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The Winterthur Endgame

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | 11 paź 2012
  • | 5631 odsłon
  • | 26 komentarzy

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.

Komentarze


  • 9 miesięcy temu

    derfa

    NImzo Rules!!

  • 2 lat temu

    Ricardoruben

    Great article, thanks for posting! :)

  • 2 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    RowdyRoddy

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

  • 2 lat temu

    LaskerFan

    And I thought I somewhat understood endings!

  • 2 lat temu

    Lawdoginator

    Incredibly awesome! 

  • 2 lat temu

    mobidi

    Greate STYLE! 

  • 2 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    bays_al

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 lat temu

    chrisarchitect

    Wow! that was some awsome playing!

  • 2 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    mapearson1990

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

  • 2 lat temu

    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 lat temu

    Rasparovov

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

  • 2 lat temu

    sofouuk

    great article, brilliant game. loved it

  • 2 lat temu

    Bishop-Brask

    What a fabulous game! Thanks for the great annotation.

  • 2 lat temu

    Chess_Lover11

    Such a beautiful endgame!

  • 2 lat temu

    melogibbo

    Great game, great writing Bryan, thanks again.

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