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Novice Nook #36
I'm posting a day early this week since I'm planning to be away from the office computer tomorrow. This week's column is "The Goal Each Move" and is a discussion of the chess thinking process (something near and dear to Matt's heart, I know) with a good dose of OTB time consideration thrown in. The latter is near and dear to me right now, because time pressure in OTB play is regularly an issue for me and I'm at a loss as to how to deal with it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
In any case, the link is:
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... I was particularly intrigued by the epilogue "It's your Move" endgame published in Chris Ward's book. It seems to me that Dan Heisman ought to explain why the position after Black takes up the distant opposition becomes a draw, rather than a win to White. A novice, it seems to me, might not pick that up.
The diagram takes up the position after Black has played 8...Kc6, taking up the distant opposition:
Suppose we continue as in Heisman's article: 9.Kf6 Kd6 (9...Ke6 is a misprint in the article, by the way) 10.Kf5 Kd5 11.Kf4 Kd4 12.Kf3 Kd5! (on account of 13.a5 etc if Black plays 12...Kd3?? or 12.Kc3?? for that matter). 13.Ke3 Ke5 14.Kd3 Kd5 ...
OK, as Heisman observes, White's K can make no further progress. But what if White tries to decoy the Black K away from the b-pawn? Heisman assumes the novice knows this, or can figure it out. But it's worth a little revision:
15.a5 Kc5 16.a6 Kb6 17.Kc4 Kxa6 18.Kxb4 Kb6 taking up the opposition again. If the whole position were moved 2 squares closer to Black's edge of the board, White would win, but not here: 19.Kc4 Kc6 20.b4 Kb6 21.b5 Kb7 22.Kc5 Kc7 23.b6+ Kb7 24.Kb5 Kb8 25.Kc6 Kc8 26.b7+ Kb8 27.Kb6 Stalemate.
White can try all sorts of triangulation tricks, but he can't prevent Black taking up the opposition when White takes the b-pawn.