Instructive endgames from the European Club Cup

by Karsten Müller
4/3/2021 – The Schachfreunde Deizisau won the European Chess Club Cup a few days ago. The star-studded tournament was undoubtedly a top-class event. Good reason for Karsten Müller to examine the extensive game material in detail. During his research, he found bishop-related examples: he discovered an imprisoned bishop, saw how another one fought alone against a number of pawns, and found a pure opposite-coloured bishops endgame that was not a draw. | Photo: Pascal Simon

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Precision matters

The winners from the SF Deizisau were not the only Germans playing in the final phase of the European Club Cup. Also playing was the Hamburger SK, Karsten Müller’s club. The grandmaster took a close look at two endgames from round 6, when his team faced the Cercle d’Echecs de Monte Carlo, the winners of the European Women’s Club Cup. 

Elisabeth Paehtz drew Rasmus Svane on board 2, while Aleksandra Goryachkina and Nils Grandelius also split a point on top board.

The HSK did score a full point on board 4 though, as Almira Skripchenko lost to Julian Kramer after allowing Kramer’s bishop to escape from its ‘prison cell’.

How should Black keep the balance in the following position?


On board 3, the match was decided in favour of the team from Hamburg. Luis Engel finally managed to hold a draw after his bishop stopped Monika Socko’s passed pawns.

Should White push her pawn or bring her king to the queenside in the following position?


Karsten Müller shows that there was even more in it for the German grandmaster! 


Do not rush

In the preliminary round (Group H), the strong Ukrainian grandmaster Yuriy Kryvoruchko demonstrated in his game against the Hungarian Gabor Nagy that it is possible to win endgames with opposite-coloured bishops — at least if your opponent helps a little!

Should Black play actively or keep the existing state of affairs in the following position?



Karsten Müller, born 1970, has a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest endgame experts. He has, together with Frank Lamprecht, written a book on the subject: “Fundamental Chess Endgames” in addition to other contributions such as his column on the website ChessCafe as well as in ChessBase Magazine. Müller's ChessBase-DVDs about endgames in Fritztrainer-Format are bestsellers. The PhD in mathematics lives in Hamburg, where he has also been hunting down points for the HSK in the Bundesliga for many years.


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