What is white’s best move?
In this week’s position, white is up two pawns in an opposite colored bishop endgame. White seeks to advance its center pawns, bring its king into the game, while also keeping black’s outside passed pawn on a5 in check. White does this by tying black’s pieces down like a cowboy wrangling a couple of horses. With this hint in mind what is white’s best move?
From here, white’s best move is to bring its rook to b6, threatening black’s bishop. If the bishop runs to any square, white will be able to advance its center pawns. For example, if the bishop moves to a4 or e8, white’s c5 pawn advances to c6, creating new passed pawns threats for white.
If the bishop flees to d5, white’s rook slides to d6, forcing the bishop to c4 or f7, which again allows the c5 pawn to advance while supporting a subsequent pawn to d5 push.
Hence, black’s best reply to rook to b6 is to protect the bishop by moving its rook to c8. White then slides its rook to a6, threatening black’s a5 pawn (see next diagram).
Black moves its a5 pawn to a4. Black’s position is now figuratively frozen, as the black bishop and rook stuck. From here, white brings its king into the game via g2 and g3 and pressures black on the king side with its “g” and “h” pawns.
The lesson this week is that good things happen when you tie your opponent’s pieces down, like horses to a post.
Reach Eric Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 327-7121.