Wednesday, February 2, 2011

MCC Endgame Group 2/2/11

The Melbourne Chess Club runs an endgame group every second Wednesday. The group discusses theoretical and practical endgames and practices their endgame technique. This evening I walked into the MCC and there was already a debate raging about a certain position. Ascaro Pecori called me over as I walked in and asked me what I thought of the position. Apparently he had been debating the position with Greg Gatto and Elie Beranjia for the best part of an hour without coming to a definite conclusion. I replied that funnily enough the position they had was almost identical to a position that I was showing and that it was a definite win. I was then told to demonstrate, and I couldn't break through the defence as I hadn't fully grasped the nuances behind the ending. After a bit of study, it all became apparent and the win proved fairly easy.

So here we are. This position occured in the game Shirov-Grischuk Wijk aan Zee 2011 and a very similar one was being discussed when I walked into the club. Do you know the technique for white to win this? It isn't easy, as there are a number of stalemate plans for black. Black's bishop wants to stay on h2-b8 diagonal and then he can put his king on a8 and block checks with his bishop, for example.
Personally, I now think I understand a great deal more about this endgame than I did before today, firstly from study of some excellent notes by Alexander Baburin in Chess Today, and then trying to play the position for ages in the MCC tonight. Here is the game, with Baburin's notes to the endgame, but I would still urge players to try it out for themselves as it is easy to go wrong. The main thing to remember is to check with the rook on a7 and then to move the rook to a square which stops black's bishop from checking. eg white's moves 67.Ra7+ Kb8 68.Rg7 threatening mate on g8 and stopping Bg1+

The MCC Endgame group will meet again next week and then every second wednesday for the rest of the year. If you need to work on this part of your game, then come along as it's much easier to work on endgames in a group than by yourself. And I have to recommend Baburin's excellent daily chess newspaper as well, with daily tactics, loads of endgame study and some superbly analysed games by Grand Masters. There is of course much more, so go check it out, it comes straight to your email in pgn, pdf, and cbv formats!

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