Tactics: (RB vs RB) X2

"Fewer pieces create fewer problems."

That's the quote at the start of Laszlo Polgar's "Chess Endgames", a fat collection of 4560 thematically-organized endgame positions which (as Laszlo well-knew) showed just how many problems remain even when very few pieces remain. Positions 4423-4446 in Polgar's book are RB vs RB of opposite colour endings. He might consider adding these games to any future edition of his collection...

Our two positions come from top boards of Round 4 at last weekend's RA December Open. Both were RB vs RB with opposite-coloured Bs. The general wisdom is that opposite coloured Bs increase attacking chances in the middlegame, but they increase the drawing margin in endgames. The reason is the same for both conclusions -- neither B can oppose the other  -- so an attack supported by the B will have one more attacker than defender, and (in the endgame) a blockade on the colour of one B cannot be broken by a B on the other colour. Because of the awkward position of the white Kings in our two examples they feature both themes: mating tactics and defensive blockades.

The coloured circles in the lower left corner of the diagrams indicate the player to move. Take some time to at least come up with some ideas before looking at the games and analysis...


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