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Harriet Jona Worrall vs Nellie L Marshall Showalter
US Women's Championship Match (1894), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Nov-05
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Pillsbury Variation (D41)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Pawns can only go forwards not back and so care is needed pushing them in endings. Black went 55..b5+ here which was premature. Instead, 55..Rf4+ 56 Kb3 Kb5 gains ground. After (for example) 57 Bd2 Rf3+ 58 Ka2 Ka4 59 Bc1 Black's pieces are optimally placed and so now is the time to go 59..b5 60 Bb2 Rf2 61 Kb1 Kb3 62 Bc1 Rf1 and its time to resign. If you can, push your opponent around not your pawns!

The game proceeded 55..b5+ 56 Kb4 Rf1 57 Kb3 Kd5 (note how the b5 pawn gets in Black's way preventing her King from opposing the enemy monarch) reaching this position:

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If White goes 58 Bb4? here, her own Bishop impedes the King allowing Black to penetrate with 58..Rf3+. So she should go either 58 Ba5 or 58 Bd2 meeting 58..Rf3+ in either case with 59 Kb4 and White is safe. Moreover, Black's only other try 58..Kc5 can be met by 59 Bb4+.

Unfortunately, White chose instead 58 Bh8 permitting 58..Kc5! and after 59 Bc3 Rf3 Black breaches White's defenses.

The drama though was not yet over. Showalter didn't take her chance and went 58..Ke4. The game proceeded 59 Bb2 Kd3 when Worrall demonstrated another downside to 55..b5 by playing 60 a4 eliminating the last pawns.

The drama then continued. After 60..bxa4+ 61 Kxa4 Kc4 62 Ka3 (living a bit dangerously: 62 Ka5 Rb1 63 Bf6 stays out of trouble) 62..Rf7 White can play 63 Bc1, 63 Be5 or even 63 Bh8 when she holds the draw. After 63 Ka2? Black can win with 63..Ra7+ 64 Kb1 (64 Ba3 Kc3 -+) 64..Kb3 65 Be5 Re7 66 Bg3 Re3 67 Bf2 Rf3 -+

There was, however, still time for a final twist. After 63..Kb4? 64 Ba3+ Kc3 the players reached this position:

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White's King is in the "wrong corner" (ie a1 is the same colour as the Bishop) but there is still a way out although the move is difficult to find over-the-board. 65 Bd6! with the ideas i. 65..Ra7+ 66 Kb1 Kb3 67 Kc1; ii. 65..Rb7 66 Be5+ Kc2 67 Ka3; and iii. 65..Rf3 66 Ka3. If instead 65 Bc5? Black wins with 65..Rf3 66 Bd6 (66 Ka3 Kc4+; 66 Kb1 Kb3 -+) 66..Kc2 67 Bc7 Rf7 68 Bb6 Rf6 -+

Worrall's choice also lost and the game ended: 65 Bb2+ Kc2 66 Bd4 Rf4 0-1

A very instructive Rook versus Minor Piece ending, well worth showing to any junior players you are coaching.

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