Kc6 71.f5 Bb3 72.f6 Bg8 73.Ng5 Kd7 74.Nf5 Bc4 75.Ng7 Bg8 76.N7e6 1-0
And Black resigned here.
76...Ke8 77.Kd6 Bf7 78.Nxf7 Kxf7 79.Ke5+-.
One amazing line after 77.Kf5 runs 77...Kd5 78.Kg6 Ke5 79.Kg7 Kf5:
80.Nf3 and Black is dominated or will fall into zugzwang sooner or later: 80...Kxe6 (80...Bxe6 81.Nd4++-) 81.Ng5+ Ke5 82.Nf7+ Ke6 (82...Kf5 83.Nh6++-) 83.Nh6 Bh7 84.f7+-.
77...Kb7 78.Ng6 Kc7 79.Ne7 Ba2 80.Nd5+ Kd7 81.f7 Bxd5 82.f8Q+-.
The next example is much more difficult:
146.03 Eryshkanova, Anastasiya (2143) – Tarasova, Viktoriya (2273)
This allows Black's knights to force an underpromotion of the pawn.
69.b7? is met by 69...Nxb7 70.Kxb7 Nf2 71.Ne3 Nxg4=.
And 69.Nb4? runs into 69...Nc3 70.Nbc6 (70.b7 Nxb7 71.Kxb7 Ne4 72.Nd5 Nf2 73.Ne3 Nxg4=) 70...Nd5+ 71.Kd6 Nxb6 72.Nxa5 Kf4 73.Nac6 Nc4+ 74.Ke6 Ne3=.
There is essentially only one way to win the domination dance: 69.Ne3! Nc3 (69...Nc5 70.N3c4 Nxc4 71.Nxc4 Kxg4 72.Kc6 Ne6 73.Na5 Kf5 74.Kd6 Nd8 75.Ke7+-; 69...Kf4 70.N5c4 Nb3 71.Kc6 Nbc5 72.Nd2 Kxe3 73.Nxe4 Nxe4 74.b7+-) 70.Nc6 Nb3 (70...Nb5+ 71.Kd7 Nb7 72.Nd8 Nc5+ 73.Kc6+-) 71.Kd6 Ne4+ 72.Ke7
White's king has left the sphere of influence of the knights and White wins, e.g. 72...Nbc5 (72...Nec5 73.Nd8 Kf4 74.Ne6+ Kxe3 75.Nxc5 Nxc5 76.g5+-) 73.Nd4 Nb7 74.Ne6+ Kg6 75.Nc4 Kh6 76.Kd7 Kg6 77.Kc6 Kf6 78.Kxb7 Kxe6 79.Kc6+-; 69.Nd7 is playable, but after 69...Nf2 (69...Nd2 70.Ne3 Nb1 71.Ne5 Nc3 72.Nc6 Nb3 73.Kd6+-; 69...Kxg4 70.N7f6+ Kf3 71.Nxe4 Kxe4 72.Nb4 Kf5 73.Nc6 Nb3 74.Kd6 Nd2 75.b7 Nc4+ 76.Kc5 Ne5 77.Nxe5 Kxe5 78.b8Q++-; 69...Nd6 70.Kxd6 Nc4+ 71.Ke6 Nxb6 72.Ne5 Na4 73.Kd6 Nb2 74.Ne3 Kf4 75.Kd5 Kxe3 76.g5+-) 70.Ne5 Ne4 White must play 71.Ne3+- anyway.
69...Nc4 70.b7 Nc5 ½-½
The draw was agreed as 71.b8N Kxg4 72.Nd4 should be drawn as given by Baburin in Chess Today 4472; e.g., 72...Ne5 73.Kd6 Ncd3 74.Na6 Nf3 75.Nb5 Nh4 76.Nb6 Nf5+ 77.Ke6 Kf4 as three knights against two should usually be defendable. But three knights against one is won for the three knights, if a direct draw cannot be forced.
Typical problems also arise, when the attacker has rook, bishop and a few pawns against rook and pawns (see also Endgame Corner 141):
146.04 Burg, Twan (2492) – Peralta, Fernando (2617)
Burg's king leaves his burg without good reason.
After 58.Kf3 Rb8 (58...Bd6 59.Rd4 Be7 60.Kg4=) 59.Rg3 Bd6 60.Rh3 Rf8+ 61.Kg4 Rf4+ 62.Kg3, Black has no way to exploit the battery, so the position is theoretically drawn. But practical winning chances remain of course after 62...Bc7 63.h5 gxh5 64.Rxh5 Kg6 65.Rh4=.
The refutation of White's concept, which was based on 59...Bxh4?? 60.Ra7+=; 59...Rxh4?? 60.Ra7+=.
