The Texas State Championship was held May 25-27 over the Memorial Day weekend at the DFW Marriot South. The Championship Section drew 46 players, including one GM, two IMs and 15 NMs. I was excited to play some strong competition!
I would like to share two interesting endgames where a pawn majority was a key feature. I recommend setting up the positions and working out some variations before checking the answers below. Simulating a tournament setting is good practice when training for your next event.
A pawn majority is essentially strength in numbers, an advantage on one side which is common but sometimes goes unnoticed. Often in the endgame a majority can become a passed pawn, and then hopefully a Queen. The earlier you notice these elements, the better chess player you are. If you are looking to increase your rating, follow the advice of many great players…
“To improve at chess, you should in the first instance study the endgame” – Capablanca
Overall the 74th edition of this tournament was well organized and enjoyable to play. The Texas Chess Association ensured the venue, equipment and staff were all very professional. International Master Cameron Wheeler was the eventual winner with an impressive score of 6.5/7!
See you next year!
The first example took place in the first round, and we all want to start off well. Against a strong local player, I found myself in a complicated King and Pawn endgame…
Black to Move. Which color do you prefer?
After a long event, the final round often takes special resilience. Black is up a Pawn, but White’s King is better placed…
Black to Move. Which color would you prefer?
1) The game continued 42…Ke5 43.Kd3 h5 44.gxh5 Now the game becomes a very forcing race Kxf5 45.a4 bxa4 46.bxa4 Kg4 47.Kc4 Kxh5 48.Kxc5 Kxh4 49.Kb5 g5 50.Kxa5 g4 51.Kb6 g3 52.a5 g2 53.a6 g1=Q check 54.Kb7 Qb1+ 55.Ka8 (if 55.Ka7 Qb5) …Qe4+ 56.Kb8 Qe5+ 57.Kb7 Qb5+ 58.Ka7 Kg5 White Resigns as he has to detach from the pawn.
2) The game continued 38…Kd6 39.Kb4 Kd5 40.Kxa4 Kc4! The best practical try 41.b4? White had one saving attempt which leads to a complicated Queen and Pawn Endgame 41.Ka5! e4 42.Kb6 f5 43.a4 f5 44.a5 41…e4 42.Ka5 f5 43.Kb6 (If 43.a4 f4 44.b5 cxb5 45.axb5 e3 46.fxe3 fxe3 47.b6 e2 48.b7 e1=Q check) f4 44.a4 e3 45.fxe3 fxe3 46.a5 e2 47.a6 e1=Q 48.Kxc6 Qe4+ 49.Kb6 Kxb4 White Resigns