An Instructive Endgame

Here is an online Game 30 where white converts his endgame advantage. The win is not so dramatic but it does emphasize endgame planning. I am 1611 USCF here and my opponent is 1511.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c5 {This is the Symmetrical Defense to the Queen’s Gambit.
White’s first-move advantage means more in an open position like this one.
Development is better.} 3. cxd5 Qxd5 (3… Nf6 4. dxc5 {White is material up.
He should give it back en route to a pleasant game.})

4. Nf3 cxd4 5. Nc3 Qd6 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 {Black took with his only active piece. I can see the temptation to rid oneself of a potential liability, the queen is placed in a
difficult spot, but white gets what he wants.} e6 8. g3 {White chose this
development scheme so e4 wouldn’t be weak.} Bc5 9. Nb3 Bb4 10. Bd2 {This isn’t
strictly necessary. White can accept the weakness since black’s capture would
exacerbate his development problems.} Bxc3 11. Bxc3 f6 {It’s a snowball effect
when you lag developmentally. It’s better to offer up the knight and accept a
weakness.} 12. Bg2 Ne7 13. Nc5 {Castling is slightly better.} Nbc6 14. Rd1 Kf7
{I like the spirit of this move.}

15. O-O b6 16. Ne4 Nd5 {Black must have missed the check. The second player ought to have seen the difficulties of his b6-Bb7 plan earlier.} 17. Nd6+ Ke7 18. Nxc8+ {Bxd5 is alright as well} Raxc8

19. Bxd5 exd5 20. Rxd5 Rcd8 21. Rfd1 Rxd5 {This is an error. Black spent two
tempo on that rook and assisted white while doing so! To take is usually a

22. Rxd5 Rd8 23. Rxd8 Kxd8 24. Kg2 {White is better here. He has no
weaknesses. and is free to put his pawns on the light squares. I am fortunate
I did not play d3 since the knight would have chances.} Kd7 25. Kf3 Ke6 26. g4
{This is not fully accurate. The plan is fairly sound, make black run out of
moves, but the move order is wrong.} a5 27. Ke4 b5 {Black aims to exchange
pawns and reduce play to one side of the board. This is sound strategically.
Follow-through is everything however. If the plan fails, the pawns will be
quite exposed.} 28. f4 b4 29. Bd4 h6 30. Bc5 {White should limit the knight’s
scope.} g6

After black’s 30th move.

31. f5+ gxf5+ 32. gxf5+ Kd7 33. b3 {This is both good and bad. Fixing pawns benefits the knight but after h3 it’s not clear how black can secure penetration.} Ne5 34. h3 Kc6 35. Bf8 h5 36. Bg7 {Bd7 is move active.} Nd7 37. Kd4 {So everything makes sense here. White has fixed his pawns on light squares and therefore black’s own pawns shut off the dark squares.

Because of the dark-square pawns either the king or the knight must dedicate
itself to the defense. At a timely point white can switch the attack to
another sector where the knight cannot reposition itself so easily.} Kd6 38.
Bh6 Kc6 39. Bf4 Nb6 40. e4 {This thrust will secure a passer soon.} Nd7 41. e5
fxe5+ 42. Bxe5 {It’s rather nice having the extra pawn. The endgame is far
different without these tempo moves made possible by the material disparity.}
Nf8 43. h4 {Because g5 and f6 are covered there’s no outpost of value on g4.
This justifies the advance. The pawn move also eliminates one of black’s tempi.
White will secure penetration on c5 as a result.} Nd7 44. Bg7 Kd6 45. Kc4 {But
the pawn and bishop create a wall!} Ke7 46. Kb5 Nf6 47. Kxa5 {This is a
mistake. White can win more easily. Simply counting, white gets to his goal
first after Bxf6. The queening square is covered with time to spare.} (47.
Bxf6+ Kxf6 48. Kxa5 Kxf5 49. Kxb4 Kg4 50. a4 Kxh4 51. a5 Kg4 52. a6 h4 53. a7
h3 54. a8=Q) 47… Kf7 48. Bxf6 Kxf6 49. Kxb4 Kxf5 50. a4 Kg4 51. a5 Kxh4 52.
a6 Kg3 53. a7 h4 54. a8=Q h3 55. Kc5 h2 56. Qg8+ Kh3 57. Qh7+ Kg2 58. Qg6+ Kh1
59. Qh5 Kg1 60. Qg4+ Kh1 61. Qh4 {White forgets that the queen cannot win on
her own without black blundering. The only exception to the rule is if white’s
king blocks his own queen (preventing stalemate).} Kg1 62. Qg3+ Kh1 63. Qe1+
Kg2 64. b4 h1=Q 65. Qxh1+ 1-0


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