Friday, January 19, 2018

Pawn Endgames 2

Yesterday, I introduced a pawn endgame between Csom-Suttles Indonesia 1982.

White had played for this position and must have thought the position was better or winning for him. For example, how will Black defend the king side pawns? 1..Ke5 is met by the opposition move 2.Ke3 and Black's king will have to give way as White has extra tempo moves with pawns. The only Black pawn that can move safely is the a-pawn, and that is, in fact, the move Suttles played, 1..a5. However, this doesn't solve Black's problem as after White advances their king 2.Kf3 Black has to prevent it coming to f4, 2..Ke5 and now 3.Ke3 gives white an opposition.

It is easy to see from this diagram that Black's king will be forced to move back. The only waiting move is 3..a4 but then the ball bounces back into Black's court after 4.a3 when Black will have to let white's king into f4. And even though Black can oppose the White king when it gets to f4, by moving to f6, White has spare tempo moves with the h-pawn. 4..Ke6 5.Kf4 Kf6

Now it really is clear to see that White will move their h-pawn and Black's king will have to move giving White's king a way forward. This is exactly what happened in the game, and White won this endgame.

So let's return to the original position:

the lines that I previously considered aren't too difficult to work out with just a basic understanding of pawn endings. So the only other measure is to counter attack. Black should look to run to the queen side with his king and try to promote simultaneously with White. So we come to the stage where we must count how many moves it will take to promote. Black has c6-b6-a5-b4-xc4-d3 and 4 pawn moves on 10 moves. White has f3-f4-xf5-h3-g4 (a trade on g4) then 4 moves with the pawn which equals 9 moves. As Black moves first that means that White will promote and then Black promotes straight after. 1..Kc6 2.Kf3 Kb6 3.Kf4 Ka5 4.Kxf5 Kb5 5.h3 Kxc4 6.g4 hxg4 7.hxg4

Now Black moves the king and both sides will promote simultaneously.However, where black moves their king is important. It might look as if b4 is a good square for black's king aiming at White's a-pawn as well as clearing the way for Black's c-pawn. But then White's king will be able to come back and defend.

7..Kb4 8.g5 c4 9.Ke4! and now if Black advances the c-pawn, White will simply move their king to d3 and that will be the end of promotion.

Black will have to advance his king to c3 which loses valuable time in the pawn race and White will promote a full move ahead of Black.

The correct move here is Kd3 (d4) shepherding the pawn through and promoting at the same time as White securing a draw.

Hopefully some of these variations will help you think about some key ideas in pawn endgames:

- should I trade into a pawn endgame?
- who has spare tempo moves?
- can either side win a crucial opposition?
- are there counter attacking ideas?
- counting accurately the moves to promotion is a good calculation skill.

Like I said, thse players are not world beaters, and the ending wasn't one of the greatest, but I found it interesting nevertheless.

Loading embedded chess game...

No comments:

Post a Comment