A Subtle Pawn Endgame

I present here the result of a recent deep analysis I did on a position from one of my own games.  It was a pawn endgame that occurred in one of the variations, and white was clearly trying to save themselves.  

The goal: find the best chance for white to draw.

Think through some ideas yourself as you watch, and look at the alternative variations as well (with my comments) -- they are no less instructive than the mainline.


If you have feedback and possibly improvements to some of the lines, I warmly welcome your suggestions!


  • 4 years ago


    Thank you, Spiffe!  These are both subtle ideas and valuable corrections.  I certainly do not use an engine when analyzing, though you have a point that it's a valuable tool especially when the results are being sent out to other chess player enthusiasts who wish to learn.

    The two subtleties I didn't notice -- which lead to the lines you pointed out are:

    - 1.Kd2 was/is unintuitive to me, as the king moves farther away from the action -- but its point it to maintain opposition while not losing a tempo to a potential ...g3+ from black.  This is where my analysis of 1.Kf2 g3+ led me to conclude that black wins, and by analogy (an incorrect analogy, it turns out) I must have subconsciously dismissed considering a move like Kd2.

    - 6...Kg3, on your second diagram, is a move that I missed in my consideration, as apparently at that stage (6 moves deep) I was not being careful about alternatives and went for the first line that drew my attention.  A blind spot appeared, as we see.

    Overall, what this shows is that pawn endgames are indeed some of the most technical endgames -- even if seemingly simple due to little remaining material.  Knowledge of a few important principles helps, and I had/have it, but it's not enough sometimes... Wink

    A good lesson, worth showing to people!  Thanks again!

  • 4 years ago


    Wow, this was 5 weeks ago?  I had this bookmarked to look closely at for longer than I thought. Tongue Out

    I can't claim this insight as my own, because I set up the position in Crafty to trace through -- not so much to check your work as to see where my other ideas would go wrong.

    Crafty actually assesses the initial position as a draw, giving 1.Kd2! as the move.  Its best line for both sides goes as follows, with interesting sidelines noted:

    It also regards 1.g3? as a losing move, following your 1...Kxg3 2.h5 f4 line, which you label as lost for Black after 3.Kf1, but...

  • 4 years ago


    Indeed!  Pawn endgames, and most endgames in general, are excellent places to train yourself in calculation skills.  Also tactical puzzles, which is a complementary area to use.

    It does require patience, but so does any skill if you want to reach master level, which I know you do.

  • 4 years ago


    Am glad you have the patience to analyze the many continuations. This is good practice for calculations. Pawn promotion and king positioning indeed go together.

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