Friday, February 2, 2018

Endgame Technique

So how did you go with this position from my last blog post? It is black to play and win! The first question is which pawn should black give up, as any move Black makes drops a pawn. I guess most people would look at dumping the least advanced pawn, so a bishop move backwards or forwards calls out. 1..Bh4 2.Kxf4 Bd8 3.Kf3 Bc7

This is a zugzwang position. Any White move will lead to a worsening of the position. White's bishop is stuck preventing Black's king from coming to h2. So White must make a king move. As Kf2 allows Black's bishop to skewer White's remaining 2 pieces by Bb6+, the only move is 4.Ke2, though this allows Black's king to improve. 4..Kg3

Now if White's king moves, Black will play Kf3 and then Bg3-f2, flushing White's bishop from it's guard post. So White has to let Black's king in. 5.Bc5 Kh2 6.Bd4 Kh1 7.Bc5

White can only play a wait and see policy. But Black now has the winning plan of Bh2-g1 forcing White's bishop away from defending Black's pawn's promotion.

This is a very instructive technique. And even without this technique, I think my junior opponent should keep playing and making me suffer while he had even a 1 pawn advantage. It is something we all have to learn, and taking inspiration from the current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, in this respect is the way to go. If there is any play left in the position, keep fighting!