04 April 2012


Working anew through the first chapter of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual, I got stuck on one of the exercises.

White to move
3b4/p6k/8/2R5/8/5P2/1r3N1K/8 w - - 0 1

It became clear after a few minutes of analysis that White is struggling to draw this position. The only moves worth looking at seem to be 1.Kg1 and Kg3, but then what?

After looking at the position for awhile, I took a walk. Upon my return I was no closer to understanding. The problem became more difficult due to its placement at the end of two sections concerned with key squares and corresponding squares. I imagined one variation that fit into a later section: the square of the pawn. To wit, 1.Kg1 Bb6 2.Rh5+ Kg6 3.Rh2 Bxf2+ 4.Rxf2 Rxf2 5.Kxf2 and the White king is in the square of the far pawn. This line, however, is easily refuted by 3...Rb1+ 4.Kg2 Bxf2.

I gave up and looked at the solution. Dvoretsky offered a more compelling tactical refutation of my 1.Kg1 line. 1.Kg3 is clearly the only move. Dvoretsky's solution is an elegant demonstration of key squares, but Rybka 4 plays it differently. I struggled to maintain equality in two different variations--both diverging from the text--for more than an hour against Rybka.

In Dvoretsky's solution the following position is reached.

White to move
8/p7/1R6/5k2/8/5rK1/8/8 w - - 0 6

One move draws, others lose.

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