Outstanding endgames from the Asian Championships

by Karsten Müller
7/2/2023 – Shamsiddin Vokhidov (Uzbekistan) and Divya Deshmukh (India) were crowned winners of the 2023 Asian Continental Chess Championships. The tournaments took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan on June 3-12. GM Karsten Müller followed the games and selected what he considered to be the most interesting endgame positions to share with us. Find here five remarkable endings with instructive analyses by our in-house expert!

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Breaking a fortress

The second-round game between Mukhiddin Madaminov and Sethuraman S.P. saw the former gaining an extra bishop in an endgame with closed pawn structures on both flanks. Winning such a position is seldom trickier than one might expect, since the defending side might have chances to put up a fortress.

Here, for example:

Sethuraman is definitely in trouble, but his 57...Bd6 made things easier for his 17-year-old opponent. Instead, 57...Kh6, planning to simply go back and forth with the king from h5 to h6 would have forced Madaminov to create a more convoluted plan to win the game.

In the line after 57...Kh6, the following position could have been reached with precise play by both sides.

At this point, White needs to give up his dark-squared bishop with 64.Bxb4, effectively breaking Black’s fortress. The passed pawn on the c-file will win the game for White.

This interesting game also incited the curiosity of endgame expert Charles Sullivan, who, among other things, pointed out that exchanging queens to simplify into this endgame setup had been a mistake by the young Uzbek IM.

With an extra bishop, Madaminov here naturally traded queens with 45.Qxg4. However, 45.Kg2 was much stronger, as demonstrated by Sullivan. Incredibly, as the analyses by both experts show, Black could have increased his chances of drawing the game with very precise play in this structure, despite being a piece down!

This is just one of five endgame positions from the Asian Championships analysed by GM Müller. Find the remaining instructive endings in our replayer below.

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Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.