A Pawn Ending from Kenilworth

This is from a game played in the Chessable English Women’s Championship (Nina Pert – Anusha Subramanian) played in Kenilworth back in May.

Rooks have just been exchanged on f3 and now Black has to decide how to get out of check. What would you advise?

I suspect that, in this situation, I’d probably have done what Black did in this position: played 65.. Kxf3 without stopping to think.

But I’d have been wrong: 65.. Kxf3? only leads to a draw, while 65.. Kf4! or 65.. Kf5! would both have brought home the full point. The main point is that Black is going to play g5 sometime soon and needs to be able to recapture with her king.

A couple of sample variations:

65.. Kf5 66. a4 bxa3 67. Kc2 g5 68. hxg5 Kxg5 69. b4 a2 70. Kb2 h4 71. b5 h3 72. b6 h2 73. b7 h1=Q 74. Kxa2 Qh2+ 75. Kb3 Qb8 and wins

or a better try for White:

65.. Kf5 66. Kd3 g5 67. hxg5 Kxg5 68. Ke3 h4 69. Kf2 Kf4 70. Kg2 h3+ 71. Kxh3 Kxf3 (a position where the en passant rule makes the difference between winning and losing!)

72. Kh4 Ke3 73. Kg3 Kd3 74. Kf3 Kc3 75. Ke3 Kb2 76. Kd2 Kxa2 77. Kc2 Ka3 78. Kc1 Kxb3 79. Kb1 Ka3 80. Kc2 b3+ 81. Kc1 Ka2 82. Kd2 b2 and wins

For the record, the game continued 66. a4 bxa3 67. Kc2 Kg4 68. b4 g5 69. hxg5 Kxg5 70. b5 h4 71. b6 h3 72. b7 h2 73. b8=Q h1=Q 74. Qg8+ Kf4 75. Qf7+ Ke5 76. Qe7+ Kd4 77. Qa7+ Ke5 78. Qg7+ Kd6 79. Qg6+ Ke5 80. Qg7+ and a draw was agreed.

The moral is that the obvious move is not always best. Even when you’re making what looks like an obvious recapture, it pays, if you have time, to stop and think first.

Some of my recent posts elsewhere might interest you.

This post tells the story of CF Cornwall, a strong amateur who became Surrey Champion, and, in middle age, won the Brighton Chess Club championship on seven occasions.

One of Cornwall’s games, a rather spectacular win, is annotated (by me rather than by Stockfish) here.

I hope you tried to solve the endgame study I linked to last week. You’ll find the solution here, and this week’s Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club puzzle, a mate in 2, here.

Richard James

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Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy (www.chesskids.org.uk or www.chesskids.me.uk) and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website www.minichess.uk, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through www.chessheroes.uk. View all posts by Richard James

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