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Endgame Corner

Karsten Müller

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The Sharp Endgame Weapon Zugzwang

Ordinarily pure opposite-colored bishop endings have a very large drawish tendency, but in chess there is no rule without exceptions. I want to highlight one attacking method in particular:

156.01 J.Nunn

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/2k5/2P1K3/6p1/5p2/2b2B1P/6P1/8 b - - 0 1"]

The position is based on an endgame, which John Nunn played in a simultaneous display in 1977. He analyzes it in detail in his excellent Secrets of Practical Chess, 2nd edition, Gambit 2007 and I use his analysis in the following:

1...Be1 2.Kf6 Bh4 3.Kf5 Kd6

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/8/2Pk4/5Kp1/5p1b/5B1P/6P1/8 w - - 0 4"]

4.g3!! fxg3

4...Bxg3 is met by 5.Kxg5 Be1

A) Of course not 6.Kxf4? Ke7 7.Kg5 (7.c7 Kd7=) 7...Bg3 8.h4 Kf7 9.h5 Kg7=.

B) 6.h4 Ke7 7.h5 Ba5 8.Kg6 Kf8

Endgame Corner
[FEN "5k2/8/2P3K1/b6P/5p2/5B2/8/8 w - - 0 9"]

And now 9.Bd5! f3 10.h6 f2 11.h7 f1Q 12.h8Q+ Ke7 13.Qe5+ Kf8 14.Qd6+ Ke8 15.Qd7+ Kf8 16.Qg7+ Ke8 17.Bf7+ Kd8

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/5BQ1/2P3K1/b7/8/8/8/5q2 w - - 0 18"]

18.c7+! Bxc7 19.Qf8+ Kd7 20.Be8++-.

5.Bg2

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/8/2Pk4/5Kp1/7b/6pP/6B1/8 b - - 0 5"]

Black is in fatal zugzwang.

5...Kc7 6.Ke5

Again zugzwang is used to force a concession.

6...g4

6...Kc8 7.Kd6 Kd8 8.c7+ Kc8 9.Bd5 g2 10.Kc6 g1Q 11.Be6#.

7.hxg4+-

Magnus Carlsen also uses this sharp weapon successfully in the following example:

156.02 Carlsen, Magnus (2775) – Pelletier, Yannick (2569)
41st Biel GM (1), 20.07.2008

Endgame Corner
[FEN "5k2/8/1p4p1/2p2p2/P1B2P1P/
1P1K2P1/1b6/8 w - - 0 50"]

First he invades with his king.

50.Bd5 Ba3 51.Kc4 Bb4 52.Kb5 Ba5 53.Bc4

Endgame Corner
[FEN "5k2/8/1p4p1/bKp2p2/P1B2P1P/
1P4P1/8/8 b - - 0 53"]

Now Black has to be very careful to avoid falling into zugzwang.

53...Ke7?

The wrong direction. After 53...Kg7!, White cannot win: 54.Kc6 Kh6 55.Be2 Kg7 56.h5 gxh5 57.Bxh5 Kf6 58.Be2 Ke6 59.Bd3 Kf6=.

54.Kc6 Kf6 55.Bd3

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/8/1pK2kp1/b1p2p2/P4P1P/
1P1B2P1/8/8 b - - 0 55"]

Zugzwang. Whatever Black does Magnus Carlsen will undermine his kingside.

55...Kf7?!

55...Ke6 is met by 56.g4! fxg4 (56...Kf6 57.gxf5 gxf5 58.h5 Ke6 59.h6 Kf6 60.Bxf5+-) 57.Bxg6 Kf6 (57...Bd2 58.Kxb6 Bxf4 59.Kxc5 g3 60.Be4+-) 58.Be4

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/8/1pK2k2/b1p5/P3BPpP/1P6/
8/8 b - - 0 58"]

Black falls into zugzwang time and again: 58...Kg7 59.Kb5 Kf6 60.h5 g3 61.Kc6 Kg7 62.f5 Kg8 63.Bd5+ Kg7 64.Kb5 Kf6 65.h6+-.

