28 September 2017

Averbakh's R+P vs. B+P Endgames

For the last day the house wifi has been behaving badly, so for today's post I needed a subject that didn't demand too much online time. My first idea was to return to the Aronian - Dubov game from the fourth round of the just-completed 2017 World Cup in Tbilisi. I discussed the R+P vs. B+P endgame in

I knew I had covered other R+P:B+P endgames in the past, but when exactly? Here's a list:-

That last post ('Magic') discussed a couple of positions from Averbakh's multi-volume set of endgame books, specifically the volume on Rooks vs. minor pieces. The Rook vs. Bishop endgames can be extremely tricky and often contain hidden resources. The following diagrams shows two of Averbakh's first (and simplest) examples.

The top position is a typical example of how a single tempo can be the difference between a win and a draw in an endgame. White to move draws with 1.Rxf2. Black to move wins with 1....Ke2, because after 2.Re8+ Be3 3.Rf8 Bc1 4.Re8+ Kf3 5.Rf8+ Bf4, the Bishop interferes with the Rook's attack on the file.

The bottom position (Mattison 1914) shows the Bishop and the King coordinating to stop the Rook's attack. The key move is 1.Be3+. After 1...Kb7 2.e7 Rxa3, first the Bishop limits the scope of the Rook with 3.Ba7 Ra1. Then the King finishes the job with 4.Kf4 Rf1+ 5.Bf2 Rxf2+ 6.Ke3 Rf1 7.Ke2.

All of Averbakh's examples contain equally surprising moves and deep plans. For more info on his books, see

If I can't get the wifi tamed quickly, I might come back to the subject again.

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