A master of endgames


In the the year 1976 I traveled with a friend to Biel in Switzerland. There a big chess festival including an Interzonal tournament with almost all famous players of that time took place. For example the chess legends Tal, Petrosjan  and Smyslow were there, but also Larsen, Hübner and Andersson.

I played in a B-tournament and to be honest, I played very bad. But I enjoyed the atmosphere of the festival and  observed sometimes the games of the champions at the big diagrams.

One evening I came into the player`s room, it was a theatre ,  when there were only two players on the stage. And no spectators!? So, I sat down and started to watch the game.

One of the players  was a thin, young one  with long, blond hair and another one I do not remember. It was obviously a hanging game and to me the position seemed to me drawish because of the  fixed pawnstructures. But the blond man seemed to have another opinion. He brooded over the board and searched intensively for a win in that boring position. After move 80 there was another break. I could not see that any  progress had be done.

Next evening the both sat again alone in the theatre room at the board and played another 40 moves without any decision. Game was interrupted again . Obviously the young one did not want  accept  draw. What an obstinancy! But also a waste of time and energy! This was at least my opinion! But three days later I saw in the bulletin, that  he had won the game! That young, blond man was the Swedish grandmaster Ulf Andersson and only at the age of 24.

The tournament was won by Danish Grandmaster Bernt Larsen, one of the best players of that time. He was about forty years old and very experienced!One year before, in 1975, both played a match and it ended 5,5: 2,5 for Ulf Andersson. And he had  made almost all his points in endgames. A man of 23! Today we all know, that he is really a master of endgames.

Here an endgame out of the match against Larsen. Andersson acted according the rule: "Does  your opponent have only one weakness? Create a second one!"


1. part: White opened the queenside to create a second weakness


Having created a second weakness on queen side,- the pawn a7-Andersson now tried to exploit both. He brought the knight to g3 to secured his passed pawn and walked with his king in direction of a7-pawn

2.part:  Two weaknesses were too much

By the way, Andersson  is playing now at the first board in a  chessclub in Düsseldorf /Germany. My home town! He is now almost 60 years old, but this year in Europe Championship he played for a long time at the top.