The King is a major warrior in endings

The King is a piece with minimum or virtually no movement in the initial stages of the game where each and every piece tries to shield and block the opponent’s pieces from reaching him.

However, the King is the major warrior in the endings where he tries to lead from the front when most of the pieces have exited the board.

In the game which follows, it is interesting to watch the King march all the way into the enemy territory, right up to the eighth rank. Thereafter, the White King is an active warrior and steers the game to a victory in his favour.

White: Arkadij  Naiditsch – Black: Joerg Blauert (2395)
Budapest ,1998

The French Defence

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5

The French Defence

3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7. The mainline of the French Classical system
5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.f4. White can also play 7.Nb5 Nb6  8.Nf3 a6
7. ..0–0 8.Nf3. It is quite tempting to play 8.Qh5 here
8. ..c5 9.Qd2. An indication that White is thinking of castling on the queen side
9. ..Nc6 10.dxc5 Qxc5. Better appears 10.Nxc5
11.0–0–0 Nb6 12.Kb1 Bd7 13.Bd3 Rac8. The players are still following  a previously played line. Other options are 13...Nc4 14.Bxc4 or 13...Rfc8 14.Nb5
14.Nb5. An interesting position after 14.Bxh7+ Kxh7 15.Ng5+ Kg8 16.Qd3 Rfe8 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Qh5 Ke7 19.Nxf7 Na5 20.Nd6 was played in a previous game but it ended in a draw
14...f6 15.exf6 Rxf6 16.Nbd4. If 16.Rhe1 Na4 17.b3 a6 18.bxa4 axb5 19.Bxb5 Be8
16...Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Na4. The positional is evenly balanced and Black is trying to work up an attack on the queen side where White has castled
18.Nb3 Qc7. Interestingly, the players had been following a previously played game but now Black plays a new move. The previous game had continued with18...Qb6 19.Rhe1
19.g3 e5 20.fxe5 Qxe5 21.Qc1. If 21.c3 Bf5
21...Rf2. The rook invades the seventh rank but better appears 21. ..Nb6 or 21. ..Rcf8
22.Rde1 Qf6. Worth a look is 22...Qd6
23.Rhf1 Bh3. If 23. ..Nb6  24.Na5 Rxf1 And if 23...Rxf1 24.Rxf1 Qe5
24.Rxf2 Qxf2 25.Qe3
A good move which is in invitation to exchange queens
25. .. Qxe3
If 25...Qxh2 26.g4 Bxg4 27.Qd4 And if  25...Qf6 26.Qe5 and White is better
26.Rxe3 Rf8 27.a3
Better is 27.Re7 or even 27.Re5
27...Bf1 28.h4 Bxd3 29.Rxd3 Rf1+ 30.Ka2
If 30.Nc1 Nb6 31.b3
30...Rf2 31.Nd4 Rg2
Not exactly the right move. White should have played 31...Nc5 or 31...Kf7
32.b4! Nb6 33.Kb3 Nc4 34.Nf5! Nd2+ 35.Kc3 Ne4+ 36.Kd4 Rxc2 If 36...g6 37.Ne7+ Kf7 38.Nxd5 Nxg3 39.Ke5 Re2+ 40.Re3 Rxe3+ 41.Nxe3
37.Kxd5 Nf6+ 38.Ke5 Re2+ 39.Kd6
The King keeps on marching boldly into enemy territory
39. .. Rc2 40.Ke7 Re2+
Diagram 1
One of those rare positions where the opponent’s King has marched all the way to his first rank
41. ..Re5 42.Nd6
White can play 42.Ne7+ Kf7
42. ..b6
If 42...b5 43.Kc7
43.Kc7 g5
Black should have played 43. ..Re7+ 44.Kc6 Ng4
More precise is 44.Nc8
44. ..gxh4 45.gxh4 a5 46.b5  Rc5 47.Kb7 Nd5 48.Ne4 Rc7+
Black is waging a losing battle
49.Kb8 Rc4 50.Rxd5 Rxe4 51.Kc7 a4 52.Kxb6 Re3 53.Ka7 Rxa3 54.b6 1–0
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Be5+ and Black loses a piece.

Manisha Mohite

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