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The Independent Culture
WHAT DO chess players do on trains? It's obvious - though the details vary, of course.

The ex-Soviet hordes, who sweep across Europe and back, tend to share large common areas of their opening repertoires. Analysis of lines such as the ultra-sharp Noteboom variation of the Queen's Gambit - 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c6 4 Nc3 dxc4!? - not only whiles away the endless hours of travel, but is also extremely useful.

On 10 July I travelled to Nottingham and back with Matthew Sadler, and we showed each other recent games before I produced this pawn endgame, composed by John Nunn with the help of a program by the Dane Lars Rasmussen, especially for the investigation of pawn endings. White is to play and win and John adduced the useful additional information that White's first 13 moves are unique!

The main line goes: 1 Kf1 Kd2 2 Kg2 Ke2 3 g4 Kd3 4 Kf3 g5 5 Kg2!! Ke4 6 Kg3 Ke5 7 Kf3 Kd4 8 Ke2 Ke4 9 f3+ Kd4 10 Kd2 Kd5 11 Kd3 Ke5 12 Ke3 Kd5 13 f4 gxf4+ 14 Kxf4 Ke6 15 Kg5 Kf7 16 Kh6 Kg8 17 g5 Kh8 18 g6 Kg8 19 g7 etc.

Play is standard after move eight but White's fifth move is difficult to foresee. The details are complex but Matthew helped me out with a footballing metaphor: by pulling the shirts successively of the black king and then pawn, White forces both out of position before nipping round the back.

I should mention specifically, though, that if 1 Kg2? Ke4! draws eg 2 g4 (or 2 f4 g5! 3 fxg5 Kf5!) 2 ...Kf4 3 f3 Ke5 4 Kf2 Kf4 5 Ke2 Ke5 6 Ke3 g5! etc.

And if 3 f4? Ke3 4 Kh3 g6 5 Kh4 Kf3 6 Kh3 Ke3! 7 Kg4 Kf2!.

While, much later, if 12 ...Kd6 13 Kd4 Ke6 14 Ke4 Kf6 15 Kd5 etc.