Endgames from Madrid (5)

by Karsten Müller
7/8/2022 – Eight of the strongest players in the world fought in Madrid to get a shot in the next match for the world crown — Ian Nepomniachtchi (pictured) was the winner. Deep opening preparation and maximum focus often led to slightly better (or worse) endgames. GM Karsten Müller aims his attention at the last stage of the game, as he compiles the most salient and instructive endings from the Candidates Tournament. | Photo: FIDE / Stev Bonhage

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Counterattacks

A forgettable second half of the Candidates for Fabiano Caruana saw him losing four out of seven games in the final rounds of the event. On the last day of action, he lost to Alireza Firouzja. In the following position, Caruana is a pawn down and played 54.Nd2, when a more active, counterattacking alternative would have given him better prospects going forward.

 

Better was 54.Rg4, when after 54...a4, White has 55.c4+ Kc6 56.Rg6+ Kb7 57.Rxg7+ Ka6 58.Nc1, and Black’s initiative has been neutralized.

Also in the final round, the winner of the event, Ian Nepomniachtchi, did find the most precise way to hold a draw against Jan-Krzysztof Duda by choosing to counterattack instead of defending passively.

 

Defending the pawn with 33.f4 is not a mistake, but Nepo’s 33.Nd6 is more effective and forced. White should not fear 33...c3 since the king is in time to help in defence via 34.Ke2. Duda went for 33...Bxe5 and the game was drawn not long after.

Find analyses for these two positions and two more endgames in the replayer below.

 

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.


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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.
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