Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pawn Races III

1. Ljubojevic-Browne, Amsterdam 1972


Black to move. If the pawn race were allowed to continue without any tricks, White would queen first (because of b5+) and the game would be a draw. So Black knows he has to come up with something better if he wants to win.

I tried 1...f5 planning 2. b4 f4 3. b5+ Kc5 4. b6 Kc6 5. Ka6 f3 6. b7 f2 7. b8=Q
f1=Q+ +/- and 2.Kb4 Kd5 3.Kc3 Ke4 4.Kd2 Kf3 5.Ke1 Kg2 +/-.

Unfortunately, I miscalculated. So did the world-class players in the game! White doesn't waste a tempo on 5.Ke1, and so he queens a turn earlier than Black and draws. If I had calculated this line correctly I would probably have found the winning move, 1...Kd5! White's early avoidance of b5+ also prevents penetration by the opposing king.

The winning line is 1... Kd5 2. Kb4 Kd4 3. Ka3 f5 4. Kb2 f4 5. Kc2 Ke3 6. Kd1 Kf2 7. Kc2 Kg2 8. b4 f3 9. b5 f2 10. b6 f1=Q +/-.

2. Najdorf-Vinuenza, Mar De Plata 1941


Black to move. Black is outside the square of the White pawn, but White is inside the square of the Black pawn. Clearly black must support his pawn. Candidate moves are Kg3 and Kh3, so the king can land on g2 in two moves. Kg3 is bad because then the b-pawn's promotion comes with check, so Kh3.

1...Kh3 2.Ke2 Kg2 3.Ke3 Kg3 4.b5 f4+ 5.Ke4 f3 6.b6 f2 7.b7 f1=Q 8.b8=Q =.

3. Battsetseg-Groberman, Seattle 2003


1. b5 g4 2. f4 h4 3. b6 g3 4. hxg3 hxg3 5. b7 g2 6. b8=Q g1=Q

It's a simple matter for White to queen first with a pawn majority. What's less apparent is how to win the apparently winning Q&P vs Q&P endgame.


That's yet another endgame I need to learn.

I first encountered these positions in Flear's "starting out: pawn endgames". It's worth picking up if you happen to find the book on sale.

1 comment:

Jack Le Moine said...

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jacklemoine.blogspot.com