Technique is key in some endgames

The endings in a chess game involving the King and a few pieces are the most difficult to handle, especially for beginners and amateurs. Endings involve more of technique than originality since lot of positions which arise frequently are a matter of study, which beginners have to spend lot of time when they pursue chess seriously.

In the game which follows, the transposition to the endgame has the players enjoying more or less material balance. However White makes plenty of mistakes in moving his King and rooks and ends on the losing side. A point worth noting is the bad placement of White’s rooks.

White: Boris Malisov (2290) – Black: Lev Psakhis (2590)
Jerusalem, 1996
Queen’s Indian Defence
1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 b6 4.Bf4 Bb7 5.e3 Bb4+ 6.Nfd2
The other knight can also be played 6.Nbd2
6. ...0–0 7.a3 Be7 8.Nc3 d6
Nothing surprising in the opening as the players are sticking to familiar, tried and tested opening lines
9.e4 Nc6
Black can also play 9. ..Nbd7
10.Be3 Nd7
If 10...e5 11.d5 Nd4 12.Bd3 Nd7 13.Bxd4 exd4 14.Ne2 Ne5 15.Nb3 c5 16.dxc6 Nxc6
11.Be2. White can seriously look at 11.Nf3 Ncb8  12.Be2 c5  13.0-0 cxd4
11. ..e5. Interesting position! Note that black’s pieces are firmly trained on the Kingside
White could have cleared things at the centre with 12.d5 or 12.dxe5
12. ..exd4 13.Nxd4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Nc5
If 14. .. f5  15.exf5 c5  16.Be3 Bxg2
15.0–0 Ne6
Difficult to understand why Black does not grab the pawn 15...Nxe4 16.Nxe4 Bxe4 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Qd4+ Bf6 19.Qxe4 Bxb2 20.Rab1
16.Be3. If 16.Nd5 Nxd4  17.Qxd4 Re8  18.Rfe1 Bg5
16...Bf6. It now becomes difficult for white to maintain his pawn structure and also to defend his central pawn e4
17.f3 Bxc3. Black had an intersting idea in  17...Be5 with the idea of ...f5 and good play
18.bxc3 Qh4. The Queen descends on the Kingside in an aggressive stance
Not a good reaction. Better appears 19.Qd2 or even 19.Bd3 Nc5  20.Re1 Rae8  21.Bxc5 dxc5
Retreating all the way back! Black can play 19. ..Qh5  20.Re1
20.Qd2 Qe8
Why this full retreat? Black can play aggressively with 20. ..f5  21.exf5 Rxf5  22.Rae1 Qf7
21.Bd3 Qc6 22.a4 a5. Not the right move! Black can maintain his advantage with 22. ..Nc5  23.Bc2 Ba6
23.c5. A good move!
23...bxc5 24.Bb5 Qb6
White now appears to have solved most of his problems
25.Rab1. Here 25.Rfb1 is more accurate
25. ..Ba6 26.Qd5. This move appears aggressive but is not the right one! If 26.Bd7 Qa7  27.c4 Bxc4  while 26.f4 looks like more spirited practical try
26...Bxb5 27.Rxb5 Qa6 28.Qb7 Qxb7 29.Rxb7 Rfc8. More promising is 29. ..f5  30.exf5 Rxf5
30.Rb2 f6 31.f4 Re8 32.Kf2 Nf8 33.Kf3
The King has started marching out!
33. ..Nd7 34.Rb7 Rec8 35.Ra1 Kf7 36.Bf2 Ke6
Diagram 1
37.Ke3. However tempting this move might appear, it is a bad one and immediately puts White at a disadvantage
37. ..Nb6 38.Rb1 Ra6 39.Kd3 Kd7 40.R1xb6 Rxb6 41.Ra7 Rb2 42.Be1 Kc6 43.Rxa5 Kb6 44.c4 c6  0–1
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Rxd4+ Kxd4 2.Bf2+ Ke4 3.Bxb6 and White wins.

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