I was going to write about rook endgames, but something came up and changed it.
I played online a few days ago, it was my favorite Marshall attack, the forced line where I get a bishop for 2 pawns. I had that line already in 2 games, lost that advantage later in one and gave checkmate in another. Now the queens were exchanged, then rooks and we got to endgame K+B+4P vs. K+6P. Despite of my expectations, the game ended in a draw, I was pissed off at myself and decided to get to the root of it.
Bishop equals three pawns, we learned that at the beginning of our chess careers.
So, if in the endgame you have bishop for 2 pawns, you got great winning chances, right?
Not so simple. Excellent example is the first game from the World Championship match
Fisher-Spassky in 1972. After bizarre move 29. … Bxh2
that Fisher did ( some people say, that it was miscalculation, he counted on the following line: 30. g3 h5 31. Ke2 h4 32. Kf3 h3 33. Kg4 Bg1 34. Kxh3 Bxf2 ,
but didn’t see 35. Bd2! catching the bishop) from equal bishop ending it became bishop vs. pawns endgame. He had drawing chances later, one of them was pointed out by Speelman:
Fischer playing 37. …a6 instead of 37. …Ke4
37…a6! 38.Kf3 axb5 39.axb5 b6 ! 40.Bf8 g6 41.Bg7 f5 42.Bd4 Kc4 43.Bxb6 g5 ! 44.Bc7 Kxb5 45.Bd8+ g4+ 46.Ke2 Kc4
with a clear draw. Finally he lost.
As for my game, looks like I didn’t have the right plan in the beginning, then didn’t use the chances that my opponent gave me, the last one:
White played 54. d6? instead of 54. Kb6 with a draw.
Black returned the favor, playing 54. … Kf7 which leads to draw, instead of
playing 54. … Bg5 55. Kc6 Kf5 56. Kc7 Ke5 57. Kc6 Kd4 with a win.