56.h5! gxh5

56...Kg7 57.hxg6 Kxg6 58.g4 Kf6 59.Bxf5+-.

57.Bxf5 Kf6

57...Be1 58.Kxb6 Bxg3 (58...Bf2 59.Kb5 Ke7 60.a5 Kd6 61.a6 Kc7 62.Be4 Kb8 63.Bf3 Ka7 64.Bxh5 Bxg3 65.f5+-) 59.a5 Bxf4 60.a6 Be3 61.Kc6 c4 62.bxc4 Ba7 63.Kb7 Be3 64.a7 Bxa7 65.Kxa7+-.

58.Be4 Kg7 (58...Ke6 59.Bg6+-) 59.Bf3 Kh6 60.Kb5 Kg6 61.Bd1 Kh6 62.Be2 Kg6 63.Bf3 Kh6 64.Bc6 1-0

Black resigned because of the following line:

64...Kg7

64...Kg6 65.Be8+ Kf5 66.Bxh5 Ke4 67.Kc6 Kf5 (67...Kd4 68.Bf7 Ke4 69.Bd5+ Kd4 70.g4+-) 68.Bf3 Kf6 69.g4+-

65.Be8 Kh6 66.Bf7

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/5B2/1p5k/bKp4p/P4P2/1P4P1/
8/8 b - - 0 66"]

Decisive zugzwang

66...Kg7 (66...h4 67.gxh4+-) 67.Bxh5 Kf6 68.g4 Ke6 69.Bg6 Kd6 70.f5 Kc7 71.f6 Bc3 72.f7 Bg7 73.g5 Bf8 74.Be4 Bg7 75.Bc6 Bf8 76.g6 Bg7 77.a5 bxa5 78.Kxc5 Kd8 79.Kb5+-.

The final example is more complicated.

156.03 Kryvoruchko, Yuriy (2701) – Esen, Baris (2565)
World Teams 2013 Antalya TUR (5.2), 30.11.2013

Endgame Corner
[FEN "5k2/7p/1p2Bp2/p1pPq1p1/2Pb4/
1P3QP1/P5KP/8 b - - 0 37"]

37...Qe3?

Without queens White's king can penetrate with decisive effect. After 37...Kg7, Black's blockade cannot be broken.

38.Qxe3 Bxe3 39.d6!

Endgame Corner
[FEN "5k2/7p/1p1PBp2/p1p3p1/2P5/
1P2b1P1/P5KP/8 b - - 0 39"]

This advance opens the road.

39...Bd4

39...h5 40.Kf3 Bg1 41.h3 Ke8 (41...Bd4 42.Ke4 Be5 43.Kd5 Bxg3 44.Kc6 Ke8 45.d7+ Kd8 46.Kxb6 g4 47.hxg4 h4 48.g5 fxg5 49.Kxa5+-) 42.Ke4 Bh2 43.Kd5 Bxg3 44.Kc6 Kd8 45.d7 Bc7 46.Bf5 g4 47.hxg4 h4 48.g5 fxg5 49.Bg4+-

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/2bP4/1pK5/p1p3p1/2P3Bp/
1P6/P7/8 b - - 0 49"]

Even Black's extra pawn does not save him because of the fatal zugzwang.

39...Ke8 is met by 40.Kf3 Bg1 41.h3 h5 42.Ke4 Bh2 43.Kd5 Bxg3 44.Kc6 Kd8 45.d7 Bc7 46.Bf5

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/2bP4/1pK2p2/p1p2Bpp/2P5/1P5P/P7/8 b - - 0 46"]

Zugzwang 46...g4 47.hxg4 h4 48.g5 fxg5 49.Bg4 Be5 50.Kxb6 Bc3 51.Kxc5 Kc7 52.Kb5 Bb4 53.Ka4 Kd8 54.a3 Bc3 55.c5 Kc7 56.b4+-.

