Since creating my Youtube Channel, I haven’t written too many formal blog posts, so here we go.
For today’s post, I wanted to share three different endgame positions from my games. In each position, it is your job to decide how to carry out your plan.
Al-Hariri–Steincamp (Continental Class Championships, 2013)
Black to Move and Win
1… f4+! Hopefully you found this one. By sacrificing the f-pawn, you create a passed g-pawn. White has no hope to defend. 2.gxf4+ Kf5 -+ White must give up the pawn on f4 because the g-pawn covers f3.
Steincamp–Wu (Northern Virginia Open, 2013)
White to Move and Win
There are several ways to win, but the point of the puzzle is to create a plan. Black’s only hope is his isolated e-pawn, so its critical to keep the king in close proximity. Meanwhile, White has a kingside majority. In this position, I decided to fix my opponent’s h-pawn. 1. g5 Kd6 2. h5 Ke6 3. h6 This move threatens g5-g6, with the idea of creating a passed pawn on the h-file. 3… Ke7 Black must give up his e-pawn and the game is over. 4. Kxe5 Kf7 5. Kf5 Kg8 6. Ke6 Kf8 7. Kf6 I didn’t want too calculate too much in such an easy position, so I just found the easiest way to make the position the most inconvenient for my opponent. 7…Kg8 8. Ke7 Kh8 9. Kd6 Kg8 10. Kc5 I could never win the h-pawn, but I could win the b-pawn. Once I pushed my opponent to the corner of the board, I just waltzed my way to b4. 1-0
The key with this position was not so much to calculate each and every line, but determine a clear plan, and execute it with the fewest amount of complications.
Steincamp–Baumgartner (Eastern Open, 2012)
Black to Move and Win
This one is the hardest of the three puzzles. Black, up a pawn, must not be materialistic and find the aggressive 1… Ke5! sacrificing the pawn. With my king defending the kingside, I have no hope to stop the passed b-pawn. 2. Rxg6 Kd4 3. Kf1 Kc3 4. Ke2 b4 5. Rd6 b3 6. Rd3+ Kc2 covering both b2 and b1, the pawn is unstoppable. 7. Rd2+ Kb1 8. Rd1+ Ka2 9. Rd8 b2 10. Ra8+ Kb3 11. Rb8+ Kc2 0-1
My opponent played this endgame very well. If he had opted to not play 1… Ke5!, he might have only earned a half point. Again, the key is not to be materialistic, but to find resources for activity and counterplay… Especially in a rook endgame.
Feel like I missed something? Feel free to comment below!