The "Simplest" Thing in Chess (Part Five)

The "Simplest" Thing in Chess (Part Five)

Gserper
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  • Strategy

No discussion about King and Pawn endgames can be complete without mention of a pawn breakthrough.  The following endgame is well known and yet extremely delightful no matter how many times you've seen it.  I remember it was one of the first King and Pawn endgames I learned as a kid.

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Even though the majority of chess players know the position above by heart, one of the best World chess players Viktor 'the Terrible' Korchnoi forgot about this idea in one of his games. As a result, the winning position turned into a loss!
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Another typical tool of a King and Pawn endgame is a triangulation. The following iconic example is probably the best example of triangulation.  If you never seen it before, then solving it quite tricky.  The most important part is to notice that if it was Black's move in the initial position, then a win would be straightforward.  Therefore, White needs to lose a tempo and achieve the same position when it is Black's turn to move!
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An amusing but very powerful technical idea which is very common for King and Pawn endgames is so-called 'shouldering'. If you are ever asked if there is any similarity between chess and ice hockey, the answer is shouldering! You can literary see how one King uses all his power to push away his counter part.  Here is a classical and probably one of the first well known games where the 'shouldering' should have decided the game:
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In the final game that we will analyze today a super GM Alexey Shirov forgot about 'shouldering' and it cost him the game. The position looks pretty simple and after a reasonable sequence of moves should end in a draw like this:
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This was probably the line GM Shirov calculated when he decided to go for this position.  Try to find what he missed and how White can win this endgame.
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to be continued....

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