Category Archives: Endgames

Being Too Greedy In The Opening

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White can draw with 1. Kb7! Kc4 2. Kc7 d5 3 Kc6.

But 1. Ka7 loses to 1…Kc4 and 1. Kb8 loses to 1…Kc6.

The problem shows that care is needed even in simple positions.

This week’s problem illustrates the dangers of taking pawns with your queen in the opening.

The game went 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. d5 Qb6 5. Nd2 Nxd2 6. Bxd2 Qxb2 7. e4 d6 8. Rb1 Qxa2.

How does White get an advantage?

Steven Carr

Careful Calculation

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White can keep a winning advantage with 1. Re1! I missed that move and resigned instead.

This week’s problem shows that careful calculation is needed in even simple positions.

White has to play and draw. It is not difficult, but you have to get the right move.

How does White draw?

Steven Carr

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Four

NOT the Latvian Gambit

My opponent in this ICCF correspondence chess game lives in Latvia. This was pretty much a standard Sicilian Defense with no gambits involved.

During the course of this correspondence chess game, I offered a draw twice. White took 15 days to decline the first draw offer and 21 days to accept the second draw offer. He was looking for a win that he was hoping that I missed. He failed to find one. I believe that there was no win for him to find in this correspondence chess game.

I drew my previous game with Guntis, but that game is not yet published anywhere. This draw put me into a tie for first place in this section and I now have second place on tie breakers. I expect to win my remaining games In this section, but that still does not guarantee that I will finish in first place.

Mike Serovey

Endgame Studies

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White can draw with 1. Kb7! a5 2. Kc6! Kb4 3. Kd5 Kxa4 4. Kc4 and White can bring his king back to c1 and prevent Black from promoting his pawn.

Endgame studies can be useful for practising calculation and imagination.

Some endgame studies use positions which seem so composed that they are unlikely to occur in actual play. By contrast, this week’s problem has a position which could have come from a game.

How does White play and win?

Steven Carr

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty Three

I Had Some Klewe How to Draw This Correspondence Chess Game!

My opponent in the correspondence chess game is an ICCF master who lives in Germany.

White has a tendency to play unorthodox openings. In this correspondence chess game, White chose Benko’s Opening and I responded with the Modern Defense. We then transposed into the Kings Indian Defense, Panno Variation. Although I ended up playing some lines that I had never seen before, thanks to my databases of games, I was able to play a solid variation.

As Black, I ended up with a slight positional advantage and I kept that slight positional advantage after some middle game exchanges that traded down into an endgame. Part of that advantage included tandem (They are also called Horwitz Bishops after Bernhard Horwitz and mistakenly called Harrwitz Bishops after Daniel Harrwitz.) bishops that were aimed at the White Queenside. I still had those tandem bishops on move number 40 when White offered a draw, but there were no targets left on the Queenside for those bishops to attack. Because I was unable to find a way to capitalize on the very slight positional advantage, I accepted the draw offer.

This draw puts me into a temporary tie for third place in this section and fourth on tie breaks.

Mike Serovey

I Had a Five-Way…

tie for first place in this section

My opponent is lower rated than I am and he is from Turkey. He had White and he was playing for a win in positions that were rather even. I offered a draw after making my 37th move. He declined my offer and then offered a draw of his own 27 moves later.

While analyzing the endgame I discovered that one line of play would often transpose into another one. While trying to win the endgame, my opponent went into and out of nearly evey line of play that I analyzed! When he finally realized that there was no win for him, then he agreed to a draw! Although I do admire persistance, I found his annoying!

I castled on the Kingside and White castled on the Queenside. Some chess coaches have commented that when players castle on opposite wings, then it is a race to see who can checkmate the opposing King first. I have found that I stand a better chance of winning that race if I also take care to protect my own King first!

All of the pawns stayed on the chess board until I played my 27th move. I call that a closed position and chess engines are weak in closed positions. I used my chess engines mainly to blunder check my analysis and to explore various ideas. White was basically following my analysis that was posted in the engine room on playchess.com and then looking to see if he could find a win that I missed.

When White offered me a chance to open up the b file I took it because that gave me an open file to use to attack the White King. White never left that file unprotected long enough for any of my remaining pieces to penetrate his pawn structure using that file. So, nothing came of that file being open.

Both sides took turns attacking and defending various pieces, pawns and squares. In the end, nothing came from all of that attacking, defending and counter attacking. This was a hard-fought draw!

This draw put the both of us into a five-way tie for first place in this section. All five of us drew the other four players in the tie and we beat the same patzer who now is in last place. There is no way to break that kind of tie.

Mike Serovey

Three Pawns Against One

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that Black can draw with 1… Kc8 2. e7 Bc6 3. Kf7 Kb7 4. e8=Q+ Bxe8, and we reach a blockade situation where White cannot bring his King over to help promote his pawn without putting Black in stalemate.

In this week’s problem, White has to try to promote one of his pawns. As so often happens in endgames, Zugzwang plays an important role.

Steven Carr

Amateur Versus Master: Game Twenty One

This is my third a final loss to Corey Acor that will be published here. However, in chronological order, this is my first loss to Corey. I had won the previous round against Benson Walent and then lost this one to Corey Acor. Unless I move back to Florida, Corey moves to Colorado or Corey plays correspondence chess, I will not play Corey again.

I tried the Sniper move order in this OTB chess game and then I went for the Botvinnik System against a closed Sicilian. I made several errors in this chess game and resigned when I realized that I had dropped my Queen. From my move number 12 on, I was struggling and I was dead lost when I dropped my Queen. However, the loss of my Queen convinced me that it was time for me to quit that game.

Mike Serovey

Amateur Versus Master: Game Eighteen

Although I have been able to draw masters in both Over the Board (OTB) chess and correspondence chess (CC), this correspondence chess game is the very first time that I have been able to draw an International Master (IM) in any variation of chess! I chose a rather boring (solid) chess opening and used both my databases and my chess engines to avoid any outright blunders. That combination worked in this correspondence chess game.

Although I was not sure of where the opening was going when this correspondence chess game started, we ended up transposing into the Vienna Game. This is the very first time that I have played either side of that chess opening.

After 15 moves I, Black, had the better pawn structure against someone who was rated 310 points above me. I was willing to accept the draw, but I was playing for a win because of that better pawn structure. However, I failed to find a way to capitalize on that slight positional advantage. When White offered the draw I accepted.

Mike Serovey

Stop The Passed Pawn

In this week’s problem, White is faced with the task of stopping Black’s pawn from winning the game by being promoted into a Queen.

This is not an easy task. How does White move and save the game?

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that Black can draw with 1… Rxh7! 2. Kxh7 Kxc3 3. g5 a2 4. Ra5 Kb2 5.g6 a1=Q 6. Rxa1 Kxa1 7. g7 c3 8. g8=Q c2 with a theoretical draw, as White can never take the pawn on c2, as he will stalemate the Black King on a1.

Steven Carr