Bishop and Rook PawnLately I have been playing a lot of games at chess.com and not blogging about it. I have a couple of neat things from those games to put down in the blog before I do some deeper annotations.
First, a quick reminder of bishop and rook pawn endgame:
A drawWhite has no way to pry the black king away from h8 and so the game is drawn.
So in a recent game when I won a bishop for some pawns and reached this position:
I was concerned that even if I can use my extra piece to win black's pawns I'm only headed for a draw. Of course, the rooks make a big difference. The e and g pawns fell without significant resistance (38. h4 Rc2+ 39. Kd1 Rff2 40. Rf7+ Ke5 41. Rfe7+ Kd4 42. Rxe5+ Kc5 43. Be8 Rb2 44. Kc1 Rbc2+ 45. Kb1 Rb2+ 46. Ka1 Rbd2 47. Ra5+ Kb6 48. Rb5+ Kc7 49. Rc4+ Kd8 50. Bxg6 Rd1+ 51. Bb1) and we reached this position:
Black is still heading towards the draw shown in the first diagram. While the rooks are still on, white needs to accomplish one of two goals. Either win black's h-pawn and push his own while the king can be cut off from the h-file by a rook or banish black's king to the far end of the queenside. In the game, white managed to accomplish the second of these goals, 51. ... Ke7 52. Rb7+ Ke6 53. Rh7 Rf7 54. Rc2 Re1 55. Kb2 Ref1 56. Re2+ Kd5 57. Ba2+ Kc7 58. Rc7+ Kb6 59. Rc8 R1f4 60. Re3 Rb4+ 61. Rb3 Rxb3+ 62. Bxb3 Kb7 63. Rc3 Rf2+
Here white has an important decision. Is it okay to play Rc2 and allow the rooks to be traded? It turns out that the plan of driving the black king to the queenside has worked in this position. If the rooks are traded on c2, the white king is closer to the h8 square that the black king thanks to the white bishop covering some key squares. The game continued 64. Rc2 Rxc2+ 65. Kxc2 Kc7 66. Kd3 Kd7 67. Ke4 Ke7 68. Kf5 And now thanks to the bishop black can't follow along with Kf7 and black resigned a few moves later. When calculating the ending after 65. Kxc2, be sure to consider black's attempt to cut off the bishop with 65. ... Kc6 and 66. ... d5.