CBM training: opposition, amazing blows, Fine's rule

12/27/2012 – Have you noticed that you are, of late, taking home more points from tournaments than usual? And is this because you are playing the endgame more masterfully? Dare we ask: is this because you have been following our ChessBase Magazine columnist GM Karsten Müller's regular endgame instructions on this newspage? Here are some additional examples to boost your strength.

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The Opposition

In pawn endings this is one of the most important techniques:

[Event "Amplico ch-EUR Blitz"] [Site "Warsaw POL"] [Date "2012.12.14"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Vachier Lagrave, M."] [Black "Meskovs, N."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A39"] [WhiteElo "2711"] [BlackElo "2314"] [PlyCount "187"] [EventDate "2012.12.14"] [EventType "swiss (blitz)"] [EventRounds "11"] [EventCountry "POL"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2012.12.17"] 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 c5 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. d4 d6 8. b3 Bf5 9. Bb2 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Ne4 12. Qe3 Nxc3 13. Bxc3 Bxc3 14. Qxc3 Qc7 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Qe3 b6 17. Rfd1 Rfe8 18. Qf4 Bd7 19. Bd5 Rf8 20. h4 h5 21. Qh6 e6 22. Be4 Bc6 23. Bxc6 Qxc6 24. Qf4 Rfd8 25. Rc3 Rd7 26. Rcd3 Rcd8 27. g4 hxg4 28. Qxg4 Qc5 29. Qf4 Kg7 30. Rg3 Rh8 31. Rg5 e5 32. Qg4 Re7 33. h5 Rh6 34. Rd3 Re6 35. Kg2 Rf6 36. Rf3 Rxf3 37. Qxf3 Qd4 38. Rg4 Qd1 39. Rg3 Qd4 40. hxg6 Rxg6 41. Rxg6+ Kxg6 42. e3 Qh4 43. Qd5 Qf6 44. Kf1 Qe6 45. Qg2+ Kf6 46. Ke2 Ke7 47. Qb7+ Qd7 48. Qe4 a5 49. Kd2 Qc7 50. Qh4+ Ke6 51. Qg4+ Ke7 52. Qg5+ Ke6 53. Qg8 Ke7 54. Qa8 Qc5 55. Kd3 Kf6 56. Ke4 Qc7 57. Qh8+ Ke7 58. Qh4+ Ke6 59. Qh6+ Ke7 60. Kf5 Qd7+ 61. Kg5 Qe6 62. Qxe6+ Kxe6 63. e4 Ke7 64. f4 exf4 65. Kxf4 Ke6 66. Ke3 Ke5 67. Kd3 Ke6 68. Kd4 Ke7 69. Kd5 Kd7 70. Kd4 Ke6 71. Ke3 Ke5 72. Kd3 Ke6 73. Kd4 Ke7 74. Kd5 Kd7 75. a3 Kc7 76. b4 axb4 77. axb4 Kd7 78. Kd4 Ke6 79. Ke3 Ke5 80. Kd3 Ke6 81. Kd4 Kd7 82. Kd5 Kc7 83. e5 dxe5 84. Kxe5 Kd7 85. Kf6 Ke8 86. b5 {The Opposition In pawn endings this is one of the most important techniques:} Kd7 $2 {Black has only one move, which is always a problem in a blitz game:} (86... Kd8 $3 87. Kxf7 Kd7 {wins the fight for the opposition, defends the key squares and draws, e.g.} 88. Kf8 (88. Kf6 $4 {runs into the bodycheck} Kd6 $19) 88... Kd8 89. Kf7 $1 $11) (86... Kf8 $2 {runs into the beautiful breakthrough} 87. c5 Ke8 (87... bxc5 88. b6 c4 89. b7 c3 90. b8=Q#) 88. c6 Kd8 89. Kxf7 Kc8 90. c7 {White does not need the protected passed pawn to win!} Kxc7 91. Ke7 {The king has reached a key square.} Kc8 92. Kd6 Kb7 93. Kd7 Kb8 94. Kc6 Ka7 95. Kc7 Ka8 96. Kxb6 Kb8 97. Ka6 $1 {Important precision to avoid stalemate defenses.} (97. Kc6 $6 Ka7 98. Kc7 (98. b6+ $4 Ka8 99. Kc7 {stalemate.}) 98... Ka8 99. Kb6 Kb8 100. Ka6 $18) 97... Ka8 98. b6 Kb8 99. b7 Kc7 100. Ka7 $18) 87. Kxf7 {Now White has gained the opposition.} Kd6 88. Ke8 Kc7 (88... Kc5 {is met by} 89. Kd7 Kxc4 90. Kc6 $18) 89. Ke7 Kc8 90. Kd6 Kb7 91. Kd7 Kb8 92. Kc6 Ka7 93. Kc7 Ka8 94. c5 (94. c5 bxc5 (94... Ka7 95. cxb6+ Ka8 96. b7+ Ka7 97. b8=Q#) 95. b6 c4 96. b7+ Ka7 97. b8=Q+ Ka6 98. Qb6#) (94. Kxb6 {wins as well of course.}) 1-0

