Understanding before Moving 28: A curious endgame

by ChessBase
5/23/2021 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 28th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman talks about schematic thinking in the endgame and presents a curious endgame. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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Schematic thinking in the endgame is an important line of thinking that a club chess player can master by studying certain endgames in which a winning plan proceeds in several stages.

In the past, games were adjourned. The game was continued at a later point in time and in between it could be analyzed. During my career as a player I had several adjournments. The position below is from a game Pokojowczyk-Grooten, Copenhagen 1983, which was adjourned a couple of times before it came to end.

My opponent had been shuffling his bishop back and forth between g7 and f6 for several moves and he has just played Bg7-f6. The question is whether Black can win this position with opposite coloured bishops, in which both players only have one pawn left though Black is, of course, a knight up.

Can you devise a multi-stage for Black?


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JoshuaVGreen JoshuaVGreen 5/23/2021 05:32
Interestingly, the position was drawn before White (just) played Bf6?; drawing moves for White were Bh6, Bf8, Ka1, and Ka2. Indeed, it would also be drawn with the wB on g7 (rather than f6) and Black to move, so basically the diagram is the only position in which Black can force a win. In other words, the general structure of this position is a draw, and no amount of brilliant planning can change that. I hope your discussion of devising multi-stage plans (and presumably showing your success) considers what would have happened if you had similarly looked for such plans in those other, nearly identical positions. After all, the win here seems to rely on a random tactical point that isn't available in those other positions rather than on some deep strategical properties that such planning would uncover.