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Kevin Bonham
10-11-2021, 12:11 AM
8/2k1PK2/2b5/7B/8/8/8/8 b - - 0 70

White has just played 70.Be2-h5. White has an elegant winning plan here - what is it and can black (to move) stop it?

(Not a composed study; taken from a game.)

Capablanca-Fan
12-11-2021, 04:20 PM
I haven't seen this position before, but it seems like something that can be handled by methods in Averbakh's book Bishop Endgames. White can try the normal method of driving the B off the far diagonal, then try to intercept on the diagonal near the K. But Averbakh showed that Black can circumvent this by moving the K behind the other K in opposition, controlling the intercept square. As long as the shorter diagonal is at least 4 squares long, the defender can't be zugzwanged. So:
1...Kd6 2.Kf8 Ke5 3.Be8 Bf3 4.Ba4 Bh5 5.Bb3 Kf6

Kevin Bonham
12-11-2021, 08:43 PM
^^^Correct. If allowed to, White plays Kf8 followed by moving the bishop around in a circuit: Be8, Ba4/b5, Bb3/c4, Bf7 covering the other diagonal to which the black bishop will have moved. To stop this black must immediately anticipate it and play ...Kd6 then ...Ke5 so as to be able to step onto f6 covering f7 before the other bishop can get there.

Capablanca-Fan
13-11-2021, 02:33 AM
Some history: Jose Raul Capablanca vs David Janowski, Rice Memorial (1916), New York, NY USA, rd 3, Jan-20: Janowski resigned in the final position, realizing that his K was cut off from approaching from tehe side or front. But Averbakh showed that he could have come around from behind, thus: 83... Kf4! 84.Bd4 Kf3 85.b5 Ke2 86.Kc6 Kd3 87.Bb6 Bh4 88.Kb7 Kc4 89.Ka6 Kb3 90.Be3 Bd8 91.Bd2 Ka4 =

In Mark Taimanov vs Robert James Fischer, Buenos Aires (1960), Buenos Aires ARG, rd 9, Jul-04, in one of Fischer's worst tournaments, he still found the drawing method after being on the back foot most of the game. A story goes: "After the game Taimanov inquired, "Bobby how did you manage to save the situation and do it so quickly?" I didn't have to do any thinking. Seven years ago your magazine, Shakhmaty v SSSR, printed a detailed analysis of this endgame [by Averbakh] and I just knew all the variations," was the astonishing reply of the American genius."