Endgames from Munich

by Karsten Müller
2/18/2023 – Last Monday, Alexandra Kosteniuk (pictured) won the second stage of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix, a 12-player single round-robin that took place in Munich, Germany. GM Karsten Müller followed the games closely, and sent us a selection of thought-provoking endgames. Find here six instructive positions, annotated by our in-house expert. | Photo: Mark Livshitz / FIDE

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Underestimating the opponent’s attacking chances

In round 8, Alexandra Kosteniuk scored her fifth win of the event. The eventual champion defeated Anna Muzychuk by converting an opposite-coloured bishops endgame (with rooks still on the board) in which she had an extra pawn.


Closing the king’s inroads

King activity is often crucial in endgames, as proven in the confrontation between Alina Kashlinskaya and Humpy Koneru.


A surprising king move

In a battle of rising talents, Zhu Jiner defeated Dinara Wagner from the black side of a pure opposite-coloured bishops ending.


Do not rush

Yet another pure opposite-coloured bishops endgame that did not finish in a draw. Nana Dzagnidze rushed with her pawn push on move 36, but Tan Zhongyi failed to find the refutation that would have granted her a half point.


The cut-off - Part I

Cutting off the king is a useful tool in rook endgames. Alina Kashlinskaya could have drawn her game against Dinara Wagner had she employed this idea on move 62.


The cut-off - Part II

A similar idea was seen in the game between Elisabeth Paehtz and Zhu Jiner from the penultimate round. In this example, it was White who failed to cut off the opposite king when it mattered most.


Endgames of the World Champions from Fischer to Carlsen

Let endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller show and explain the finesses of the world champions. Although they had different styles each and every one of them played the endgame exceptionally well, so take the opportunity to enjoy and learn from some of the best endgames in the history of chess.


Karsten Müller is considered to be one of the greatest endgame experts in the world. His books on the endgame - among them "Fundamentals of Chess Endings", co-authored with Frank Lamprecht, that helped to improve Magnus Carlsen's endgame knowledge - and his endgame columns for the ChessCafe website and the ChessBase Magazine helped to establish and to confirm this reputation. Karsten's Fritztrainer DVDs on the endgame are bestsellers. The mathematician with a PhD lives in Hamburg, and for more than 25 years he has been scoring points for the Hamburger Schachklub (HSK) in the Bundesliga.
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Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 2/18/2023 11:39
Charles Sullivan gives: "44...Be4! is more tenacious and might defend, but matters are deep, e.g. 45.h5 Rh8 46.Rd4! Bb1 Sullivan: A winning, but incomprehensible variation begins 47.Rh4

a) Wolfram gives 47.Bf4 Rxh5 48.Rd6+ Kf5 49.Rxa6 Rh1 50.Rb6 Bd3 51.Bd6 Re1 52.Kf3 Re2 53.b3 Kxg6 54.a6 Re1 55.a7 Be4+ 56.Kf2 Ra1 57.Bb8 Kh5 58.Ke3 Ba8 59.Rxb5+ g5 60.Rc5 Kg4 61.Rc4+ Kh5 62.Rc8 f5 63.Kd4 f4 64.Bxf4 Rxa7 65.Bd6+–;

b) Also winning is 47.h6 gxh6 (47...Bxg6 48.hxg7 Rg8 49.Bh6 Bh7 50.Kf3 Bf5 51.Rd2 Bg6 52.b4+– also wins.) 48.g7 Re8 49.Bxh6 Rg8 50.b4 Bh7 51.Kf2 Rc8 52.Bf4 Rxc3 53.Rd6+ Kf7 54.Rxa6 Kxg7 55.Ra7+ Kg6 56.Rb7 Bg8 57.Rxb5 Rc6 58.Rb8 Bc4 59.Ke1 Kf5 60.Bd2 Ke6 61.b5 Rc5 62.b6 Re5+ 63.Kd1 Ba6 64.Ra8 Bb7 65.Ra7 Bf3+ 66.Kc2 Rb5 67.Kc3 Bd5 68.Kd4 Kd6 69.Bf4+ Ke6 70.Bh6 Bg2 71.Kc4 Rb1 72.Kc5 Rh1 73.Be3 Rh5+ 74.Kb4 Rh4+ 75.Kc3 Rh3 76.Kd2 Rh2 77.a6+–;

47...Bc2 48.Rh2 Bf5 49.Bf4 Kd5 50.h6! Rg8 51.h7! Rh8 52.Rh6!! (the only move that wins) 52...Ke4 53.Bc1 Bd7 54.Rh4+ Kf5 55.Rd4 Be8 56.Rd8 Kxg6 57.Ra8 Kxh7 58.Rxa6 Kg6 59.Ra8 Rg8 60.Rb8 Bf7 61.Rxb5 Ra8 62.Be3 Bc4 63.Rc5 Bb3 64.Kf2 Kh7 65.Rh5+ Kg8 66.Rb5 Ba4 67.Rc5 Bb3 68.Bd4 Kf7 69.Rb5 Bc4 70.Rb7+ Ke6 71.b4 Kd5 72.Rc7 Bd3 73.Ke3 Bf1 74.c4+ Kd6 75.Rc5 Bg2 76.Kd2 Be4 77.Kc3+–"
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 2/18/2023 11:24
One remark regarding the first example A.Kosteniuk - A.Muzychuk. My suggestion 44...Be4 45.h5 Rh8 is more tenacious, but does not draw as Wolfram Schön has found out and Charles Sullivan has confirmed this. Magnus Carlsen knows, why he does not believe in fortresses...