A tricky endgame revisited: Caruana vs Duda, Altibox Norway Tournament 2020

by Karsten Müller
2/25/2021 – In round 2 of the Altibox Norway Tournament 2020 Fabiano Caruana won a fascinating and tricky endgame against Jan-Krzysztof Duda. Of course, endgame expert and aficionado Karsten Müller was intrigued but the result notwithstanding he was not sure whether the endgame was also theoretically won. But now, after lengthy analyses with Zoran Petronijevic, he came to a definite conclusion. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Magical Chess Endgames Vol. 1 & 2 + The magic of chess tactics Magical Chess Endgames Vol. 1 & 2 + The magic of chess tactics

In over 4 hours in front of the camera, Karsten Müller presents to you sensations from the world of endgames - partly reaching far beyond standard techniques and rules of thumb - and rounds off with some cases of with own examples.


Two minor pieces vs a rook

Usually, two minor pieces are better than a rook – a rule of thumb every beginner learns quickly. However, in practice things are usually more difficult. Sometimes a rook is better than the minor pieces and sometimes the two minor pieces are indeed theoretically better but cannot win because the position is too blocked.

This happened in the game between Caruana and Duda. White had the two minor pieces but it was not easy to see how he could enter Black's position. In the game Black made an error that allowed Caruana to demonstrate how White can win such positions, but after taking a very close look at the position Zoran Petronijevic came to the conclusion: "The position is even – White cannot penetrate". In practice, the two minor pieces won the game, but theoretically the rook could have saved a draw.



Karsten Müller, born 1970, has a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest endgame experts. He has, together with Frank Lamprecht, written a book on the subject: “Fundamental Chess Endgames” in addition to other contributions such as his column on the website ChessCafe as well as in ChessBase Magazine. Müller's ChessBase-DVDs about endgames in Fritztrainer-Format are bestsellers. The PhD in mathematics lives in Hamburg, where he has also been hunting down points for the HSK in the Bundesliga for many years.
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juliok juliok 2/25/2021 11:09
The long variations given as proofs are rather suspect, because White allows position repetitions which Black refuses. The play could all be correct, e.g. White may be "waking up" to the necessity to capture a Black pawn because of the impending 50 move rule, but if so it would be good to explain this to the reader.