Endgame Corner

Analysis by Christian Westrap

One of the most important decisions that a player has to make in a rook endgame is whether to trade rooks and enter into a pawn endgame.  Pawn endings are notoriously tricky and the 2 examples that follow show that this decision is not always as straight-forward as it looks.

The first position occurred in K. Smith vs J. Weatherlake in the recent Highcliffe A vs Poole A match.  Ken has just played 29. Rc2-f2, offering black the chance to simplify into a favourable pawn endgame.  John, in time trouble, incorrectly decided to refuse the swap but the question still remains as to whether this pawn ending was winning for black?  The endgame that would have ensued is complicated, interesting and surprising!

 

 

To see, the solution, click here!

 

The second position is simpler but interesting nevertheless.  Here the game in question was A. Manson vs C. Westrap from the 1st round of the Highcliffe Swiss, played this year.  I had just simplified into this ending and with my last move 34… Rf6-e6, I offered a rook exchange which, at the board, I felt sure Andy had to refuse.  The pawn ending looked to me to be completely winning but as I analysed at the board I became less and less sure…

 

To see the analysis of both games, and the conclusions, click here!

 

Opening Traps

By John Jenkins

Everyone loves a good opening trap!  In this section we will look at some well-known and lesser well-known traps that can ensnare an unwary opponent and gain a decisive advantage after only a few moves.

The fourth position comes from the Chigorin Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined and is a lesson in what not to do with your queen in the opening!  In this position white can exploit the black queen’s position and win material immediately.

 

 

Many thanks to our club Tournement Director John Jenkins for sending this, and many other, positions in.  If you have an interesting opening trap to send in then please let us know and we will feature it on the website!

To see the analysis of this game from move 1, click here!

 

The following endgame puzzle features a position from a game between 2 Russian grandmasters that was played in the 1980s.  The solution is of great practical value as it illustrates both the main winning and defensive techniques in these types of positions. The ending of Rook vs Pawn occurs quite often in practise and is usually the result of a rook ending where the weaker side has sacrificed his rook for the stronger sides passed pawn.  This was the case in this ending and the question remains, how does white stop the enemy g-pawn without losing his rook?  Followers of chess puzzles should, quite rightly, be a bit suspicious of the obvious move here but how does white improve on this and win the enemy pawn by force?

 

Solving endgame studies is a great way to improve your game.  Besides having practical benefit though some of these studies have solutions that are quite astounding.  This 1925 study by Platov is a case in point as the position looks so natural.  This one is tricky but, have a go, as the solution is well worth it!  White is a piece up but black is close to queening his g-pawn.  A word of warning though as this puzzle features an ‘obvious’ solution that fails.  A hint as to the correct solution is that, in the mainline, white does not prevent the g-pawn from queening!

 

To see the solutions, click here!

 

Members Games

Here we will show some games played by our members.  If you have played an interesting game or have any chess related stories that you would like to share, then please let us know!

Games included so far:

A. Tyler vs R.Ursell

K. Smith vs J. Coles

C. Westrap vs D. Holmes

R. Halse vs D. Popovic

To see the games, with a few added comments, click here!