Endgame Series - Part 12
GM Davorin Kuljasevic
Hello, dear chess friends!
There are only several more "basic" endgame topics we are about to cover in the Endgame series before we move on to more complex strategies. One of them is saved (or reserved) pawn tempo, which we will discuss in the first part of this issue. In the second part, I would like to share analysis of an "endgame tragicomedy" - a training game between two of my beginner level students, which in my opinion holds instructive value even for experienced players.
Saved pawn tempo
There are certain situations in endgames, especially pawn endgames when a small pawn move decides the fate of the game. One of the main tenets of the classic endgame work by Shereshevski - "Endgame strategy", is "do not hurry". Apart from certain psychological aspects, this principle can be applied with regard to pushing pawns in the endgame. For example, in positions when we can push a pawn one or two squares forward Shereshevski recommends we "push it only one square, look around, then cautiously push it one more". While this is certainly a useful guideline that helps us adopt the right mentality in endgames, we will also see how important it can be in a practical sense. For example, in the following position white wins only if his pawn is in its initial square: