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yanm 46 ( +1 | -1 )
End-game Analysis I recently completed a league game ('blitzed it away' would be more accurate). I blundered away a knight in the middle game but I was, somehow, able to salvage a draw. Is it really a draw or was it some gain to be had for white? And when did my opponent lost his lead?

board #5698431

Thanks for any insights,

kewms 202 ( +1 | -1 )
At move 30 or so, White was clearly winning: two extra pawns, good pawn structure, and bishop vs. knight with pawns on both sides of the board.

Black, meanwhile, should have played much more actively, getting his knight off the edge, putting his rook on the 2nd rank to cut off White's King and then getting behind the e-pawn as quickly as possible. The ideal position would have the rook behind the e-pawn, but far enough back to shift over to the b-file if necessary.

Of course, best play for White would have countered all of that, since his own rook belongs behind his passed pawns, too. In front of them, it has less and less activity as the pawns advance. I'm not sure when he lost his lead exactly, but it started to slip away when he demolished his own K-side pawns and was definitely gone after he traded bishop for knight.

White's advantage in the final position is very small. I assume the draw offer was based on the idea of a Rook trade on e6, getting rid of one pawn, and then the King is just close enough to stop the b-pawn. Then Black has two pawns to White's one, but his King is too far away to protect them. However, the rook trade is not forced. Instead, White can play Rb7, trading the e-pawn for Black's h-pawn and keeping his own Rook on the board. Probably White's b-pawn and Black's g-pawn both go away quite soon, leaving a very difficult struggle to queen a rook pawn. All of which is very theoretical and very hard to assess without more analysis than I have time for this morning. I would say probably drawn with best play, but even GMs have trouble with this kind of ending.

As Black, you were right to jump all over the draw offer. If anyone is better in the final position, it's White. As White, I might have played on for a while, but that's in part because I'm very stubborn and enjoy endgames.

yanm 44 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Katherine I envisaged several scenarios. Most of them ended in K vs K+P ending, where black intent was to queen is a-pawn and white goal was to avoid this. The other scenarios invloved black keeping is rook but these seemed highly technical and dangerous for both sides... All in all, I was quite happy of the draw since I was behind most of the game!

loreta 5 ( +1 | -1 )
Final position Not proved, that the last position is a draw...
ionadowman 147 ( +1 | -1 )
An interesting game... ...its mistakes notwithstanding. After all, Tartakover once remarked that the winner of any game is the one who made the second-to-last mistake. But it's easier to work out what one did wrong than what one did right!
Clearly, 20.Nb5 allowed Black a very nasty pin that soon recovered the piece. I would probably have doubled rooks [20.Rfd1], retaining White's grip on the d-file, and obviating any tactical surprises.
White seems to have retained some edge until Move 33, as Katherine observes:
33.g4?? is in fact an oversight that dumps 2 pawns for nothing. White's back rank was starting to look vulnerable, but a safe response seems to be 33.Ra1, then 34.Re1, placing the rook behind the passed e-pawn. That pawn would have been hard to stop.
The final position does seem to be drawn, for mine.
40.Rb7 won't do: 40.Rb7 Rxe6 41.Rxh7 Rb6...etc Nor will exchanging White's advanced pawns for Black's remaining ones (if this were feasible) help. K+R+Rook pawn vs K+R is a book draw, unless special circumstances prevail e.g. the defending King is cut off from the action in some way. This would be very unlikely here. Nor does there seem to be any kind of zugszwang position available that White can aim for - none that I can find, anyhow.
ionadowman 104 ( +1 | -1 )
A discovery... The final position is definitely a draw. White is in zugszwang, it seems!
Let's see what happens if White tries 40.Kf3, a plausible move.
40.Kf3 Rxe6!! 41.Rxe6 Kxe6 ... Now it looks as though that while Black goes after the distant b-pawn, White will be able to clear out Black's K-side pawns , whence he can drive home the h-pawn. Well, I've had a similar situation arise in one of my GK games, with the same disappointing result. Let's see...
42.Kf4 h6 43.b6 Kd6 44.b7 Kc7 45.Ke5 Kxb7 46.Kf6 g5 47.Kg6 Kc6 48.Kxh6 g4 49.Kg5 Kd5 50.Kxg4 Ke6 51.Kg5 Kf7 52.Kh6 and Black can choose from 52...Kg8 or 52...Kf6 with a simple book draw. Can White improve?
42.Ke4 Kd6 43.Kd4 g5 44.Ke4 Kc5 45.Kf5 h6. 46.Kg6 Kxb5 47.Kxh6 g4 48.Kg5 Kc5 49.Kxg4 Yes, white seems to have gained a tempo over the previous line. It's clear that Black's K ain't gonna reach h8...
49...Kd6 50.Kf5 Ke7 51.Kg6 Kf8 52.Kh7 Kf7 =
Black has the next best thing. White cannot get off the h-file without he gives Black the chance to get there himself. Black has the opposition for the moment, so White might try a waiting move: 53.h3 [or h4] Kf8. Now what? 54.h4 [or h5] Kf7 "as you were", or 54.Kg6 Kg8, and there's no way Black can be prised out of the corner.
A useful addition to one's technique, methinks...
misato 122 ( +1 | -1 )
33. g4 was not too bad I don't agree with ionadowman concerning 33. g4:

