Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nailing Down an Endgame Advantage

This week, at our chess club, we had another fine lesson by our IM who is also the endgame expert of ours. He presented this position:


Black to move.

First, as always, comes this question: Who is better, how much, and why? It is clear that Black is better, even much better, and this should him bring a win. Both have been strong players, and the game was drawn. What went wrong?

Black has not been aware WHY he was better and he missed to nail down the advantage. Black certainly is better because his King is better, his Knight is better and his pawns are more advanced, and his whole army is united whereas White's army is split.

Black too fast pushed forward his plan, that is, an attack on the white pawns. He moved b4 with the idea Nb7-d6-b5-a3 to attack c2. Most of us would have played this way, but it comes out that White manages to save his pawns with Kg4-f3-e2-d1.

The only way to win is by nailing down the advantage of the split white army and move 1.-Ke3!, cutting off the white King from his pawns forever. The plan of attacking the white pawns can wait because White cannot move them, and his Knight already is in his best position to block the black King from intruding.

Take home message: If you are better, always look where your biggest advantage is and try to make it even better.

Update

Glenn Wilson says in his comment that the position is drawn according to a Fritz analysis. So I have done an analysis with Deep Shredder and come to the same conclusion. Thanks Glenn!

Pawn move as played in the game
1.-b4 2.Kf3 Nd6 3.Ke2 Nb5 4.Kd2 drawn because the white King has joined his army.

Knight move
1.-Nd6 2. Kf3 Ne4 3.c4 bxc4 4.bxc4 Kd3 5.Kf4 Nc5 6.Ke5 Kxc4 7.Na3+ Kb3 8.Nb5 a4 9.Kd5 Nd3 10.Kc6 Nf4 11.Kc5 Ne6+ 12.Kc6 Kb4 13.Kb6 this looks also drawn but surely is more critical than the line after the pawn move.

King move
1.-Ke3 2.Kf5 b4 3.Ke5 Nc5 4.Kd5 Ne4 5.Kc6 Nc3 6.Kb6! Nxb1 7.Kxa5 Kd2 8.Kxb4 Kxc2 drawn. It seems our IM has overlooked that the Knight on b1 can be given and that the King has enough time to attack the black pawns from the north side.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mousetrapper Still Alive

Rumors have spread in the chess blogosphere about Mousetrapper having been killed in a car accident. I am happy to tell you all that I am alive and well. But you may have noticed that all what I have posted earlier as Mousetrapper, back to the very first post in this blog archive, is now posted under a different name.

No problem with this blog, folks. It has not been overtaken by someone else. I am still the old and only person who maintains this blog. Only one thing has changed: I have changed my blogger identity from my nickname to my real name.

As you may know, I run a health blog, and a couple of weeks ago I have got aware that Mousetrapper is not a very credible name if you want to be respected as an authority in health issues.

So let me introduce myself: My name is Christian, the Mousetrapper. And I hear Caissa whisper in my ear: Don't forget your chess blog. Temposchlucker has come back. It should be your turn now...

Well, let's see what I can do and where I take the time.

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