Thursday, October 21, 2010

MCC Endgame Group

Last night, the Endgame Group met at the MCC, and it was good to see a couple of new faces, as well as some who have been coming along for a while. As I haven't been looking at much chess for a while I decided to show some recent rook endgames that I'd seen analysed in Chess Today. But rook endgames are never that easy. I'll put up some positions that we looked at last night.

 This originally started as a rook endgame, but this is where it got interesting. This is how it is analysed by GM Alexander Baburin in Chess Today.
47.h4 The white king is more active than its counterpart, but Black's pawn structure is sound, so he should be able to hold. 47...g6?? This move weakens the f6-pawn and therefore it weakens the e5-pawn. [I would consider playing 47...h5 Then White can try 48.g3 Ke7 49.f4 exf4 50.gxf4 but after 50...g6 Black is OK: 51.Ke4 Ke6 52.f5+ gxf5+ 53.Kf4 Kd5=] 48.g4! h5 [48...h6 49.g5 hxg5 (49...fxg5 50.hxg5 h5 51.Kxe5 Ke7 52.f4 h4 53.Ke4+-) 50.hxg5 Ke7 51.f3 Kf7 52.Kd6 fxg5 53.Kxe5+-] 49.gxh5 gxh5 50.d4 exd4 51.Kxd4 Diagram # Despite limited pawn material left, White is winning: his king is still more active and he has a reserve tempo (f2-f3). 51...Kd6 52.Ke4 Ke6 53.Kf4 Ke7 54.Kf5 Kf7 55.f3 Kg7 56.Ke6 Kg6 1–0

The group eventually arrived at the same conclusions as the Grandmaster, but not without a bit of thought.

 Here, it is white to play. Can you find a winning plan and continuation for white?
This was the final position of the night, one which we used as a practical playing exercise. It is white to play and everyone in the group got the chance to play both sides of this position.

I'll give some answers to these above endgames in a couple of days. For now it's thanks to all those that came to the MCC Endgame Group last night making it a dynamic learning experience for all.

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