CBM training: Dominance, last pawn, cut-off, Bartholomew's stalemate

6/23/2012 – The 21st Annual Chicago Open took place from May 24th-28th at the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel in Wheeling. Gabriel Sargissian finished on top with 7.0/9 points. Our ChessBase Magazin endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller has picked four interesting endgames from this event and presents us with his unique instructive comments on stratgy in the final section of the game.

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Dominance Duel

A bishop can use zugzwang and domination when fighting against a knight. Furthermore, a rook's pawn is the knight's worst enemy. White can nevertheless still save himself:

[Event "Chicago Open"] [Site "Wheeling"] [Date "2012.05.27"] [Round "6"] [White "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Black "Sargissian, Gabriel"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D53"] [WhiteElo "2534"] [BlackElo "2679"] [Annotator "Müller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "204"] [EventDate "2012.05.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [Source "Chess Today"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. Qc2 b6 8. O-O-O Nc6 9. e4 Nb4 10. Qe2 Ba6 11. exd5 exd5 12. Ne5 dxc4 13. Qf3 Qc8 14. Re1 Re8 15. a3 Nd3+ 16. Bxd3 cxd3 17. Nd5 Nxd5 18. Qxf7+ Kh8 19. Qxd5 Bxh4 20. Ng6+ Kh7 21. Nxh4 Qg4 22. Qf5+ Qxf5 23. Nxf5 Rf8 24. g4 Rae8 25. Kd2 Rxe1 26. Kxe1 Rd8 27. Kd2 g6 28. Ng3 Rxd4 29. Re1 Rf4 30. Re7+ Kg8 31. Ke3 Rf7 32. Re6 Kg7 33. b4 d2 34. Kxd2 Rxf2+ 35. Ke3 Rf6 36. Re7+ Rf7 37. Re8 Bb7 38. Ne4 Bc6 39. Re5 Rf1 40. Re7+ Rf7 41. Re5 Bd7 42. g5 Bh3 43. Re8 Bg2 44. h4 hxg5 45. Nxg5 Rd7 46. Kf4 Bd5 47. Ke5 Bb3 48. Rc8 c5 49. bxc5 Rd5+ 50. Ke4 Rxc5 51. Rxc5 bxc5 52. Ke5 c4 53. Ne4 Kf7 54. Nc3 Ke7 55. Nd5+ Kd7 56. Kd4 Ke6 57. h5 g5 58. Ne3 Kf6 59. Ng4+ Kg7 60. Kc3 Bd1 61. h6+ Kh7 62. Nf6+ Kxh6 63. Kxc4 Kg6 64. Ne4 g4 65. Kd4 Bf3 66. Ng3 Kg5 67. Ke3 Bb7 68. Ne2 Kf5 69. Ng3+ Ke5 70. Nh5 Bc6 71. Ng3 Kd5 72. Kd3 Bb5+ 73. Ke3 Kc4 74. Kf4 Kb3 75. Kxg4 Kxa3 76. Kf4 a5 77. Ne4 Kb4 78. Ke3 a4 79. Kd2 a3 80. Nc3 Be8 81. Na2+ Kb3 82. Nc1+ Kb2 83. Nd3+ Kb1 84. Nb4 Bf7 85. Kc3 Be6 86. Kd2 Bg4 87. Kc3 Bd1 88. Kd2 Bb3 89. Kc3 Ba4 90. Kd2 Bd7 91. Kc3 Be6 92. Kd2 Bg8 93. Kc3 Bf7 94. Kd2 Kb2 95. Nd3+ Kb3 96. Nc1+ Kc4 97. Na2 Bg6 98. Nc1 Bf5 99. Na2 Kb3 {Dominance Duel A bishop can use zugzwang and domination when fighting against a knight. Furthermore, a rook's pawn is the knight's worst enemy. White can nevertheless still save himself:} 100. Nc1+ $2 {Exhausted from the long fight Alexander Shabalov commits a mistake, after which his knight will be dominated.} ({After} 100. Nc3 $1 {White can answer all winning tries, e.g.} Bg6 (100... Bg4 101. Kd3 $11) (100... Kb2 101. Nd1+ $11) (100... Kb4 101. Na2+ $11) 101. Ne2 Kc4 (101... a2 102. Nc1+ Kb2 103. Nxa2 $11) 102. Nc3 ({But not} 102. Nc1 $2 Bb1 $1 103. Kd1 Kc3 104. Ne2+ Kb2 105. Nc1 Bg6 106. Kd2 Bf5 {and Black wins as in the game.}) 102... Bb1 103. Nxb1 a2 104. Na3+ Kb3 105. Nc2 $11) 100... Kb2 $1 101. Kd1 Be6 102. Kd2 (102. Nd3+ {is met by} Kc3 103. Ne1 a2 104. Nc2 Kb2 (104... Bb3 $6 105. Kc1 {makes it more difficult for Black as} Bxc2 $4 {is stalemate.}) 105. Kd2 Bf5 $19) 102... Bc4 { Domination!} (102... Bc4 103. Kd1 Kc3 104. Ke1 Kc2 $19) 0-1

