Weekly Endgame Column #13

White to move and win.

This week’s Endgame Column again deals with 2N vs. pawn. As I am building the blog page with 50 exercises, I will introduce and present the remaining exercises here.

The 50 exercises cover 4 stages of this endgame, and working through the 4 steps, you will improve your understanding of 2N vs. pawn:

  1. The king is already trapped in the corner (exercises 1-20).
  2. The king is almost trapped in the corner (exercises 21-38).
  3. The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but the pawn is less advanced (exercises 39-44).
  4. The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but White needs to come up with an additional strategy to succeed (exercises 45-50).

The exercises 21-50 can be found in this blog post. Let’s go briefly through the key points 2-4 in turn.

2. The king is almost trapped in the corner

White to move and win.

The Black king is not yet trapped in the a1-corner, we are one step away from that. However, if White’s reserve knight on g4 can land on either c4 or d3, then Black can be forced into the a1-corner. In our case, the knight should strive for d3 as it also covers c1.

A very important point here is that Black will be trapped in the a1-corner if he is to move. For instance:

1…Kb1 2.Kb3! Kc1 3.Kc3! Kb1 4.Nc4

4…Kc1 5.Nb2 Kb1 6.Nd3 Ka2 7.Kb4 Kb1 8.Kb3

This point of mutual zugzwang helps White to trap the Black king in the a1-corner in some exercises, where you are asked to find creative solutions.

For the other corners, the similar squares to c4/d3 would be c5/d6 (for a8), e6/f5 (for h8) and f4/e3 (for h1) – which will be clear from the exercises.

3. The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but the pawn is less advanced (exercises 39-44)

Here is an example:

White to move and win.

Well, well, well – which corner do you think the Black king should be trapped in? Some calculation is needed here, once the reserve knight is released. The exercise can be found below.

4. The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but White needs to come up with an additional strategy to succeed (exercises 45-50)

White to move and win.

The last 6 exercises are the hardest ones to solve – the above diagram is one example. You will also find it below.

30 Exercises to solve

I shall present the exercises in 3 sections. In all sections, positions with the Black king in the upper part of the board are presented first, then with the Black king in the lower part of the board.

18 exercises: The king is almost trapped in the corner (exercises 21-38).

6 exercises: The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but the pawn is less advanced (exercises 39-44).

6 exercises: The king is 2-3 steps away from the corner, but White needs to come up with an additional strategy to succeed (exercises 45-50).

The solutions to these 30 exercises will follow over the next 2 weeks. Enjoy!

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