40.Kf3 Be5

40...h5 41.Ke4 Bg1 42.g4 hxg4 43.Bxg4 Bxh2 44.Kd5 Ke8 45.Kc6 Kd8 46.d7 Bc7 47.a4 Bf4 48.Kxb6 Bd2 49.Kxc5 Kc7 50.Kd5 Bb4 51.c5 Be1 52.c6 Bf2 53.Kc4 Be1 54.Kb5 Bb4 55.d8Q+ Kxd8 56.Kb6 Bd6 57.Kb7 Bc7 58.Bf5 Be5 59.b4+-.

41.d7 Ke7 42.Ke4 Kd8

42...h5 43.Kd5 h4 44.gxh4 gxh4 45.Kc6 Kd8 46.h3 Bc7 47.Bf5+-.

43.Kd5 Kc7 44.Bg4 h6

44...a4 45.bxa4

A) 45...Bc3 46.Bf5 h6 (46...h5 47.Ke6 Kd8 48.Kd6 h4 49.Kc6 Ba5 50.gxh4 gxh4 51.h3+-) 47.Ke6 Kd8 48.Kd6 h5 49.Kc6 Ba5 50.h3 Ke7 51.g4 hxg4 52.hxg4 Kd8 53.Kb7+-.

B) 45...h6 White can blow open the door with 46.d8Q+ Kxd8 47.Kc6 Bc7 (47...h5 48.Bf5+-) 48.Bf5

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/2b5/1pK2p1p/2p2Bp1/P1P5/
6P1/P6P/8 b - - 0 48"]

to use zugzwang again and again: 48...h5 49.Kb7 h4 50.gxh4 gxh4 51.h3 Be5 52.Kxb6 Bc7+ 53.Kc6 Ba5 54.Kb5 Bd2 55.Kb6 Bf4 56.a5 Bc7+ 57.Kb5 Bb8 58.Kc6+-.

44...h5 45.Ke6 Kd8 46.Bxh5+-.

45.Ke6 Kd8 (45...a4?? 46.Ke7+-) 46.a4 Bd4

46...Bb8 47.Kd5 Kc7 48.Bh3 h5 49.Bf5 Kd8 50.Kc6 Bc7 51.Kb7 h4 52.gxh4 gxh4 53.h3+-; 46...Bc7 47.Kd5+-.

47.Kd6

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/3P4/1p1K1p1p/p1p3p1/
P1Pb2B1/1P4P1/7P/8 b - - 0 47"]

White's king crosses over to the queenside to win the pawn b6 first. Afterward the sharp endgame weapon zugzwang will decide the day.

47...Bg1

47...h5 48.Bxh5 f5 49.Bg6 f4 50.gxf4 gxf4 51.Be4 Bf6 52.Bf3 Bh4 53.Kc6 Be1 54.Bg4+-.

48.h4! gxh4

48...Bf2 49.h5! Bxg3+ 50.Kc6 Bc7 51.Bf5 Be5 52.Kxb6 Bc3 53.Kxc5 Kc7 54.Kd5+- (Baburin in Chess Today 4771).

48...h5 49.Bxh5 Bf2 50.hxg5 Bxg3+ 51.Kc6 fxg5 52.Bg4+- This wins analogously to the game as White's bishop has everything under control on the h3-c8 diagonal.

49.gxh4 h5

49...f5 50.Bxf5 h5 51.Kc6 Bf2 52.Kxb6 Bxh4 53.Kxa5 Kc7 54.Kb5 Be7 55.a5 Kb7 56.Bh3 h4 57.a6+ Ka7 58.Bg2 Kb8 59.Kb6 Bd8+ 60.Kxc5+-.