60.Ke6 Re8+ 61.Kd5 Re2 62.Ra7+ Kf8 63.Ra4
63.Rh7!? is more tenacious, but Black will win in the long run, as the ending rook and bishop and wrong rook's pawn against rook is winning; e.g., 63...Rd2+ 64.Ke5 Bg3+ 65.Ke4 Rh2 66.h5 gxh5 67.Kf3 (67.g6 h4 68.Kf5 Rf2+ 69.Kg5 Kg8 70.Kg4 Rf6 71.Kg5 Rf4 72.Ra7 h3 73.Ra8+ Rf8-+) 67...Be5 68.g6 Kg8 69.Ke4 Bf6 70.Rf7 Re2+ 71.Kf3 Re1 72.Kf2 Re6 73.Kg2 Bg5 74.Kh3 Rxg6-+.
63...Kf7 64.Rf4+ Kg7 65.Ra4 Bf2 66.Rb4 Re7 67.Rf4 Be1 68.Ra4 Rb7
One sample line after 69.Re4 runs 69...Bg3 70.Rg4 Rb3 71.Ra4 Rb5+ 72.Ke6 (72.Kc4 Rb1 73.Kd5 Rd1+ 74.Ke6 Rd6+ 75.Ke7 Rd5 76.Rg4 Re5+ 77.Kd7 Bxh4-+) 72...Re5+ 73.Kd7 Bxh4 74.Rxh4 Rxg5 75.Ke6 Ra5 76.Rf4 g5 77.Rf5 Ra6+ 78.Ke5 Kg6 79.Rf8 Ra4-+.
69...Ra7 70.Ke6 Bg3 71.Rg4 Ra3 72.Re4 Rd3 73.Ra4 Rd6+ 74.Ke7 Rd5 75.Ra7
75.Rg4 Re5+ 76.Kd7 Bxh4 77.Rxh4 Rxg5-+.
76.Kd6+ Kf8 77.Ra3 Re3+-+.
76...Kf8 77.Ra6 Rd5+ 78.Kc8
Amazingly Burg's king is now just in time to reach his safe castle in the south east corner.
78...Kf7 79.Ra7+ Ke6 80.Rg7 (80.Ra6+ Rd6-+) 80...Kf5 81.Rf7+ Kg4 82.Rg7 (82.Rf6 Rd6-+) 82...Rd6 83.Rh7 Bxh4-+.
79.Rxd6 Bxd6 80.Kd7! Bg3 81.Ke6 Kg7
82.h5! gxh5 83.Kf5 Bc7 84.g6 Kh6
Preserving the h-pawn with 84...h4 does not help as White's king reaches the saving corner in time: 85.Kg4 Bg3 86.Kh3=.
85.g7 Kxg7 86.Kg5 ½-½
The next example is even more complicated:
146.05 King, Daniel (2535) – Rogers, Ian (2600)
This is the wrong diagonal.
58...Bh1! wins; e.g., 59.Rh6 (59.Kd3 Re4 60.Rh6 Bf3 61.Rh4 Be2+ 62.Kd2 d4 63.Rh6 Bc4-+) 59...Re4+ 60.Kd3 (60.Kf2 Rxf4+ 61.Ke3 Rf1-+) 60...Bf3 61.Rf6 Be2+ 62.Kd2 Bb5
Black's d-pawn is now ready to advance sooner or later: 63.Rb6 (63.Kc3 Rc4+ 64.Kd2 Rc6 65.Rf5 d4 66.e6 Bc4-+) 63...Bc4
A) 64.Rb7+ Ke6 65.Rb6+ Kf5 66.Rf6+ Kg4 67.e6 d4-+ (67...Rxf4-+).
B) 64.Rf6 d4 65.Rc6 d3 66.f5 Re2+ 67.Kc3 Rc2+ 68.Kb4 d2 69.Rd6 Be2 70.Re6+ Kd7 71.Rd6+ Kc7 72.f6 d1Q 73.Rxd1 Bxd1 74.f7 Rf2 75.e6 Kd6-+.
59...Be4 60.f5 Rc3+ 61.Kd4 Rd3+ 62.Kc5 Bxf5 63.Rxd5=.
60.Kf3 Bb3 61.Kg4 Re1 62.Kf3 Bc4 63.Rc6 Rf1+
63...Bd3 64.Rd6 Be4+ 65.Kg4 Rg1+ 66.Kh5 Bf3+ 67.Kh6 Re1 68.Kg5=.
64.Ke3 Rd1 65.Rd6 Rd3+ 66.Kf2
The alternatives are also insufficient: 66...Rd1 67.Ke3 Ke8 (67...Rf1 68.Rf6=) 68.Kf2 d4 69.f5 d3 70.f6 Kf7 71.Rd7+ Kg6 72.Rg7+ Kh6 73.Rd7 Rd2+ 74.Kg3 Re2 75.Rd4 d2 76.Kf3 Rh2 77.Ke3=; 66...d4 67.f5 Rd1 68.f6+ Kf7 69.Rd7+ Kg6 70.Kg2 d3 71.Kf2 d2 72.Ke3=.