The last pawn

As the attacker usually needs an extra rook to win in a pawnless ending the last attacking pawn is worth its weight in gold:

[Event "Chicago Open"] [Site "Wheeling"] [Date "2012.05.27"] [Round "6"] [White "Troff, Kayden"] [Black "Finegold, Benjamin"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A56"] [WhiteElo "2276"] [BlackElo "2494"] [Annotator "Müller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2012.05.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [Source "Chess Today"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e5 4. Nc3 d6 5. e4 Be7 6. f3 Nbd7 7. Be3 Nf8 8. Bd3 Ng6 9. Nge2 O-O 10. O-O h5 11. a3 h4 12. b4 b6 13. Rb1 Nh5 14. Qd2 Ngf4 15. Nxf4 exf4 16. Bf2 Bf6 17. Ne2 Be5 18. Rfd1 Qg5 19. Kf1 h3 20. g4 Bxg4 21. fxg4 Qxg4 22. Ke1 f5 23. Ng1 f3 24. Qe3 Bd4 25. Qxf3 Bxf2+ 26. Qxf2 Rae8 27. Be2 Rxe4 28. Kd2 Qg5+ 29. Kc2 Nf4 30. Bf1 cxb4 31. axb4 Rfe8 32. Nf3 Qf6 33. Re1 b5 34. Nd2 Rxe1 35. Rxe1 Rxe1 36. Qxe1 bxc4 37. Qe3 Qe5 38. Nxc4 Nxd5 39. Qxe5 dxe5 40. b5 e4 41. Kd2 g5 42. Nd6 Ne7 43. Bxh3 g4 44. Bf1 Kg7 45. Ke3 Kf6 46. Bc4 Kg5 47. Bf7 {The last pawn As the attacker usually needs an extra rook to win in a pawnless ending the last attacking pawn is worth its weight in gold:} f4+ $1 {Black must exchange all kingside pawns first and liquidate the queenside pawns later.} ({The passive} 47... Kf6 $2 {loses due to} 48. Kf4 e3 49. Kxe3 Ke5 50. Nc4+ Kf6 51. Be8 Kg5 (51... Ke6 52. Bc6 Ng6 53. Kd4 f4 54. Bd5+ Kf6 55. Nd6 g3 56. hxg3 fxg3 57. Ne4+ $18) (51... Nd5+ 52. Kd4 Nc7 53. Bd7 f4 54. b6 axb6 55. Bxg4 b5 56. Nd2 $18) 52. Bd7 f4+ 53. Kf2 Nd5 (53... g3+ 54. hxg3 fxg3+ 55. Kxg3 Kf6 56. Kf4 $18) 54. Ne5 Nc3 55. Kg2 f3+ 56. Kf1 Kf4 57. Nxg4 Nxb5 58. h4 Nd6 59. h5 Nf7 60. h6 {and the last attacking pawn will decide the day in White's favor, e.g.} Nh8 (60... Kg5 61. h7 Kg6 62. Be8 $18) 61. h7 a5 62. Be6 Ng6 63. Kf2 a4 64. Ne3 a3 65. Ba2 Kg5 66. Bb1 Nh8 67. Kxf3 Kf6 68. Nc4 Kg7 69. Nxa3 $18) 48. Kxe4 g3 49. hxg3 fxg3 50. Kf3 Kf6 51. Kxg3 ( 51. Bc4 {is met by} Ke5 52. Nb7 Kd4 53. Be6 Nd5 54. Bxd5 Kxd5 55. Kxg3 Kc4 56. Nd6+ Kc5 $11) 51... Ke5 52. Nb7 Kd4 53. Kf3 (53. Bh5 {does not help due to} Kc4 54. Be2+ Kb4 55. Nd6 Nd5 56. Kf3 Nc7 57. Ke4 Ka5 58. Kd4 {and now Black can exchange the last pawn with} a6 59. bxa6 Nxa6 $11) 53... Nd5 54. Nd8 Nc3 55. Ne6+ Ke5 56. Nc7 Kd6 (56... Kd6 57. Ne8+ Ke7 58. Bg6 Nxb5 $11) 1/2-1/2

