Lesson 5 by Igor Epshteyn

UMBC, room ECS 023, 3-10-99

Notes by David Joyner. (No claim to completeness.)

Theme: Geometry of the chessboard – static case. Detours, routes, and repulsion of the kings.

Position 5.1:

In Forsyth notation:




White to play and win
There are many routes the white king may take from f7 to a7. To win, white must not only take the pawn at a7 but also block (or “repulse”) the black king at b7 or b8.

If white does not block the black king after taking the pawn at a7, we obtain a drawn position which was analyzed in basic endgame position 4. For example, if 1. Ke7 Kb3 2. Kd7 Kc4 3. Kc7 Kd5 4. Kb7 Kd6 5. Kxa7 Kc7 draw.

The win is obtained as follows.

1. Ke6 Kb3 2. Kd5 Kb4 3. Kc6 Kb5 4. Kb7 Kc5 5. Kxa7 and white wins.

Position 5.2: This is a study of N. Grigorev, 1923. Note that the pawn structure is not completely static. The black pawn fixed on the 6th rank will mean that the rule of the 6th rank will play a role here.

In Forsyth notation:




White to play and draw.
The pawn race does not work, as it gives rise to a Q+K vs K+P(on 7th rank) position similar to those studied in lesson 4. 1. Kd6 f5 2. Kc6 f4 3. Kxb6 f3 4. Ka7 f2 5. b6 f1=Q 6. b7 Qa1+ and black wins.

One must be careful not to allow black’s king to get into a better position. 1. Kf6? Kg4 2. Kxf7 Kf5 3. Ke7 Ke5 4. Kd7 Kd5 5. Kc7 Kc5 6. Kb7 Kxb5 and black wins.

1. Kf5 Kh4 (…Kh6 2. Kf6 wins) 2. Kf4 Kh3 3. Kf3 Kh2 4. Kf2 Kh1 5. Kf1 f6 6. Kf2 Kh2 7. Kf3 Kg1 8. Ke4! (not 8 Kf4? Kf2 9 Kf5 Ke3 and black wins) Kf2 (not 8 … Kg2? 9. Kf5 and white wins) 9. Kd5! followed by 10. Kc6 and 11. Kxb6 draws.


Solve the following problems.

  1. Position 5.3: This homework problem is a study of Venink, 1922, which illustrates again the idea of repulsion. The one thing different here is that there is a reciprocal reserve tempo. In Forsyth notation:




    White to play and win.
    solution below

  2. Position 5.4: This homework problem is a
    study by Zakman, 1924.In Forsyth notation:




    White to play and draw.
    solution below

  3. Position 5.5:
    This homework problem is a study by Kubbel, 1914.In Forsyth notation:




    White to play and win.
    solution below

  4. Position 5.6: This homework problem is a
    study by Gorgiev, 1923.In Forsyth notation:



    White to play and win. solution below

  5. Position 5.7: Study by Derdle (pronounced Der-dleh).In Forsyth notation:



    White to play and draw. solution below

  6. Position 5.8: Study by Grigoriev, 1931.In Forsyth notation:




    White to play and draw. solution below

Homework solutions:

  1. 1. Kb3 Kc1 2. Kc3 Kd1 3. Kd3 Ke1 4. Ke3 Kf1
    5. Kf3 Kg1 6. Kg3 Kf1 7. g6 Ke2 8. Kf4 Kd3
    9. Kf5 and white wins.
  2. 1. Kh8! Kf5 2. Kg7 Ke4 3. Kf6 Kd3 4. Ke5 Kc2
    5. Kd4 Kb2 6. Kc3 Kxa2 7. Kc2 draw (see
    basic endgame position 4).
  3. White must use repulsion (2. Kf3 below)
    to force black to lose a tempo.

    1. Ke4 Kxg1 2. Kf3 Kf1 3. Kg4 Kf2 4. Kxh4 and white wins.

  4. This problem illustrates the value of an outside
    passed pawn – the black king is deflected into a
    bad position.

    1. h5 Ke5 2. h6 Kf6 3. Ke8 Kg6 4. h7 Kxh7
    5. Kxf7 Kh6 6. Kf6 Kh5 7. Kf5 Kh4 8. Kf4 Kh3
    9. Kf3 Kh2 10. Kf2 Kh3 11. b3!
    (11 b4? draws!) Kg4 12. Ke3 Kf5
    13. Kd4 Ke6 14. Kc5 Ke5 15. b4! and white wins.

  5. Does white try to attack the black pawn or
    sacrifice his own?
    It is easy to see (simply by counting the moves)
    that if white tries to attack black’s pawn he
    will lose. White should try to reach
    basic endgame position 3, which is a draw.

    1. Kb3 Kf2 2. Kc2 Ke2 3. Kd1 Kf4 4. Ke2 Kg5
    5. Kf3 Kxg6 6. Kg4 and white has the opposition.

  6. White must move so that just after black captures on b6, white
    plays Kb4. This is a draw by
    basic endgame position 3.