Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Shouldering

This post is a collaboration with Mr Andrew Crosby who is an expert in chess gambits.
Andrew usually plays them in his games with great success. In addition, he is an active member of our virtual club taking part in our online tournaments and matches

Chess is a game with strategic roots. Everyone can understand the rules for moving the pieces and players love the charm of beautiful combinations. Those who want to progress in the game need to study openings, middlegames, tactical resources, technique and endgames. Memorizing typical patterns is also of great importance. But all those topics should not prevent us from deep and precise calculations during the game.

Rook endgames are the most difficult and many mistakes have been made in the history of this game. Because we learn from our (and others’) mistakes, nowadays we have a better understanding than 100 years ago.

A technique that is useful when kings participate directly in the endgame is ‘shouldering’. This technique consists in using the king to prevent the opponent’s king to approach key squares. In particular, in approaching pawns on the way to promotion.

In 1929, Alexander Alekhine and Efim Bogoljubov played a World Championship Match that lasted 25 games. Alekhine won with a score 15,5 – 9,5. In the 19th game, the longest of the match, the players reached the following position that Bogoljubov lost because of not using the ‘shouldering’ technique:

Should Bogoljubov have known the ‘shouldering’ technique, he could have claimed a draw.

Dear readers, chess isn’t an easy game and players need to study many topics if they want to master it.

If you enjoy online chess and are unable to attend your local club, then join our virtual club. We regularly play online tournaments, team matches and there is Blitz every Saturday.
More than 630 members enjoy that chance and new players join every week. New tournaments need players! Join now! Limited slots!.

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