A Person from Porlock

I was playing out a drawn rook ending in an online rapid game the other evening when the phone rang. I told my friend I’d call back when I’d finished the game, but my concentration was shattered. Well, that’s my excuse, anyway.

Some time later we reached this position. I was white and you’ll observe that I’m now a pawn down. You might want to guess the moves for both sides and see if you can do better than we did. It’s Black’s move.

73.. Kf3?

Black had four winning moves here: Kg3, Kg4 and Kg5, as well as Re7, to cut my king off.

74. a6 f4
75. Rb8 Kg2
76. Rb7 Rg5+
77. Kd4?

I had two drawing moves: Kb4 and Kc6. I can’t stop his f-pawn so I have to head for the a-file with my king.

77… Rf5?

Black had two winning moves: f3 to push at once, or Rg6 to attack my a-pawn.

78. Rxa7 f3
79. Rg7+ Kf1
80. a7 Ra5
81. Ke3 Ra3+
82. Kf4 f2

A very instructive position.

83. Rf7?

I had four drawing moves to choose from. Re7 is probably the easiest draw, preventing the black king moving to the e-file. Rc7 and Rb7 both draw because you can check the black king horizontally. Kg4 also draws, but Ke4 loses as you can’t check on the e-file.

83.. Ke1
84. Re7+ Kd1
85. Rd7+ Ke2
86. Re7+ Kf1?

Black could have won by playing either Kd1 or Kd2 (both mate in 14).

87. Kg4?

This time it’s different: White needs to have an answer whichever way the black king moves. So there were three drawing moves: Ke4, Rb7 and Rc7.

87.. Kg1
88. Rf7 f1=Q
89. Rxf1+ Kxf1 0-1

Not very impressive. I’m sure you’d have played it better than we did.

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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