Karsten Mueller instructs: Wijk Endgames (1)

by Karsten Müller
1/17/2015 – Wijk aan Zee has reached the midway mark, and left a lasting impression with so much fighting chess and great games. Many have gone deep into endgames with mind-boggling situations that even the best had trouble handling. Resident endgame expert Karsten Mueller, author of numerous reference works takes a look at a few of the more fascinating ones.

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Fight Knight

In a fascinating endgame in the first round, it was very tense as Black's pawns came within
one square of promoting. Was he winning? Was it equal? The dangerous connected passed
pawns should win, but matters are very complicated due to Black's open king.

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.10"] [Round "1"] [White "So, W."] [Black "Wojtaszek, R."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B90"] [WhiteElo "2762"] [BlackElo "2744"] [Annotator "Karsten Mueller"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/3k4/7r/2rN1R2/p1n3P1/P3p2P/5pK1/1R6 b - - 0 64"] [PlyCount "12"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 64... Kd6 $2 (64... Nd2 $1 {wins due to} 65. Nxe3 (65. Rb7+ Kc8 $19) 65... Rxf5 66. Rd1 (66. Nxf5 Rh8 67. Rd1 f1=Q+ 68. Rxf1 Nxf1 69. Kxf1 Rxh3 $19) 66... Rd5 {and the tactics work for Black:} 67. Nxd5 f1=Q+ 68. Rxf1 Nxf1 69. Kxf1 Rxh3 70. Nb6+ Kc6 71. Nxa4 Rxa3 72. Nb2 Ra1+ 73. Kf2 Ra2 $19) 65. Rb8 $1 Re6 $2 {This allows a direct draw.} ( 65... Rxd5 $1 {is the best try:} 66. Rd8+ Ke7 67. Rdxd5 (67. Rfxd5 $2 Nb6 68. Rd3 Rf6 $19) 67... Re6 68. Rxf2 (68. Rh5 $2 Re4 $19) 68... e2 69. Rxe2 Rxe2+ 70. Kg3 {or even} (70. Kg1 {and I do not know whether Black can win objectively or not, but his practical chances are certainly good.})) (65... Rxh3 $2 {is met by} 66. Rd8+ Ke6 67. Re8+ Kd6 $11) 66. Rd8+ Kc6 67. Rc8+ Kd6 ( 67... Kb7 $2 68. Rxc5 e2 69. Rc7+ Ka6 70. Rc6+ Rxc6 71. Kxf2 $18) 68. Rd8+ (68. Rxc5 $2 {runs into} e2 $1 69. Rxf2 e1=Q 70. Rxc4 Re2 71. Rcf4 Rxf2+ 72. Rxf2 Kxd5 {and White's fortress does not hold, e.g.} 73. Rf1 Qc3 74. Rf3 Qb2+ 75. Kg3 Qc1 76. h4 Ke4 77. Kg2 Qc2+ 78. Kg3 Qb3 $19) 68... Kc6 69. Rc8+ Kd6 70. Rd8+ 1/2-1/2

Deceptive Simplicity (Part 1)

Pawn endings can be quite deep, and even computer programs can have
problems seeing the truth of it at first. Ivanchuk 1.0 has no such issues.

