[Event "Challengers"] [Site "Teignmouth"] [Date "2013.10.01"] [Round "3"] [White "Frost, William A"] [Black "Chubb, Raymond W"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A23"] [Annotator "Bill Frost"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "3n4/5ppk/1N5p/pPnN4/P1P4P/5PP1/6K1/8 w - - 0 38"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] [EventRounds "14"] [EventCountry "ENG"] [SourceDate "2004.04.10"] {A23: English Opening: 1...e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 g3 c6} {White has an advantage in that he has two extra pawns plus a passed pawn at b5. On the surface this looks to be a white win but (and this is a large BUT) an ending with four knights is exteremly difficult to win, extra pawns or not. There are several conditions to bear in mind. Firstly it is in White's interest to exchange one pair of knights as this would make the win a little easier. Easier but not easy! If this is achieved it brings the possiibilty of a draw closer as some positions could occur when, with fewer pawns on the board, Black could exchange his knight for one or two pawns and bring about a drawn position of knight v pawn. In the game position, White must aim to tie up the black pieces in defending against the passed pawn and then switch his attention to the kingside in the hope that he can win a pawn here and either convert this into a win on the kingside, or lure the black pieces away from defence of the queenside and then convert his passed pawn. Whatever happens, it is going to take a lot of moves to even get in sight of a white win. At this point of the game, it was already 9:30 and all the other games had finished. The following moves that were played took the time past ten o'clock.} 38. Ne7 {White has to keep one knight defending his a-pawn and Black will try to keep his knight at c5 in position maintaining the threat to the white a-pawn.. Thus, two knights are going to be tied up and the players will have to manoeuvre with the remaining knights and pawns.} g6 {A Steinitzien move preventing Ne7-f5 from where the knight could reach e4 via d6 and attack the c5-knight.} ({If} 38... h5 {White has good chances to win after} 39. Nf5 g6 40. Nd6 Kg7 41. Ne4 Ndb7 (41... Nxe4 42. fxe4 Nb7 43. Nd7 {and White wins.}) 42. Kf2 Nxe4+ 43. fxe4 Nc5 44. Ke3 Kf6 45. Kd4) 39. Nc6 Ndb7 {Obviously an exchange of knights would be to White's advantage.} 40. Kf2 Kg7 41. Ke3 Kf6 {Preventing Nc6-e5-d3 bringing about the exchange of one pair of knights.} 42. Kd4 Ke6 (42... Ne6+ 43. Ke4 Kg7 44. Nd7 f5+ 45. Kd5 Nc7+ 46. Ke5 $18) 43. Nd8+ $1 ({If White tries another route} 43. Ne5 {he fails to make headway against} Nb3+ 44. Kc3 Kxe5 45. Kxb3 Nc5+) 43... Kd6 ({Naturally, not} 43... Nxd8 {when} 44. Kxc5 {wins.}) 44. Nc6 ({White misses a winning possibility with} 44. Nxb7+ Nxb7 45. c5+ Ke6 (45... Nxc5 46. Nc4+ Kc7 47. Kxc5) 46. c6 $18) 44... Kc7 (44... Nb3+ 45. Kc3 Nc1 46. Kd2 Nb3+ 47. Kc2 N3c5) 45. Nd5+ Kd6 46. Nb6 ({It was time to shift the fulcrum to the kingside with} 46. g4 Nb3+ 47. Ke3 Kc5 48. Ne5 {and then if} Nd6 49. b6 h5 50. Ke2 Nd4+ 51. Kd3 Nxc4 52. Nxc4 Kxd5 53. b7 Nc6 {and White should win but it is going to take some time.}) 46... Kc7 47. Nd5+ Kd6 48. Nb6 ({Again} 48. g4 { leads to a tenuous win} Ne6+ 49. Ke3 Kc5 $18) 48... Kc7 49. Na8+ Kd6 {We had been playing this difficult game for over three hours and we were both quite exhausted. For my part I suspected that I had a win but was too exhausted to continue, An ending of four knights is not the easiest to play.} (49... Kd6 { The winning idea consists in opening up another battle front on the kingside.} 50. g4 (50. f4 Nxa4 51. Ne5 Ke7 52. Nc7 Nbc5 53. Nd5+ Kd6 54. Nxf7+) 50... h5 51. gxh5 (51. g5 Ne6+ 52. Ke3 Kc5 53. Ne5 Nd6 54. Kd3 Nf5 (54... Nf4+) 55. Nxf7 Nxh4 56. Ke4 Nf5 57. b6 Kxc4 58. Ke5 (58. b7 Nc5+) 58... Nc5 59. Kf6 h4 60. Ne5+ Kc3 61. Ng4 h3 62. Kxg6 Nh4+ 63. Kf6 Nxa4 64. b7 Nc5 65. b8=N (65. b8=Q Nd7+) 65... a4 66. Nc7 Kc4 67. Nc6 a3 68. Nd4 a2 69. Nc2 Kb3 70. Nd5 Nd3 71. Nde3 Nb4 72. Na1+ Kb2) 51... gxh5 52. Nb6 Ne6+ 53. Kc3 {A draw was a fair result given the circumstances. Black did not deserve to lose after putting up such a stubborn defence, and it would take White many more moves to reach a win, during which the clock would have played an important part. Black had less time left on his clock and he was in more danger of losing by time than White. However, if White had lost on time that would have been unreasonable result. Alan Brusey has taken a look at this article and has made the following comment: "I have recently had a look at the knightmare position on the Teignmouth page of the Chess Devon website and would add the following comments. 43 Nxa5 wins the key factor is that black cannot give check. if 43.........Nxa5 44 Kxc5 and white has three connected passed pawns 44 Nxf7 CH also wins if 44. .......Kc7 45 Nd5CH Kd7 46 Nc3 leaves white with pawn majorities on both sides of the board after blacks moves 44, 46 and 48 we have 3 times repeated position. The three basic rules of knight and pawn endings I use are 1) Knight and pawn endings are similar to king and pawn endings imagine the board with the knights removed and that is usually the result you will get 2) Beware of checks and deflections 3) Outside rook pawns are very strong due to the slow movement of the knights " To see how difficult such an ending is see the game Ponomariov v Timman, This is an extract from Glenn Flear's fine book "Practical Endgame Play - beyond the basics."}) 1/2-1/2