After the rook exchange the draw is clear, but Black can not win anyway: 67...Ra1 68.f6+ (68.Kg3 Re1 69.f6+ Kf7 70.Rd7+ Kg6 71.f7 Kg7 72.Kf4 Kf8 73.Kg5 Rg1+ 74.Kh5=) 68...Kf7 69.Rd8 Rh1 70.Ke3 Rh4 71.Kf3 d4 72.Kg3 Re4 73.Kf3 Rxe5 74.Rxd4=.
68.Rxa6 Bxa6 69.Ke3 Bf1 70.Kd4 Bg2
70...Bc4 71.f6+ Ke6 72.Kc5=.
71.Kc5 Bf3 72.Kd4 Be4 73.Kc5
73...Kf7 is met by 74.Kd4 (74.Kd6? d4 75.e6+ Kf6 76.e7 Bc6 77.Kxc6 Kxe7-+) 74...Kg7 75.Kc5 Kh6 76.e6 Kg7 77.e7 Kf7 78.f6=.
74.f6? Ke6 75.Kd4 Bg6 76.Kc5 Kxe5-+.
75...Bg6 76.e6 Kd6 77.f7 Ke7 78.Kxd5=.
76.f7 Ke7 ½-½
Solutions to last month exercises
E145.01 Lutz, B (2348) – Wirz, H (2161)
Find Black's only move to draw!
Black's only defense is 73...Kg4! when White can force a draw, but not more.
74.Rxh2 Rxh2+ 75.Kg6 Kf4 76.g8Q Rg2+ 77.Kf7 Rxg8 78.Kxg8=; 74.Rh6 Kf3 75.g8Q Rxg8 76.Kxg8 Kg2=.
74...Kxh3 75.Qe6+ Kg3 76.Qe3+ Kg4 77.Qe4+ Kh3 78.Qf3+ Rg3 79.Qf1+ Kg4 80.Kg6?!
80.Qh1 draws easier.
80...Rg1 81.Qf5+ Kh4+
The king should hide with 82.Kf6 h1Q and White draws by perpetual check: 83.Qh7+ Kg3 84.Qc7+ Kf2 85.Qc2+ Kg3 86.Qg6+ Kf3 87.Qd3+ Kf4 88.Qf5+ Ke3 89.Qc5+ Kd2 90.Qd4+=.
82...h1Q 83.Qf4+ Kh3 84.Qe3+ Kg2+ 0-1
84...Rg3 wins even quicker.
E145.02 Fernandez, Daniel (2370) – Illingworth, Max (2360)
Black to move and win!
Black must use a lot of tricks to win the resulting fights rook against pawn.
55...Rc4? 56.e4 Kb3 57.Rd1 c2 58.Rc1 Kb2 59.Rxc2+ Kxc2 60.e5 Kd3 61.e6 Re4 62.Kf6 Kd4 63.e7 Kd5 64.Kf7=.
56.Rd3 Ra1 57.e4 (57.Ke4 Kb2 58.Rd8 c2 59.Rb8+ Kc3 60.Rc8+ Kd2 61.Kd4 c1Q 62.Rxc1 Rxc1 63.e4 Ke2 64.e5 Kf3 65.e6 Re1 66.Kd5 Kf4 67.Kd6 Kf5 68.e7 Kf6-+) 57...Kc4 58.Rd8 Now Black uses his rook as shield in typical style: 58...Ra5+ 59.e5 c2 60.Rc8+ Rc5-+.
56.e4 c2 57.Rc6 Rc4-+.
57.Rc1 is refuted by 57...Kb2 58.Rh1 Ra1 59.Rh2 Kb3 60.Rxc2 Kxc2 61.e4 Kd3 62.e5 Kd4 63.e6 Kd5 64.e7 Re1 65.Kf6 Kd6-+.
57...Rc4 wins quicker; e.g., 58.e4 c1Q 59.Rxc1 Rxc1 60.Ke6 (60.e5 Kc4 61.e6 Kd5 62.e7 Re1 63.Kf6 Kd6-+) 60...Kc4 61.e5 Kc5 62.Kd7 Rd1+ 63.Ke7 Kd5 64.e6 Re1-+.
Then White's counterplay is just in time. Black must win one tempo first: 58...Ra4 59.Kd5 Ra8 60.e4 Rd8+ 61.Kc5 Rd1 62.Rh3+ Ka4 63.Rc3 c1Q 64.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 65.Kd6 Kb5 66.e5 Kb6 67.e6 Rd1+-+.
This loses valuable time. The e-pawn should advance as quickly as possible with 59.e4 c1Q 60.Rxc1 Rxc1 61.e5 Kc4 62.Kd6 Rd1+ 63.Kc6 Re1 64.Kd6 Kb5 65.e6 Kb6 (65...Rd1+ 66.Kc7=) 66.e7=.
