22 February 2012

Stopping Pawns

Lesson of the Week

Take your time to study this position. The game was played on Chess.com at three days per move as part of the World League. Black represented Team USA: Northwest and White represented Team Slovakia.

Black to move
Count the passed pawns. Evaluate the chances that each one has for promotion. What must be done to stop each pawn?

White could have claimed a draw by repetition after the moves 44... Rb2+ 45.Nb3 Ra2 46.Na5 Rb2+ 47.Nb3 Ra2 48.Na5. The same position has occurred three times with the same player to move. In fact, two different positions have been repeated three times, and if Black plays 48...Rb2+, a third position will have appeared for the third time. The position in the diagram appeared after White's moves 44, 46, and 48.

Black was repeating the position because he believed that he could not stop White's a-pawn. If he could find a way to stop this threat, his own passed pawns become the focus.


  1. ..g4 and it looks like Black is winning to me.

  2. I wanted to play g4, but realised that after a7 White promotes first.