The endgame is shown in diagram, and I have also submitted the moves from the actual game.

I want to know if any side can win, or is it really a draw.

Support your claims with illustrative lines, please. Thank you.

[Title "Black to move"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "8/6p1/1pBnk1p1/pPp2pP1/P2P1P1P/2K5/8/8 b - - 0 1"]

1...c4 2.Bf3 Ke7 3.Be2 Ke6 4.Bxc4+ Nxc4+ 5.Kxc4 Kd6 6.d5 Ke7 7.Kd4 Kd6 8.Kc4 Ke7 9.Kd3 Kd7 10.Kd4 Kd6=


I must publicly apologize to user Ken Wei for unaccepting his answer. This is never a polite thing to do, and I will understand if there will be hard feelings.

I thought that he checked the lines with the computer, but it doesn't seem so.

User Matt pointed out refutation of user Ken Wei's answer. That is why I have unaccepted the answer, because I want to know the truth -> can any side win or is it a draw.

Therefore I urge future posters to prove their claims with concrete lines so we can avoid unpleasant scenarios.


OK: 1... c4 2. Bf3 Ke7 3. Bd5 Kd7 4. Bg8 Ke7 5.Bh7(!!) seems to win.

5... Kf7 6.d5 N somewhere and the King penetrates.

[Title "Black to move"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "8/6p1/1pBnk1p1/pPp2pP1/P2P1P1P/2K5/8/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... c4 2. Bg2! (2.Bf3 Ne4+! 3.Kxc4 (3.Kc2 Kd5-+) 3...Nd2+ 4.Kd3 Nxf3-+) 2... Ke7 3. Bd5 Kd7 4. Bg8 Ke7 5.Bh7! Kf7 6.d5+-
  • 2.Bg2 is better (computer found this) because Bf3 allows the surprising Ne4+.
    – Diisciiple
    Aug 19 '15 at 20:48
  • Damn... It seems that I have accepted too fast. If you can offer detailed analysis I will reconsider my decision. I really want to see the relevant moves, so I can avoid repeating the same mistake. Thank you so much for pointing this out, I have upvoted your answer for now! Aug 19 '15 at 21:16
  • BTW, how fares Black if he simply plays 1...cxd4+? What is the evaluation of that line? something tells me that White can reach zugzwang there as well... Aug 19 '15 at 21:18
  • I have taken the liberty to add proper diagram so others can clearly see what you were talking about. Aug 19 '15 at 22:01
  • I don't know how to add diagrams :)
    – Diisciiple
    Aug 19 '15 at 22:11

The final position is a draw, and is a case of opposition/corresponding squares. Black simply waits along c7-d7-e7, and plays Kd6 whenever white plays Kd4. (Although for future reference, you may notice that white can gain the opposition by sacrificing his pawn with d6, and meeting Kxd6 with Kd4, but in this case it doesn't win as the b6 pawn covers the entry point on c5; it would work if all the queenside pawns were shifted one rank towards the white side.)

It is crucial to recognise this idea from black's perspective, because it means that once the pawn on c4 is taken and the pieces are exchanged, white cannot win, so you need not calculate specific lines once you realise this: in particular, playing 3.Bd5 or 3.d5 for white makes no difference.

Hence white cannot win after 1...c4. To be specific for black: play c4, leave the knight on d6 and wait with your king. You need not worry about losing in lines where white plays h5, because after gxh5 Bxh5, the f5 pawn is protected by the knight (so Bg6 is not a threat), and e5 can be covered by the king in the pawn ending (so g6 does not win for white either, and in fact might even lose, but that argument is completely irrelevant).

Black certainly cannot win at any point: his knight is almost completely dominated by the white bishop.

  • I am really sorry for unaccepting the answer, I usually do not do this, but this endgame is very important to me. User Matt pointed out what seems to be a winning line in his answer. That line seems to refute your claims and that is why I have decided to unaccept your answer and wait for a while. Again, I apologize for unaccepting the answer ( I haven't retracted my upvote, it still stands ). Thank you for your understanding. Aug 19 '15 at 21:29
  • Sorry for not checking this with a computer, as I had wrongly assumed that the initial question implied that the position is "really a draw". I am happy to have my claim refuted by someone who found something else and double checked their findings with an engine. Nevertheless, I urge future posters to at least have the foresight to analyse their positions in question with an engine (especially at move 1), as this is the minimal research effort you can put in before asking a question.
    – Ken Wei
    Aug 20 '15 at 0:01
  • If I had an engine next to me I would not ask this question, but I get your point... Aug 20 '15 at 9:06

In order to have a chance of winning, the white king has to be able to move to e5. By moving Kd6 if and only if white Kd4, black keeps the game a clear draw.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.