Twenty years ago Anthony Ker at the age of 21 won his first New Zealand championship finishing on 8/11 equal first with Paul Garbett. His first NZ title was his fifth time playing in the Championship. The following game has a very instructive ending, atleast I found it to be especially after my last round loss at Queenstown which cost me the major open title and dashed any chances I may have had to win the NZ championship, even if they were very slim.
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3
The Pirc has remained a solid foundation to Anthony's black repoitaire. Some may criticise his loyalty to this opening but nobody has cracked it, atleast not yet.
4...Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0
This approach to the Pirc is a Karpov favourite Garbett has also played a few games down this line. Garbett and Ker will repeat this opening in two more NZ championship games trading wins.
6...c5 Tal had an excellent win against Speelman down this line. 7.d5 Na6 8.Re1 Nc7 9.Bf4 b5 10.Nxb5 Nxe4 11.Nxc7 Qxc7 12.Bc4 Nf6 13.h3 Re8 14.Rb1 a5 15.Qd2 Qb6 16.Re3 Ba6 17.Bxa6 Qxa6 18.Rbe1 Kf8 19.Ng5 Qb7 20.c4 Qb4 21.Qe2 h6 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Rb3 Qa4 24.Qe6+ Kf8 25.Rb7 Qxc4 26.Bxd6 Ng8 27.Re3 Bf6 28.Rf3 Kg7 29.Bxe7 Rxe7 30.Rxe7+ Nxe7 31.Qxf6+ Kg8 32.Qf7+ Kh8 33.Qxe7 Qxd5 34.Rf7 1-0 Tal,M-Speelman,J/Reykjavik 1988/
7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 e5 9.dxe5
9.d5 Ne7 10.Rad1 Bd7 11.Ne1 Ng4 12.Bxg4 Bxg4 13.f3 Bd7 14.f4 Bg4 15.Nf3 exf4 16.Bxf4 f5 17.Rde1 Bxf3 18.Rxf3 Qd7 19.e5 dxe5 20.Bxe5 Nc8 21.Bxg7 Qxg7 22.h4 Nd6 23.Qf4 Ne4 24.Nxe4 fxe4 25.Qxe4 Rxf3 26.Qxf3 Qxb2 27.c3 Qb6+ 28.Kh2 Rf8 29.Qg3 Qc5 30.Re5 Rf1 31.Re8+ Rf8 32.Rxf8+ Kxf8 33.Qf4+ Kg8 34.c4 b6 35.a4 a5 36.Kg3 Qa3+ 37.Kg4 Qe7 38.Kf3 Qa3+ 39.Kg4 ½-½ Karpov,A-Nunn,J/Hamburg 1982/
9...dxe5 10.Rad1 Qc8 11.Qc1 Rd8 12.Rxd8+ Qxd8 13.Rd1 Qf8 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 h5 Black has the plan to exchange of his worse piece the bishop on g7.
16.Nb5 Ker lost a later game down this line. 16...Rc8 17.c3 Kh7 18.Kf1 Bh6 19.Bxh6 Qxh6 20.Qxh6+ Kxh6 21.Ke2 Kg7 22.Ke3 Kf8 23.Be2 Ke7 24.b4 a5 25.a3 Ne8 26.Bc4 Ra8 27.Rd5 b6 28.Bb3 f6 29.Rd2 Nb8 30.a4 c6 31.Na3 axb4 32.cxb4 b5 33.a5 Na6 34.Nc2 Nd6 35.Rd3 c5 36.Bd5 Rc8 37.Rc3 Nxb4 38.Nxb4 cxb4 39.Rxc8 Nxc8 40.h4 Kd6 41.Bf7 Ne7 42.f3 f5 43.Kd3 Kc5 44.Be8 f4 45.Kc2 Nc6 46.a6 Kb6 47.Bxg6 Ne7 48.Bxh5 Ng8 49.Bf7 Nh6 50.Be6 Kxa6 51.Kb3 Ka5 52.Bd5 Ka6 53.Kxb4 Kb6 54.h5 Kc7 55.Kxb5 Kd6 56.Kb6 Kd7 57.Kc5 Ke7 58.Kc6 Kf6 59.Kd6 1-0 Mok Tze Meng-Ker,A/Jakarta 1993/
16...Kh7 17.Rd3 Bh6 18.Nd5 Nxd5 19.Rxd5 Rd8 20.Qd2 Rxd5 21.exd5 Nd4 22.Bd1?!
Clearly better is 22.Be4 This diagonal is ideal for the bishop, it is interesting how this slight inaccuracy affects white's position later on.
