Monday, April 27, 2015


White to play
Aagaard - Tocco, Arco 2007

I found this week’s position, just like BORP? XXXII's, in Grandmaster versus Amateur (Quality Chess, 2011). A book that doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on public chess consciousness, but one that I really liked all the same.

Anyhoo, to finally get around to RdC’s question from last week,
Did Shaw in his notes indicate why he rejected it?
"It" being the red pill option of trading to a won pawn ending.  Answer: yes he did.
I could argue I was following John Nunn’s DAUT dictum (Don’t Analyse Unnecessary Tactics) and the rook ending in the game is a simple win. The truth is I was falling into the habit of avoiding all tactics and I never spotted that 41 Rd6+ was a legal move.

So there you go.

Anyhoo, back to Aagaard against Tocco which is mentioned in the first chapter of this rather lovely collection of essays.

Keep the rooks on with 72 c6

Go for the pawn ending with 72 Rxd6+

BORP? Index
King and pawn Index


Jack Rudd said...

The pawn ending seems to be winning, yesno? The white king gets to g5 before the black one gets further right than the c-file.

Jonathan B said...


an ordinary chessplayer said...

The Shaw position was harder, a choice between gaining a pawn with rooks on or losing a pawn with rooks off.

If only one move wins, choose that one. If both moves win, we should prefer to simplify by swapping rooks. If neither move wins, complicate by keeping the rooks on.

But here, swapping wins for sure, whereas keeping rooks on is not crystal clear.

Jonathan B said...

... here, swapping wins for sure

Umm ...

Anonymous said...

Those wishing to be informed can look up the pawn ending on a six man tablebase. This tells us that White may be making the best practical decision if he goes into the ending.


Jonathan B said...

Those wishing to be informed can look up the pawn ending on a six man table base.

Well, yes. Or you could consider it an interesting puzzle to solve and have a good think yourself. ;-)

Niall said...

Using just my head (no board and no Nalimov) it seems the white king gets to eat the black pawns and stop the black king eating the white pawn AND the black king doesn't get in front of the white pawn.

Off the top of my head.

Jack Rudd said...

*Nalimovs it*

OK, that one was impressive.

Jonathan Rogers said...

C'mon guys, have faith in Jonathan B - I knew he wouldn't give us a very easy one. What if Black throws in an early ... h5 instead of moving the king to the queenside at once?

Gave up on the darned thing myself.

an ordinary chessplayer said...

Here is the line I already had in mind when I said "easy": 1.Rxd6+ Rxd6 2.cxd6 Kxd6 3.Kf3 Kd5 4.Kg3 Ke4 (4...Kc4 is TOO easy: 5.Kh4 Kb3 6.Kh5 Kxb2 7.Kxh6 Kc3 8.Kg5 Kd4 9.Kxf5 +-) 5.b4 (A) Kd4 6.Kh4 Kc4 7.Kh5 Kxb4 8.Kxh7 Kc5 9.Kg5 (B) Kd6 10.Kxf5 Ke7 11.Kg6 +-

No tablebase, no moving the pieces, just analysing from the initial diagram. I also saw previously that in position A, if black could play 5...h4+, he would draw. But he can't, so he doesn't.

Going back to black's second, black can try 2..h5: 3.Kf3 Kxd6 (3...h4? is just ridiculous: 4.Kg2 Kxd6 5.Kh3 +-) 4.Kg3 Kd5 and now 5.b4 is the "only" move. But it's not "hard". 5...Kc4 6.Kh4 Kxb4 7.Kxh5 Kc5 8.Kg5 reaching position B from my original analysis.

AdamFF said...

I completely fell for the "easily winning" pawn ending yesterday.
Had another glance today (as Jonathan R says, why post something so straightforward?) and now reckon it's a draw.
My line is similar to AOC's, except for the key point of Black playing 5 ... Kd4. After 6. Kh4 Ke4 Black can take on f4 and head for b8, and after 6. b4 Kc4 Black can take that pawn and head for e6.
A great example of the dangers of swapping down to a pawn ending. It would be even more infuriating as the rook ending after 1. c6 with the connected passed pawns looks good.

an ordinary chessplayer said...

4...Kd4 you mean. And head for f7 you mean. Egads.