Amazing blows

Far advanced connected passed pawns are very dangerous and often enable combinations:

[Event "X Regina Helena Marques Prol"] [Site "Santos ARG"] [Date "2012.12.12"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Molina, Rob"] [Black "Marrero Lopez, Yan"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D35"] [WhiteElo "2418"] [BlackElo "2304"] [PlyCount "150"] [EventDate "2012.12.10"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ARG"] [EventCategory "7"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. Qf3 Bg6 8. Bxf6 Qxf6 9. Qxf6 gxf6 10. Nh3 Bd6 11. Kd2 Nd7 12. g3 h5 13. Nf4 h4 14. Bd3 Bxd3 15. Nxd3 f5 16. Ke2 Nf6 17. Rag1 hxg3 18. hxg3 Ke7 19. Kf3 Ne4 20. Ne2 a5 21. Rxh8 Rxh8 22. Kg2 a4 23. Rc1 Ra8 24. Rc2 Kd7 25. Nef4 Ng5 26. Rc1 Rh8 27. Ne2 Ne4 28. Ne1 Nd2 29. Nf3 Nxf3 30. Kxf3 Rh2 31. Nc3 a3 32. b3 Rh8 33. Ne2 Ke6 34. Kg2 Kd7 35. Rd1 b6 36. Rc1 c5 37. Nc3 Kc6 38. Nb1 Kd7 39. Nc3 Kc6 40. Ne2 Rd8 41. dxc5 bxc5 42. Nd4+ Kb6 43. Nxf5 Be5 44. Kf3 Rd7 45. Ke2 Bb2 46. Rd1 Kc6 47. f4 Rb7 48. e4 dxe4 49. Ke3 Rxb3+ 50. axb3 a2 51. Kxe4 a1=Q 52. Rxa1 Bxa1 53. Nh6 f6 54. Nf5 Bc3 55. Ne3 Bd4 56. g4 Bb2 57. Kf5 Bc1 58. Nf1 Kb5 59. Ng3 Kb4 60. Ne4 Bb2 61. Ke6 Bd4 62. Kd5 Be3 63. f5 Bd4 64. Kd6 Kxb3 65. Nxc5+ Kc4 66. Nd7 Kd3 {Amazing blows Far advanced connected passed pawns are very dangerous and often enable combinations:} 67. Nxf6 $3 {The only winning move.} (67. Ke6 $2 Ke4 68. Nxf6+ Kf4 {(Baburin in Chess Today 4426)} 69. Kf7 Kg5 $11) (67. Kd5 $2 Ke3 68. Nxf6 Bxf6 69. Ke6 Bc3 70. g5 Kf4 71. g6 Kg5 $11) 67... Bxf6 68. Ke6 Bg5 (68... Bc3 69. g5 Ke4 70. f6 Kf4 71. g6 $18) 69. f6 $2 {Now Black is back in time.} ({The amazing retreat} 69. Ke5 $3 {gives Black a bodycheck, which wins the all important tempo:} Ke3 70. f6 Kf3 71. f7 Be7 72. Kf5 { (Baburin)} Kg3 73. g5 Kh4 74. g6 Bf8 75. Kf6 Kh5 76. g7 $18) 69... Ke4 $1 70. f7 Bh6 71. Kf6 Kf4 72. Kg6 Bf8 73. g5 Be7 74. Kh5 Kf5 75. g6 Bf8 1/2-1/2

