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The Winterthur Endgame

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | 11/ott/2012
  • | 5642 visualizzazioni
  • | 26 commenti

Breaking down a passive fortification can be difficult, even when you have a large positional advantage. If you have seen my article “A Fatal Compulsion”, you know that one of the methods is to use Zugzwang – your opponent’s compulsion to make a move. This is the equivalent to a siege – your opponent would be safe if he could sit in his castle and not move, but eventually he runs out of supplies and has to do something.

The subject of this article is a long and fantastic endgame played by Aron Nimzowitsch in the Winterthur 1931 tournament. It goes through several phases, with changes in between each. The endgame - which begins with a knight against a bishop - encompasses nearly thirty moves. First there are maneuvers in the minor piece ending, then a king and pawn ending, a queen ending, and yet another king and pawn ending. Finally Black wins the majestic endgame by only one tempo.

The adventures start with this position:

Clearly Black has a huge positional advantage. It is the standard “good knight versus bad bishop”, and additionally he has some more space. Most of the white pawns are on the dark squares, blocking his own bishop; meanwhile, this situation means that White is very weak on the light squares.

Black’s advantage is undisputed – however, this doesn’t mean he can win. To actually win the game, he will have to break through, to win something or create a passed pawn. In the above position, there is no way for Black to break in with his king besides the e4 square, which can be guarded by the white king. The bishop is able to guard White’s two main weaknesses – the g3 and c3 pawns. The only way to win will be through the use of Zugzwang – compelling White to make a move which destroys his own position.

We will now look at how Nimzowitsch won this ending, in stages:

Black has completed the first triangulation, forcing the white king back. But now what?

Black sent the knight on a long journey, from its comfortable home on e4 all the way to b1 - where it is now trapped. But he forced the white bishop to defend the c3 pawn from a1 - and it too is trapped. Still White is managing to hold Black off.

By a second triangulation, Nimzowitsch forced his opponent to go capture the knight, and in doing let the black king in. But White was not ready to resign yet, and played a resource that Nimzowitsch had to take into account long before.

The counter-sacrifice led to a king and pawn endgame where there was a race of passed pawns. Both queened at the same time. But now Nimzowitsch forces the queen trade, leading to a second king and pawn ending and a second race, which Nimzowitsch had seen long ago he would win by one tempo.

Finally after many transformations - but all logical and forced - Black wins by a single tempo. As far as I can see, there was no other way to win (besides 63...Kxf4, which at that point would win as well, but with more difficulty), nor any way to strengthen the defense. Attack and Defense were balanced, and Black's positional advantage was carried through decisively.

Commenti


  • 9 mesi fa

    derfa

    NImzo Rules!!

  • 2 anni fa

    Ricardoruben

    Great article, thanks for posting! :)

  • 2 anni fa

    NimzoRoy

    To quote Zippy the Pinhead: YOW!!

    Great ending, great article - THANKS for sharing this!

    If only I could play endgames like my great namesake...(sigh)

  • 2 anni fa

    RowdyRoddy

    Loved black's N-N8.  (Old School 1931 Annotation!)

  • 2 anni fa

    LaskerFan

    And I thought I somewhat understood endings!

  • 2 anni fa

    Lawdoginator

    Incredibly awesome! 

  • 2 anni fa

    mobidi

    Greate STYLE! 

  • 2 anni fa

    Martin0

    Great article. I think the hardest part was to see the idea with trapping your own knight at b1 while the triangle manouver and bishop sacrifice was easier to find. If you see those ideas it's pure calculation that are pretty straightforward (not too many lines). Forcing a pawn ending with the Kh2 line to exchange queens at g2 is also quite basic. So even though it was decided by a single tempo, you don't need to be a superhuman to solve it. That being said I would probably not solve this without an analyses board and even with an analyses board I might not come up with the idea of trapping my own knight at b1.

  • 2 anni fa

    bays_al

    Rasparovov

    What would follow after 61. Bb2 - Kxg3? How do you stop that pawn?

     

    ı think 61. Bb2 - Kxg3 62. Bxa3 - Kh2 or anywhere 63. Bc5 - g3 64. d5 and black pawn cant promote

     

  • 2 anni fa

    bays_al

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 anni fa

    chrisarchitect

    Wow! that was some awsome playing!

  • 2 anni fa

    earlyamerican

    there is a chapter on this endgame in Bill Hartston's Teach Yourself Better Chess, I knew it looked familiar. Great book, worth checking out.

  • 2 anni fa

    shivdman

    Rasparovov  

    "What would follow after 61. Bb2 - Kxg3? How do you stop that pawn?"

     
    Bxa2 then Bxc5 and d5 follows covering Black's queening square.1-0

  • 2 anni fa

    mapearson1990

    I take back the 5% comment...it feels like arrogance Wink

  • 2 anni fa

    mapearson1990

    Nimzowitsch has to be my favourite player of all time. Despite understanding maybe 5% of all the moves he ever made (on a good daySmile) he was almost a chess artist in some of his games and his book is filled with marvelous gems. To be able to calculate that far ahead is almost superhuman. Good article, great game. Thanks! 

  • 2 anni fa

    Rasparovov

    What would follow after 61. Bb2 - Kxg3? How do you stop that pawn?

  • 2 anni fa

    sofouuk

    great article, brilliant game. loved it

  • 2 anni fa

    Bishop-Brask

    What a fabulous game! Thanks for the great annotation.

  • 2 anni fa

    Chess_Lover11

    Such a beautiful endgame!

  • 2 anni fa

    melogibbo

    Great game, great writing Bryan, thanks again.

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