Interesting Recent Endgames

Sat, 2014-03-29 10:25 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "FIDE Candidates 2014"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.18"]
[Round "5.1"]
[White "Svidler, P."]
[Black "Topalov, V."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2785"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "67"]
[EventDate "2014.03.13"]
[EventRounds "14"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]
[EventCategory "21"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

{For this post I've divided it into two parts - the first is on some
interesting positions from games played in the last week, and the second part
is on positions with two bishops against a knight and bishop (and no other
pieces).} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Bc5 6. c3 b5 7. Bc2
d5 8. d4 dxe4 9. dxe5 Qxd1 10. Rxd1 exf3 11. exf6 gxf6 12. Be4 Bd7 13. a4 O-O-O
14. axb5 Ne5 15. Bf4 Bxb5 16. Na3 Rxd1+ (16... Be2 17. Rxd8+ Rxd8 {would give
Black an unpleasant amount of activity, for what it's worth, but I want to
skip to a later position.}) 17. Rxd1 Be2 18. Rd5 Rg8 19. g3 Bxa3 20. bxa3 Ng6
21. Be3 Re8 22. Bf5+ Kb7 23. Rd4 Re5 24. g4 a5 25. h3 h5 26. Be4+ {There were
some interesting moments earlier (for instance, Black shouldn't have played 18.
..Rg8, and White had some better ways to exploit his bishop pair), but this is
the position I want to concentrate on. Where would you put your king: a6 or
c8? Have a good think about this one as it is a more critical decision than
you might deem at first.} Kc8 {This is the correct move, keeping the king as
active as possible and preventing the white rook from penetrating down the
d-file.} (26... Ka6 {was played in the game, but it failed to} 27. gxh5 Rxh5
28. Rd8 {when suddenly Black has to watch for the mating net of a4 and Ra8
mate.} Ne5 (28... Kb5 29. Bd5 {prepares another mating net with Rb8 Ka4 Bb3
Kxa3 Bc1 mate, and} Rh8 30. Rxh8 Nxh8 31. h4 Ka4 32. Bc5 {is a hopeless
endgame for Black - all of his pieces are completely tied up.}) 29. a4 c6 30.
Rb8 {Black just can't defend against White's very strong initiative. His
bishops dominate the position and Black's king is far too weak for Black to
have the time to generate threats against White's king.} Nc4 (30... Nd7 31. Rc8
Kb7 32. Rxc6 {also strongly favours White.}) 31. Bd4 c5 32. Bxf6 Nb6 33. Bd8
Nd5 34. Ra8+ Kb7 35. Rxa5 Re5 (35... Kc6 {may have been a better defence.}) 36.
Rxc5 Rxe4 37. Rxd5 Rxa4 38. Rf5 {and White went on to win the endgame quite
convincingly.} Kc8 39. Bg5 Rc4 40. Bd2 Rc7 41. h4 Kd8 42. Bg5+ Ke8 43. Rd5 f5
44. h5 Rc4 45. Rd4 Rxc3 46. h6 Rc8 47. h7 Kf7 48. Bd8) 27. Bf5+ (27. gxh5 Rxh5
28. Rd5 Ne5 (28... Re5 29. Rxe5 fxe5 30. Bf5+ Kd8 31. Bg5+ Ke8 32. Bf6 {makes
the h-pawn a hard runner to stop.}) 29. Rxa5 Kd7 {and the position is still
very complicated, but Black's activity against the White king gives him enough
counterplay.}) 27... Kb7 28. Rd8 {White tries for threats against the enemy
king, but it's harder to mate the king from c6 than a6.} hxg4 29. Bc8+ Kc6 30.
Bd4 (30. hxg4 Bc4 {covers all the key squares - White's best is to repeat with}
31. Bd7+ Kb7 (31... Kd6 32. Bf5+ Ke7 33. Rd7+) 32. Bc8+ Kc6 33. Bd7+ {.}) 30...
Rh5 ({or} 30... gxh3 31. Bxe5 fxe5 32. Bxh3 Kb5 {and Black is holding the
position very comfortably.}) 31. hxg4 Rh6 32. Bd7+ Kb7 33. Bc8+ ({Not} 33. Bxf6
Bf1 {when the threat of ... Bg2 and ...Rh1 mate is suddenly a big problem.} 34.
Bc8+ Kc6 35. Bd7+ Kb7) 33... Kc6 34. Bd7+ {with perpetual check.} 1-0
[Event "ch-CHN w 2014"]
[Site "Xinghua CHN"]
[Date "2014.03.22"]
[Round "11.6"]
[White "Ding Yixin"]
[Black "Ju Wenjun"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C46"]
[WhiteElo "2429"]
[BlackElo "2520"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "77"]
[EventDate "2014.03.11"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "CHN"]
[EventCategory "5"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

