Friday, July 24, 2015

Reti's Tightrope Maneuver: Part 2

It's been nearly a week, and I assume your geometry should have improved after that math graded task. Which means it's time to look through the 3 puzzles I have issued y'all in the last challenge. Once again, Reti's tightrope maneuver is the motif that we will use in these puzzles.

Just don't look down (Image from Wiki)

All ready? If so, let's get started:

Adamson 1922
Position 1: White to move and draw

This one is simple enough if you remember Reti's Puzzle. All White needs to do is head towards both pawns at the same time by stepping first onto the b1-h7 diagonal followed by the a1-h8 diagonal. Sit back and see Reti's tightrope maneuver in action:

1. Kg6!

White prepares to execute the tightrope maneuver by approaching both pawns at the same time.

1... a4
2. Kf5 Kb6

2... a3 3. Ke6 and White's pawn promotes.

3. Ke5!

Reti's motif activated! White prepares to either step into the square of Black's pawn or escort his own pawn to promotion. And not 3. Ke4? a3 4. Kd5 a2 when White can no longer escort his pawn safely.

3... a3

Or 3... Kxc6 4. Kd4 entering the square.

4. Kd6 a2
5. c7 Kb7
6. Kd7

And White's pawn promotes.

Yates, Fredrick - Marshall, Frank James
Karlsbad 1929
Position 2: Black to move and draw

The position was reached in Yates - Marshall 1929, after White's 60th move. Black cannot catch White's pawn with the direct route 1... Kc2 because of White's first move advantage 2. f4. However, he can use the Reti tightrope maneuver and threaten to escort his pawn first, giving him much-needed tempi to catch up with White's pawn.

60... Kb2!

Once again, preparing to either step into the White pawn's square or escort the Black pawn. White must spend tempi getting rid of Black's pawn, giving Black time to catch the enemy pawn

61. Kxa4

Or 61. f4 a3 and Black's pawn promotes.

61... Kc3

Using the diagonal to step into the square. Draw.

62. f4 Kd4

Source Unknown
Position 3: White to move and win

This position is slightly tricky. White appears to have the advantage since his king is closer to the pawns. However, Black has a drawing trick: If he can get his king to g8 or f8, he draws by sacrificing his pawn with ... h3! creating a drawn rook-pawn endgame. Hence, White must employ the Reti tightrope maneuver to shadow Black's king and get close to the pawns at the same time.

1. Kd3!

Reti's tightrope motif activated! White uses the b1-h7 diagonal to shadow Black's king and approach the pawns at the same time. On the other hand, blocking Black's king directly won't work: 1. Kc3? Kb5 2. Kd4 Kc6 3. Ke5 Kd7 4. Kf6 Ke8 5. Kg7 Ke7 6. Kg6 and now Black unleashes his trick: h3! 7. gxh3 Kf8 8. Kh7 Kf7 trapping White's king on the h-file and creating a drawn rook-pawn endgame.

1... Kb5
2. Ke4 Kc6
3. Kf5

Once again going straight for the pawn falls to the same trap: 3. Kf4? h3! 4. gxh3 Kd7 5. Kg5 Ke7 6. Kg6 Kf8 7. Kh7 Kf7 Draw.

3... h3

Or 3... Kd7 where White switches his attention to the Black pawn: 4. Kg4 Ke6 5. Kxh4 Kf5 6. Kh5 winning.

4. gxh3 Kd7
5. Kg6 Ke8
6. Kg7

Covering the critical squares needed for White's pawn to promote safely.


Simple, wasn't it? Through these series of puzzles you will be able to acquire a better understanding of how geometrical motifs are used in gameplay, sometimes turning what seems like defeats into miraculous draws!

Part 1:

"Silman's Complete Endgame Course" by Jeremy Silman
"Rosen's Chess Endgame Training" by Bernd Rosen

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