Passed pawns are powerful

by ChessBase
10/15/2020 – The less pieces on the board, the more complicated it is. Queen endings are especially complicated. On day 3 of their rapid match in Prague, Dai Van Nguyen and Nigel Short had to play a complicated queen ending, and with limited time they did not always find the best moves. Karsten Müller had more time and analysed this tricky and instructive endgame in more detail.

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Powerful passed pawns

Although Nigel Short is now Vice-President of FIDE, he has not yet put his career as a player on hold. At the invitation of the Prague Chess Society, the veteran played a rapid chess match in Prague against the 18-year old Czech Grandmaster Dai Van Nguyen who is considered a great talent.

Dai Van Nguyen

Short took the lead in the match, but on the final day Nguyen managed to turn the tables and in the end the young Grandmaster won the match 5½-4½.

Short and Nguyen

After the match, Nigel Short gave a simul, but now he is busy finding a way back to his home in Athens. The flight he had booked has been cancelled, and so has another one he wanted to catch.

A simul with Nigel Short

Pavel Matocha, the president of the Prague Chess Society and the organiser of this and many other chess events, reported about Short's difficulties to return home, and remarked jokingly that "Christmas in Prague is nice too".

In the eighth game of the match, the second game that Nguyen won, a complicated queen's ending appeared on the board. It contained many subtleties, too many for a rapid chess game. Karsten Müller had more time and took a closer look at the endgame:


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Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 10/16/2020 01:11
Yes the starting position is indeed too complicated. So I have decided to focus on the endgames...
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/16/2020 11:41
"The less pieces on the board, the more complicated it is. Queen endings are especially complicated." All the complications that arise from endings where are not many pieces - including queen endings - were results of the "less complicated" starting position, so, the starting position has all those endings in its potential outcomes, yet, from those endings - given the irreversible nature of pawn moves, captures and captures - the starting position cannot be reached with legal play. Since the starting position has the potential of reaching these endings, it is easy to prove that the starting position is MUCH more complicated than any endings that we consider complicated, we are just too dumb to fully see the complications of the starting position in their entirety. Our ignorance is a blessing though, since, without it we would not appreciate this fantastic game.