7

I arrived to this position, black, me, to play, in a tournament game, with plenty of time to think on both sides. Stockfish gives initially +55 and finally mate in 27 for white. Fortunately for me, my opponent made a couple of blunders and I won the game.

[white "Opponent"]
[black "Me"]
[StartFlipped "2"]
[FEN "7Q/8/8/8/p2pkp2/Pp2p3/1P2K3/8 b - - 0 1"]

1...f3+ 2. Kf1 {?} Kd3 3. Qc8 {?} Kd2 4. Qd7 {?, now Stockfish says black wins} e2+ 5. Kf2 e1=Q+ 6. Kxf3 Qe3+ 7. Kg2 Qe2+ 8. Kg1 Qd1+ 9. Kf2 Kc1 10. Qc6+ Qc2+ 0-1

Is it so easy to stop the three pawns given the fact the king is protecting one row?

Do you think it is so easy?

3
  • 5
    Good job winning queen vs 3 pawns, esp with +55 or +74.0 or whatever eval!
    – BCLC
    Oct 6 at 11:21
  • 1
    Why have this board upside down? The question itself is from the White perspective. Oct 6 at 18:18
  • @John Coleman: Presuming it is inadvertent, how could it be changed? Using StartFlipped? And/or using an even number of moves (remove the first or add one)? Oct 7 at 13:03
10

The fundamental principle in king-and-pawn endings is that you want to get your king in front of your pawn(s). If your king is behind your pawn then your opponent can block with their king much more easily. Therefore 2.Kf1 is a mistake, because it allows the white king to get in front of the pawns and also attack the black pawns. Whether it is a game losing blunder I'm not so sure, but it does make winning much more difficult. Either 2.Kd1 or 2.Ke1 would be much better with Ke1 being my favourite as it stays in line with the middle pawn.

In general, white's winning plan is to immobilize the black passed pawns and then start winning the pawns when the win becomes easy.

Here's what happens if black still tries to penetrate with 2... Kd3

[fen "7Q/8/8/8/p2pkp2/Pp2p3/1P2K3/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... f3+ 2. Ke1 Kd3 3. Qh7+ {It is vitally important to keep the white king out} Kc4 4. Qf5 {Still keeping the white king out and threatening the f pawn} f2+ {only move to hang on to the pawn for now} 5. Ke2 {Zugzwang! The black king has no moves} f1=Q 6. Qxf1 Kc5 7. Kd3 {and the two center pawns will soon drop}

So the immediate 2... Kd3 is a mistake. Can black still manage it by first driving the white king to f1? Now white can keep maximum pressure by bringing the queen to e4 forcing black to keep defending the e5 pawn, because if black allows Qxe5 with Kc2 going after the b2 pawn then the queen also defends the b2 pawn.

[fen "7Q/8/8/8/p2pkp2/Pp2p3/1P2K3/8 b - - 0 1"]

1... f3+ 2. Ke1 f2+ 3. Kf1 Kd3 4. Qe5 Kc4 5. Qe4 Kc5 6. Ke2 {forcing white to abandon the c pawn} Kb5 (6... Kc4 7. Qc6#) 7. Qxd4
5

The pawns can indeed be stopped. The problem here is that White has barely tried at all! For instance, after 2.Qh7+ Kd2 3.Qb1, the pawns can go no further: against ...e2+, White can go Kf2 and against ...f2, Kg2 followed by Qf1 should be enough.

2.Qh1 could be an even simpler alternative, preventing the king from marching forward while also preventing ...e2 (because of Kf2) and ...f2.

2
  • f2 Kg2 d3 Qf1 Kc2?
    – BCLC
    Oct 6 at 11:24
  • @BCLC I guess Kf3 does the job there but I'm not entirely sure... 2.Qh1 may be the easier option
    – David
    Oct 6 at 11:30

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