The Most Embarrassing Endgame in Chess

The Most Embarrassing Endgame in Chess

NM 2Bf41-0

Hi Everyone!

I'm sure everyone knows a player who failed to win a B+N Endgame...

But as long as there is enough time on the clock to spend about 5 seconds per move, there should be no excuse for a non-beginner to fail delivering mate in an elementary endgame. Yet if you've been in this chess world long enough it's no surprise for you to see even extremely strong players fail to win such endings with plenty of time on the clock. Tons of time to reflect on misery and shame! I don't want to add insult on the injury by naming particular players but there are many famous examples you can google.

In every case it all came to ONE roadblock in the mating procedure which stunted further progress. Nearly all the players were able to push the enemy king to the end of the board, for instance the diagram position.

Then all of the strong players made the next important but obvious series of moves!

And they know "somehow" that there is this net which circumscribes the boundaries of black's king then with each move rapidly tighten the noose. I've realized that the following diagram is so important it's the key to easily winning such painfully agonizing endings. Watch closely!

If necessary use drills to sear this into your mind and know it by heart. It will not only give you the win, but also save you from a hurricane of humiliation. Some players think that they could find such ideas over the board without practice beforehand. I'd say, don't count on it! Even strong players mess these trivial stuff up.

Others chess players from the community, especially my titled colleagues, may deride this article as insightful, trivial, and silly to write.

Maybe. But I'm going to be the one laughing when I see the next titled player blow this ending. (Last titled Tuesday I witnessed an IM with about a minute on the clock with one second increment, fail to checkmate GM Gawain Jones and was clueless, never even found the idea)

 A lucid chess instructor or relentless drill training should fix the problems immediately. I have a bias toward paperback books, but find what works best for you.

For every single player below 2000 I would recommend Pandolfini's Endgame Course. The author elucidates with efficacy and is an "every chessplayer must know positions". Even for strong players it's paramount to not be rusty on any position given in the book so it could be a useful endgame quiz for yourself. 

The other classic which facilitated my chess improvement is Practical Chess Endings.

Finally 100 Endgames You Must Know lives up to the title. If your serious about chess improvement it's imperative that you understand all of the examples presented.

Openings teach you openings. Endgames teach you chess!