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A Sample Coaching Game - Part 6

Jan 23, 2013, 2:56 AM 0

A Sample Coaching Game with a Student

(Part 6) 

Below is a transcript from an actual coaching game that shows the richness of the ongoing discussion (literally on each move) between coach and student.  A total of over 250 messages were exchanged to discuss important chess principles, key strategies and considerations, specific moves and how they all fit together, share relevant resources, etc.

The transcript is laid out in a series of blog posts, each covering a portion of the game with the relevant diagrams and discussions.  Context is re-established at the start of each part.

Legend (on how to read the discussion and follow the unfolding chess game):

[bold, larger font, cyan highlight] : the most recent move, based on the preceding discussion

[bold, dark green] : broadly valid (beyond this particular game) chess principles and related advice

white’s (coach’s) comments follow the letter “V”, while black’s (student’s) comments follow the letter “F”.


_valentin_ (2470) vs. phranck (1719)

(5 days per move)



Moves covered in previous parts:

Part 1 (http://blog.chess.com/_valentin_/a-sample-coaching-game-with-a-student) - [1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 O-O 6.O-O e4 7.Ne1 Bxc3 8.dxc3 h6 9.Nc2 Re8 10.Bf4 d6 11.h3 Be6 12.b3]
Part 2 (http://blog.chess.com/_valentin_/a-sample-coaching-game---part-2) - [12…a5 13.Qc1 Qd7 14.Kh2 Ne7 15.Nd4 d5 16.Nxe6 Qxe6 17.c5 b6 18.Be3 Nd7 19.cxb6 cxb6]
Part 3 (http://blog.chess.com/_valentin_/a-sample-coaching-game---part-3) - [20.Qd2 Nf5 21.h4 Nf6 22.Bh3 b5 23.Bd4 Kh7 24.Qf4 g6 25.g4]
Part 4 (http://blog.chess.com/_valentin_/a-sample-coaching-game---part-4) - [25…Nxd4 26.cxd4 Qe7 27.Rac1 Ra7 28.Rc5 b4 29.Rfc1 Kg7 30.Kg2 Rd8 31.Rc7 Rxc7 32.Rxc7 Rd7 33.Rc8 Ne8 34.Qb8]
Part 5 (http://blog.chess.com/_valentin_/a-sample-coaching-game---part-5) - [34…Kf8 35.g5 hxg5 36.Bxd7 Qxd7 37.hxg5 Ke7 38.Qe5+ Kf8 39.Ra8 Qc6 40.Ra7 Kg8 41.Qe7 Qe6 42.Qxe6 fxe6 43.Rxa5


[ Continuing below after white's move 43.Rxa5 ]

V: We have now entered a technical, simple endgame. We haven't really played a real endgame with you so far (our previous game ended earlier), so do you know how endgame thinking differs (and is more effective) than the process that players typically use in the middle portion of a game?

F: Endgame the pawns become even more important and also the kings tend to be more involved. The strategy often changes to promoting pawns.

F: I'm thinking Nd6 with setting up Nf7 to attack your pawn, but with your rook you could choose to take my b pawn and then start promoting your pawns on that side.

V: Indeed, white's strategy in this endgame here is quite obvious, due to the big advantage on the queen-side. With the help of the rook, the queen-side pawns can move forward rapidly, and a single knight is unlikely to be able to do much to stop their forward motion. For this reason, this endgame we have is quite clear-cut, unlike many endgames that might require understanding fine distinctions, planning ahead, etc.



V: I feel that 44.Ra4 would do just fine, but I'd like to try 44.Ra6 here, as it skewers the knight with the black pawns in the center and on the king-side.


[44.Ra6 Nf7 45.Rxe6]

F: It looks like Kg7 is my only option but then you could pin my knight to my king again

V: Yes, I could. Or I could ignore it and go for the queen's side b-pawn, and then promote one of my distant queen-side passed pawns. I did consider pinning the knight, as that could transition to another endgame that you might benefit from exploring a bit with me. I'm happy to take that route.



V: At this point, 46.Rb6 (followed by Rxb4), or 46.f4 exf4 47.exf3 Nxg5 48.Re5 (followed by Rxd5) both win easily for white. I am taking a third route, mostly for the purpose of you experiencing another important type of endgame.



F: Kf8 is about the only thing I can think of here. My moves are very limited at this point.

V: Correct. No need to think too hard on that; to avoid complete passivity you need to choose ...Kf8.


[46…Kf8 47.Rxf7+ Kxf7]

V: White obviously didn't need to sacrifice the rook; I decided to give you some practice in a pawn endgame, since the rook vs. knight in our configuration has no intrigue left whatsoever to it.

V: The key to pawn endgames is a few principles and calculation. Are you familiar with the principles? Or, I should ask, what principles are you familiar with, practically, for these types of endgames?

F: The one thing I do know about end game is to utilize your king as an attacking piece.

V: As an active piece, I'd say instead. That may mean active offense, or active defense.

V: Specifically in pawn endgames this is crucial, since the king is the only piece left that can go in a non-linear direction. Are you familiar with the rule of king opposition? How about the pattern of a distant passed pawn?

F: I'm not familiar with either of those. I will try to read up some on them both. Don't mean to delay so much again.

V: Let me know if you don't find much on either of those patterns -- after all, the names I used are relatively common but not universal, so other people may call them slightly differently.

F: Is what you're referring to with the rule of king opposition this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opposition_(chess)

F: If so, I am informally aware of it.

F: As far as pattern of distant passed pawns I'm not finding anything on it.

V: Yes, this is the pattern. That wikipedia article has some valuable examples, and explains it well. There are some tricky situation (such as when the kings need to move in a triangle to pass the turn) but for the most part it's doing a good job.


[48.Kg3 Ke6 49.Kf4 Kd6]

V: On the other pattern, apparently the popular name is "outside passed pawn", where "outside" means "distant". Here's a description of it. (It was referred to once in the King Opposition article you have just read.)

V: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passed_pawn#Outside_passed_pawn

F: I can see how you can create a passed pawn rather easily with a3 and then if I try to prevent the promotion on the b-file it will leave my other pawns vulnerable to attack by your king and opening up more passed pawns.

V: That is one idea. I intend to realize another, simpler idea -- no need to get my king over to the queen-side for that.



F: Yes, I'm not sure why but for some reason I was thinking a3 would lead to an exchange of pawns instead of me with a passed pawn. Think I looked too quickly. This move makes much more sense.


[50…exf3 51.exf3]

V: Notice how your b-pawn blocks two white pawns: it's a common pattern where fewer forces stop more forces, especially pawns, because of the specific configuration of the larger forces (pawns not side by side, which is the strongest configuration, but one in front of the other).



F: I think I see the pattern of what will happen in the end. I'll end up trying to prevent your g-file pawn from promoting and it will allow you to take my d-pawn and since my king will be too far out since you'll have your king to defend your d-pawn and it will be able to promote

F: This after you trading my g-pawn for your f-pawn.

V: That's a good description. It's a classic way of taking advantage of a distant passed pawn (in this case, my g-pawn).


[52.Kg4 Kf7 53.f4 Ke6 54.f5+]

V: The theme of 54.f5+ is a temporary pawn sacrifice in order to gain access to an important square. That theme is often seen in master-level games at the middle game phase, where pieces jockey for active positions. In the endgame, such as here, it likely leads to a zugzwang for black on the very next move. Are you familiar with zugzwang as a term and as an idea often applied in endgames (but not only)?

Part 7 (last in the series) continues here:



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