Fine's Rule

In a knight ending with a passed pawn supported by a king usually wins, when the pawn has reached the 7th rank. When it is only on the 6th rank it is often a draw, if the defending king is well placed. So White must act very precisely in the following example:

[Event "11th IM Int"] [Site "Sao Jose do Rio Preto BRA"] [Date "2012.12.21"] [Round "7.5"] [White "Gallo Ponce, E."] [Black "Rocha, W."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E60"] [WhiteElo "2248"] [BlackElo "2427"] [PlyCount "125"] [EventDate "2012.12.17"] [EventType "tourn"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "BRA"] [EventCategory "3"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2012.12.24"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 c5 3. Bg2 g6 4. b3 Bg7 5. Bb2 O-O 6. c4 Nc6 7. O-O d6 8. d4 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bd7 10. Nc3 Nxd4 11. Qxd4 Bc6 12. Rfd1 Nd7 13. Qd2 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 a6 15. Nd5 Bxb2 16. Qxb2 b5 17. Ne3 bxc4 18. Nxc4 Qc7 19. Kg1 a5 20. Rac1 Qb7 21. Ne3 Nf6 22. Qd4 Rfc8 23. Rxc8+ Rxc8 24. Nc4 Qb4 25. Qa7 d5 26. Qxa5 Qxa5 27. Nxa5 Rc2 28. a4 e6 29. Kf1 Ne4 30. Ra1 Kf8 31. b4 Ke7 32. b5 Kd6 33. Nc6 Kc5 34. Ne5 Nd6 35. Nd7+ Kb4 36. Nb8 Rc8 37. Nc6+ Kb3 38. Na7 Rc5 39. b6 Nb7 40. a5 Rxa5 41. Rc1 Rc5 42. Rxc5 Nxc5 43. Nc6 Nb7 44. Ne5 f5 45. Nf3 Kc3 46. Ke1 d4 47. Kd1 d3 48. exd3 Kxd3 49. Ng5 e5 50. Nxh7 e4 51. h4 e3 52. fxe3 Kxe3 53. Nf8 f4 54. gxf4 Kxf4 55. Ke2 Kg4 56. Nxg6 Kh5 {Fine's Rule In a knight ending with a passed pawn supported by a king usually wins, when the pawn has reached the 7th rank. When it is only on the 6th rank it is often a draw, if the defending king is well placed. So White must act very precisely in the following example:} 57. Ne5 $1 (57. Nf4+ $2 {does not work due to} Kxh4 58. Kf3 Kg5 59. Ke4 Kf6 60. Kd5 Ke7 61. Kc6 Nd6 {Now the defender's king can help so it is a draw, e.g.} 62. Nd5+ Ke6 63. Nc7+ Ke7 64. Nb5 Nc4 65. b7 Na5+ $11) 57... Kxh4 58. Ke3 Kg5 59. Kd4 (59. Ke4 {wins as well.}) 59... Kf6 60. Kd5 { Knight check shadow.} Nd8 {Allows White's king to invade directly via d6.} ( 60... Ke7 $5 {is more tenacious. The endgame tablebase gives the following amazing main line:} 61. Kc6 Nd6 62. Kc7 Ne8+ 63. Kb7 Nd6+ 64. Ka6 Ne4 (64... Kd8 65. Nf7+ Nxf7 66. b7 Kc7 67. Ka7 $18) 65. Nc4 Nc5+ 66. Kb5 Nb7 67. Kc6 Nd8+ 68. Kc7 Ne6+ 69. Kb7 Nc5+ 70. Kc6 Ne6 71. Ne5 Nd8+ 72. Kc7 Ne6+ 73. Kb7 Kd6 74. Ka7 Nc5 75. Nd3 Nd7 76. b7 {Now Fine's rule is directly applicable and this is indeed no exception:} Kd5 77. Nb2 Ne5 78. Na4 Nc6+ 79. Ka8 Kd6 80. Nb6 Kc7 81. Nd5+ Kd6 82. Nb4 $18) 61. Kd6 Nb7+ 62. Kc7 Na5 63. Nc4 {The typical deflection sacrifice.} (63. Nc4 Nxc4 64. b7 $18) (63. Nc6 {wins as well, but after} Nb3 { White must avoid} 64. b7 $2 (64. Kd6 $18 {wins.}) 64... Nc5 65. b8=Q Na6+ $11) 1-0

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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