Müller: Endgames from ChessBase Magazine

by Karsten Müller
4/5/2014 – Ready for your weekend homework? As so often you can improve your endgame skills by going through practical examples from recent games, explained by our resident expert GM Karsten Müller. This time he start with a spectacular between Hikaru Nakamura and Vladimir Kramnik. Study the four endgames selected by Dr Müller and watch your ratings soar. Best of all: it's free of charge.

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Endgames from ChessBase Magazine

Nakamura's Knight

In endings with rook and knight against rook and knight tactical tricks often play a major role:

[Event "World Teams 2013"] [Site "Antalya TUR"] [Date "2013.11.27"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Nakamura, Hikaru"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E36"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2013.11.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 d5 7. Nf3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 b6 9. Bg5 Ba6 10. Qc3 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. g3 Bb7 13. Bg2 Na6 14. O-O c5 15. Rac1 Rac8 16. Ne5 cxd4 17. Qxd4 Bxg2 18. Kxg2 Nc5 19. b4 Nb3 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Qd7 Rf8 22. f4 Qf5 23. Rf3 Qc2 24. Qd3 Qxd3 25. Rxd3 Nc1 26. Rd2 Rc8 27. h4 h5 28. b5 Rc7 29. Nc6 Kh7 30. Rb2 a5 31. Kf2 Rd7 32. Ne5 Rc7 33. Rd2 f6 34. Nd7 Nb3 35. Nf8+ Kg8 36. Rd7 {Nakamura's Knight In endings with rook and knight against rook and knight tactical tricks often play a major role:} Rxd7 $2 { Without rooks White's initiative will win.} ({After} 36... Rc3 $1 37. Nxe6 Nc5 {Black keeps good practical drawing chances, e.g.} 38. Rxg7+ Kh8 39. Re7 Ne4+ 40. Kf1 Nxg3+ 41. Ke1 Rxa3 $14) 37. Nxd7 Nd4 38. a4 Nxb5 $5 {Kramnik's point, but Nakamura has a powerful counterblow.} ({But} 38... Kf7 {loses in the long run as well, e.g.} 39. Nxb6 Ke7 40. Nc4 Nb3 41. Ke3 Kd7 42. Kd3 Nc5+ (42... Kc7 43. Kc3 Nc5 44. Nxa5 Nxa4+ 45. Kb4 Nb6 46. e4 Nd7 47. Nc4 $18) 43. Kd4 Nxa4 44. Nxa5 Kc7 45. Nc4 Kc8 (45... f5 46. Ne5 Kb6 47. Kc4 Kc7 48. Nf7 Nb6+ 49. Kb4 Nd7 50. Ng5 Nf8 51. Ka5 Kb7 52. Nf7 $18) 46. b6 Kb7 47. Nd6+ Kxb6 48. Ne8 Kc6 49. Nxg7 Kd7 50. Nxh5 $18) 39. axb5 a4 40. Nc5 $3 {This spectacular knight move is only way to catch the a-pawn.} ({Of course not} 40. Nxb6 $4 a3 41. Na4 a2 42. b6 a1=Q 43. b7 Qd4+ 44. Kf1 Qa7 45. Nc5 Kf7 $19) 40... a3 ({After} 40... bxc5 41. b6 {White will queen with check:} a3 42. b7 a2 43. b8=Q+ $18) 41. Nb3 a2 ( 41... Kf7 42. Ke3 Kg6 43. Ke4 Kf7 44. Kd4 Kg6 45. e4 $18) 42. Ke3 Kf7 43. Kd4 Ke7 44. e4 e5+ (44... Kd6 45. e5+ Ke7 46. Kc3 Kf7 47. Kb2 Kg6 48. Nd4 $18) 45. fxe5 Ke6 ({After} 45... fxe5+ 46. Kxe5 Kd7 {White wins with the typical technique} 47. Kd5 Ke7 48. e5 Kd7 49. e6+ Ke7 50. Ke5 Ke8 51. Kd6 Kd8 52. e7+ Ke8 53. Ke6 g6 54. Na1 g5 55. hxg5 h4 56. g6 h3 57. g7 h2 58. g8=Q#) 46. Na1 $5 {Nakamura's decision to keep full control is good.} (46. exf6 $6 gxf6 47. Kc3 { wins as well, but is much more complicated, e.g.} Ke5 (47... f5 48. exf5+ Kxf5 49. Kb2 Kg4 50. Nd2 Kxg3 51. Nc4 Kxh4 52. Nxb6 Kg4 53. Nc4 h4 54. b6 h3 55. Ne3+ Kf3 56. Nf1 Kg2 57. b7 Kxf1 58. b8=Q $18) 48. Kb2 Kxe4 49. Nc5+ bxc5 ( 49... Kd4 50. Nd7 $18) 50. b6 c4 51. b7 c3+ 52. Kxa2 c2 53. Kb2 $18) 46... fxe5+ 47. Kc3 g5 (47... Kd6 48. Kc4 Ke6 49. Nb3 Kd6 50. Kb4 g6 51. Kc4 Ke6 52. Kc3 Kd6 53. Kb2 $18) 48. Kb2 gxh4 49. gxh4 Kd6 50. Nb3 1-0

