Well the league restarted after the Christmas break this week and here's much of my latest effort with a couple of questions afterwards - I haven't shown the whole game for reasons that I hope will become clear. For background I'm rated 139 ECF (~1750 ELO) and my opponent is 156 (~1870 ELO) and the time control is 90 minutes each for all moves, though time was not a factor in this game.

[Event "League"]
[Site "UK"]
[Date "2016.01.20"]
[White "Ian Bush"]
[Black "A.N.Other"]
[WhiteElo "1750"]
[BlackElo "1870"]
[Result "*"]
[FEN ""]

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nc6 4.Nf3 d3 5.Bxd3 d6 6.h3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Qd2 Qc7 
9.O-O h5 10.c4 Be6 11.Nc3 a6 12.Nd5 Bxd5 13.cxd5 Ne5 14.Nxe5 Bxe5 15.f4 
Bg7 16.Rac1 Qd7 17.Qc2 Nf6 18.f5 gxf5 19.Rxf5 h4 20.Qf2 Rc8 21.Rf1 Bh6 22.
Bxh6 Rxh6 23.e5 dxe5 24.Rxe5 Qd6 25.Qf4 Qb6+ 26.Kh1 Qxb2 27.d6 e6 28.Rxe6+
fxe6 29.Qxh6 Kd7 30.Qxf6 Qxf6 31.Rxf6 Kxd6 *


1) What do you think of my play so far? I'm relatively pleased, my only major disappointment is due mainly to blood lust (Rooks don't go backwards!!) I didn't see 28 Re2 which wins, but comments are appreciated

2) End games are my weakness and I ended up drawing this one. How should white go about things from the final position? What principles should I be applying?

  • 1
    On move 17, I think you had the opportunity to play Bb6, just busting black completely. I cannot find any good replies for black after that.
    – Scounged
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 19:16
  • Yes, I considered that plan over the board (combined with Rc7) and indeed it might have been better than what I played.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


End games are my weakness and I ended up drawing this one. How should white go about things from the final position? What principles should I be applying?

The key features in the final position are:

1) You are a bishop for a pawn up

2) He has more weaknesses than you - 3 pawn islands to your 2

3) His king is much more active. It is ideally placed for action in the centre of the board while yours is stuck in the corner. This plus his passed e pawn are big pluses for him.

4) There aren't many pawns left. If they all come off it will be a draw.

Your aims should be, going from general to specific:

1) Play actively with your pieces to attack his pawns rather than passively defend if you can

2) Activate your king. His pawn on h4 is a big problem. If he can keep it and get his rook to the second rank then your king, your second most powerful piece, will be a spectator.

3) Avoid pawn exchanges.

4) Win the h4 pawn (I don't think he can stop you)

5) Blockade or win the e pawn

6) Queen either your g or h pawn

Without putting it through an engine I would suggest something like:

32 ... Rh6 - he isn't going to be able to save the h pawn

  1. Rd8 (he wants to push his passed pawn) Rxh4

  2. e5 Bd5 (blockading the e pawn and eyeing up the b pawn)

  3. b6 (b5 would lose the a pawn after Rh6+) Rg4 (releasing the h pawn to run)

Push the h pawn, put your rook behind it on h4, move your king to where it is needed most. Not necessarily all in that order.

  • Thanks - all useful stuff. Points 3 and 4 were what went wrong in the game, I totally underestimated how strong his king was supporting the pawn up the board, then panicked thinking it was worse than it was which got rid of some pawns, and then realised I had no win. I'll see if anybody has anything else to say, but I'll probably accept this.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 12:18
  • I would second this. Especially that pawns are the key to winning over drawing for the leading player, so he should use the stronger infuence to ensure he keeps at least one of his pawns on the board. And that kings are bludgeons in the endgame, best centralized.
    – Jeff Y
    Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 18:18

1) Good game, a few mistakes but nothing very significant given your elo. I like using lichess to review games, so here is the link.

2) You're up a minor piece, and the pawn islands are in the same position. You can queen before he does. Ask the question "how can I queen a pawn before he does," and to that I reply "pushh... when you can." Click the menu button below the movelist on lichess and "play with the machine" to follow along and make the moves yourself, it'll make you less nervous over the board. Plus, no one is going to play better than Stockfish.

So you obviously have to queen either the g or h pawn, and your a pawn is simply bait to waste his rook's time. We need to knock out his h pawn, and preferably his e pawn as well so it doesn't cause trouble. We can start by playing Rh6 to scoop one of the two pawns, his Rd3 is met with our Bf5. You can play out some more continuations, but he'll lose a pawn once you kick out his annoying rook that is overloaded. Easiest way to kick out the rook is with our king on f2 and moving our bishop around. If he moves his king anywhere but e5 instead of being annoying with his rook, you can play Re6 and get his e pawn.

Assuming he doesn't make a mistake, most of this endgame is moving the bishop around to good squares that limit his rook. Our rook should always be attacking one of his pawns or defending the bishop. It's pretty simple to play out, try it a few different ways!

You are definitely winning, I hope to see you playing out these positions instead of drawing. You can read up on endgames many different places if you have lots of trouble. Good luck out there!

  • Another useful answer, thanks. Unfortunately I can only accept one and Brian got in first .,.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 7:17

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