Games: Chess

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Today, a lesson in how not to play rook and pawn endgames. This was the position after Black's 38th move in Christiansen-Benjamin, in the fourth game of their match in the final of the US Championship last week. Black had stood worse for most of the game, and was still short of time. Now the position was level and he had only two moves to make to reach the time control. Play continued: 39.b4 axb4 40.axb4 f5 41.b5 f4! Now, unwilling to accede to a certain draw with 42.Rxf4 Rxb5, Christiansen played 42.Rc7+? Kf6 43.b6? Ra5+ 44.Kb3 Rb5+ 45.Kc4 Rxb6 with a lost endgame. After 46.Kd4 Kf5 47.Kd3 Re6 48.Rf7+ Kg4 49.c4 f3 50.c5 Kg3 White resigned.

Doesn't that make you feel better about your own terrible endgame play now?

Solutions to yesterday's help-mates: a) 1.Qxc4 Qf8 2.Kb4 Rxc4 mate; b) (with white pawn on b3) 1.Kxb3 Qh4 2.Kxa4 Nb2. Very difficult to see.

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