mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: As you can see, we are dealing with one of the trickiest
endgames there are in the game of chess: the one with queens on the board. The good
news, I think, is that we are playing with the white pieces. After all, we do have
exactly the same number of pieces black has, but it is their positioning that's not
exactly the same. What we do have and black doesn't, is a fantastic pawn about to be
promoted on the 'c' file.
But, as usual, if things would be so simple, why would I be showing the position? The fact is that there is one element of positioning that we would rather copy from black: the king's body guards! While black's king on g7 is fairly protected, with a few pawns in close proximity, our king has ventured to c4, where it's protection is, let's say, not the best imaginable.
You might wonder why I am so concerned about the white king being vulnerable. Well, this is the secret to many queen endgames. You see, our pawn is so perfectly positioned, that technically all we need is to get the 'c8' square under our control, and we are in business! Since we can't really assume that black will be so stupid as to move his queen away by himself, it is clear that is going to be our efforts that will make he pawn into a queen. But here is the problem: if we do use our queen to support the 'c' pawn, black will get his chance to harass our king a little bit, precisely because of its exposed position.
Now, some of you might have spent a lot of time trying to calculate just this: if we do play a move such as 1.Qd8 or 1.Qd4 followed by 2.Qc5, does black really have the ability to obtain a draw by perpetual check? The correct answer to this is "who cares!" Please do not think that I am being cynical - it's just that I have played many of these endgames, and trying to calculate everything that happens in 10 moves when there are queens on the board is an almost impossible task. And even if completed successfully, it would still consume a lot of thinking time, and would run the high risk of having overlooked something.
I also have to tell you that there are cases when there is simply no other way to do things. On the other hand, if there is a way to solve the problem better and faster, then going for it should be an automatic choice. In other case, this better solution is the nice 1.g4!
I hope you agree with me that the idea behind this move is not that far fetched.
Instead of sending our queen to control the c8 square, we are taking a shortcut,
and cutting black's queen access to the precious promotion square. An added benefit
is that our advanced pawn allows us to shamelessly pursue any opportunity to trade queens
- because of how far the black king is, this is really the fastest path to victory.
Unfortunately, we can't expect black to just accept to trade queens, which is exactly why we have to force him to! This is proving to be much easier than expected, thanks to the open diagonal on which black's king currently resides, and the slightly out of touch placement of black's queen. And thanks to our first move, black has really no choice: either he allows our pawn to promote, or he takes our queen which only means that we will promote a move later, or he makes the most obvious move: capture the pawn on g4 with 1...Qg4 and check us at the same time.
So, did we just try to be nice to our opponent and gave him a pawn? I don't think so! What we did is force black's queen on the 4th rank, and despite her check, we have no intention of budging our king. What we do intend is to play 2.Qd4!
The net result is quite simple: black is in check, and whether he wants it or not, that queen trade is going to happen. It is thus just a matter of a few moves until our nice pawn on c7 becomes a queen himself and insures our victory!