17 December 2008

Beware Stalemate

When I was preparing for the Spokane City Championship last summer, John Julian told me to figure out what my opponent needed to do to beat me, and take that away. It was good advice, but not so easy to apply when there is so much else to think about.

Corresponding to that idea is the recognition of the opponent's drawing resources when a win is imminent. Such is the case in this simple looking king and pawn exercise from Laszlo Polgar, Chess Endgames.

White to move +-

Among Black's resources is the sacrifice of the a-pawn with the hope of reaching this fantasy position.

Black to move =


  1. 1. Kf2 a6 2. a4 Kh1 3. b5 h3 4. bxa6 h2 5. a7

    It's the only way i can think of getting to the position in the last diagram.

  2. I got there 1.Kf2 Kh1 2.a4 a5 3.bxa5 h3 4.a6 h2 5.a7

    But that just another way to fail. The object is to win, and there are a few instructive nuances along the way.