Safarli's strong technique

In rook endings precise play is often called for:

[Event "World Teams 2013"] [Site "Antalya TUR"] [Date "2013.11.27"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Van Wely, Loek"] [Black "Safarli, Eltaj"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D90"] [PlyCount "116"] [EventDate "2013.11.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. Rc1 Nxc3 9. bxc3 O-O 10. e3 Be6 11. Qd2 Nc6 12. Be2 cxd4 13. cxd4 g5 14. Bg3 Qa5 15. h4 Qxd2+ 16. Kxd2 g4 17. Ne1 Bxa2 18. Rc2 Bd5 19. Bxg4 e5 20. dxe5 Rfd8 21. Ke2 Nxe5 22. Bxe5 Bxe5 23. Nd3 Be4 24. Rd1 Bf6 25. Bf3 Bxf3+ 26. gxf3 Rdc8 27. Ra2 a6 28. Nf4 Bxh4 29. Rd7 b5 30. Rb7 Rab8 31. Rxb8 Rxb8 32. Rxa6 b4 33. Rxh6 Bg5 34. Rh1 Bxf4 35. exf4 Kg7 36. Kd3 Kf6 37. Kc4 Kf5 38. Rb1 Rc8+ 39. Kd4 { Safarli's strong technique In rook endings precise play is often called for:} Rd8+ $5 {A good zwischenschach, which poses White difficult problems.} (39... Kxf4 {is met by} 40. Rxb4 Re8 (40... f5 41. Kd5+ Kxf3 42. Ke5 $11) 41. Kd5+ Kxf3 42. Rb3+ Kxf2 43. Rb6 f5 44. Rf6 $11) 40. Kc4 $2 {Here the king is very unfortunately placed.} (40. Kc5 {draws, e.g.} Kxf4 (40... Rc8+ 41. Kd6 Rc4 42. Kd5 Rxf4 43. Rb3 Kg5 44. Kc5 f5 45. Kd5 Rh4 46. Ke5 $11) 41. Rxb4+ Kxf3 42. Rd4 Re8 43. Rd5 Re4 44. Rf5+ Rf4 45. Rxf4+ Kxf4 46. Kd6 f5 47. Ke6 Ke4 48. f3+ Kf4 49. Kf6 Kxf3 50. Kxf5 $11) (40. Ke3 $2 {is too passive and loses in the long run:} Rb8 41. Rb3 Rb7 42. Ke2 Kxf4 43. Kd2 f5 44. Ke2 Ke5 45. Ke3 (45. Kd3 Rd7+ 46. Kc2 Kf4 47. Rxb4+ Kxf3 $19) 45... Kd5 46. Kd3 Kc5 47. Kc2 (47. Rb1 Rd7+ 48. Ke3 Rd4 $19) 47... Kc4 48. Re3 Ra7 49. Kb2 Ra3 50. Rxa3 bxa3+ 51. Kxa3 f4 52. Kb2 Kd3 53. Kc1 Ke2 $19) 40... Kxf4 41. Rxb4 (41. Rh1 Kxf3 42. Rh5 Kg4 43. Rh7 f5 44. Kxb4 Rc8 45. Rf7 f4 46. Rd7 Kf3 47. Rd2 Kg2 48. Kb3 f3 49. Kb2 Re8 50. Kc2 Re2 51. Rxe2 fxe2 52. Kd2 Kxf2 $19) 41... f5 $1 ({Of course not} 41... Rd2 $4 42. Kc3+ $18) 42. Rb5 (42. Rb3 Rd2 43. Rd3 Rxf2 (43... Rxd3 $2 44. Kxd3 Kxf3 45. Kd4 Kxf2 46. Ke5 $11) 44. Kd4 Rxf3 45. Rd1 Kg4 46. Rg1+ Rg3 47. Rf1 f4 48. Ke4 Re3+ $19) (42. Kc3+ Kxf3 43. Rd4 Re8 44. Rd2 f4 45. Ra2 Re2 $19) 42... Rd2 43. Kc3 Rxf2 44. Kd3 Rxf3+ 45. Ke2 Kg3 46. Rb8 Rf2+ 47. Ke1 f4 48. Rg8+ (48. Rb3+ Kg2 (48... f3 $2 {spoils it due to} 49. Rb8 Ra2 50. Rg8+ $11) 49. Rb8 Rf1+ 50. Ke2 f3+ 51. Ke3 Re1+ 52. Kd2 f2 $19) 48... Kf3 49. Rf8 (49. Rg7 Rh2 50. Kf1 Rh1+ 51. Rg1 Rxg1+ 52. Kxg1 Ke2 $19 {[%cal Gf4f1]}) 49... Rh2 50. Rf7 Rh1+ 51. Kd2 Rf1 $1 {[%cal Gf1f4,Gf1a1] Safarli uses his rook in all directions.} 52. Rf8 Kg2 53. Rg8+ (53. Ke2 f3+ 54. Ke3 Re1+ 55. Kd2 f2 56. Rg8+ Kh3 57. Rh8+ Kg4 $19) 53... Kf2 54. Kd3 Re1 55. Kd2 f3 56. Rh8 Re7 57. Rh2+ Kg1 58. Rh8 Rg7 ( 58... Rg7 59. Rf8 f2 60. Ke2 Rg2 $19) 0-1

