04 March 2017

Minor Piece Endgame

This position appeared in a game in a youth tournament this afternoon.

White to move

Who stands better? How should each side proceed?


  1. White is in a mini zugzwang and will lose the a-pawn. But, White can hold by shuffling his knight back and forth between c3 and whatever other square is available.

    Also, if Black ever reroutes the bishop to aim for the position with bishop on f1 and white Nc3, Kd4, we can throw in Na4 to hold it together.

    1. That's kind of what I thought. Two moves after this, Black's king was able to penetrate to b4, which should have been winning. However, Black opted to send his king to the kingside and gave up the bishop for White's two queenside pawns. In the end, Black ran out of time with two pawns on the f- and g-files against White's knight and king. Both the position and the game were drawn.

      I made a three minute video of the game from the position in this post, which allowed me to produce a partial record of the game. Both players missed winning chances.