Minor pieces pose problems in ending

Chess Checks

Endings with two minor pieces (bishops and knights) are not easy to handle as they need lot of calculation on board which in turn consumes a lot of time.

Two knights especially, are difficult to manage as once they are committed to a square, manoeuvring them to the selected square may at times be practically impossible.

In the game which follows, there is material balance but the difficulty that Black faces in manoeuvring his two knights is instructive to go through.

White: Nana Ioseliani (2460) – Black: Zsuza Polgar (2560)Candidates (Women) final, Monte Carlo, 1993Slav Defence1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nc3 c6 5.a4 Bg4Black can think of playing 5. ..Bf5 or 5. ..Qa56.Ne5 Bh5 7.g3 e6 8.Bg2 Bb4 9.Nxc4 Nd5. Sticking to Opening theory. If 9...a5 10.0–0 Na6 11.Qb3 Qxd4 12.Be3 Qd8 13.Bb6 Qe710.Qb3 Na6. Black played a new move here. If 10...0–0 11.Bd211.0–0 0–0If 11...Bxc3 12.bxc3 Bxe2 13.Ba312.e4 Ndc7. Not a good retreat! Better appears 12...Nb6 13.Be3 Rc8  14.Rfc1 Nxc813.Bf4 Rc8If 13...Qxd4 14.Bxc7 Nxc7 15.Qxb4 And if 13...Bxc3 14.bxc3 Be2 15.Rfb1 Bxc4 16.Qxc4 Rb814.Na2 Be7. If 14...Qe7 15.Nxb4 Qxb4 16.Qxb4 Nxb4 17.Bd615.Qxb7 Qxd4 16.Na5. Better is 16.Rfc1 Nc516...Rb8 17.Qxc6. Keeping Advantage. If White tries to exchange queens with 17.Nxc6 Rxb7 18.Nxd4 Rxb2 it leads to an unclear position17...Rxb2. If 17...Rfc8 18.Qc3 Qxc318.Qc1. A good move! If 18.Bxc7 Be2 (18...Rxa2 19.Rxa2 Nb4 20.Qb5) 19.Nc3 Bxf1 20.Rxf1 Nxc7 21.Qxc7 Rxf2 22.Rxf2 Bc5 23.Qf4 Qxc318...Ba3 19.Qc4. Trying to exchange queens. White could have held onto the advantage with 19.Be3 Qxa4 20.Nc4 Rc2 21.Qxa3 Qxc419...Qb6. Declining the offer! If 19...Bc5! 20.Be3 Qxc4 21.Nxc4 Rc220.Qc3 Rxa2. Not the right move. Black should have checked 20...Bc5 21.Nc4 Bxf2+ 22.Kh1 Bd4 23.Qxb2 Bxb221.Nc4. If 21.Rxa2 Bb421...Qb4 22.Qxb4 Nxb4 23.Rxa2 Nxa2 24.Nxa3 Na6 25.Nb5 Rc8 If 25...Nc5 26.Bd6 Rc8 27.Nxa726.Nxa7 Rc4 27.a5 Rc5 28.Bd2 f6 29.Rb1 Rc2 30.Be3If 30.Bf1 Rxd2 31.Bxa6 Nc3 32.Ra1 Nxe430...Nc3 31.Ra1Missing the correct continuation 31.Rb6 Nc5 32.g4 (32.Bxc5 Ne2+ 33.Kh1 Rc1+ 34.Bf1 Bf3 checkmate) 32...Bxg4 33.f331...Be2 32.Rc1 Rxc1+ 33.Bxc1 Bd3 34.Be3 Nxe4 35.Bf1 Bxf1 36.Kxf1 Kf7 37.Ke2 Ke8 38.Kd3 Nd6 39.Nc6 Kd7 40.Nd4 e5 41.Nc2 Kc6 42.f4 Kd5If 42...Kb5 43.Bb643.fxe5 fxe5. The position has evened out and the game appears headed for a draw44.Bb6 Kc6 45.Kc3 Nc8 46.Bd8 Kc5If 46...Nc5 47.Nb4+ Kb5 48.Nd3 And if  46...Nd6 47.Nb4+ Nxb4 48.Kxb4  and White is better47.Ne1 Kd5 48.Nd3 Na7 49.Bb6 Nc6 50.Kb3 g5 [50...Ke4 51.Kc4! Kf3 52.Kb5 e4 53.Ne1+ Ke2 54.Nc2±]51.Kc3 h5 52.Ne1 h4? [52...e4!÷ 53.Nc2 h4 54.Ne3+ Ke5 55.Ng2 hxg3 56.hxg3 Kf5 57.Ne3+ Ke5 58.Kc4; 52...Ke4 53.Kc4 h4 54.Kb5±]53.gxh4 gxh4 54.Nf3 h3 55.Ng5 Nd4 56.Kd3 Nb4+ 57.Ke3 Nbc2+ 58.Kd2

58. ..Nb4 59.Bxd4 exd4If 59...Kxd4 60.Nxh3 e460.Nxh3 Ke4 61.Nf2+ Kf5 62.Nd3 Na6 63.Kc2 Ke4 64.h4 Kf5 65.Kb3 Kg4 66.Kc4 Kxh4 67.Kb5 Nb8 68.Kb6If 68.Kb6 Kg4 69.Kc7 Na6+ 70.Kb71–0

White to play and checkmate in two moves 1.Qh8+ Rxh8 2.Rxh8#

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