Endgames are often tricky. Every tempo is important, how the pieces are positioned is key, and it is necessary to be precise. All of that is particularly true in king and pawn endgames, as in our game-of-the-day.
Markus Ragger is a talented Austrian grandmaster on the cusp of joining the world’s super-elite: Players with ratings higher than 2700. In this game from the Bundesliga against another strong grandmaster, Ivan Saric of Croatia, Ragger demonstrates the superb technique of an elite player.
1. d4Nf62. c4g63. Nc3Bg74. e4d65. Nf3O-O6. Be2e57. O-ONc68. dxe5dxe59. Bg5Qxd110. Rfxd1Bg411. h3Bxf312. Bxf3Nd413. Nd5Nxd514. cxd5c615. Rac1cxd516. exd5e417. Be3exf318. Bxd4Bxd419. Rxd4Rac820. Rxc8Rxc821. g4Kf822. d6Rd823. Kh2f624. Kg3Kf725. Kxf3Rd726. Kf4Ke627. g5f528. Ke3Rxd629. Rxd6+Kxd6I hope readers will forgive me for only starting my analysis at this point. The proceeding moves were boring and uneventful, but the king and pawn (and ultimately queen!) endgame was very interesting. 30. Kd4!First things first: White takes some space
in the center with his king. Black is in trouble because White has the opposition, and White also can play h4, f3, and f4 if he needs extra tempi. 30... b6!Black chooses the right squares for his pawns. By placing the pawn on b6, he
controls the c5 square and can hope to shuffle with Kd6-e6-d6 without allowing
White to invade.
( 30... b5By comparison, this move loses directly 31. b4and since c5 is not under control, White quickly invades and wins )
31. b4White prepares the decisive queenside breakthrough. He will need to loosen up
the Black structure to find a way to end the game 31... Ke632. f3!Patience
( 32. Kc4?It was not too late to spoil the game. This seems to win directly because Black is not in time to save the queenside, but he can look for
counterplay... 32... Ke5!33. Kb5Ke434. Ka6Kf335. Kxa7Kxf236. Kxb6Kg3And Bblack will queen his pawn as well, holding a draw easily )
32... Kd633. f4!The situation is similar to what it was earlier with the exception that the e5 square is under control 33... Ke634. Kc4?!A step in the wrong direction 34... Kd635. Kd4!One of the most important
qualities in a successful chess player is being able to admit mistakes. Ragger
simply repeats the position with the intention of finding a strong move next
( 35. Kb5Continuing along the same plan would squander a half point 35... Kd536. Ka6Ke4 )
35... Ke636. a3!The final important move. White
calculates the tempi accurately.
( 36. a4Kd6This may still be winning, but it is much less effective. White would much prefer this position with Black to
36... Kd637. a4!And Black is finally zugzwang 37... a6
( 37... Ke638. Kc4!Finally this plan is fast enough to win the game 38... Kd639. Kb5Ke640. Ka6Kd541. Kxa7Ke442. Kxb6Kxf443. a5Kg344. a6f445. a7f346. a8=QWhite wins by one tempo, thanks to the advances a2-a3 and a3-a4
before the race began )
( 37... Kc638. Ke5a539. bxa5bxa540. Kd4!Simple
enough, but why calculate? 40... Kd641. h4!and the reserve
tempo I mentioned earlier flips the reciprocal zugzwang around. Black
loses the a-pawn 41... Kc642. Kc4Kb643. Kd5 )
38. a5!The correct advance. White
needed to weaken the all-important c5 square
( 38. b5a5Black can once
again shuffle with Kd6-e6 )
( 38... b539. h4!Once again, this
reserve tempo means everything )
39. bxa5Kc6Black attempts to race, but it
will not be close 40. Ke5Kb541. Kf6Kxa542. Kg7Kb543. Kxh7a544. Kxg6a445. Kh5a346. g6a247. g7a1=Q48. g8=QWith an extra pawn and more active
king, White is winning easily. The rest requires no comment. 48... Qd1+49. Kh6Qd350. Qb8+Ka451. h4Qg352. Qe8+Kb353. Qe6+Ka454. Qxf5Qxh4+55. Kg6Ka356. Qd3+Kb257. Qd2+Kb158. f5Qe459. Qd1+Kb260. Qd6Kb161. Qb6+Kc162. Qe6Qg2+63. Kf7Qb7+64. Qe7Qd5+65. Kg6Qd366. Qg5+Kb167. Kh6Qh3+68. Kg7Qc3+69. f6Qd470. Kh6Qd671. Qg6+Ka272. f7Qf4+73. Kg7Qd4+74. Kg8Qc475. Qf5Ka176. Qf6+Ka277. Kh8
Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 7 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players