Korobov's King

The king usually should be activated in the endgame:

[Event "World Teams 2013"] [Site "Antalya TUR"] [Date "2013.11.27"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Korobov, Anton"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E66"] [PlyCount "105"] [EventDate "2013.11.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. O-O Rb8 8. d5 Na5 9. Nd2 c5 10. Qc2 a6 11. a4 e6 12. b3 exd5 13. cxd5 Ng4 14. h3 Nh6 15. Bb2 f5 16. e3 Nf7 17. Ne2 Bxb2 18. Qxb2 Ne5 19. Qc3 Qb6 20. Rfc1 Bd7 21. f4 Nf7 22. Rab1 Rfc8 23. g4 Qb4 24. gxf5 Qxc3 25. Nxc3 gxf5 26. Nc4 b6 27. Nxa5 bxa5 28. Bf1 Re8 29. Kf2 Bc8 30. Bc4 Nh6 31. Rg1+ Kh8 32. Rbe1 Rf8 33. e4 fxe4 34. Nxe4 Rb6 35. Kf3 Nf5 36. Ng5 Nd4+ 37. Kg3 Rb7 38. Ne6 Bxe6 39. dxe6 Rg7+ 40. Kf2 Rxf4+ 41. Ke3 Rf3+ {Korobov's King The king usually should be activated in the endgame:} 42. Ke4 $1 {White's activity together with promotion combinations of the passed e-pawn will play the decisive role.} Rf5 43. Rgf1 $1 Re5+ (43... Rxf1 44. Rxf1 Rg5 {runs into} 45. Rf8+ Kg7 46. Rg8+ Kxg8 47. e7+ Kg7 48. e8=Q Re5+ 49. Qxe5+ dxe5 50. Kxe5 Kg6 51. Kd6 Kf6 52. Kxc5 Ke5 53. Kb6 Kd6 54. Kxa5 Nc6+ 55. Kxa6 Kc5 56. Kb7 $18) 44. Kd3 Rf5 (44... Rxe1 {is met by} 45. Rf8+ Rg8 46. e7 $18) (44... Re7 45. Rxe5 dxe5 46. Rf7 Rxf7 47. exf7 Kg7 48. Ke4 Kf8 49. Kxe5 Ke7 50. f8=Q+ Kxf8 51. Kd6 $18) 45. Rxf5 Nxf5 46. Ke4 $1 { Korobov's king comes again.} Ne7 47. Rd1 d5+ (47... Rg5 {does not defend either, e.g.} 48. Rxd6 Kg7 49. Rxa6 Nc8 50. e7 Nxe7 51. Rxa5 Rh5 52. Ra7 Kf6 53. Ra6+ Kg7 54. a5 Rxh3 55. Re6 $18) 48. Bxd5 Rg3 49. Bc4 Kg7 50. Rf1 $5 { Cutting off Black's king is good technique, but of course activating the white king with} (50. Ke5 Rxh3 51. Rd7 Kf8 52. Kd6 Nf5+ 53. Kxc5 $18 {wins as well.}) 50... Kh6 (50... Kg6 51. Rf7 Nc8 52. Kf4 Rxh3 53. e7 Nd6 54. Rf8 $18) 51. Rf7 Ng6 (51... Rg7 52. Rxg7 Kxg7 53. Ke5 Kf8 54. Bxa6 Ke8 55. Bd3 h6 56. Kd6 $18) 52. e7 Rg1 53. Kd5 (53. Kd5 Re1 54. Kd6 Re3 55. Be6 $18) 1-0