It doesn't dump two pawns for nothing, it accelerates White's e-pawn-promotion. After 33. g4 Kxf3 34. e5+ Kxg4 35. e6 Nf6 this pawn has only two steps left for its "total-body-transplantation" - and the white bishop covers the very important spaces e4 (black rook), f3 (black King) and especially e8 (own pawn). I can neither see any danger for White's back rank nor a promising black defense on the e-file.

36. e7 immediately wins the black knight but looses the valuable e-pawn. White should win in the end (plan: get the black b6-pawn and mobilize the own b-pawn). But there are some bothersome black checks and maybe a little bit of counterplay if Black gets the h-pawn and pushes forward his own pawn-pair.
36. Rf7 gives hope for a much easier win because it controls the f-line, attacks the h7-pawn (protecting h2) and wins the knight anyway (36. - Ng8 37. Rxh7 or 36. - Kf5 37. Rxh7 Ke6, both with the intention of e6-e7). In the end Black can be happy to manage the knight-vs.-pawn-trade, but in this case White has a more comfortable position than after 36. e7.

In my eyes White had a won position most of the time, the game became drawish as soon as he decided to trade his mighty bishop (controlling e8!) with the opponent's knight.
loreta 5 ( +1 | -1 )
It seems - it's a draw really As after 40.Kf3 Rxe6!! 41.Rxe6 Kxe6
42. b6 Kd6 43. b7 Kc7 44. b8Q+ (or 44. Ke4) Kxb8 45. Ke4 Kc7 46. Ke5 Kd7 47. Kf6 Kd6 48. Kg7 Ke6 (=)
loreta 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Reverse playing As final position looks like drawish,
I went back to move 37. e7!? and Black has to give out Knight for a pawn.
And even 37. Rxh7 could leave winning chances... Maybe... No deep analysis, anyway...
ionadowman 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Quite right, misato! ... I 'trusted' the game continuation. Not my usual practice! 33.g4! is an attractive move, sound and probably winning. My apologies to the players as well as the readers of this forum.
After 33.g4 Kxf3 [Black doesn't have a lot of choice here] 34.e5+ Kxg4 35.e6 Kf5 36.e7 Rb1+ 37.Kf2 Rb2+ 38.Ke3 Nf6 39.Ra6 Ke6 40.e8=Q+ Nxe8 40.Bxe8 Rxh2 41.Rxb6+, or some such line (the move order can vary), White seems strong enough to win. Black will soon have to drop his rook to stop White's b-pawn, leaving himself with 2 pawns vs R+B. Those pawns will have to be well protected and far advanced to make head against those odds!

But I still prefer 33.Ra1, followed by 34.Re1. Not as spectacular as 33.g4, it does seem to put a marked crimp on Black's counterplay. Black's King has his thumb in the dyke for now, but he won't be able to hold back the flood waters for long.
yanm 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks folks there is much to meditate on...
maaarten 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks! intersting analysis by all of you!