If logic is your guide, life can be a burden sometimes.
I want to play better chess. Recent analysis of my games at Corus revealed that endgame study would benefit 44% of my games. So I started endgame study.
Since I don't want to do a half job, I started with the mother of all endgames: pawn endgames.
Because any endgame can only be well-evaluated by the underlying pawn endgame, when all pieces are traded off.
At this moment I can say I master endgames with only one pawn.
So I moved on to endgames with two pawns on the same file.
And now I'm lost. I use SOPE, which has a lot of exercises with explanations.
Much to my surprise I read in about 25% of the cases that a grandmaster didn't play that specific exercise well in an official game and lost unnecessary. Mind you, we are talking about only two pawns!
Take for instance the diagram below.
White to move and draw.
It is part of the same problem I showed you thursday. Only two moves later in the line.
If white plays 1. Ke7 here he can hold the draw.
If he plays 1. Kf5 the Nalimov tablebase says: lost by mate in 20.
Actually any other move loses too.
If I would get such a position in a game and would play it by intuition, I would give it 70% to 30% in favour of 1. Kf5. Inspired by some sort of reasoning as "this has nothing to do with opposition, it is a kind of a Reti manoeuvre with two targets: both pawns. If I stay in the middle between them that must be good enough."
If I toss a coin my chances are better than playing by intuition.
But this line is about 11 moves long! Tossing a coin 11 times results in a chance of 0.00048828125 to bring the line to a good end.
I looked at this position for hours and hours. I did a lot of similar problems that revealed much mysteries about such endgames. I know for instance a lot more now about the impact of pawn moves in such positions.
But I still don't quite get it.
I want to find the rationale for the choice between 1. Ke7 and Kf5.
If I have to analyse such lines in time trouble OTB there must be a reasoning which I can trust.
If I would be wise I probably would move on and accept that you can't understand everything. At this pace I'm at Lucena's position in 2078.
But that's wise and not logical.
So I'm going to use my time to reveal the mystery of this diagram.
How can I ever understand more complex endgames if I don't understand this?
After all I've seen people busy with much more silly occupations like solving Sudoku's or throwing darts:)
Listen to Your Pawn Levers
22 hours ago