Monday, May 25, 2015

An Endgame Battle for Memorial Day 2015

White to move after 26. .....Bxd8

Here we have a position with Black winning slightly (-.3) due to his bishop pair on an open, two pawn island board.
White’s best plan is to challenge Black’s pawns while the Black bishops are still relaxing on the back rank. 
White should be thinking ‘draw’ and not trying to win here. 27. f3, or g4 or even b4 are all good options. 
Trading pawns gets White closer to a forced draw. The text move is OK but a little slow starting the ‘Plan’.

27. Ke2                       Kf7
28. f3                           exf3
29. gxf3                       b5?
The wrong plan for Black. The correct move is to activate a bishop with 29….Bc7, freezing the knight by x-raying an attack on White’s g-pawn. The game is now EVEN.
So why is neither side offering a draw? Black likes his more advanced e-pawn and the weakness of White's backward g-pawn and the previously mentioned Bishop pair. White think his Knight can pick on pawns on the white squares once the white squared bishops are traded. They fight on.

30. cxb5                      cxb5
31. Nd3                       Bb6
32. a4                          Ke6
33. g4?                        fxg4
White has opened too many lines for the bishop pair. Trading pawns with axb5 was preferred. White should be thinking ‘draw’ here and not playing for a win. (-1)

34. fxg4                       h6
35. Kf3                        Kf6
36. axb5                      axb5
37. Nf4?                      Kg5
White to move after 37. ......Kg5

White is over taxed on the white squares and needs to play 37. b4, letting the knight help his bishop out on defense. (-1.2)

38. Nd5?                     Bxg4+
Just plain bad. Now White is down a pawn and almost down another pawn positionally.
White is going all out, trying for a cheap trick. Let’s see if he succeeds. (-1.9)

39. Kg3                       Bc5?
Not good. 39. ……Bd4 was correct because is stops White’s attempt at a swindle. (-1)

40. Nc3                       b4??
The simple 40. …..Bd6+ holds the advantage for Black. Now White takes over with a huge lead. (+4.5)

41. Ne4+                    A knight's favorite piece of cutlery - the fork! The trap worked and White wins fifteen moves later.

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