{This game was also quite interesting, for the opening idea employed by White.
} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Be2 {This is the sort of line that feels
like it should be completely harmless, but I think Black has to be quite
accurate to equalise.} d5 (4... Bc5 5. Nxe5 Nxe5 6. d4 Bd6 7. dxe5 Bxe5 8. Nb5
$1 $146 {with the idea of} a6 9. f4 Bxb2 10. Bxb2 axb5 11. e5 Ne4 12. O-O Qe7
13. Qd3 Nc5 14. Qg3 O-O 15. f5 {with tremendous compensation for the pawn is a
key point.}) (4... Be7 5. d4 exd4 6. Nxd4 O-O 7. Nxc6 dxc6 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bf4
Bb4 10. f3 {is also slightly better for White, who has a preferable pawn
structure for free.}) (4... Bb4 {is what I would play as Black, when} 5. Nd5
Nxe4 (5... Ba5 6. c3 Nxe4 7. d3 Nf6 8. Bg5 d6 9. d4 {gives White really strong
pressure for the pawn, and}) (5... Bc5 6. d3 Nxd5 7. exd5 Nd4 8. O-O (8. Nxe5
O-O 9. c3 Nxe2 10. Qxe2 Re8 11. d4 d6 12. dxc5 Rxe5 13. Be3 dxc5 14. c4 {is
equal.}) 8... Nxf3+ 9. Bxf3 O-O 10. Be3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 d6 {is equal, but not
totally dull either.}) 6. Nxb4 Nxb4 7. d3 Nf6 8. Nxe5 d6 9. Nc4 O-O 10. O-O {
is very solid for Black, though White can claim a nibble thanks to the bishop
pair.}) 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. O-O (6. Bb5 {is a curious transposition to the Scotch
Four Knights (with White playing Black).}) 6... Nxc3 7. bxc3 (7. dxc3 Qxd1 8.
Rxd1 f6 {is totally fine for Black.}) 7... Bd6 (7... e4 {must be critical, but
perhaps Black was afraid of her opponent's preparation.} 8. Ne1 Bd6 (8... f5 {
deserves attention.}) 9. f3 exf3 10. Nxf3 O-O 11. d4 h6 12. Bd3 {would be a
typical continuation, where the position is about equal but I'd find White's
game quite a bit easier to play because of the extra space and clear direction
of attacking on the kingside.}) 8. d4 O-O 9. Rb1 (9. Re1 h6 10. Bd3 Qf6 11. Qe2
exd4 12. Qe4 Qg6 13. cxd4 Qxe4 14. Bxe4 Bd7 {is much like a Petroff endgame,
where White has a little bit of pressure but nothing serious.}) 9... h6 (9...
Re8 10. Re1 e4 {is a different approach, but following} 11. Nd2 e3 12. fxe3
Rxe3 13. Nf3 Re7 14. Bg5 f6 15. Bh4 {White has a real initiative.}) 10. Bd3 (
10. Re1 Re8 11. Bd3 {would have been my move order.}) 10... Re8 (10... exd4 11.
cxd4 Nb4 {is an extra option 10.Re1 avoided.}) 11. Re1 {I think White can
claim a small edge here because of her extra space and slightly more active
pieces. I won't analyse the rest of the game as I wanted to concentrate on the
theoretical significance of the game.} Bg4 12. d5 Na5 13. h3 Bd7 14. c4 c5 15.
Bb2 e4 16. Rxe4 Rxe4 17. Bxe4 Nxc4 18. Bc3 b5 19. Qd3 a6 20. Re1 Qf8 21. Bh7+
Kh8 22. Bf5 Bxf5 23. Qxf5 Re8 24. Rxe8 Qxe8 25. Qg4 Ne5 26. Nxe5 Bxe5 27. Bxe5
Qxe5 28. Qc8+ Kh7 29. Qxc5 g5 30. c4 Qe1+ 31. Kh2 bxc4 32. Qxc4 Qxf2 33. d6 Qf5
34. Qd4 Qd7 35. Qf6 Kg8 36. Kh1 Qc6 37. Qd8+ Kg7 38. Qc7 Qe4 39. d7 1-0
[Event "ch-CHN 2014"]
[Site "Xinghua CHN"]
[Date "2014.03.19"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Lin Chen"]
[Black "Hou Yifan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2475"]
[BlackElo "2629"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2b3k1/1p2bp2/p2p2p1/P2Pp2p/4P2P/6P1/1P2BPK1/6N1 w - - 0 33"]
[PlyCount "30"]
[EventDate "2014.03.11"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "CHN"]
[EventCategory "14"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