50.Bxh5 Bf2 51.Bg6 Bxh4 52.Bf5

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/3P4/1p1K1p2/p1p2B2/P1P4b/
1P6/8/8 b - - 0 52"]

The bishop controls everything on one and the same diagonal. An important principle in bishop endings.

52...Be1

52...Bg3+ 53.Kc6 Bc7 54.Kb7+-.

53.Kc6 Bd2 54.Kxb6 Bb4 55.Kb7 Bd2 56.Kc6 Bb4 57.Kb6

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/3P4/1K3p2/p1p2B2/PbP5/
1P6/8/8 b - - 0 57"]

The king puts Black in fatal zugzwang.

57...Bd2

57...Ke7?! 58.Kc7+-; 57...Ba3?! 58.Kxa5 Kc7 59.Kb5 Bb4 60.a5+-.

58.Kxc5 Kc7 59.Kb5 Be1 60.c5 Bd2 61.c6 Be1

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/2kP4/2P2p2/pK3B2/P7/1P6/
8/4b3 w - - 0 62"]

62.d8Q+

The d-pawn is less important than breaking Black's blockade.

62...Kxd8 63.Kb6 Bf2+ 64.Kb7!?

The following breakthrough wins beautifully. The greedy 64.Kxa5 works as well.

64...Bg3 65.b4 1-0

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3k4/1K6/2P2p2/p4B2/PP6/
6b1/8/8 b - - 0 65"]

Black resigned because of 65...axb4 (65...Bc7 66.b5+-) 66.a5 b3 67.a6 b2 68.a7 b1Q+ 69.Bxb1+-.

Solutions to last month exercises

A) Arnaudov's Attack

Mating attacks do occur in the endgame.

E155.01 Agopov, Mikael (2435) – Arnaudov, Petar G (2448)
19th European Teams Warsaw POL (3.15), 10.11.2013

Endgame Corner
[FEN "3r3k/6bp/6p1/8/1BP1npP1/
7P/7K/1R1B4 b - - 0 47"]

How to continue Black's initiative?

47...Bc3!

And White is defenseless against the coming invasion of Black's rook.

48.Bf3

48.Bxc3+ Nxc3 49.Rc1 Rd2+ 50.Kg1 Nxd1 51.c5 f3 52.c6 Rg2+ 53.Kf1 Ne3+ 54.Ke1 Re2#.

48.c5 Rd2+ 49.Kg1 Bxb4 50.Rxb4 Rxd1+-+.

48...Rd2+ 49.Kh1

49.Bg2 is met by 49...Bxb4 50.Rxb4 f3-+.

49...Ng3+ 50.Kg1 Bd4# 0-1

B) Sipila's Strong Shot

Black must get his passed pawns going quickly or White's bishops will secure the draw.

E155.02 Varley, Peter (2251) – Sipila, Vilka (2463)
19th European Teams Warsaw POL (7.18), 15.11.2013

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/3k3p/6p1/1P1b4/p2p3P/
B2B1PP1/6K1/3n4 b - - 0 44"]

Is Black's knight the best or worst minor piece on the board? Black is to move.

44...Bc4!!

The right way to break White's blockade.

The immediate 44...Ne3+? allows White's king to join the blockading forces: 45.Kf2 Bc4 46.Be4 Bxb5 47.Bc5 Nd1+ 48.Ke1 Nc3 49.Kd2 Nxe4+ 50.fxe4 d3 51.g4 Ke6 52.g5 Ke5 53.Ke3=.

44...Kc7? 45.Bc5 Nb2 46.Be4 Bxe4 47.Bxd4 Bd5 48.Bxb2 Kb6 49.Kf2 Kxb5 50.Ke3=.

45.Bxc4

45.Be4 Bxb5

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/3k3p/6p1/1b6/p2pB2P/B4PP1/
6K1/3n4 w - - 0 46"]

White's king needs too much time because of the cut off: 46.f4 d3 47.Kf3 Nc3 48.Bc1 a3 49.Bxa3 Nxe4 50.Kxe4 d2-+.

