Endgame Survival Training #4

A Saving Grace??

There are a number of endings that look totally hopeless and many times, endings come down to the strength of the pawns. In the following position, the lone white bishop is trying to stop three healthy, connected passed pawns. Ironically, if the black pawns were weaker and scattered apart, black would still have strong chances. So… white has its back to the wall… healthy, united pawns marching down to crush the position.

White to play… can white hold this position?

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

One Comment

    • Henry Mutale Chimanga This is tricky one, at first glance it looks like white can’t hold,…! Let me go through it over the board when I’m home!
      January 4 at 4:19pm · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga But before that, intuition says Bg2.
      January 4 at 4:20pm · Like
    • The Chess Drum Yes. This position can happen in a real game easily. It is good to know what to do.
      January 4 at 6:41pm · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga i’ve tried to find a survival plan for white, i can’t seem to find one,…!
      January 5 at 5:54am · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga I thought of 1. Bb5… but the pawn on g4 is hard to take out…
      January 5 at 6:00am · Like
    • The Chess Drum You have the right idea.
      January 5 at 11:54am · Like
    • The Chess Drum There are some tricks since black cannot simply push pawns. The king has to get out of the way. It’s awkward.

      Let’s say black plays 1…f3.
      January 5 at 2:30pm · Like

    • Henry Mutale Chimanga Hmmm. ..Okay, lets try 2. Bd7
      January 7 at 2:55am · Like
    • The Chess Drum OK… 2…Kf4. Now we’ll see if you can find the main idea.
      January 8 at 5:22am · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga 3. Kh1.
      January 8 at 7:48am · Like
    • The Chess Drum What about 3…g3? If anyone can give the final analysis, feel free. There are some tricks.
      January 9 at 4:11pm · Edited · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga I couldn’t solve it. My friend however gives 4. Kg1 Ke3 5. Bh3 g2 6. Bxg2 and leading to a rook pawn situation.
      Thursday at 2:51am · Like
    • The Chess Drum You are close. The position is drawn. Pretend that this is the last round and you need to hold this draw for a GM norm. LOL Your friends line leads to a draw, but black cannot rush. Black has to go 5…Ke2 threatening 6…f2+.
      Thursday at 8:31am · Edited · Like
    • Henry Mutale Chimanga In that case, to prevent the King and pawn to access the f1 square,6. Bf1+ Ke1 7. Bh3 Kd1 8.Kf1! I think this may hold.
      Friday at 3:17am · Like
    • The Chess Drum The right idea, but what about 5…Ke2 6.Bf1+ Ke1 7.Bh3 f2+?
      Friday at 6:22pm · Like

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