Thursday, May 8, 2014

Endgame Studies - Minor Piece v/s Pawn Endgame

After my last post about the Bishop+Knight Checkmate to understand basic principles and piece coordination here is minor piece endgame to play for win.

In a rapid game, I reached this position, with a player rated ~80 ELO points above me. And after 53 moves I reached this position.

It's White to move here and I was having some time trouble here so was my opponent. I had only a few seconds left on the clock.

I decided to go 54. Rxf5+ Now black has two options,
54...Kxf5 55. Nxg3+ (White is definitely winning here)
54. gxf5 55. Nxg3 (White is winning here too)
54...Kxe4 55. Rxb4  (And white can successfully convert it into a win)

I was ready for a critical rook-pawn endgame. But here my opponent decided to play the second option.
Which resulted in this position.

Now if black allows white to take the pawn with the Knight and sacrifice the Knight, white will still win not only because of his pawn majority on the queen side but also the white king will move up to  b3-b4 and eventually capture on b5.
So black here played 55... f4 attacking the Knight

Now the Knight in this position has only one job. To control the square just after the pawn(f3) or control the promotion square(f1).

This is winning for white.If the Black King approaches to e2/f2 to attack the knight and defend the f1 square (the promotion square) we move the knight to h2, Nh2, controlling the promotion square. If in case f1=Q then Nxf1

View here to see how the game exactly went about.

Hope this helps understand the strategy to be adopted in such situations.

Continue playing, Enjoy learning!!
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