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Elementary endgames (Part 7a)
Outside passed Pawn with Knights.

Knights have trouble gaining or losing a tempo. This makes them prone to zugzwang.

Unfortunately, a Web page is not the ideal medium for presenting long chess variations. If you don't have a chess set at hand, try to follow the main lines between the diagrams. Don't worry about the long side variations.

Speelman 131; Averbakh 118

As is typical in the endgame, the Kings first approach the center.

1.Kf1 Ke7 2.Ke2 Kd6 3.Kd3 Kc5 4.Nc2 Nd5 5.g3

White's last move prevented 5...Nf4+. Now Black is in zugzwang. If Black could stop moving, the position could be defended. White can't break through and create an outside passed Pawn.

5...a5 6.b3 f5 7.a3 g6 8.b4+ axb4 9.axb4+


Black can't exchange Knights. If 9...Nxb4+ 10.Nxb4 Kxb4 11.Kd4 and the White wins with something like 11...Kb3 12.f4 Kc2 13.Ke5 Kd3 14.Kf6 Ke3 15.Kg7 Kf3 16.Kxh7 Kg2 17.Kxg6 Kxh2.

10.Kd4 Nc7 11.f4 Nb5+ 12.Kc4 Nc7

If 12...Kc6 13.Nd4+ forces the exchange of Knights and wins as in the previous note.


If 13.b5, then Black can try 13...Nxb5 14.Kxb5 Kd5 and get counterplay by infiltrating White's Kingside. White should still win, but there are complicated lines to calculate. 15.Ne1 Ke4 16.Kc5 Ke3 17.Kd5 Kf2 18.Ke5 Kxe1 (18...Kg1 19.Nf3+ Kg2 20.Kf6 Kxf3 21.Kg7 Kg2 is the same.) 19.Kf6 Kf2 20.Kg7 Kg2 21.Kxh7 Kxh2 22.Kxg6 Kxg3 23.Kxf5

13...Kc6 14.Kd4 Kd6 15.Nc4+

Black's King must choose between abandoning the b-Pawn or the Kingside.


Black abandons the Kingside. If 15...Ke6 16.Ne5 Kd6 17.Nf7+ Ke7 18.Ng5 h6 19.Nf3 Kf6 20.Kc5 and the Black Knight will be lost., for example 20...Ne6+ 21.Kd6 g5 22.b5 Nd8 23.Nd4 Nb7+ 24.Kc7 Nc5 25.b6 Kg6 26.Kc6 Na6 27.b7.

16.Ke5 Kb5 17.Ne3


If 17...Kxb4, then 18.Nd5+ forces the exchange of Knights.

18.Nd5 Kc4 19.Nf6 h6

19...h5 20.Nd5 Nb8 21.Ne7 also loses.

20.Nd5 Nb8 21.Ne7. Now White captures the Black Pawns and wins.

 More of this Feature
• Part 7 : Introduction
• Part 7a : Knights
• Part 7b : Bishops
• Part 7c : Minor pieces
• Part 7d : Major pieces
 Related Resources
• Part 6 - Rook's Pawn