Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Panchenko's Endgame Defence

This was the position I left on my blog yesterday, an exercise from Panchenko's book, "Mastering Chess Middlegames". Black is in a tough spot and has to find the best defence. So let's look at some candidate moves.

1. If black tries to defend the pawn on b6, there are 2 ways to do it.

- 1..Rb8 pinning the pawn on b6 doesn't look good and white can simply advance his c-pawn to exploit the pin 2.c4 Kg8 3.c5 followed by cxb5 with a winning advantage
- 1..Rf6? is strongly met by 2.Rf1! forcing an exchange of rooks. This is what actually happened in the game. White's king is more central, and his pawn structure is better. The game finished. 2..Kg8 3.Rxf6 gxf6 4.Kf2 Kf7 5.Ke3 Ke6 6.Kd4 Kf5 7.Kd5 1-0

2. Counter attack

- 1..Rc8! this gives the best chance for a draw, activating the rook, getting the king into the game, while trading pawns. To go for this, these basic endgame principles needed to be followed, and an assessment of the position with 3 v 2 pawns as a draw needs to be understood. 2.Rxb6 Kg8 3.Rb5 Rxc4 4.Rxa5

This is actually a good position to study and practice, as well as positions with an extra pawn on the king side. Black should be able to hold a draw here, but getting to know some technique wouldn't hurt!

Have a look at this classic position from the game Ftacnik-Littlewood Hastings 1982. The attacking rook is placed passively, and Littlewood decides to protect his passed pawn with his king. Ftacnik uses this to get his own king moving on the other side of the board.

It's white to play. Perhaps you could try this position as both black or white against a computer, or friend of about a similar strength to you before you look at the game continuation which is here.

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