Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Castling Queen Side

Polly has a very interesting chess blog at Castling Queen Side.

Do remember to check it out! I highly recommend it. :)

I've also been busy updating chess blog links that are of similar interest to me on the side of the blog and that I regularly visit. Each of them has something interesting that is worthy to take note. Do drop by and have a look at them. Cheers.

I am still working my way through endgames on Convekta's Total Chess Training set.

On a peculiar note, there was an older article in ChessBase that was closely related to a training set I had just done. I've reproduced the problem here. See the position shown.

If you had asked me 1 week ago, I would have racked my brains for quite a long while to find the solution. Can you spot Black's problem squares and how White can capitalise the situation? White to move and win.

Do note that in this case, you cannot win via moving the f-pawn with the King because Black has the opposition, and if you try to force Black to move the a-pawn in this way, you will end up in stalemate.

I'm not going to give out the full answer here but I'm going to give you the general idea of how to win such endgames (there's enough chess literature around on this technique). Can you find it?

The winning move is a slight variation of a technique called Triangulation. Black's problem square is f8. How many dark squares can Black go to from f8? None. In other words, if you perform a triangulation by moving to dark squares, Black cannot follow because unlike White, he cannot use consecutive dark squares. In effect, White now must start a triangulate move - using f4 square as an interim point.

White's king will then head straight for Black's h-pawn via f5 and once that happens, White will win as the King captures the h6 pawn and moves back to g5 to protect both pawns. The Black king subsequently cannot stop both pawns from marching down the board and one of them will Queen. If Black attempts to triangulate, it will fail and White will gain back the opposition and march the f-pawn down instead to win.

If you have a trouble understanding the concept of Triangulation, there are plenty of free online chess materials around. eg. Wikipedia.

Triangulation is a very important tool and it's definitely good to keep it in your arsenal of endgame techniques.


  1. Glad to see you're making progress with the pawn endings! I also plan to work on pawn endings this week, specifically K+2P vs K+P. I just brushed up on Q+P vs Q which is one of the endings it can reduce down to :)

    Corresponding squares:
      f5 & f7, e6 & e8, e5 & f8.

    1.Kf4 Kg8 (or Ke8) 2.Ke4! and Black is lost. Eg, 2...Kf8 3.Ke5 Kf7 4.Kf5 Kf8 5.Kg6 +-

  2. Hello likesforests,

    Thanks for the compliments! :)

    In the diagrammed position, you correctly found the solution (which I didn't want to give out). I find explaining the ideas work out better than just giving out the answer plain and simple in this case.

    You are absolutely spot on. The crucial thematic move is 1. Kf4! afterwhich, Black falls apart.

    Congratulations on your endgame training!

    Q+P v Q is one of the hardest endings to learn. I find it incredibly hard to win such endings. Heck, I find even Q v R endings notoriously difficult esp. if the side with the Rook knows how to defend accurately by setting up 3rd rank defence, forcing you to go through 3rd rank, then 2nd rank defence and Philidor's winning position (and within the 50 move rule).