May 27, 2016

Endgame of the Day

  • Grand Master Igor Smirnov, Chess Coach, Author and Publisher.
  • What do you think is the result of the game with accurate play from both sides?


    Eljanov - Danielian

    endgame chess

    Black to play

    Please see the solution below.

    • Ola Westerlund

      Very interesting draw!
      First thought: 1… Kg7 2. f5 gxf5 3. gxf5 is just a dead draw.
      But, hey, white can sacrifice the f-pawn and win with a passer on the h-file!
      Second try: 1… Kg7 2. g5 (we’re going to sac the f-pawn anyway, let’s avoid any Black h-pawn possibilities) Kf8 3. f5 gxf5 4. h5 and Black can’t stop 5. h6 6. g6 and a white queen … unless …
      Let’s continue (third thought): 4… c3! 5. Ke1 (the black f pawn gains a tempo by a check if we move the king to e2 or e3 – a player sitting next to me once made that mistake in a similar race and unnecessarily lost half a point)
      And now it turns out that the black pawns are faster than White’s. They are a bit behind for the moment but one pawn runs a lot faster than two (in parallell) and here two pawns run faster than three, so:
      5… f4! 6. h6 (6. g6 h6 halts White’s pawns) f3 (Black’s c and f has caught up with White’s e and h – they are equal, but White still has to make one move with the g pawn)
      7. g6 c2! 8. Kd2 f2 9.gxh7 and now the “old trick” c1Q+ 10. Kxc1 f1Q+ wins for Black!

      My conclusion: the first thought (intuition?) was correct, it’s a draw (but with some interesting stuff under the surface).

      • RCA_moderator

        It’s impressive to see all your calculation and your conclusion. Great job!
        Endgames require a lot of calculation and 1 move can be a difference between draw and a win.

        Prasaadh | Student Support Officer

        • Ola Westerlund

          Thanks, but I was a bit hasty.
          First 1… Kg7 2. f5 gxf5 3. gxf5 is really a dead draw after 3… c3! followed by d6-d5-d4 and there is nothing any player can try even in an Armageddon game.
          But white can keep the game going by:
          1… Kg7 2. Ke3 (not allowing (c4-c3) Kf6 3. f5 gxf5 4. gxf5
          I dismissed this a bit too quickly because I couldn’t find a way to make this idea work:
          4… Ke7 5. Kd4 d5 (gives White the fewest options. 5… Kf6 6. Kd5 Ke7 7. f6+ Kxf6 8. Kxd6 c3 lets White queen first and continue looking for possibilities; 5… Ke8? would certainly give White all the chances)
          6. Ke5 (6. Kxd5 is one tempo better for Black than 5… Kf6, this time Black queens first)
          6… c3 7. f6+ Ke8 8. e7 c2 9.Ke6 c1Q 10 f7 mate!
          But, of course Black plays 8… Kd7! and wins.
          So this idea can’t be realized and I concluded a draw.
          Still White has one more try, which I didn’t seriously enough consider. Instead of 8. e7?? he can play:
          8. Kd6 c2 9. f7+ Kf8 10. Kd7 c1Q 11. e7+ Kxf7 12. e8Q+
          Queening with check gives White the initiative, but could he make anything out of that?
          I’d still say draw, although not “dead draw”.

          • RCA_moderator

            Ya, there lot more to this position.
            In the real game, Black lost after 48….Kg7 49. Ke3 Kf6 50. f5 gxf5 51. gxf5 d5 52. Kd4 and h5 (This is the decisive mistake). Ke7 seems equal.

            Both players queened and White picked up pawns on the queenside and won the game.

            Prasaadh | Student Support Officer

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