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Savielly Tartakower vs Richard Reti
Baden-Baden (1925)  ·  Saragossa Opening: General (A00)  ·  1/2-1/2
To move:
Last move:

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-25-09  benjinathan: I am not too intimidated. This is timely. I know the idea but I blew it in the identical position last night. I was in a bit of time trouble, got flustered about whether there was a different rule when the pawn was on the side file and was trhying to remember whether the rule was stay an odd number of squares away or even.

As son as I moved, my kids went " Oh Dad!", head slap, resign.

May-25-09  remolino: In pawn endings, taking the opposition is not always the right answer. So watch out. If you do not know the answer by memory, you better calculate.
May-25-09  pferd: You cannot gain the opposition against the White King because the pawn prevents you from going to e7, hence you go to f8 and now the pawn prevents <White> from gaining the opposition, and when White plays Ke6 then you gain the opposition with Ke8.

The key move was 69...Ke6 (not 69...Kf6?? 70.Kxf4 wins) so that after 70.Kxf4 <then> 70...Kf6 gaining the opposition.

Basic chess, of course, but a great way to demonstrate to a novice chess player that there must be a LOT to the game, if there is even a right way to play such a simple position.

By the way 68...Ke5 is also instructive. A beginner Black might try to exploit the fact that his pawn is more advanced, and play 68...Ke3 after which 69.Kg4 and Black and White are in mutual zugzwang (You can give Kasparov choice of sides, AND let him go first, and win every time!)

May-25-09  pferd: <remolino: In pawn endings, taking the opposition is not always the right answer. So watch out. If you do not know the answer by memory, you better calculate.>

In chess one inviolable rule is that every rule has an exception. They usually end up making beautiful problems or studies.

So educate us: give us an example.

May-25-09  MaxxLange: I have definitely seen players up to at least C class fail in this elementary position
May-25-09  Confuse: 58. Bc7 for white? Why not? I don't get it!!!
May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: 58. Bc7 Ba5 and no progress can be made.
May-25-09  pferd: Note the similarities of the positions after 73.f5 (when Black replied 73...Ke7) and 75.f6 (When Black replied 75...Kf8).

Could Black have drawn with 73...Kf7?
Could Black have drawn with 75...Ke8?

May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: I agree with <remolino>: In pawn endings, taking the opposition is not always the right answer.


click for larger view

Any reasonable K move by White wins except taking the opposition with Kd4?? which draws to e5+.

<Calli>, thanks- like <Confused> I thought 58 Bc7 or 60 Bc7 were winning.

May-25-09  Criswell: Difficulty "Very Easy"

Black is playing for a draw and is thus going to keep white's f-file pawn blocked.

Candidate: 75. ...Kf8

May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Good example, <David2009:>. And, actually, the word "reasonable" in your comment is superfluous because ANY legal King move other than 1. Kd4? (even 1. Kd2, 1. Ke2, or 1. Kf2) preserves the win for White.
May-25-09  fyad reject: yep, anyone who didnt get this immediately is utterly retarded and hopeless and doesnt deserve to touch our precious chess pieces
May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: In addition to the type of position given above by <David2009:>, where reflexively taking the direct opposition is an outright blunder, there are positions in which the opposition is irrelevant. For example, in this position (with Black to move):


click for larger view

1. ... Ke7 is fine. (Of course, 1. ... Kf7 also draws.) Although White can take the opposition with 2. Ke5, the position is still drawn because the pawn is only on the 5th rank and the King is on the same rank as the pawn. It is only when the pawn has reached the 6th rank (or the supporting King can take the opposition one rank in advance of the pawn) that having the opposition is critical in K+P vs. lone K endings.

May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  SamAtoms1980: <fyad reject: yep, anyone who didnt get this immediately is utterly retarded and hopeless and doesnt deserve to touch our precious chess pieces>

http://thedarkhideout.homestead.com...

May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <It is only when the pawn has reached the 6th rank <(or the supporting King can take the opposition one rank in advance of the pawn)> that having the opposition is critical in K+P vs. lone K endings.>

Actually, to correct/clarify my own comment, if the supporting King gets one rank ahead of a pawn on the 5th rank, it is not nbecessary to have the oppostion to win. For example, the following position is winning for White with either side to move:


click for larger view

May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Another way to remember it is that (as defender) you always want the pawn to move to the 7th rank with check. That way you move in front of the pawn and it's either stalemate or the pawn is lost.
May-25-09  felixd: Pfff... Black should always plays for the win not for the draw...
May-25-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: Diagram of king + g-pawn vs lone king below:


click for larger view

White to move and win

1. Kh6! (1. Kf6? Kh7!, 2. g6+ Kh8! =) Kh8, 2. g6 Kg8, 3. g7

Instead of 1...Kh8, 1...Kf8, 2. Kh7! (White g-pawn goes queening)

Another diagram of king + b-pawn vs lone king below:


click for larger view

White to move and win

1. Ka6! (1. Kc6? Ka7!, 2. b6+ Ka8! =) Ka8, 2. b6 Kb8, 3. b7

Instead of 1...Ka8, 1...Kc8, 2. Ka7! (White b-pawn goes queening)

It is very tricky if it is White's move so, we've gotta be careful when it is White's move in both diagrams. If it's Black's move in both diagrams, it should be carefree.

SuperPatzer77

May-25-09  thommc: King to f8 draws as white can not get the opposition in this position. King to either e8 or g8 loses when white moves the king up, black king back to f8 and then f7 drives the black king off the back rank. With 75...f8 black never allows the white king to approach the queening square.
May-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Good comment, <SuperPatzer77:>, with regard to K plus P vs. lone K positions with the pawn on the b- or g-file.

It should be pointed out, however, with respect to the analysis of the first diagram in your post that 1. Kf6(?), although inaccurate, does not throw away the win; only 2. g6+? allows Black to force a draw.

After 1. Kf6(?) Kh7, White can play 2. Kf7 Kh8 3. Kg6 Kg8 and then get on the right track with 4. Kh6!

May-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: May-25-09 <Calli: Tartakower said 53.gxf4 was an error and he had good chances with 53.Be7! White's threat is Bd8-c7. I could not figure it out. What do you think?>


click for larger view

I think Black is fine after 53. ... fxg3 and now (A) Kxg3 e4+; K any Be5 = or (B) gxf3 e4; Bd7 e3; Bc7?? e2 and Black wins

May-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The rule of thumb on this ending for the black king is to move straight back. Then he can obtain the opposition when the white king moves alongside the pawn.

White must have the opposition IN FRONT of the pawn,not with the pawn in the middle-otherwise,with best play,black can draw.

May-26-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <David2009> (B) gxf3 e4; Bd7 - is impossible. Maybe you meant Bd8. Instead, 53.Be7 fxg3 54.fxg3 e4 55.Bc5 Be5 56.b7 looks good for White because he can play Be3-Bf4.
May-30-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: <Calli:> <snip> <53.Be7 fxg3 54.fxg3 e4 55.Bc5 Be5 56.b7 looks good for White because he can play Be3-Bf4>. Yes, it wins. What an amazing variation!
Jun-01-09  patzer2: For the Monday May 26, 2009 puzzle solution, 75...Kf8 maintains the opposition to secure the draw.

P.S.: In observing tournament players, I've seen a number miss this simple technique and lose otherwise easily drawn positions.

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