Amber 2011: Karsten Müller's queen endgame lesson

by ChessBase
3/15/2011 – In his round two blindfold game Magnus Carlsen had a rook endgame against Vugar Gashimov, which he then converted into a queen ending with an extra pawn. Although the position was a theoretical draw, Magnus proceeded to win it. We did not analyse it further, we knew that we would receive detailed analysis from GM Karsten Müller. Yu can use his commentary as a didactic endgame lesson.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


The 20th Amber Blindfold and Rapid Tournament is taking place at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in Monaco, from March 11 to 24, 2011. Every day four sessions are played, two blindfold and two rapid. The first session starts at 14.30h, the fourth session finishes around 20.00h. The rate of play is 25 minutes per game per player. With every move made in the blindfold games 20 seconds is added to the clock, with every move made in the rapid games 10 seconds is added.

The Drawing Zone

GM Kasten Müller on Carlsen-Gashimov (round two)

In round two Magnus Carlsen joined Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk in the shared lead in the overall standings by defeating Vugar Gashimov 2-0. In the blindfold game he had the initiative and carried it into a rook endgame with four pawns each, which he then converted into a queen ending with an extra pawn. Although Fritz tells us that the position is a draw, Magnus proceeded to win the endgame in trademark style (can anyone count how many drawn position the Norwegian has won?). In our round two report we decided not delve further into this endgame as we could feel a didactic Karsten Müller report in the making. And of course come it did.

Carlsen,M (2815) - Gashimov,V (2746) [D11]
20th Amber Blindfold Monaco MNC (2), 13.03.2011 [Mueller,Karsten]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.d4 d5 4.e3 g6 5.Nbd2 Bg7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 Na6 8.Qe2 Nc7 9.b3 c5 10.Bb2 cxd4 11.Bxd4 Ne6 12.Bb2 Nc5 13.Bc2 b6 14.Rfd1 Ba6 15.b4 Ncd7 16.Bd3 Bb7 17.Rac1 Rc8 18.Nb3 e6 19.c5 bxc5 20.bxc5 Nb8 21.Nfd4 Nc6 22.Nxc6 Bxc6 23.Ba6 Ra8 24.Be5 Ne4 25.Bxg7 Kxg7 26.f3 Nf6 27.Nd4 Qc7 28.Bb5 Bxb5 29.Nxb5 Qe7 30.e4 Rfd8 31.Nd6 Ne8 32.Nxe8+ Qxe8 33.exd5 Rxd5 34.Rxd5 exd5 35.Qxe8 Rxe8 36.c6 Kf6 37.c7 Rc8 38.Kf2 Ke5 39.Ke3 Kd6 40.Kd4 Rxc7 41.Rxc7 Kxc7 42.Kxd5 Kb6 43.Ke5 Kb5 44.Kf6 Kb4 45.f4 Ka3 46.Kxf7 Kxa2

The Drawing Zone Magnus Carlsen showed superb queen endgame technique in a blindfold game. Only in this moment did he miscalculate: 47.g4? The direct race only leads to a drawn queen endgame. 47.Kg7 wins: 47...a5 48.Kxh7 Kb3 49.Kxg6 a4 50.f5 a3 51.f6 a2 52.f7 a1Q 53.f8Q+–.

47...a5 48.f5 gxf5 49.gxf5 a4 50.f6 a3 51.Kg8 Kb3 52.f7 a2 53.f8Q a1Q 54.Qf3+ Kc4?! 54...Kc2 is easier. 55.Qf4+ Kd5 56.Kxh7 Qa7+ 57.Kg6 Qa6+ 58.Qf6

58...Qe2. 58...Qa4 is the only other drawing move according to the tablebase. Sometimes chess really is surprisingly deep... 59.h4 Kc5. 59...Kc4?? runs into 60.Qa6++-; and 59...Qg4+? into 60.Qg5++-. 60.h5 Qe8+ 61.Kh6 Kd5 62.Kg5 Qg8+ 63.Kf4 Qb8+ 64.Kg4

64...Qb4+! 64...Qa7? loses as after 65.Qf4+-

Analysis diagram – Black's king is cut off from the drawing zone

65.Kg5 Qd2+ 66.Kg6 Kc4 67.h6 Qg2+ 68.Kf7 Qb7+ 69.Kg8 Qb8+ 70.Qf8 Qg3+ 71.Kh8 Qe5+ 72.Qg7 Qe4 73.h7 Kd3? Black's king should head directly for the drawing zone in the south west corner with 73...Kb3

Analysis diagram: the black king should be heading for the drawing zone

74.Qf7+ (74.Kg8 Qe8+ 75.Qf8 Qg6+ 76.Kh8 Kc2=) 74...Kb2 and White can not win as his king must move too far away from the pawn h7 to allow counterchecks, e.g. 75.Kg7 Qg4+ 76.Qg6 Qd7+ 77.Kh6 Qd2+ 78.Qg5 Qd6+ 79.Kh5 the king heads for h2 or h1 but here this plan does not win, e.g. 79...Qd1+ 80.Qg4 Qh1+ 81.Kg6 Qc6+ 82.Kg5 Qd5+ 83.Qf5 Qg2+ 84.Kh4 Qh2+ 85.Qh3 Qf4+ 86.Kh5 Qe5+ 87.Kg6 Qd6+ 88.Kf7 Qf4+=


74...Ke2?! 74...Kc2 to head for the corner is much more tenacious, e.g. 75.Kg7 Qe5+ 76.Kf7 Qf4+ 77.Ke6 Qg4+ 78.Kd6 Qg3+ 79.Kc6 Qc3+ 80.Kb7 Qb2+ 81.Ka7 Qc3 82.Qb7 Qh8 83.Qc7+ Kd3 84.Ka6 Qf6+ 85.Kb7 Qf3+ 86.Kc8 Qa8+ 87.Kd7 Qa4+ 88.Ke7 Qe4+ 89.Kf8 Qa8+ 90.Kf7 Qf3+ 91.Ke8 Qe4+ 92.Qe7 Qg6+ 93.Qf7 Qe4+ 94.Kf8 Qa8+ 95.Kg7 Qa1+ 96.Qf6 Qa7+ 97.Kg6 Qg1+ 98.Qg5 Qd4 99.Qg3+ Kc4 100.Qf3 Qg1+ 101.Kf5 Qc5+ 102.Kg4 Qc8+ 103.Qf5 Qh8 104.Kf4 Kb3 105.Ke3 Ka2 106.Qd5+ Ka3 107.Qd3+ Ka2 108.Kd2+-.

75.Kg8 Qg6+ 76.Kf8 Qh6+ 77.Qg7 Qf4+ 78.Qf7 Qh6+ 79.Ke7 Qh4+ 80.Ke8 Qa4+ 81.Kf8

The attacking king has reached a neighboring file so that all checks can be met by counterchecks. This is the typical winning technique when the pawn has reached the seventh rank. 81...Qd4. 81...Qb4+ 82.Qe7++-; 81...Qa8+ 82.Qe8++-. 82.Qh5+ Kf2 83.h8Q Qd6+ 84.Kf7 Qd7+ 85.Kg6

And as Magnus is again ready to give a countercheck, so Gashimov resigned. 1-0. [Click to replay]


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register