3n4/8/3P4/3p4/3K4/8/3N4/3k4 w - - 0 1

# Knights and Pawn Ending Challenge

White to move and win. You should compare the different moves white could have made at move 1- only one of them wins.

Comments (8)

No. 1-8

Editor

Well done.

In the second variation is a win because the white knight can manoeuvre freely and use distraction when it is needed.

1.Kc8 Nb6

2.Kc7 Nd5+

3.Kc6 Nf6

4.Nf4 Kf3

5.Nh5 Nxh5

6.d7

In the first variation is a draw because the white knight is restricted and it can't use distraction.

1.Ke8 Nf6+

2.Kf7 Nd7

3.Ke6 Nb6

4.Nb4 Kb3

5.Nd5 Na4

Editor

I pulled these positions above from the Nalimov Tablebase so that we would have a firm understanding of the difference. The positions arise from 1.Nf3 using the most resistant move until the position is reached, then the 1.Nb3 position is derived by choosing the equivalent, symmetrical move from that first line.

Editor

Consider these two lines that are the analogs of each other where white has played 1.Nb3 vs 1.Nf3. Why is the first a draw but the other a win?8/3n1K2/3P4/8/8/3N4/2k5/8 w - - 0 1 vs 8/1K1n4/3P4/8/8/3N4/4k3/8 w - - 0 1

Editor

Yes, but where in your lines does this matter, and which knight is affected?

I think there is less room for knight maneuvering.

Editor

Why does the seemingly symmetrical 1.Nb3 fail to win?

V-1

1.Nf3 Nc6+

2.Kc5 Nb8

3.Ne5 d4

4.Kb6 Ke2

5.Kb7 d3

6.Nxd3 Nd7

7.Kc8 Nf6

8.Ne5 Kd2

9.Ng4 Nd5

10.Kb7 Nf4

11.d7 Ne6

12.Kc8 Kd3

13.Ne5+ Kc2

14.Ng6 Kc3

15.Nf8 Nxf8

16.d8=Q

It's a win for white.

V-2

1.Nf3 Nc6+

2.Kc5 Nb8

3.Ne5 Ke2

4.Kb6 d4

5.Kb7 d3

6.Nxd3 Nd7

7.Kc8 Nf8

8.Nf4+ Kf3

9.Ng6 Nxg6

10.d7 Ke4

11.d8=Q

It's a win for white.