The cut-off

This is a very important technique in rook endings, which can be used by attacker and defender:

[Event "Chicago Open"] [Site "Wheeling"] [Date "2012.05.28"] [Round "8"] [White "Ivanisevic, Ivan"] [Black "Ludwig, Daniel"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A45"] [WhiteElo "2655"] [BlackElo "2456"] [Annotator "Müller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "132"] [EventDate "2012.05.??"] [EventRounds "9"] [Source "Chess Today"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. Nd2 c5 4. e4 cxd4 5. e5 Qa5 6. Ngf3 Ne4 7. Bf4 Nc6 8. Bd3 Nxd2 9. Bxd2 Bb4 10. a3 Bxd2+ 11. Qxd2 Qxd2+ 12. Kxd2 f6 13. Rae1 fxe5 14. Nxe5 O-O 15. Rhf1 d6 16. Nc4 Rd8 17. b4 b5 18. Na5 Nxa5 19. bxa5 a6 20. f4 Kf7 21. g3 Bb7 22. Rb1 Bd5 23. Rb4 Rac8 24. Rxd4 Rc5 25. Re1 Bc4 26. Be4 Rd7 27. Bf3 g6 28. Re3 Ke7 29. Bg4 Rdc7 30. c3 R7c6 31. h4 Bd5 32. Bd1 Kf6 33. g4 Rc4 34. Be2 Rxd4+ 35. cxd4 Rc7 36. Bd3 Rf7 37. Rg3 Kg7 38. f5 e5 39. dxe5 dxe5 40. fxg6 hxg6 41. Re3 Re7 42. g5 Kf7 43. Re1 Re6 44. Rc1 e4 45. Rc7+ Kf8 46. Be2 e3+ 47. Ke1 Bc4 48. Bxc4 bxc4 49. Rxc4 Re5 50. Rc6 Re4 51. Rxg6 Rxh4 52. Rxa6 Ra4 {The cut off This is a very important technique in rook endings, which can be used by attacker and defender:} 53. Ra7 $5 {Now Black's king can not be activated, while White's can enter the attack.} Rxa3 54. a6 $2 {Allows Black's rook to cut White's king off.} (54. Ke2 {wins, e.g.} Kg8 55. a6 Kf8 56. g6 Kg8 57. Kf3 $1 {The point, which puts Black in fatal zugzwang.} e2+ (57... Kf8 58. Rf7+ Kg8 59. a7 $18) 58. Kxe2 Ra5 59. Kf3 Rf5+ 60. Kg4 $1 (60. Ke4 $2 {spoils it due to} Rf6 61. Ke5 Rxg6 $11 {and Black has reached a version of Vancura's drawing position.}) 60... Ra5 (60... Rf6 61. Kg5 Rc6 62. Kh6 $18) 61. Kf4 Ra1 62. Ke5 Re1+ 63. Kd6 Rd1+ 64. Kc7 Rc1+ 65. Kb8 Ra1 66. Ra8 Kg7 67. Ka7 Kxg6 68. Rf8 $18) 54... Ra2 $1 55. Ra8+ (55. g6 {is met by} Kg8 56. g7 Kh7 $11) 55... Kg7 56. a7 Kh7 57. Kf1 Rf2+ 58. Ke1 Ra2 59. Kd1 Rd2+ 60. Kc1 Ra2 61. Kb1 Ra5 ( 61... e2 62. Kxa2 e1=Q 63. Rh8+ Kxh8 64. a8=Q+ Kg7 {draws as well.}) 62. Kc2 Ra2+ 63. Kd1 (63. Kd3 e2 64. Re8 Rxa7 $11) 63... Rd2+ 64. Ke1 Ra2 65. g6+ Kg7 ( {Of course not} 65... Kxg6 $4 66. Rg8+ $18) 66. Kd1 Rd2+ (66... Rd2+ 67. Kc1 Ra2 68. Kb1 e2 69. Kxa2 e1=Q 70. Rg8+ Kxg8 71. a8=Q+ Kg7 $11) 1/2-1/2