45...Ne3+ 46.Kf2 Nxc4 47.Bc5 d3

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/3k3p/6p1/1PB5/p1n4P/3p1PP1/
5K2/8 w - - 0 48"]

Now Black's mighty knight dominates the whole board and Black is always just in time to win the pawn races. A real knightmare for White.

48.g4 a3 49.Bd4

49.Bxa3 Nxa3 50.Ke3 Nxb5 51.Kxd3 Ke6-+.

49...a2 50.f4

50.b6 is met by 50...h5 51.Ke1 Kc6-+.

50...Ke6

50...h5 wins as well; e.g., 51.gxh5 gxh5 52.b6 Nd6 53.Ke1 Nf5 54.Ba1 Kc6 55.Kd2 Nxh4 56.Kxd3 Nf5 57.Ke4 h4 58.Kxf5 h3-+.

51.Bg7

51.Ba1!? runs into 51...h5! 52.b6 Nxb6 53.f5+ gxf5 54.gxh5 Nd7

A) 55.h6 Nf8 56.Ke3 Kf7 57.Kxd3 (57.h7 Nxh7 58.Kxd3 Nf8 59.h5 Ne6 60.Ke2 Kg8 61.Kf2 Kh7 62.Kg3 Kh6 63.Kh4 Ng7-+) 57...Kg6 58.Bg7 Ne6 59.h5+ Kh7-+;

B) 55.Ke3

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/3n4/4k3/5p1P/7P/3pK3/p7/B7 b - - 0 55"]

B1) 55...f4+? plays this trump too early because of 56.Kxd3 Kf5 57.h6 Nf8 58.Kd2 Kg4 (58...Kg6 59.Ke2 Kxh6 60.Kf3 Ne6 61.Kg4=) 59.Bd4 f3 (59...Kxh4 60.Kc2 f3 61.Kb2=) 60.Ke1 Kg3 61.Kf1 Nh7 62.Be5+ Kxh4 63.Kf2 Kg4 64.Bg7 Kf5 65.Kxf3 Nf6 66.h7 a1Q 67.h8Q=.

B2) 55...Kf7!

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/3n1k2/8/5p1P/7P/3pK3/p7/B7 w - - 0 56"]

Black's king must take the long way to Rome: 56.Kxd3 Nc5+ 57.Ke3 (57.Kc2 f4 58.Kd1 f3 59.Ke1 Ne4 60.Kf1 Kg8-+) 57...Ne6 58.Kd2 Kg8 59.Kc2 f4 60.Kd3 Kh7 61.Ke4 Kh6 62.Kf3 Kxh5 63.Bf6 Nc7 64.Be5 Nd5 65.Ba1 Kxh4-+.

51.b6 Nxb6 52.Ke3 Nd5+ 53.Kxd3 Nxf4+ 54.Kc2 Ng2 55.h5 Ne3+ 56.Kb3 g5 57.Kxa2 Nxg4-+.

51.Kf3 h5 52.gxh5 (52.f5+ Kd5 53.Bc3 hxg4+ 54.Kxg4 d2-+; 52.g5 Kf5 53.b6 Nxb6-+) 52...gxh5 53.b6 Nxb6 54.Ke3 Nd5+ 55.Kxd3 Ne7 56.Ke4 Nf5-+.

51...Kd5

Endgame Corner
[FEN "8/6Bp/6p1/1P1k4/2n2PPP/3p4/
p4K2/8 w - - 0 52"]

52.Kf3

52.Ba1 also does not defend; 52...Ke4 53.b6 Nxb6 54.f5 gxf5 55.gxf5 Nc4 56.f6 Nd6 57.Bb2 Nf7 58.Bc3 Nh6 59.Ke1 Ke3 60.Bd2+ Kd4-+.

52...Kc5 53.f5 gxf5 54.g5 (54.gxf5 Nd6-+) 54...f4 0-1


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