Finding the right plan

Dec 19, 2012, 3:13 PM |

Finding the right plan can be challenging, especially if short on time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

In this position, If Black could force White to capture bxa3, he would then Draw as his King would get to b8 and a8  in time to create a stalemate position.

White therefore, must get his King in front of his pawn and capture the a-pawn with his King.  If we look for "candidate moves" we would possibly consider; (a) Kd3, (b) Kc3), and (c) Kb1. (any pawn move would let Black draw by capturing the pawn).

Considering each move:

If (a) 1.Kd3 Ke5  2.Kc4 a3!  3.bxa3 Kd6  4.Kb5 Kc7 and Black will Draw.

 (b) Curiously, natural-looking moves often through away the advantage. If 1.Kc3? a3!  2.bxa3 Ke6 and Black will get his King to b8 and a8 in time.(also drawn is 2.b4 Ke5  3.Kb3 Kd5  4.Kxa3 Kc6  5.Ka4 Kb6 and White can't get his King in front of his pawn).


(c) White must capture the pawn in such a way as to keep his King in front of his own pawn.  Correct is 1.Kb1! a3!  2.b3! (wrong is 2.b4? Ke5  3.Ka2 Kd5 4.Kxa3 Kc6 5.Ka4 Kb6 Draw).   2... Ke5  3.Ka2 Kd5  4.Kxa3 Kc6  {4...Kc5 loses to 5.Ka4! (not 5.b4+ Kb5 when Black's King is in front of the pawn) 5... Kb6 6.Kb4 taking the opposition and wins, or if 5... Kc6 6.Ka5 advancing the King and occupying one of the b3-pawns critical squares.}  5.Ka4! Kb6  6.Kb4 keeping the opposition and wins!