Bartholomew's stalemate

Stalemate defenses often create an artistic impression:

[Event "Chicago Open"] [Site "Wheeling"] [Date "2012.05.28"] [Round "8"] [White "Shabalov, Alexander"] [Black "Bartholomew, John"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A28"] [WhiteElo "2534"] [BlackElo "2445"] [Annotator "Müller,Karsten"] [PlyCount "127"] [EventDate "2012.05.??"] [EventRounds "9"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. a3 d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Qc2 Be6 7. e3 a6 8. b4 Nxc3 9. dxc3 Be7 10. Bb2 O-O 11. c4 Bf6 12. Bd3 g6 13. Be4 Re8 14. O-O Qe7 15. Rac1 Bd7 16. Rfd1 Nd8 17. Nd2 Bg7 18. Nb3 Ba4 19. Rd2 a5 20. Qc3 axb4 21. axb4 Bc6 22. Bd5 b6 23. h3 Ra4 24. b5 Ba8 25. Qc2 Ra2 26. Rcd1 Ne6 27. Qb1 Ra4 28. Bc3 Bxd5 29. cxd5 Nc5 30. Nxc5 Qxc5 31. Rc1 Rc4 32. Qb3 Ra8 33. Rdc2 Qxd5 34. Bb2 Rc5 35. Qxd5 Rxd5 36. Rxc7 Ra2 37. Bc3 Bf8 38. Rc8 Rxb5 39. Rd1 Kg7 40. Re8 Bb4 41. Bxe5+ Kh6 42. Rd7 Rd2 43. Bd4 Bc3 44. Rxf7 Bxd4 45. exd4 Rf5 46. Rxf5 gxf5 47. Re5 Kg6 48. Rd5 b5 49. Rxb5 Rxd4 50. Kh2 Rd3 51. f3 Rd2 52. Rb4 Rc2 53. Kg3 Rd2 54. Rb6+ Kg7 55. h4 Rc2 56. h5 Rc4 57. Kh3 Ra4 58. Rb5 Kf6 59. Rb7 h6 {Bartholomew's stalemate Stalemate defenses often create an artistic impression:} 60. Rh7 {Allows the following Houdini-like escape.} ({So} 60. g4 $5 {might be a better practical try, but Black defends with the active} fxg4+ 61. fxg4 Ra3+ 62. Kh4 Ra1 63. Rh7 Rh1+ 64. Kg3 Rg1+ {and White can not win, e. g.} 65. Kh3 (65. Kf3 Kg5 66. Rg7+ Kh4 67. Rg6 Rf1+ 68. Ke4 Rf8 69. Ke5 Rf1 70. Rf6 Rg1 71. Rxh6 Rxg4 $11) 65... Kg5 66. Rg7+ Kf4 67. Rf7+ Ke5 68. Rf5+ Ke6 $11 ) 60... Kg5 61. Rg7+ Kxh5 $1 {Black's point and so the game ended with the beautiful} 62. g4+ fxg4+ 63. fxg4+ Rxg4 64. Rxg4 {stalemate.} 1/2-1/2

Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine

Do you like these lessons? There are plenty more by internationally renowned endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine, where you will also find openings articles and surveys, tactics, and of course annotations by the world's top grandmasters.

Click to go to the ChessBase Magazine page

Apart from his regular columns and video lectures in ChessBase Magazine there is a whole series of training DVDs by Karsten Müller, which are bestsellers in the ChessBase Shop.


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