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The "Simplest" Thing in Chess (Part Three)

  • GM Gserper
  • | Apr 24, 2013
  • | 19667 views
  • | 39 comments

I would like to start today's installment of my column with a basic position somebody posted in the comments, which surprisingly was difficult for some of you.

You should remember this simple rule: once the King gets to the sixth rank (third rank for Black) AND he is in front of his pawn, such a position is winning regardless of whose turn it is to play.  Here is the simple proof:
I hope now you should be able to solve the following simple looking position. Just don't fall into a trap!
If these basic positions are still confusing for you, don't be upset, sometimes even experienced players make mistakes there. The next notorious position was published in dozens of books:
In this position White absolutely correctly realized that the d5 pawn is going to be lost and therefore she made the worst possible "move" : she resigned!
Ironically, every single legal move in this position leads to a draw!  All White needs to do is to make sure that once Black captures the d5 pawn, White plays Kd3 which leads to a basic theoretical draw.
So far we analyzed the simplest basic endgames, but even a position where each side has just a King and a pawn can be extremely complicated. The next classical study by Richard Reti is a good example. If you've never seen it before, it's going to be almost impossible to solve it.  Indeed, it looks like White pawn is doomed and Black pawn is unstoppable and yet White can escape for a draw!
If you understand the famous 'Reti idea', it shouldn't be that difficult to find a way to draw the next position from the game of two famous chess players.
to be continued....

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