Naked and afraid

Naked and afraid

Nov 13, 2015, 10:22 AM |

Naked and afraid


          I am a great fan of pawn endgames. They may look simple but some of them can be extremely complex. Here is a simple but interesting one.


  If it's blacks turn then white is doomed. Right? Yes, he is. But there is still a bit of hope for white, especially if black  is short on time or overconfident.

   1.     … Kc4 2.Kb2 Kxb4 3.Kb1 Kc3 


At this point there are only 2 legal moves(Ka1 and Kc1). Both are leading to the same position. If 4. Kc1 b2+ 5.Kb1 b4 (Kb3 is a draw)6.Ka2

And choosing 4.Ka1 leads to b2+ ,not Kc2 because whites King has nowhere to go. 4. ...b2+  5.Kb1 b4 6.Ka2 , but after 4. ... b2+ it is not recommended to play 5.Ka2

Whatever you choose it all comes to the following position.


Tricky situation!

1.     …Kc2 is a draw and 1. … b3+ leads to 2. Kb1 Kc4 5.Kxb2 Kb4 6.Kb1 Kc3 7.Kc1 b2+ 8.Kb1 Kb3 draw.

  The best choice is 1. …b1Q+ 2.Kxb1 here black takes the opposition with Kb3 3.Ka1 Kc2 4. Ka2 b3+

And just like we said white is doomed, but still there was room for whites salvation in case of blacks inaccuracy.



Let us see what happens if white makes the first move.


        He obviously has to reach his own pawn. 1.Kb2 Kc4 2.Ka3   and black has to make a decision (try to win or accept a draw by playing  Kc3 )  A draw seems reasonable. Choosing not to draw is better! Obviously it is impossible to move the king and the only alternative is  b2 .  It's over! 

At least if  white takes the pawn on b2 3.Kxb2 Kxb4 4.Ka2 Kc3 5.Kb1 Kb3 6.Ka1 b4  7. Kb1 Kc3 8.Kc1 b3 9. Kb1 b2 10.Ka2 Kc2…

The catch is, in order to save his position white just has to be able to take the opposition when black takes the pawn. The solution is 3.Ka1 not taking the pawnand leaving black without any proper choices. 3. … Kxb4 4.Kxb2 Ka4 5.Ka2 b4 6.Kb2 b3 7.Kb1 Ka3 8.Ka1 b2 9.Kb2 Kb3 draw. Playing b1Q doesn't change much and just delays the draw.3… b1Q+4.Kxb1 Kxb4 5.Kb2 Ka4 6.Ka2 b4 7.Kb2 b3 8.Kb1 Ka3 9.Ka1 b2 10.Kb2 Kb3 draw


My analysis is not very detailed, but should serve its purpose