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Bishops Endgame

  • #1

    I reached this endgame position in a recent tournament game.My Opponent played h4+ and offered my a draw.I refused the draw and continued with  1...Kh5 and after the bad 2.f4 move I had a winning position because I can win the h-pawn and forced the exchange of the bishops by 2...Bf6 3.Bh2 Kxh4 4.f3 Kh3 5.Bg1 Bd4 6.Bf2  Bxf2 7.Kxf2. Then I prepared the creation of a second passed pawn by 8.b5 and my Opponent resigned an I could finish In this under 1500 Tournament with the 3rd Place.






    I wonder if Black can win this position when White plays after 1...Kh5 better moves like 2.Bb8 or 2.Kd3. I think my plan should be to exchange the Bishops and win the isolated  h-pawn and  push the passed pawn . But If the Bishop goes to Bb8 I think I can not force the exchange of the Bishops. I think that this endgame is difficult to win for black. Has someone an idea how I could Improve this position and if Black can win this position ? Undecided

  • #2

    Congratulations for winning this endgame and reaching third place Smile

    I agree with you that in this position, white did not put up the best possible resistance when he played 1...Kh5 2.f4 here. This blocks in his bishop (the bishop must stay active!), and it puts the f-pawn onto a weak square. You went on to win this very easily by winning a pawn and forcing the transition into an easily winning pawn endgame.


    White indeed has good chances of keeping up his fight for a draw, but this is no easy task, especially at that level.

    This is a bishop ending with black-squared bishops. Therefore, each side wants to avoid having their pawns on black squares. White is unhappy with having the h-pawn on h4. But white is happy that black's pawns are still on a7, b6 and c5. If black has time, he will happily and immediately move ...b6-b5 on the next occasion, making sure that his pawns will not be left vulnerable or even blocked and fixed on these black squares.

    Very concretely, after 1...Kh5, white has the chance to attack the black pawns on the queen side:

    2.Bb8! a6 (if 2...a5, then 3.Bc7 and white will win one of the queenside pawns) 3.Ba7! and already, very concretely, black can no longer avoid losing a pawn on the queenside:

    a) 3...b5? 4.b4! the pawn on c5 is pinned! 4...Kxh4 5.bxc5 and white even has the advantage now, threatening 6.c6! (6...Bxa7 7.c7 and the c-pawn queens). The c-pawn will become a passed pawn, and black will have to sacrifice his bishop to stop it from queening.

    b) 3...c4 4.bxc4 Kxh4 5.a4!? threatening a4-a5, with another pin Smile 5...a5 Now white is quite happy: He has won a pawn on the queenside, so black will no longer be able to create any passed pawn there. In addition, the black pawns on b6 and a5 are now on black squares, so the black bishop will always need to stay with them to protect them. So the danger on the queenside is stopped, and white has only one threat left to deal with: The passed h-pawn should be controllable with Kf1-g2 if necessary.


    White has much better drawing chances than in the game.

  • #3

    Thanks ilmago for your ideas and plans for this endgame. It looks like white can achieve a draw in this endgame position by playing accurately.So I Think, earlier in the game, I should have  brought my pawns to light squares by,a6,b5 and h5. March with my king to the queenside instead of staying to the kingside and play c5-c4 to create a passed c-pawn with the threat to promote. I Think that I have learned a lot from this endgame and I hope that  I am much more prepared for the next bishop endgame of same colour when it occurs in my next tournament game.

  • #4
    Paristar wrote:

    So I Think, earlier in the game, I should have  brought my pawns to light squares by,a6,b5 and h5. March with my king to the queenside instead of staying to the kingside and play c5-c4 to create a passed c-pawn with the threat to promote.

    I agree, that could have been a good way to play for a win with black.

    But also your first idea of moving your king to the kingside, threatening to shut in white's bishop and to attack the white h-pawn, was a good way to play. Just prepare that plan by playing b5 and a6 first if possible, putting your queenside pawns on better squares before you begin action on the kingside.

    By the way, when following that plan (b5, a6, Kg5), the pawn on h6 is not really so bad. White cannot really attack it for the time being, and leaving the pawn back on h6 leaves the black king with the attacking square h5. Just make sure that white never gets to play h3-h4-h5 and Bf4.


    In an endgame such as in this one with your favourable pawn structure because of white's doubled f-pawn, you often have a lot of time, so you can often try more than one winning plan, one after another. For example:


    * First move b6-b5 and a7-a6 in order to remove your pawn weaknesses on the queenside and get your pawns ready to make a passed pawn if needed.

    * Then happily try moving your king to g5 and see if white can defend against the threats there.

    * Maybe, if it turns out that white can somehow defend on the kingside, you can go on to play h6-h5 and move your king over to the queenside and try to win there, creating a passed pawn, helping to advance that passed pawn, ...


    Capablanca was a great master at this kind of endgame play: First, take your time to put everything on nice squares, and find active places for your pieces. Then, probe a little here and there, and see if your opponent manages to defend against all of your winning threats, or if he begins to make mistakes under the pressure here or there.


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