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.
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+
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.
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.
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.
84. Re7+ Kd1
85. Rd7+ Ke2
86. Re7+ Kf1?
Black could have won by playing either Kd1 or Kd2 (both mate in 14).
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.
88. Rf7 f1=Q
89. Rxf1+ Kxf1 0-1
Not very impressive. I’m sure you’d have played it better than we did.