{This position is just equal as there aren't enough open lines for Black to
make use of her bishop pair.} 33. Nf3 Kf8 (33... f5 34. Nd2 Kg7 35. Bd3 {and
Nc4 leaves Black without a way to make progress.}) 34. Nd2 Bd7 35. Nc4 Bb5 36.
Kf1 Ke8 37. Nb6 g5 38. Bxb5+ axb5 {The game soon ended in a draw from here,
but it's worth noting a mistake our modern engines make: they claim that White
will win with the breakthrough} 39. g4 {, but Black draws very easily with}
gxh4 40. gxh5 Bg5 41. Kg2 Kd8 {, as Black has a fortress - the b6-knight is
unable to extricate itself, and after} 42. Kh3 f6 {White can't help his h-pawn
promote as the king must stay within the square of the h4-pawn, and} 43. Kg4
Kc7 44. f3 Kd8 45. b3 Kc7 46. h6 $4 Bxh6 47. Kxh4 Bd2 {even loses for White,
so it's just a draw.} 1/2-1/2
[Event "1st Behin Bazafarin Alborz Open 2014"]
[Site "Tehran IRI"]
[Date "2014.03.07"]
[Round "2.7"]
[White "Toufighi, H."]
[Black "Cheraghi, A."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B10"]
[WhiteElo "2456"]
[BlackElo "2028"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/b4pk1/4n1p1/B3Pp1p/5P2/6P1/7P/3B3K b - - 0 37"]
[PlyCount "30"]
[EventDate "2014.03.06"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "IRI"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

37... h4 {I've included this game just to show that the bishop pair are
basically useless when all the pawns are on one side of the board. In such
positions I'd even prefer to have the knight.} 38. Bd2 hxg3 39. hxg3 Bd4 40.
Bb3 Nc5 41. Bd5 Ne4 42. Be1 Bf2 43. Bxf2 Nxf2+ 44. Kg2 Ng4 45. Bf3 Nh6 46. Kf2
Kf8 47. Ke3 Ke7 48. Kd4 Ng8 49. Kc5 Nh6 50. Kc6 Ng8 51. Bd5 Nh6 52. Ba2 1/2-1/2
[Event "12th ch-Volga Region 2014"]
[Site "Togliatti RUS"]
[Date "2014.03.18"]
[Round "5.5"]
[White "Iljushin, A."]
[Black "Filipenko, A."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2521"]
[BlackElo "2309"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "1n3k2/4bppb/4p2p/N1p1P3/3p4/B2P2PP/2P2PB1/6K1 b - - 0 32"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "2014.03.14"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "RUS"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

