What is it about endgames?

…that allows a travesty of justice such as this to happen?

Apparently he lost on time, but in the final position Crafty likes Black after either recapture. Even with the rook-trade, I figured out after …Rxp, RxR NxR, Kf5 Nc3, if a pawn moves Nd5 is obvious draw, if Kf6..Nxa, Kxf7, knight comes over and sacs itself for the g-pawn. White has 1 pawn and bishop for 3 pawns. Black easily forces the exchange of White’s last remaining pawn – okay so Crafty figured out the knight sac for the pawn part, but I guessed that it was heading there since at first I didn’t calculate Kxf7 giving up the a-pawn.

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12 thoughts on “What is it about endgames?

  1. Aziridine, I’ll take your word for it.

    Now this game is a thing of beauty. A Keres-attack taking down a Najdorf Sicilian.

    In this Najdorf game, Maurice takes two moves to play ..Qc7 and then after …d5, never takes ..dxe4. Very interesting opening.

  2. That’s technically an English Attack – the Keres is 6.g4 in the Scheveningen.
    No doubt 12…Qc8 was played to avoid the piece vs. three pawns endgame that arises after 12…Qc7 13.Ndxb5. Also he doesn’t want to take on e4 since that opens up the f-file. The whole line looks a little too slow for Black, but I don’t know much about the Najdorf so I’m not sure where he should’ve played differently – the statistics for 11…Rc8 are better but I can’t really tell you why.

  3. I wouldn’t sac a piece for 3 pawns there unless something comes after that. If Black gets one pawn back he is good, or sac two pawns for the piece and if it’s not the right endgame it may not win. There has to be a heavier dynamic or it’s just a technical game where White to create some endgame advantage extremely carefully. I sort of want the pawns out of the way as Black. Plus, then White’s whole game revolves around that and play is very defined, much less intuitive than technical.

  4. Well that endgame is a common theme several Sicilian lines and White has won a couple of games in my database where Black did play Qc7 and White did take on b5. Three connected passers on the queenside is nothing to sneeze at.

  5. Well maybe it even gets some huge advantage for White and we should aim for that position until losses tell us otherwise. But would you really have played this if it weren’t in books and databases?

  6. Well if you think about it, you’ve got three healthy pawns in the form connected passers (doesn’t get much better than that) plus the bishop pair to boot and Black has no obvious plan to generate counterplay or restore the material balance (I mean, try to suggest a constructive plan for Black). I can’t say I’d feel totally comfortable as White but I really wouldn’t want to be Black there.
    Anyways check out Bronstein-Najdorf, Buenos Aires 1954. Not surprising it happens to be a creative player like Bronstein who leads the way…

  7. The second game is a much better example, White retains a heavy dynamic in the position.

    I think the first example is more the position we had in mind from the Ashley game. I wouldn’t play it like Najdorf, that’s for sure. First, Black needs to get rooks active perhaps double on the c-file.

    What does Najdorf do? Apparently his strategy is to get rid of his “bad” bishop. First, you need that bishop and the rooks, and the pawn push …e5 is not only dreadful but it let the White knight in. If that is the way people play that position as Black or it was all somehow forced (yeah right, it had to be played that way), then I guess White should go for it. Second example, yes, I approve of that one.

    Forgot to mention the obvious, after BxN, FOUR connected passed pawns. Jimminy Cricket, the game was lost right there, and he was trying to defend/attack it with a knight. Thanks for the links, though, interesting games! ;-D

  8. But even if he doubles on the c-file, the c-pawn is easy for White to defend and he is planning to play c2-c4 anyway. It’s harder for me to rationalize 19…e5 but maybe Najdorf felt like the c5-knight needed to have the e6-square in case White plays b4 at some point. My point is not to prove that Najdorf’s moves were best or even good, but that this can be a difficult endgame for Black to hold even for someone with Najdorf’s level of technique, because White has all the play.
    I recall Mednis once discussed this piece vs. three pawns endgame in his book “Practical Opening Tips.” Too bad I didn’t get a chance to read it…

  9. I have his practical middlegame tips, maybe it’s in there. 🙂

    Yeah, I just looked at it quickly and thought the Ba6 and knight could support the bishop there. Black needs to come up with a 2 pawn for piece sac that gets into White’s position, play on the other side could be great if there were time. It seems like timing is crucial as Black sets up for the White pawns advance, tries to hold it for a while.

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