ETCETERA / Chess: THE International Master, Keith Arkell, gives a lesson in king and pawn endgame play

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White: G Markotic

Black: K Arkell

La Cappelle Open Tournament 1993

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 b6 5. Ne2 Ba6 6. Ng3 0-0

The usual continuation, 6 . . . Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 d5 8. Ba3 has been too thoroughly analysed.

7. e4 d5 8. Bg5

This does not test Black's play. The best try for advantage is 8. cxd5.

8 . . . dxe4 9. Nxe4 Nbd7]?

9 . . . Be7 was safer when White has problems defending his d-pawn.

10. Qa4 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3 Bb7 12. Bd3 h6 13. Bh4 g5]

Otherwise White's bishop pair gives him a clear advantage.

14. Nxf6+ Nxf6 15. Bg3 Bxg2 16. Rg1 Bf3 17. h4 Ng4 18. Be2 Bxe2 19. Kxe2

Black looks in a mess, but the following piece offer shows that White's king is exposed too.

19 . . . e5] 20. dxe5

Winning the piece with 20. f3 exd4 21. fxg4 leaves White in trouble after 21 . . . Re8+ 22. Kf1 dxc3.

20 . . . Qe8 21. Qxe8 Rfxe8 22. hxg5 hxg5 23. Bf4

Instead 23. f4 gxf4 24. Bxf4 f5 gives Black a clear advantage.

23 . . . gxf4 24. Rxg4+ Kf8 25. Rxf4 Rxe5+ 26. Kd3

White's isolated pawns are difficult to exploit. I should have played Rae8 but chose an objectively weaker plan.

26 . . . Rd8+ 27. Rd4 Rxd4+ 28. cxd4 Rf5 29. Ke3 Ra5 30. a4

If White does nothing, Black will play c6, then centralise the king and prepare a6 and b5.

30 . . . a6 31. Kd3 b5

Here I analysed two lines which both looked winning for Black: 32. cxb5 axb5 33. Kc3 Rxa4 34. Rxa4 bxa4 35. Kb4 Ke7 36. Kxa4 Kd6 37. Kb4 Kd5 38. Kc3 Ke4 39. Kc4 Kf3 40. Kc5 Kxf2 41. Kc6 Kd3 42. d5 Kd4 or 32. cxb5 axb5 33. Rc1 bxa4 34. Rxc7 a3 35. Rc1 a2 36. Ra1 Ke7.

32. Kc3] Rxa4 33. Rxa4 bxa4 (see diagram)

White has only one move to draw here, though neither my opponent nor I realised it at the time.

34. Kb4?

Natural but wrong. Also inadequate are 34. c5 c6] and 34. d5 c6] 35. d6 c5] but after 34. Kb2]] it is Black who must take care. The principal variation runs 34 . . . Ke7 35. Ka3 Kd7 36. Kxa4 Kc8 37. Kb4 Kb8] 38. Ka5 Kb7 39. d5 Ka7 40. c5 Kb7 41. c6+ Ka7 with a draw.

34. Kb4 seems to save a move over Kb2, but there is a crucial difference.

34 . . . c5+] 35. dxc5 Ke7 36. Kxa4 Kd7 37. Ka5 Kc6 38. Kxa6 f5] White resigns.

After 39. Ka7 f4] 40. Kb8 f3 41. Kc8 Kxc5 42. Kd7 Kxc4 Black wins by a single tempo. It must be very rare for a player to resign with three pawns against one, and that one not even close to being a passed pawn.

(Diagram omitted)

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