No Need to Rush

No Need to Rush

| 15 | Endgames

Last week we looked at an endgame and came up with two plans for white. They were not sufficient to gain advantage. Black’s position is solid and it is not easy to break through. Black has one weakness – the white passed pawn on b3. It is useful to think of white position strengths as black position weaknesses. As we all know one weakness is not enough to win or even to build a significant advantage. One has to create a second weakness.

A pawn on g5 is an obvious target for a second weakness. Also, the king’s and the bishop’s positions can be compromised after white places the rook on the e-file. The third plan that we will look at has an aim of creating a second weakness.

3.       Create a weakness in black’s camp with a direct attack on g5 or with the pin of the bishop.

Here are some important ideas from the game:

  • Masking your intentions is a practical way of playing. Attacking the pawn on g5 right away does not bring dividends as black defends with f6 and knows what to expect in the future.
  • Sometimes it is the best defense to give up a pawn but to play a theoretically equal endgame.
  • When you have a slight advantage in the endgame and do not see a clear plan to proceed to gain even more advantage waiting can be a good strategy. Create some small threats while making the defending side think.

Although white managed to put hard problems before black the position still remained far from winning. Take a note that I was playing against a computer which is not quite the same as playing this endgame in a real game. From a practical point of view Plan 3 puts the most problems before black and thus increases the probability of a mistake.

Many of the positions that we analyzed in Plan 3 withered down to 3 vs. 2 pawn endgames. They are drawn in most cases. However, the famous coach Mark Dvoretsky has a book called Endgame Tragicomedies, and it is no wonder that there are numerous examples that fit his book – playing under real conditions is hard and one will make mistakes. Even 3 vs. 2 in time trouble is hard to defend.

Now, let us look at what happened in the real game. As I mentioned before the player having the white pieces is a high 2600 player, while the player with the black pieces is barely 2300 – this rating discrepancy makes it interesting to watch this game as the fight is guaranteed. If you play for a win in an approximately equal endgame try to save as many pawns as possible because with no pawns or with one pawn black can always give up the bishop for it and secure a draw.

The ideas from the game:

  • One of the best ways to defend in the endgame is to trade all the pawns.
  • When the opponent has a passed pawn you can either try to fight with it or create your own passed pawn.
  • My opinion is that against lower-rated players in the endgame it is better to put problems without forced play unless the forced lines lead to a win.

For the next week we will look into the following endgame. In one of the positions in the US Championship I misevaluated a continuation that allowed me to get queen vs. two pieces and a rook. Yes, we will see more queen endgames as it turned out I have no feel for them yet. This is a position from a very recent tournament.

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