22...Nf5 23.Bxh6 Qxh6 24.Qxh6+ Kxh6
We have reached a fischer endgame with King knight and pawns verse king bishop and pawns. Critical for black is to find a good out post for his knight. Black has a K-side pawn majority and white a queenside one which means each side must try to get a passed pawn but just blindly throwing the pawns up the board is not good. The pawns will neeed support so each side is trying to create a passed pawn and at the same time slow down the other side making progress. Ultimately it must start with getting your pieces to good squares or taking away good squares from your opponent.
The white king must be centralised or head towards where the action is most likely to occur
White misses black's idea behind his last move and unnecessarily drops a pawn. The resulting position will still be a difficult one for black to win.
26.Be2 is better
26...Nc4 27.b3 Nxa3 28.c4
This pawn chain block's in white's bishop which should be placed on this diagonal for optimum annoyance for black. If white could get his bishop on c2 or d3 then he would be at least looking at a black pawn but white's knight on the edge of the board has the important function of slowing this down.
Black now hurries to activate his king
29.Kd3!? This is a more energetic square for the king. He keeps an eye on any central and K-side possibilities as well as threatening to win the knight on a3 basically forcing black's next move.
Just to show the some possibilites
A) 29...a5?! 30.Be2 b5 (30...Kf6 31.Kc3 The knight will be lost.) 31.Ke4
A1) 31...Kf6 Leads to a interesting win for white. 32.cxb5 Nc2 33.f4! h4 (33...exf4 34.d6! cxd6 35.b6+-) 34.fxe5+ Ke7 35.b6 cxb6 36.d6+ Ke8
A2) 31...bxc4 32.bxc4 Nc2 33.Kxe5 Leads to a more or less forced draw where white sacs his bishop for the a pawn uses his c and d pawns as bait to eliminate black's only winning chances. His King-side pawns. 33...a4 34.c5 f6+ 35.Ke4 a3 36.Bc4 Kf8 37.d6 cxd6 38.cxd6 Nb4 39.Kd4 a2 40.Bxa2 Nxa2 41.Kd5 Ke8 42.Ke6 f5 43.Kf6 Kd7 44.Kxg6 f4 45.Kg5 Nc1 46.Kxf4 Nd3+ 47.Kg5 Nxf2 48.Kxh5 Kxd6=;
B) 29...b5 This is a better move for black he must act quickly to get his knight a retreat square. 30.c5 Black remains a pawn up but whiite has good chances to draw.
Necessary to prevent the knight being trapped.
30.Kc3 a5 31.Kb2?!
White's king is too far away from black's pawn majority on the K-side.
31.b4! trying to trade as many as possible. A good general idea to know is in minor piece endgames your winning chances diminish with each pawn that leaves the board, because of course a King and minor piece is not enougn to mate. Nxc4 (31...axb4+ 32.Kxb4 Nxc4 33.Kxb5 Nd6+ 34.Kc6 Ne8=) 32.bxa5 Nxa5 33.Kb4 Nb7 34.Kxb5 Nd8]
31...b4 32.Be2 f5 33.g3
To prevent h4 fixing white with a backward g-pawn or if white tries to rid himself of this weakness then black is able to create a passed pawn. [33.Kc1 h4 34.g3 hxg3 35.fxg3]
33...Kf6 34.f3 e4
White's position is now hopeless. White's bishop has been dominated by pawns of both colour's while black's knight as funnily as it looks has played a more cruical role of taking away key squares and causing white to put his king offside. Black will now infiltrate decisively with his king 35.f4
35.fxe4 fxe4 36.c5 Ke5 37.d6 Ke6 (37...cxd6 38.c6+-) 38.dxc7 Kd7 39.Kc1 Kxc7 40.Bf1 Kc6 41.Bg2 Kd5 42.c6 Nb5 43.Kd2 Kd4 Black is winning
35...c6 36.dxc6 Ke7 37.g4 hxg4 38.hxg4 Kd6 39.g5
39.gxf5 gxf5 40.Kc1 Kxc6 41.Bf1 Kc5 42.Bh3 e3 43.Bxf5 Kd4 44.Kd1 Kc3 45.Ke2 Kxb3 46.c5 Nb5 47.Bd7 Kc4-+]
39...Kxc6 40.Bh5 A desperate attempt to trick black.
of course not 40...gxh5 41.g6 e3 42.g7 e2 43.g8Q e1Q 44.Qc8+ =
41.Kc1 gxh5 42.g6 Nb1 43.g7
43.Kxb1 e2 44.g7 e1Q+ 45.Kc2 Qc3+
43...e2 44.g8Q e1Q+