Three Plan, Four Plan

| 6 | Endgames

If you will remember, last week we were looking at this endgame:

And concluded that white should seriously consider trading knights. Today we will discuss two plans associated with Nc4:

3.       The first plan is to double white rooks on the e-file, attacking the e7 pawn and tying down the black pieces. Sooner or later, black will have to play Ra4 attacking the c4 pawn. White will take on e7 and the resulting positions are promising for white. The following game highlights many of these possibilities, so make sure to read over the side-lines too.

There are many different move-orders; I still haven’t figured out every nuance. But it seems that in a few lines, white can get the black king into a relatively passive position compared to other lines with different move orders. One of the most promising plans for white is to sacrifice the d5-pawn but get the a-pawn as a strong passed pawn. Another plan is to give up the a-pawn but keep the c-pawn and get the black rook protecting the weak d6-pawn, thus ensuring its passivity.



4.       The second plan is less obvious: bringing the king around on the kingside. There is no direct benefit but eventually white combines the threats of pushing the a-pawn, attacking the f- and e-pawns as well as creating a mating net to achieve a decisive advantage. I don’t see how black can counter the king maneuver besides patiently waiting.

The verdict is that white had plenty of chances to play for a win. I particularly like the subtle plan #4 with the king march. White should capitalize on advantages that black doesn’t have and an active king qualifies. The rook endgames described in plan #3 are not that clear and sometimes white has to find very good moves that during the game are difficult to see.

In my actual tournament game, the draw was agreed after a similar move sequence as was demonstrated by plans #3 and #4, after the repetition Ra4-Rc2-Ra7 etc.

Next week we will look at the following endgame:

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