Tuesday, March 04, 2008

King and Pawn ending

This is an actual position from a recent game I played:

Black to move

Each side's king is dealing with connected passed pawns and at first I expected there would be nothing to do but babysit the pawns and we would draw. Unfortunately, this was a blitz game so there wasn't time to figure it out. Without the time to calculate, I just played Kc4 in the hopes that my pawns being further advanced was enough to win. My opponent obliged with the losing Kd1, which was probably a premoved king shuffle trying to draw, but this is now easily losing -- a6 would have led to both sides queening and a draw.

But black does have a winning idea in this position. Your name might be Likesforests if you get it right away.

1. ... Ka6 2. Kd1 d2! 3. Ke2 Kb5 4. Kd1 Kxb4! In this position black is close enough to queening even if white runs with the a-pawn due to a mating threat. 5. a6 Kc3 and now 6. a7 is mate in two with 6. ... Kd3 and 7. ... e2# while 6. Ke2 Kc2 threatens to promote with check so the black queen has time to stop white's pawn.