Saturday, January 23, 2010

Liberty Bell Open, Philadelphia, Pa. January 2010. I had to be a wee bit creative here to convert my quality advantage into a win. Lo and behold, my opponent's bishop controls the queening square and my king just made it to e1 from g1 in time to help the rook. What to do? I decided to jettison my C pawn in exchange for black's A pawn, make my own A pawn into a threat, and get my rook behind black's passed pawn. I found that there is enough time to stop the pawn because D2, being a dark square, cannot be controlled by the bishop. So, 37. Rb1 was my move.

The game went 37...Kc3 38.Rb5 d4 39.Ra5 d3 40.Rd5 and this was the winning setup. The winning strategy is to advance the A pawn and move the rook up and down the D file until black will be forced to give up his bishop for the A pawn when it promotes. There was this wonderful rook check along the C file that would push the black king away from his D pawn after which white can play Kd2. This is a great illustration of the power of the rook over a bishop in pawn endings.


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