Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


They Don't Make Endgames Like They Used To

#8  Petrosian-Euwe (click here to view on

In this game Petrosian gets to play his favorite positional squeeze, and to cap it off there's a classic endgame, coming from the days when you could do some homework after the fortieth move.  

I was going to comment on this game, but there's almost too much to summarize...except to say buy Bronstein's book!  He turns what may look like a dry maneuvering battle into an epic struggle.  

#9  Gligoric-Smyslov (click here to view on

Here it's Black to move.  Gligoric got a little frisky in the opening and for his troubles he coughed up a pawn.  
Bronstein: White has his counterchances: a queenside pawn majority and the d-file.  How many similar games have been drawn because of inexact play!  Smyslov, however, manages such endings with an iron hand.  His plan may be divided into the following phases:
1. The immediate exchange of one rook, leaving the other to restrain White's queenside pawns and attack the c- and e-pawns.
2. Deflecting White's rook to the h-file by the threat to create an outside passed pawn and then occupying the d-file with his own rook.
3. Advancing the g-pawn to g4, undermining the e-pawn's support, which is the f3-pawn.
4. Tying up Whites pieces by attacking the e-pawn.
5. Sending his king in to pick off the weak pawns.

An example of the outstanding commentary from this book - in a game between us amateurs I'd give White good drawing chances, but watch and learn...

20. ....      Rfd8
21. R1d1  RxR    (Part 1 complete)
22. RxR  Kf8
23. f3     Ke7
24. Kf2   h5!
25. Ke3  g5!     
26. Rh2  Rd8    (and now part 2, taking over the d-file.   The advantages become more obvious)

27. Rh1  g4       (Part 3)
28. fxg   Nxg4+
29. Ke2  Nf6
30. Ke3  Rd4    (And now part 4, the siege of the e-pawn, begins in earnest)
31. Rf1   Ng4+
32. Ke2  Kf8!     (Believe it or not, Black plans, unless better options arise, to march the king to g4 and push his pawns to the endzone; this is the start of part 5)

33. Rf3   Kg7
34. Rd3            (Not liking the sound of inevitability, White tries for a knight endgame, which unfortunately also turns out to be losing)
34. .....  Kf6
35. RxR  exR
36. Nb5  Ke5
37. Nxa7  Kxe4

and White resigned in a further 4 moves, having little defense against the strength of Black's advancing pawns.  What is remarkable to me about this ending is the way in which Smyslov wastes no moves shifting between plans, but rather identifies and exploits White's weaknesses with laser-like precision.  Easy as 1-2-3...(4-5-....)


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