“Part of The Journey is The End”
Tony Stark (Avengers Endgame)
First of all it was nice to see at least one of my readers got one of the pranks from the. I won’t say which one yet.
Every now and then I am part of a special endgame that stays with me for a while. The one below falls in this category. The special part about it is how narrow was the path to victory for our team. Here is a good position to begin looking into it. Hope you can tell from the pawn structure what opening we played:
The position did not offer a lot of hope for a White win. The center is blocked and we have opposite color bishops. My feeling was that we are wasting our time trying to penetrate. The only target seems to be the e6-pawn; however it is well defended. Black’s g-pawn might also be a target once it reaches the g6-square. In order to win it White would need a position with Rf6 and Kg5. In this case Black might defend with Bf7 and Rh8. Luckily the team decided to play on. That gave us time to discuss more ideas. The comments from the time of voting are between brackets.
At this point in the game controlling the 8th rank is decisive. All White needs to do is push the a3-pawn all the way to a5 and bring his king all the way to d6 going via the c1-a3-f8 diagonals. Black cannot do anything to stop it. Looking back I think the bad choice for Black was 28… g6. It gave us total control over the dark squares on the king side. Black did not have to play that. Maybe they wanted to make sure our h-pawn was not going anywhere? Its purpose was to provide support to our bishop anyway.
I think this was a nice positional battle, one you could see in any decent endgame book or database. It is worth replaying it and see what black could have done better. This is the reason why I am also providing the entire game below. If you are a French defence player, you should be careful not to end up in such passive endgames. You will suffer as Black did and eventually you will lose. Those are painful games on the losing side based on personal experience.