59...c1Q 60.Rxc1 Rxc1 61.e4
Only the zwischenschach wins.
62.Kc6 Re1 63.Kd5 Kb4 64.e5 Kb5 65.Kd6 Kb6 66.e6 Rd1+ 67.Ke7 Kc7 68.Kf7 Rf1+ 69.Ke8 Kd6 70.e7 Re1 0-1
E145.03 King, Daniel (2503) – Emms, John (2520)
Where shall Daniel King's king go?
Daniel King chooses the wrong square for his king.
Only 64.Kd6! draws: 64...Kb5 (64...Kb3 65.e5 Rc4 66.e6=; 64...Rd2+ 65.Kc6 Kb3 66.e5 Re2 67.Kd6 Kb2 68.e6 a1Q 69.Rxa1 Kxa1 70.e7=) 65.Kd5!
The point. (65.e5? Rc6+ 66.Kd7 Ra6-+; 65.Rb8+? Ka6 66.Ra8+ Kb7 67.Ra3 Rc6+ 68.Kd7 Ra6-+) 65...Rc5+ (65...Rd2+ 66.Ke6 Rc2 67.Kf5 Rc5+ 68.e5=; 65...Kb4 66.Rb8+ Kc3 67.Ra8 Kb2 68.e5 a1Q 69.Rxa1 Kxa1 70.e6=) 66.Kd4 Rc4+ 67.Kd5 Ra4 68.Rb8+ Ka6 69.Ra8+ Kb5=.
64...Kb3! with the idea 65.e5 (65.Rb8+ Kc3 66.Rc8+ Kb2 67.Rb8+ Kc1 68.Ra8 Kb1 69.e5 a1Q 70.Rxa1+ Kxa1 71.e6 Rf2+ 72.Kg6 Rg2 73.e7 Rxg3+ 74.Kxh6 Re3-+) 65...Rc4 wins:
66.Rxa2 (After 66.e6 Ra4 67.Rxa4 Kxa4 68.e7 a1Q+-+ Black queens with check.) 66...Kxa2 67.e6 Re4 68.e7 Re3 69.g4 (69.Kf7 Rf3+ 70.Ke6 Rxg3 71.e8Q Re3+-+) 69...Re4 70.Kf7 Rf4+ 71.Ke6 Rxg4 72.e8Q Re4+-+.
65.Kf7 Rc7+ 66.Kg6 Kb3
66...Rc6+ is met by 67.Kg7 Kb3 68.Rb8+ Kc2 69.Ra8=.
67.Kxh6 Rc4 68.Rxa2 Kxa2 69.g4 Rxe4 70.g5 Kb3 71.g6 Kc4 72.g7 Rg4 73.Kh7 Kd5 74.g8Q+ Rxg8 75.Kxg8 ½-½
E145.04 Melkumyan, Hrant (2628) – Andreikin, Dmitry (2689)
Black to move and win.
Now Black can't use his rook directly against the g-pawn.
67...Kc3! was called for: 68.g4 Rd4!
This deadly cut off was given by Golubev in Chess Today 4156. As White cannot advance his g-pawn his king must start a long march on the kingside, which just lasts too long: 69.Kg3 (69.g5 Kd2 70.Ra1 c1Q 71.Rxc1 Kxc1 and Black wins because of the cut off no matter, where his king is: 72.Kg3 Kd2 73.g6 Rd6 74.g7 Rg6+-+) 69...Kd2 70.Ra1 c1Q 71.Rxc1 Kxc1 72.Kh4 Kd2 73.Kg5 Ke3 74.Kf5 Rf4+ 75.Kg5 Kf3-+.
68.g4 Rd1 69.Rxc2 Kxc2 70.Ke4!
This bodycheck is the only defense.
70.Kf4? is refuted by 70...Kd3 71.g5 Kd4 72.Kf5 Kd5 73.Kf6 Kd6 74.g6 Rf1+ 75.Kg7 (75.Kg5 Ke7 76.g7 Kf7-+) 75...Ke7 76.Kg8 Rg1 77.g7 Kf6 78.Kh8 Kf7-+.
70.g5?? runs directly into the cut off 70...Rd4 71.g6 Rd6 72.g7 Rg6-+.
70...Rg1 71.Kf5 Kd3 72.g5 Kd4 73.g6 Kd5 74.Kf6 Kd6
74...Rf1+ is met by the bodycheck 75.Ke7= (However, not 75.Kg7? Ke6 76.Kh7 Rh1+ 77.Kg8 Kf6 78.g7 Rg1 79.Kh8 Kf7-+).
75.g7 Kd7 76.Kf7 Rxg7+ 77.Kxg7 ½-½
Endgame Corner #146
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