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.10"] [Round "1"] [White "Ivanchuk, V."] [Black "Jobava, Ba"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B32"] [WhiteElo "2715"] [BlackElo "2727"] [Annotator "Karsten Mueller"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/5p1p/1k4p1/pp1KPP2/2r3P1/R1P5/7P/8 b - - 0 42"] [PlyCount "2"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 42... Ra4 $2 {Even some computer programs have problems to seeing this is a mistake at first.} ({The rook must remain on the board, e.g.} 42... Rxg4 43. e6 (43. f6 Rg2 44. Kd6 Rxh2 45. e6 fxe6 46. f7 Rf2 47. Ke7 a4 48. f8=Q Rxf8 49. Kxf8 Kc5 $11) 43... fxe6+ 44. fxe6 Kc7 45. Rxa5 Rg5+ 46. Kd4 Kd6 47. Ra6+ Ke7 48. Ra7+ Kxe6 49. Rxh7 $11) 43. Rxa4 (43. Rxa4 bxa4 44. Kc4 Kc6 (44... h5 45. e6 fxe6 46. fxg6 $18) 45. h4 h5 (45... gxf5 46. gxf5 h6 47. h5 Kd7 48. Kd3 Kc6 49. c4 $18) 46. gxh5 (46. e6 $6 Kd6 47. exf7 Ke7 48. fxg6 hxg4 49. h5 g3 50. h6 g2 51. h7 g1=Q 52. f8=Q+ Kxf8 53. h8=Q+ Ke7 54. Qe5+ $18) 46... gxh5 47. Kd3 Kd5 48. e6 {and White's pawns will queen first:} fxe6 49. f6 Kd6 50. c4 e5 51. c5+ Ke6 52. c6 e4+ 53. Kxe4 a3 54. c7 Kd7 55. f7 a2 56. c8=Q+ Kxc8 57. f8=Q+ $18) 1-0

Deceptive Simplicity (Part 2)

Sometimes, even we can be repeatedly blind to the simplest solutions.
In the following endgame White has more than one way to win, but the
pawn ending is the easiest.

[Event "77th Tata Steel GpA"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2015.01.11"] [Round "2"] [White "Van Wely, L."] [Black "Wojtaszek, R."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E04"] [WhiteElo "2667"] [BlackElo "2744"] [Annotator "Karsten Mueller"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3k4/8/5p2/3P3p/4Q1q1/6P1/5P1K/8 w - - 0 53"] [PlyCount "56"] [EventDate "2015.01.09"] 53. f3 $6 (53. Qxg4 hxg4 54. Kg2 Kd7 55. f3 Kd6 (55... gxf3+ 56. Kxf3 Kd6 57. Ke4 $18) (55... f5 56. fxg4 fxg4 57. Kf2 Kd6 58. Ke3 Kxd5 59. Kf4 Ke6 60. Kxg4 Kf6 61. Kh5 $18) 56. fxg4 Kxd5 57. Kf3 Ke5 58. Ke3 f5 59. g5 Kd6 60. Kf4 Ke6 61. g6 Kf6 62. g7 Kxg7 63. Kxf5 $18) 53... Qg5 54. Kh3 $2 {Now Black's counterplay against White's king seems to be sufficient.} (54. f4 {dominates Black's queen and wins, e.g.} Qg8 55. d6 Qa2+ 56. Kh3 Kd7 57. Qe7+ Kc6 58. d7 Qa1 59. d8=N+ $18) 54... Qc1 55. f4 Qf1+ 56. Kh4 Qd1 $1 57. f5 Qd2 58. Kh3 Qd1 59. Kh2 Qd2+ 60. Kg1 Qd1+ 61. Kg2 Qd2+ 62. Kh3 Qd1 63. d6 Qxd6 64. Qf3 Ke7 65. Qxh5 Qd5 66. Qe2+ Kf7 67. Kg4 Qd4+ 68. Kh5 Qd5 69. Qc2 Qf3+ 70. Kh4 Kg7 71. Qc7+ Kh6 72. Qc1+ Kg7 73. Qc7+ Kh6 $1 {The right hiding place.} (73... Kg8 $2 74. Qd8+ Kf7 75. Qd7+ Kf8 76. Qd6+ Kf7 77. Qe6+ Kg7 78. Qe7+ Kg8 79. Qxf6 Qh1+ 80. Kg5 Qc1+ 81. Kh5 (81. Kg6 $2 Qh6+ $11) 81... Qh1+ 82. Qh4 $18) 74. Qf4+ Qxf4+ 75. gxf4 Kg7 76. Kg3 Kg8 77. Kf3 Kf7 78. Ke4 Ke8 79. Kd4 Kd8 $1 {Black's king defends the key squares.} (79... Kd7 $2 80. Kd5 $18) 80. Kc5 Kc7 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.



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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