Jim West Talks Chess: Corner Stalemates

Here is the conclusion to my game as White against Noah Siegel [USCF 2294] from the USATE 2005.







Black has just played 69...Nf3. I played my only legal move 70.gxf3 when 70...Kf2 forced my resignation.

Now take a look at my game as Black against Grant Oen [USCF 1663] from the ICA Fall 2009 Open.







I have just played 51...h4. The correct way for White to draw is 52.gxh4 [52.Kh2 also draws] g3 53.h5 e2 54.h6 e1=Q+ 55.Rxe1 Kxe1 56.h7 Bxh7.

White made the mistake of sacrificing his rook too soon by 52.Rxe3 Kxe3 53.gxh4 when 53...Ke2 should win for Black. Instead my 53...g3 threw away the victory.

Eventually we reached these positions, after 63...Bf3 and 67...Bh3 respectively.













 Unlike the position with the black knight on f3, White is not obligated to capture the bishop on f3 or h3 because the g1 square is still available to his king.

I was fortunate that my opponent overstepped the time limit a few moves later.


  • 7 years ago


    I really do not understand the point: after taking the Bishop White simply moves

    the pawn forward, and Black must take it ( at 5-th or 4-th row). Thus the white King is AFTER the remainig pawn and it is theoretical draw! (Black must only keep an opposition!)


  • 7 years ago


    In the last game capture is a forced draw. In the previous one it's a win.

  • 7 years ago


    In the second diagram, I am uncertain why you would play Bf3 with the king on e1 since capturing the bishop is a won game for white?!

  • 7 years ago


    I guess in the last two diagrams the white king should really be on h1 instead of g1. With the king on g1 they make a lot less sense, especially the 63...Bf3 one... ;)

  • 7 years ago


    good point Jpatrick but once there is the option of gh (even though white will never consider it) there is nothing to do except lose on time. Hardly something to boast about but the time factor is one of the factors in competitive chess.

  • 7 years ago


    In the last two positions, I wonder if White could just claim "insufficient losing chances" by pointing out that Black can't make progress if the King remains on g1/h1.   He would definitely have to try that before his time ran out.

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