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Robert Kempinski vs Vladimir Epishin
Bundesliga 2001  ·  King's Indian Defense: Normal. King's Knight Variation (E60)  ·  1/2-1/2
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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-28-09  vikinx: Black misses many chances to win the endgame. It is a bishop and knight endgame and it takes a while, but he makes mistakes, fixes them, and he ruins the game. Black must have been furious after this game.
Mar-27-09  slomarko: you don't see this every day: a GM doesn't know how to mate with B+N
Mar-27-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  kellmano: Yuo don't see it every day, but endgame explorer reveals a fair few instances. What i'd like to see is someone get to one move off mate before the 50 move rule kicks in. Anyone seen any examples of this?
Aug-14-09  ToTheDeath: Amazing- a 2600 Fide GM doesn't know the correct 'W' maneuver to force the king from a8 to h8.

The W maneuver with the knight was first discovered by Philidor and here would start at c7 to drive the king out of a8- with king and bishop blocking the other exits. The knight then takes the route c7-d5-e7-f5-g7, completing the 'W'- while king and bishop move along with it driving the king to h8 and cutting off any escape.

Starting from <140.Ka8>, play could go:

<140... Bb6 (cutting off a7)

141. Kb8 Nb5 (heading for c7)

142. Ka8 Nc7+ (beginning the W Maneuver)

143. Kb8 Bc5 (Black needs to lose a tempo to force the king to c8)

144. Kc8 Ba7 (sealing off b8)

145. Kd8 Nd5 (continuing the Maneuver)

146. Ke8 Kd6 (146. Kc8 Kd6 147. Kd8 Ne7 does not help White)

147. Kf7 Ne7! (A key moment- it looks as if White can escape but this is an illusion. Just stick to the Maneuver.)

148. Kf6 Be3 (This is the point. The knight and bishop work beautifully to keep the king on the 8th rank.)

149. Kf7 Bd4 (closing in even further)
150. Ke8 Ke6
151. Kd8 Bb6+
152. Ke8 Nf5 (The W is nearly complete and the end is near.)

153. Kf8 Bc7
154. Ke8 Ng7+ (Now the king and bishop must take up their ideal positions.)

155. Kf8 Kf6
156. Kg8 Kg6
157. Kf8 Bd6+
158. Kg8 Nf5 (The maneuver is complete and everything is in place. Time to mate.)

159. Kh8 Be7 (One last tempo move, avoiding 159...Nh6?? stalemate.)

160. Kg8 Nh6+
161. Kh8 Bf6#>

Black completes the mate with 14 moves to spare.

The method is relatively simple once learned, and although it might not be the fastest way to mate it can be done easily in under 50 moves and is worth memorizing should you ever have this situation in a tournament- (I've seen it happen).

Aug-15-09  Granny O Doul: It was a protest against Dubya.
Aug-26-09  WhiteRook48: interesting
Sep-29-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Viewer Deluxe: I loved the W-maneuver instructions above and I made them playable and easier to remember (at least for me) http://chesstuff.blogspot.com/2009/...
Feb-24-10  jussu: Wow, I cannot believe it: he actually tried to mate the king in the wrong corner!

I guess this can only happen to people who are so talented that they do not need books to learn chess.

Jul-12-10  asiduodiego: What a shame. I've read Jeremy Silman talking about the N+B mate, saying that: "...mastering it would take a significant chunk of time. Should the chess hopeful really spend many of his precious hours he's put aside for chess study learning an endgame he will achieve (at most) only once or twice in his lifetime?". What a waste. This mate, altough very rare, it's very instructive, and, altogether, if you learn the basics, it's not even THAT hard.
Jul-12-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Frankly,and my rating is 1450, learning how to do this using the big W maneuver with the Knight is not that hard. It's explained very well in Tarrasch's The Game of Chess. The big W ( reflecting the Knight's pattern )is the technique used to drive the opposing K from the wrong colored corner to the other corner where mate is possible. Forcing the opposing K to the corner ( he runs for the wrong colored corner ) also is not that hard using your own K and taking the opposition combined with using your Knight and Bishop to cut off squares.

GMs should be able to do this. Botvinnik said if they cannot, then they should be stripped of the GM title, reflecting his high and comprehensive standards for the knowledge a GM should have.

Paul Albert

Dec-07-10  Xeroxx: funny.
Dec-07-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: epi' fail
Dec-07-10  BobCrisp: epi-log <flush>
Apr-22-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: one word --- hilarious!
Jul-03-11  swr: After 176...Nb6 White can claim a draw.
Aug-05-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A sad game;surprising that a 2500 player couldn't mate with bishop and knight.

The maximum time to force mate with the clergy and calvalry is about 33 moves-with best play by both sides

Aug-05-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Obviously Epishin should have done better, but his play reeks of having literally no time to think rather than carelessness. Consider that by move 126 he had probably been playing for 6 or 7 hours, and would have had very little time or at best a small increment left on the clock.

Mastering the principles of the checkmate is easy. But set up the position after move 126 against a friend and give yourself two minutes on the clock. If you can consistently pull it off under those conditions, then you've mastered the ending.

Feb-22-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Phony Benoni> I take it that wiser words have never been spoken. Supposably.
Sep-08-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: Holy-moly! A strong GM failed to win with KBN v K!
Sep-08-12  achieve: <KBN v K mate> Well, to be fair, the "method" can not be invented over the board and potentially in time trouble woes as well, it's too difficult in case you run into a skilled defender... If you have learned it as a kid, assignment by your trainer for example, you may have forgotten the subtleties of hoarding the lone King into a corner, and whether you are an IM or a 2000 player does not matter; although with enough time on the clock a talented GM can probably recall the (preferred Deletang-) method, or else re-invent it OTB.

<whiteshark: <Phony Benoni> I take it that wiser words have never been spoken. Supposably.> Likely, yes.

Oct-01-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  King Sacrificer: Is there a technique to drive the king to any corner?
Sep-19-13
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: After 160.Kb8 we reached a position (as earlier in the game) where Black can win with the standard 'W' maneuver:


click for larger view

Unfortunately Black is very close to violating the 50-move rule at this point, as he must deliver mate by move 176. After 160...Bd4 161.Kc8 Ba7 162.Kd8 Nd5 163.Kc8 Ne7+ 164.Kd8 Kd6 165.Ke8 Ke6 166.Kd8 Bb6+ 167.Ke8 Ba5 168.Kf8 Nf5 169.Ke8 Ng7+ (thus the black knight has moved in a 'W' pattern, via c7-d5-e7-f5-g7) 170.Kf8 Kf6 171.Kg8 Kg6 172.Kf8 Bb4+ 173.Kg8 Nf5 174.Kh8 Ba3 175.Kg8 Nh6+ 176.Kh8 Bb2#, Black delivers mate exactly on the 50th move!

The above, however, does not represent White's stiffest resistence. Instead of 163.Kc8 White should play 163.Ke8 (this was played by Nakamura in Ponomariov vs Nakamura, 2011), actually moving toward the mating corner, but briefly escaping from the 8th rank, and now according to the Nalimov tablebase Black cannot deliver mate until move 177, one move too late!

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