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LCB, Issue #022 --, Three Endgame Gems by Celebrated Masters
March 01, 2013

Three Classic Endgame Gems

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #022 -- Three Endgame Gems by Celebrated Masters

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Last month we switched over to Queen endgames, looking at one particular Queen endgame. We saw what effect a runaway passed pawn will have on this endgame. We went through the ideas and concepts of how to play from both sides. We then took in a Grandmaster game for further instruction.

This month we wrap up the endgame series with 3 great endgames played by 3 great masters from yesteryear. First we have the 'Clash of the Titans' between Reti and Alekhine. Next we have a masterclass endgame featuring Capablanca and Yates. Finally we have a signature bulldozing in Botvinnik vs Alekhine.

Famous Endgames by Celebrated Masters

Three Endgame Gems

Time to wrap up our study of endgames. We'll be concentrating on middlegames from next month onwards. What better way to bring our endgame study to a close than with three classics from the masters.

The first one is argued by some to be the most exhilarating game of all time. It certainly features ingenious maneuvers from both players. It's Reti - Alekhine (1925). The second stars the Human Chess Machine, Capablanca vs Yates (1930). The final game is a contest between two famous champions, Botvinnik vs Alekhine (1938).

Reti vs Alekhine

In this Clash of the Titans, as Kasparov puts it, Reti opens with his trademark opening. He puts Alekhine on the ropes in the early part of the game. Alekhine has to fight hard to get close to equality.

Reti continues right through the middlegame with novel moves to keep the pressure on his opponent. He takes command of the center and looks strong on the queenside. It seems like White is going to win.

But Alekhine turns the tide with a breath taking sequence of moves beginning with a caviler offensive with his rook, an apparent sacrifice. Reti does not take the bait but finds himself slowly but surely overwhelmed by Black's pieces as they swarm around Reti's King. Eventually material is won and White must resign. Reti - Alekhine (1925).

Capablanca vs Yates

After 35 moves, White has a slight advantage with 4 pawns vs 3 on the same side of the board. It's a Rook and Pawn endgame. It would seem to be very difficult to put together a winning strategy.

Black played well for much of the game but White was exemplary in inching his pawns forward at the right moments. When he got an opportunity to break upfield with his King he did not hesitate.

Showing great technique he broke down the stiff defense offered by Yates. When he established his Rook on g7 beside a very worried Black King, promotion, once apparently unlikely, was fast becoming inevitable. Black did not even hang around to look and threw in the towel. Capablanca - Yates (1930).

Botvinnik vs Alekhine

Botvinnik was the first to prove constantly that active piece play with pressure in the center very often more than compensates for a slight defect of the pawn structure. Here he allows his center pawn to become isolated but uses his more active pieces to gain control.

Pretty soon Black is doomed to a passive defense. Weaknesses on the c-file and a slight dis-coordination of the black pieces give White an easy game in which he can develop his initiative.

Eventually White gets a superior endgame and dismantles his illustrious opponent systematically. "Of the 14 games I played in this tournament only once did I feel that my opponent outplayed me - it was the game with Botvinnik in round seven" said Alekhine later. Botvinnik - Alekhine (1938). Join us next month for the beginning of the Middlegame Series.

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