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Initiative in Endgames, Part 5

  • WIM energia
  • | Oct 19, 2012
  • | 6559 views
  • | 15 comments

As I checked out the news items that chess.com offers, one game from the Spice Cup caught my attention. The opening featured a Maroczy-bind type of structure, which I play and therefore was interesting to me but what really was interesting was the endgame rook vs. four pawns. The immediate thought was that white must be winning - the pawns were not far advanced and the white king was in their proximity. This intrigue pushed me to explore what the objective evaluation was in that position and in the overall endgame. Here, I present this endgame by dividing it into parts, each having a specific topic and plan. This article continues the series on Initiative in Endgames.

Part 1: White tries to coordinate pieces but has to sacrifice material to do so.

Balogh, who is playing white is up a pawn - this is a big material advantage for a late middlegame, early endgame. As compensation black has the annoying Nb4, a rook controlling the d-file and the super-powerful Bg7. Moreover, white's dark squares are weak and the knights on c1 and d1 need some time to get onto active squares. I would say that black has compensation for a pawn and uses this temporary initiative, which is due to better development to cash in for some material.


Part 2: How to stop the c and b-pawns from rolling?

The situation has drastically changed: white's knights got into the game and the b- and c-pawns are ready to move. What was the price for this harmonious regrouping? - An exchange. It is not a high price if you look at a scary c-pawn, which might queen in four moves. It is up to black now to decide how to fight white's initiative. I think black must exchange the Bb6 because the bishop helps the pawns to move forward and also because it is the only piece that does a good job defending weak dark squares in white's camp. Black opted for another plan: block the b-pawn from moving by a5. The drawback of this plan is that a5 is located on a dark square and white can win it after which three passed-pawns on the queenside would be extremely hard to stop.

Part 3: Tactical complications.

The next stage of the game is full of mistakes. The position is complex and it takes long lines and analysis to figure out what is happening. Black managed to exchange a few pieces but the two passed pawns still remain for white. With the black rooks active it is hard to push them forward. In the next stage of the game both sides bring their kings into the game. Black has counterplay in view of the mass of central pawns that can start moving in some lines. Vachier-Lagrave missed an excellent opportunity at the 49th move where his f-pawn could have guaranteed a draw. Overall, the struggle is typically decided in this stage of the game where there are tons of resources for each side.

Part 4: R vs. 4P, win or draw?

As the smoke cleared out white got a rook for four pawns--one might say material equality but the four pawns include doubled f-pawns and the black king is behind them. Initially, I thought that Kc4 is a mistake and felt that Kd2 or Kd3 should be better: the king would be in front of the pawns. However, here we see the topic of cutting-off the king from the passed pawns and Rb6 achieves just that!



Overall, the endgame turned out to be exciting and both sides had chances to win at some point. The rook vs. four pawns was winning for white if he could find the right idea. The next week we will wrap-up the Initiative in Endgame series.

Comments


  • 14 months ago

    mladigaleb

    Great!! Thanks!

  • 21 months ago

    ferdinandplebie

    very good endgame techniques

  • 21 months ago

    masterschristopher

    Rb6! nice move, easy to understand.... thanks for the analysis, it made my day

    dun give up!!!

  • 21 months ago

    ncmike2011

    interesting game,thanks.I believe these unbalanced material endings are made even harder when they arrive after intense struggles in middlegames.The player who can summon the strength to find and utilize every resource usually prevails.

  • 21 months ago

    drumdaddy

    Thanks for breaking it down so well!

  • 21 months ago

    sisu

    I think when Black's bishop is trapped he should unlock it immediately with 37...g5. Idea is 38.fxg5 Ta6! If 38.b5 then gxf4 39. c7 fxe3 40.cxb8D+ Lxb8 with excellent endgame for Black to win.

    I suppose these guys were in time pressure around the move 40!?  What do you think Iryna?

    P.S. This should be part 6 Tongue Out 

  • 21 months ago

    sdtmcn

    Thanks.

  • 21 months ago

    novzki41

    great stuff!! 

  • 21 months ago

    kcsmith169

    Excellent! Thank youSmile

  • 21 months ago

    Uknighted72

    thank you very much

  • 21 months ago

    tridev1234

    Exciting

  • 21 months ago

    yawho

    Thanks!

  • 21 months ago

    EpinephelusTT

    At the R vs 4P I would surely bet at black (especially if the f pawns weren't doubled). I think that, at endgames, pawns almost double their value against other pieces. But, oh, draw is almost disappointing. Although, congratulations to both players, and special thanks to WIM energia for this, 5th part.   57... Kf6 might was better for black, but who knows.

  • 21 months ago

    gargelfuh

    Great stuff, thanks

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