32... Nd7 {White has some pressure here, for sure, but you'd think that Black
should be able to reorganise his postion and hold the draw. Just watch what
happens from here.} 33. Nc4 Ke8 (33... f6 34. exf6 gxf6 {is a better try, to
exchange off White's space advantage. Then the position is only symbolically
better for White.} 35. Na5 e5 36. Bc6 Nb6 37. Nb7 c4 {shows that White can't
just win the c5-pawn.}) 34. Bc1 Bd8 {It only takes one careless move to ruin a
playable position.} (34... Nb8 35. Ba3 Kd7 {brings the pieces into the game
and would keep things fairly balanced. If} 36. Na5 f6 {reminds White of his
centre.}) 35. Bc6 {Black is completely paralysed here and the win is not too
difficult for White.} f6 ({or} 35... Ke7 36. Ba3 {followed by Bxd7 and Bxc5.})
36. Ba3 Bc7 37. f4 Kd8 38. Bxd7 Kxd7 39. Bxc5 fxe5 40. fxe5 Kc6 41. Bxd4 {
White went on to win without a lot of difficulty from here.} Bg6 42. Ne3 Be8
43. Kf2 Kb7 44. c4 Ba4 45. h4 Bd8 46. Bc5 h5 47. Ng2 g5 48. hxg5 Bxg5 49. Be3
Be7 50. Nf4 h4 51. Nxe6 h3 52. Kg1 Bc2 53. Bc5 Bxc5+ 54. Nxc5+ Kc6 55. d4 1-0
[Event "Zagreb Open 2014"]
[Site "Zagreb CRO"]
[Date "2014.03.20"]
[Round "4.14"]
[White "Dutina, D."]
[Black "Jakovljevic, Vlado"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B46"]
[WhiteElo "2253"]
[BlackElo "2413"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3r2k1/3b2pp/pN1bpp2/8/1p3P1B/1P5P/PP4P1/1K5R w - - 0 27"]
[PlyCount "48"]
[EventDate "2014.03.17"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "CRO"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

{How would you play here as White?} 27. Rd1 {This is simply a blunder.} (27.
Nxd7 Rxd7 28. Rd1 {eliminates Black's strong bishop and keeps rough equality -
I have no idea why White didn't play this.}) 27... Bc6 {Now Black's bishop
rakes the position and he is just winning.} 28. Nc4 Bc7 29. Rxd8+ Bxd8 30. g4
Be4+ 31. Kc1 Bc7 32. Bg3 g5 {Black wins a pawn and the rest is trivial.} 33.
Kd2 gxf4 34. Bf2 Bg2 35. h4 Bf3 36. Bc5 Bxg4 37. Bxb4 e5 38. Bd6 Bxd6 {One of
the advantages of the bishop pair is that you can exchange one of your bishops
to later create a position where your bishop dominates their knight.} 39. Nxd6
Kf8 40. Ne4 Ke7 41. Nc5 Bc8 42. b4 Kd6 43. Ne4+ Kd5 44. Nxf6+ Kd4 45. Nxh7 e4
46. Ng5 e3+ 47. Ke1 Bg4 48. a4 f3 49. b5 f2+ 50. Kf1 Kd3 0-1 
[Event "2nd Maksym Yusupov Mem 2014"]
[Site "Lviv UKR"]
[Date "2014.03.14"]
[Round "2.3"]
[White "Vetoshko, V."]
[Black "Lornije, Filip"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B09"]
[WhiteElo "2332"]
[BlackElo "2236"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/pp2pp1p/5bp1/n7/8/2P1B3/PP4PP/3B2K1 b - - 0 26"]
[PlyCount "50"]
[EventDate "2014.03.14"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "UKR"]
[EventCategory "1"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]

