Chess Mentor Course

My first chess mentor course for www.chess.com was published on 1 July. The theme was bishop stronger than a knight in the endgame. I received many positive feed backs, but I especially appreciated this one:
“Dear Mr. Bojkov,
My name is Sam Shankland, I'm an IM from the US rated over 2500 FIDE, and I'm also a chess.com employee. I'd just like to say your Bishop vs Knight chess mentor course is extremely good- bishop vs knight endgames have always been a weak point in my game, and I actually learned something from a course with an average rating of about 1800. I'm sure you get messages like these all the time (I definitely do), but perhaps they don't always come from near- GMs.... In any case, great job and thanks a lot!”

Dear Sam, thank you too, and good luck at the youth USA championship! I hope that you can apply some of the learned ideas. Here is a sample from the course:

Rej,T (2348) - Castor,D (2131) [A57]
Sydney Int Open Parramatta AUS (6), 09.04.2010
[Dejan Bojkov]

An ouside passed pawn is a great advantage in all endgames. A bishop is extremely happy to have such support. 25.Ke2! First White brings his king into the play. 25...Ke6 Unfortunately for Black he cannot exchange the knight for the bishop as the resulting pawn endgame is lost due to the possibility for White to create an outside passed pawn: [25...Nxe3 26.Kxe3 Ke6 27.Kd4 The most precise method is-first maximally activate the king. 27...a5 28.b3 d5 29.a3 Kd6

Now the plan is to create the b passer, deflect the opponent's king and win in return the d5 pawn, and all the others on the king's flank. And the best technique to do that is first to improve your own pawns on the kings flank with: 30.g4 then h2-h4, f2-f4, and finally b3-b4, etc.] In the game he will win in similar way but with the minor pieces still on the board. 26.Kd3! Kd7 27.Kc4! Kc6 28.b4 When all the white pieces are on their perfect places White creates an outside passed pawn. 28...Nc7 29.a4

29...d5+ Black is practically in zugzwang, and he will have to do this move sooner or later. 30.Kd3 Ne6 31.g3! Nc7 32.h4! Gaining space on the king's flank and placing the pawns on defended squares. [32.Bc5 Ne6] 32...Ne8?! This move eases White's task, as the knight now will be dominated. More stubborn was: [32...Ne6 although this should also be won for White after: 33.g4 Expanding on the king's flank- this will give two extra trumps for White- control over the e6 square, and possibility for combined play on both flanks. 33...Nd8 (33...g6 is probably best 34.Bd4 f5 35.gxf5 gxf5 36.Ke3 but Black will soon in zugzwang) 34.f4 Nb7 35.f5 Nd6 36.h5 Nc4 (36...Nf7 37.Bf4 h6 38.Kd4+-

and b4-b5 is coming will be similar as in the game) 37.Bd4 h6 38.Bc5 Ne5+ 39.Kd4 Nxg4 40.Bf8 Nf2 41.Bxg7 Ne4 42.Ke3 Ng3 43.Bxf6 Nxf5+ 44.Kf4 Nd6 45.Bg7 Nf7 46.Kf5 and White wins.] 33.Bf4! Restricting the knight immediately when the moment occurs. Black is lost. 33...g6 34.Kd4! The king is maximally activated. White is ready for the decisive operation. 34...Ng7 35.b5+! Finally deflecting the opponent's king and going for the pawns on the king's flank. 35...axb5 36.axb5+ Kxb5 37.Kxd5 f5 38.Be5!

And the opponent's knight will be shut either on h5 or e8 squares. 38...Nh5 39.f3 f4 40.Bxf4 Ng7 [40...Nxf4+ 41.gxf4 Kb6 42.Ke6 Kc6 43.f5 is an easy win as well.] 41.g4 h5 42.Be5 Ne8 43.gxh5 gxh5 44.f4 1–0