The most beautiful knight-and-pawns ending every played

4/9/2008 – That, according to GM Andy Soltis, occurred in a 1899 encounter between Georg Marco and the Hungarian great Geza Maroczy, starting in a position that would appear impossible for any sentient life form to lose. Our Playchess.com lecturer Dennis Monokroussos takes us through this extraordinary engame full of opportunism, amusing maneuvers and tactical ingenuity. Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

If you're facing the French Defense and want a draw, then the Exchange Variation is just the thing, right? And just imagine reaching a position like this:

It would appear impossible for any sentient life form to lose such a position, but that's just what happened to White, the very strong master Georg Marco, against Hungarian great Geza Maroczy, in their game from the 1899 Kolisch Memorial. Furthermore, Marco didn't play especially badly, either. Rather, what happened was that Maroczy, a player with a richly deserved reputation as a great endgame expert, managed to outplay him in what GM Andy Soltis once called a game "still regarded as the most beautiful knight-and-pawns ending every played".

Note: it's not just a technical masterpiece, but a beautiful endgame as well, as you'll see. There's opportunism, amusing maneuvers and tactical ingenuity to be found here, and it makes the game altogether worth your while. So I hope you'll join me tonight (Wednesday night) as we examine this wonderful ending. The show is free as always, and starts at 9 p.m. ET. See you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).



Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007
 

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.


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