26... Nc4 {I quite like this game as this position is a good one for learning
about the technical side of chess.} 27. Bc1 (27. Bxa7 Nxb2 28. Bf3 Bxc3 29.
Bxb7 {to exchange as many pawns as possible is preferable, as the more pawns
off the board, the better White's drawing chances and the more useful the
bishops become (unless all the pawns on one side of the board are traded).})
27... b5 (27... Kg7 28. Kf2 e6 {was more patient and probably more unpleasant.
Only after} 29. Bf3 {do we need to move the b-pawn:} b6 {and because White's
c1-bishop is tied to defending b2, Black has good winning chances. If} 30. b3
Ne5 31. Be2 Be7 {followed by ...f5, ...Nf7 and ...e5-e4 is the mini-plan with
which Black would improve his position.}) 28. Be2 a6 29. a4 Be5 30. axb5 axb5
31. b3 Nd6 32. Ba3 {White has eased his position considerably with the
queenside exchanges.} Ne4 33. Bxe7 (33. Bxb5 Nxc3 34. Bc6 {gives White
counterplay, but you don't need counterplay when there's a clear route to a
draw.}) 33... Nxc3 34. Bf3 (34. Bd3 Bd4+ 35. Kf1 Kg7 36. Bb4 Nd5 37. Bd2 b4 38.
Bc4 Bc3 39. Bxd5 Bxd2 {is a simpler way to reach the dead drawn position White
got in the game.}) 34... f5 35. Bb4 Kf7 (35... Ne4 36. g4 Kg7 37. gxf5 gxf5 38.
Kg2 {is also not that hard for White to hold, though it's a better chance than
the opposite-coloured bishop endgame.}) 36. Bxc3 Bxc3 37. Bc6 b4 38. Kf2 Bd4+
39. Kf3 Kf6 40. h3 Ke5 41. Bb5 g5 42. Bd3 h6 43. Bc4 Bg1 44. Bd3 Bb6 45. Bc4
Kd4 46. Be6 Kc3 47. Bf7 Bc7 48. Be6 h5 49. g4 fxg4+ 50. hxg4 h4 51. Kg2 1/2-1/2
[Event "TCh-AUT 1st Bundesliga 2013-14"]
[Site "Sankt Veit an der Glan AUT"]
[Date "2014.03.20"]
[Round "8.1"]
[White "Kuljasevic, D."]
[Black "Shengelia, D."]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E32"]
[WhiteElo "2591"]
[BlackElo "2543"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "66"]
[EventDate "2013.12.06"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "AUT"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2014.03.24"]
[WhiteTeam "SV ASVO St. Veit/Glan"]
[BlackTeam "SK Advisory Invest Baden"]

{To finish up, here's a recent GM game that is a very instructive example of
how to play with the bishop pair. I'll leave you to solve the position after
Black's 33rd move for homework ;).} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5.
Nf3 d6 6. Bd2 b6 7. e4 Bb7 8. Bd3 d5 9. cxd5 exd5 10. e5 Bxc3 11. Bxc3 Ne4 12.
Nd2 f5 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. O-O Qd6 15. Nf3 Nbd7 16. Ne5 c5 17. Bf5 g6 18. Bh3
Rfe8 19. Nxd7 Nxd7 20. Rfe1 c4 21. Qd2 Nf6 22. f3 Bc8 23. g4 a5 24. Re5 Be6 25.
Rae1 Nd7 26. R5e2 Bf7 27. Qg5 Rxe2 28. Rxe2 Re8 29. Rxe8+ Bxe8 30. Bg2 Qe6 31.
Kf2 Bf7 32. Qd8+ Kg7 33. Bd2 h6 {How should White play from this position?} 1-0