15 February 2008

Kings and Pawns

In a Club Championship game this evening I had White in the following position. I played 31.Rxf7+

Did I err?

What alternative plan should White consider?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


  1. Did I err?

    This question can only be answered by the depth of your analysis at the board PRIOR to playing this move. Without moving the pieces I can give:

    31.Rf7 Rf7 32.Rf7 Kf7 33.Nd6 Ke7 34.Ne8 Ke8 (this is where the real work starts) 35.Kf2 [35.Kf1 Ke7 36.Ke2 Ke6 37.Kd3 Ke5 looks like at least a draw for Black] 35...Ke7 36.Kf3 Ke6 37.Ke4 d3 38.Kd3 Ke5 when White should be able to convert the extra pawn.

    The lines above come at a glance, if this happened to me in a game I would spend time on the position after 38.Kd3 Ke5 before playing Rxf7 and I would try to find a win. I'm a big fan of deep, deep calculation in pawn endgames and I have won many games simply by going the extra move. But if you hadn't worked it out it's playing with fire.

    What alternative plan should White consider?

    I do not really see the justification for giving the extra piece (unless you have worked out the line above TO THE END [Kotov]), I would probably just play Nd6 since Black cannot defend the f7 pawn (Re7 is met with Nc8 and Rf8 is met with e6). I think a logical line after this is:

    31.Nd6 Re5 32.Rf7 Rf7 33.Rf7 Kg8 and here a move like 34.Rd7 intending Nb5-c3 and ending Black's dream of creating counterplay with the d pawn should win.

  2. The key seemed to me the fantasy position that was fairly easy to achieve, as most of the moves were forced.


    Here I decided that I would play b3 with the idea of a3 and b4, creating an elementary endgame where an outside passed pawn removes the defending king from the action on the other wing of the board. Jeremy Silman calls this technique the fox in the chicken coop.

    Once I realized that the sacrifice of knight for pawn to force all the rooks off the board was winning, there was no reason to look at anything else. When I can force a position that I could comfortably play even against the likes of Kramnik, I play it.