Monday, April 07, 2014

How Passed Pawns Win 'Master Games'

I have annotated the game Vlastimil Hort - Helmut Pfleger, BBC TV's Master Game 1979-1980 (PGN) (Replay), which William Hartston described as "an elegant win" in his comments on Series 5 of BBC TV's The Master Game.  In response to Pfleger's provocative Tartakower Variation of the Caro-Kann Defense (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3,Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6!?), which promises White the long term advantage of a strong queenside majority with which he can create a passed pawn, Hort plays simple chess, accumulating small advantages, including  a passed d-pawn which he uses to win the game (see diagram below).  

Position after 26...Ba4 in Hort - Pfleger, Series 5
White to play and win.
The winning line requires precise play and is shown in the annotated game.  

If you enjoyed solving that position, you might also try the following three puzzles from other games played in The Master Game tournaments.  In each position, a passed pawn wins the game.

Position after 37.Rxb4? in Hecht - Christiansen, Series 7
Black to play and win.
Position after 85...Ra5 in Larsen - Donner, Series 6
White to play and win.
Position after 34...Ke7 in Miles - Schmid, Series 3
White to play and win.

Hecht - Christiansen
BBC TV Master Game, Series 7 - Group B London, England (1), 1982
37....Rc3xc2+! and White resigned because 38.Rd2xc2 Rc8xc2+ 39.Kb2xc2 g3xh2 and the pawn queens 0–1

Larsen - Donner
BBC TV Master Game, Series 6, Group B London, England (1), 198186.a6-a7! Kc7-b7 [86...Ra5xa7 87.Rf8-f7+ Kc7-b6 88.Rf7xa7 Kb6xa7 89.Kd3-d4 Ka7-b6 90.Kd4xd5 Kb6-c7 91.Kd5-e5+-] 87.a7-a8Q+ and Black resigned because 87...Ra5xa8 88.Rf8xa8 Kb7xa8 89.Kd3-d4 Ka8-b7 90.Kd4xd5 Kb7-c7 91.Kd5-e5 Kc7-d7 92.Ke5xf5 Kd7-e7 93.Kf5-e5! 1–0

Miles - Schmid
BBC TV Master Game, Series 3 London, England (1), 197735.b2-b4! a5xb4? [a better try is 35...Ke7-d6 36.b4xa5 Kd6-c7! (36...Kd6xd5 37.a5-a6 Kd5-c6 38.a6-a7 Kc6xb7 39.a7xb8Q+ Kb7xb8 40.f2-f4 Kb8-c7 41.Kg1–f2+- wins for White) 37.a5-a6 Kc7-b6 38.Bd5-c4 Kb6-a7 39.g2-g3 and White has a winning advantage] 36.a4-a5 Rb8xb7 [36...Ke7-d6 37.a5-a6 Kd6xd5 38.a6-a7 Rb8xb7 39.a7-a8Q Kd5-c6 40.Qa8-c8+ Kc6-b6 41.Qc8xf5+-] 37.Bd5xb7 b4-b3 38.Bb7-a6 and the Bishop can stop Black's pawn by getting to d3. 1–0

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