Endgame Laboratory (Knight)

  “It should be noted that current opening variations come and go, and the evaluation of certain positions change, but the value of knowing how to play endgames well remains constant.”

~ANATOLY KARPOV, Former World Champion~

It’s always a good idea to go over basic endings before a tournament. You can saving losing positions and win drawn positions merely because one knows the correct technique. In the following position, looks like black pawn is heading for the queening endzone. What is white to do? 😕 Post your variations.

White to Move and DRAW!

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

6 Comments

  1. How about knight C3-pawnH5, 2. knight D5 check 2… King E4. 3 knight F6 forking king and pawn. I have a head ache. Let use know the correct continuation.

  2. Good try Richard, but black has another move besides walking into a fork.

    1. Nc3 h5
    2. Nd5+ Kf3! and the h-pawn is escorted into the endzone for a queen.

    The first couple of moves…

    1. Nb4! h5
    2. Nc6! Ke4!

    On 2… h4? 3. Ne5 h3 (3… Kf4 4. Ng6+) 4. Ng4+ and the knight succeeds in halting the pawn on the sixth rank.

    What’s next (after 2…Ke4!)?

  3. After 2…h4 3.Ne5 Ke4, white plays 4.Ng4 and you get a theoretical drawing position after the knight gets in front of the pawn… as long as the defending knight doesn’t go to h1-square. The knight would either give check or stop the pawn from advancing, right? Actually that is exactly what happens in this solution, but the white knight has to find the right path.

    Now… for the most unbelievable move to the solution…

    3.Na5!!  😯

    Can you believe it!? The point is the knight needs distance in order to use its multidirectional power.

    Now on 3… h4 4. Nc4! Black cannot prevent Nd2-f1 or Ne5-g4. White can still go wrong. On 4. Nb3? black plays 4… Ke3! erecting a king barrier and the pawn runs. 4… h3 5. Nd2+ Ke3 6. Nf1+ Drawn. Nice!

    I had a new-found respect for knights after seeing this years ago in the Batsford Chess Endings. While this problem is less likely to occur, there are many that happen often. I’ll be putting up some of those… and give a bit more time. I’m leaving for the World Open and didn’t want to leave the problem hanging.

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