Meier's mighty knight

A centralised steed can be very strong:

[Event "World Teams 2013"] [Site "Antalya TUR"] [Date "2013.11.27"] [Round "2.5"] [White "Solak, Dragan"] [Black "Meier, Georg"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C07"] [PlyCount "110"] [EventDate "2013.11.26"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. Ngf3 cxd4 6. Bc4 Qd6 7. O-O Nf6 8. Nb3 Nc6 9. Nbxd4 Nxd4 10. Nxd4 a6 11. Re1 Qc7 12. Bf1 Be7 13. Qf3 O-O 14. Bf4 Bd6 15. Bxd6 Qxd6 16. Rad1 Qc7 17. g4 Nd5 18. Bd3 b5 19. Qg3 Bb7 20. Qxc7 Nxc7 21. f3 Rfd8 22. Be4 Bxe4 23. fxe4 Ne8 24. Kf2 Rac8 25. Ke3 h6 26. Rd3 Nf6 27. h3 Rc4 28. b3 Rc5 29. Ne2 Rdc8 30. c3 h5 31. Kf3 Re5 32. Rd4 hxg4+ 33. hxg4 g5 34. Rh1 Kg7 35. Rh3 a5 36. Rh1 Rec5 37. Rd3 Kg6 38. Rh2 R5c7 39. Rh1 Nd7 40. Rd4 Ne5+ 41. Kg3 {Meier's mighty knight A centralised steed can be very strong:} Rxc3+ $5 42. Nxc3 Rxc3+ 43. Kg2 Nxg4 $5 {Meier plays on the kingside.} ({The alternative} 43... Rc2+ 44. Kg3 Rxa2 45. Rc1 Ra3 46. Rc3 b4 47. Re3 Kf6 $17 {should win as well in the long run.}) 44. Rd8 (44. Rd2 {can be met by} Re3 45. Rd4 Nf6 46. Kf2 Rxe4 47. Rxe4 Nxe4+ 48. Ke3 Nc3 $17) 44... Nf6 45. e5 Nd5 46. Rg8+ Kf5 47. Rh7 $6 (47. Rf1+ {is more tenacious, but it is highly unlikely that White can survive, e.g.} Nf4+ ({Even} 47... Ke4 {is interesting, e.g.} 48. Kg1 (48. Re1+ Ne3+ 49. Kf2 Kf4 $19) (48. Rxf7 Ne3+ 49. Kf2 Ng4+ 50. Ke1 Nh6 51. Rfg7 Nxg8 52. Rxg8 Kf4 $19) 48... Ne3 49. Re1 Kxe5 50. Rxg5+ f5 51. Rh5 (51. Kf2 Kf4 52. Rg8 e5 $19) 51... Ke4 52. Kf2 e5 53. Re2 f4 54. Rh1 Rc6 55. Rh3 Kd3 56. Rhxe3+ fxe3+ 57. Rxe3+ Kd4 58. Re2 Rc3 $19) 48. Kh1 Rh3+ 49. Kg1 Rg3+ 50. Kh1 Kxe5 51. Ra8 Ke4 52. Rxa5 Ke3 53. Rxb5 Ke2 54. Rc1 Kf2 55. Rc2+ Ne2 $19) 47... Ne3+ 48. Kf2 (48. Kg1 Rc1+ 49. Kf2 Ng4+ 50. Ke2 Nxe5 $19) 48... Ng4+ 49. Ke1 Nxe5 50. Rhg7 (50. Rb8 b4 51. Rb5 Kf4 52. Rxa5 f5 53. a3 Nf3+ 54. Kd1 g4 55. axb4 Rxb3 $19) 50... Ke4 51. Rb8 $6 {This allows a quick finish, but White is lost in any case, e.g.} (51. Kd2 b4 52. Ke2 g4 53. Rxg4+ Nxg4 54. Rxg4+ Kd5 55. Rg5+ f5 $19) 51... Ke3 $1 {The king joins Black's attack with decisive effect.} 52. Kf1 (52. Kd1 Nd3 $19 {[%cal Gc3c1]}) 52... Rc2 53. Rxb5 Rf2+ 54. Ke1 (54. Kg1 Nf3+ 55. Kh1 Rh2#) 54... Nd3+ 55. Kd1 Rd2# 0-1

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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Mark Butler Mark Butler 4/6/2014 01:33
Well I actually want my rating to soar and I'm not sure what it would be like to have my rate sore but I think it would not look good.

Cheers!
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