Monday, November 19, 2007

Endgame Trouble

This position arose from a Sicilian. I am White.

Black offered to trade Rooks on f8 and I did (see 1st diagram on right).

32. ..... Kxf8

While this may not seem like it, but Black is now in trouble.

Why is Black in trouble?

A few things.

1. I have a queenside pawn majority and Black has doubled pawns on the b-file. This is a long term weakness which Black cannot expect to hold.

2. My center is guarded only by my e pawn while Black has 2 central pawns. That should give him an advantage, you say. The answer is no.

3. That's because White has the g and h-pawns and it is these 2 pawns that will win the game for White and ironically stops Black from pushing his central pawns. I find it strange how pawns on the side actually controls the pawns in the center.

First of all, what did I play as White?

I made the standard move. I activated my King.

My plan is very simple.

Notice how my kingside pawns is guarding the crucial squares f5, f6, g6, h6? White has a central blockade and this makes the Black king task impossible to get around this pawn structure.

In this position, it is crucial that my pawns deny the Black king any activity.

33. Kc1 e5?? (see 2nd diagram on right)

A blunder in time pressure. With the pawn move, the Black king cannot attack my e-pawn now and this makes my task simpler.

I continue to move my King
34. Kd2 Kf7
35. Kd3 Ke6

Now I am ready to deal with the weakness of the doubled pawn on the b-file.

36. c4! bxc3

(see 3rd diagram on right)

Now I am winning. I simply take the c-pawn with my King and storm down the b-file.

37. Kxc3 d5?

A mistake. Black cannot hope to achieve any counterplay with this pawn break as now my g and h pawns romp home.

38. exd5+ Kxd5 (the King is now outside the rule of the square for my h-pawn and White's h-pawn queens easily)

39. g6! (hxg6
40. h6 Ke6 41. h7 Kf7 42. h8=Q) 1-0


  1. Sweet! Interestingly, doubled pawns often hold their own if they're used in a defensive role in pawn endgames... but don't do so well if you try to use them offensively.

  2. Thanks for the note!

    Have a happy thanksgiving!! :)