Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rook Pawns & Outside Pawn

In pawn endings, an extra pawn is often enough to convert the win. But rook pawns lead to exceptions, which you must learn to prevail. Today we'll cover 8 positions from real games.

Tip: You may want to read my K&P vs K with a rook pawn lesson before this one.

Viengold-Fieandt, Jyvaskyla 1996. Black to move. Quick! Who wins?

If you've read my posts before, you know I'm a huge fan of counting. Black will capture the f-pawn and reach c8 in five moves. White will capture the a-pawn and reach b7 in five moves. So Black to move draws.

Capablanca-Edison, New York 1931. White to move. Quick! Who wins?

This is very similar to the first example. Black will capture the h-pawn and reach c8 in six moves. While will capture the a-pawn and reach b7 in six moves. So White to move wins.

You can't use the Counting Method if the path of the two kings touch or cross.

Horowitz-Factor, New York 1936. White to move. In this position, the count is irrelevant, because the paths of the two kings touch on move two. Fortunately, there's a rule you can use to instantly evaluate this position.

“If the stronger side's rook-pawn crosses the middle of the board, he wins.”

So it's won. Simple, huh?

Above we have:
    Flacnik-Ippolito, Las Vegas 2006
    Skrabanja-Pahole, Sentjur 2005
    Spraggett-Oratovsky, Maia 2003
    Nanu-Ducsoara, Miercurea Ciuc 2000

They're all won, because White's pawn crossed the middle of the board.

Novak-Lacina, Prague 2006. Black to move. What should Black play?

In the actual game, Lacina played 58...Kb6?, losing. 58...h5! would have drawn, because that prevents the White pawn from crossing the middle of the board. What a simple position, once you actually understand it! Too bad Lacina didn't study his pawn endgames.


Sciurus said...

That's probably the best explanation of this topic I've seen so far! Now if I only could remember those things...

Glenn Wilson said...

Wonderful post!

likesforests said...

Thanks! I remember my endings but keep forgetting tactics--it all averages out I suppose.   ;)

Samuraipawn said...

Great stuff! My chess things have finally arrived from New Zealand, so I'm going to sit down with a board tonight and go this through. Thanks!


likesforests said...

Cool! The "Bahr's Rule" part in the second part is somewhat hard to explain with words; hopefully the pictures make it clear.

likesforests said...

I added a post dissecting a Bahr's Rule position in detail. Now I think it's clear!!   :)