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Better King Position
Improving the King Position

Point Count Chess, NO.181, p257-258
Tarrasch v. Walbrodt, 1898

In general, with each step the King takes towards his enemy's back rank, the more power he gains.

With regards to Improving the King's Position, it's recommended you begin the King's advance toward the enemy's back rank, prior to the series of exchanges that will take play into the Endgame phase (the point when most of the heavy Pieces have been removed from the board).

H&M-S say: "If wholesale exchanges are in prospect, you should look for opportunity to better your king position first. On occasion, this precaution makes the difference between a win and a draw."

This example shows how White anticipates such "wholesale exchanges," and so begins advancing his King towards Black's back rank, thereby improving his King's position before the transition into Endgame phase. White's King, with his Better Position, then helps bring about victory.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.257, No.181, after 40...Bd7
  2. Result of Improving the King Position.
  3. Summary of Improving the King Position.
  4. PGN

Improving the King Position
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.257, No.181, after 40...Bd7

After: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Nbd7 7.h3 Nf8 8.c5 Ng6 9.Bh2 Qa5 10.a3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxc3 12.Qd2 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.b4 Qd8 15.Qxc3 O-O 16.O-O Qd7 17.Qc2 f5 18.Kh1 Bd8 19.Be5 Bc7 20.f4 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Qe7 22.g4 g6 23.Rf4 Bd7 24.Rg1 Kh8 25.Qg2 a5 26.Bb1 axb4 27.axb4 Ra4 28.gxf5 exf5 29.Qd2 Rg8 30.Qe1 Be6 31.h4 Raa8 32.Rff1 Rg7 33.Rg2 Rag8 34.Rh2 Qd7 35.Bd3 Ra8 36.Qg3 Qe7 37.Rg1 Rag8 38.Rhg2 Rf8 39.Qf4 Rfg8 40.Qh6 Bd7

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram xa to xc - Page 257
After: 40...Bd7

1. White gains a Protected Passed Pawn, which appears to give White the purpose (and direction) to Improve his King's Position

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 1.d4 to 16.O-O
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 1.d4 to 16.O-O
After 1.d4 to 16.O-O, these Opening moves lead to White's f-Pawn becoming the Protected Passed Pawn, on e5.

White has allowed the exchange of both Knights:

Queen Knight: 11...Ne4xc3;
King Knight: 14...Ng6-h4 13.Nf3xh4 14.Be7xh4).

And both Kings have Castled Kingside (15...O-O 16.O-O) prior to the exchange of dark-Bishops, on e4, which leaves White's f-Pawn on e5*
* Remember, this is key, as White brings his King forward, to support this Protected Passed Pawn, prior to the exchange into the Endgame phase, which sees White's elevated King contribute to White's victory.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 16...Qd7 to 19.Be5
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 16...Qd7 to 19.Be5
After 16...Qd7 to 19.Be5, White's dark-Bishop is posted to the e5-Outpost (19.Bh2-e5), where it will sit to invite the exchange of dark-Bishops, that will leave White's f2-Pawn, on e5.
It's also during this small sequence that White moves his King to the corner of his Stronghold (18.Kg1-h1). White's King never moves from this position, until White is ready to Improve his King's Position. Meanwhile, White will be able to build up pressure against Black's King, on the g-file.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 19...Bc7 20.f4 Bxe5 21.fxe5
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 19...Bc7 20.f4 Bxe5 21.fxe5
After 19...Bc7 20.f4 Bxe5 21.fxe5, the dark-Bishops are exchanged (19...Bd8-c7 » 20...Bc7xe5), and White's f-Pawn (20.f2-f4) ends up on e5, at the head of the Advanced Chain (d4,e5), as it completes the trade (21.f4xe5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 21...Qe7 to 27...Ra4
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 21...Qe7 to 27...Ra4
After 21...Qe7 to 27...Ra4, White allows his Queenside to be invaded by Black's Queen Rook, to focus on building support for White's g-Pawn, which will be launched into the exchange of Pawns on f5 that will result in White's e5-Pawn becoming the Protected Passed Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 28.gxf5 exf5
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 28.gxf5 exf5
After 28.gxf5 exf5, White's e5-Pawn becomes the Protected Passed Pawn, after White forces the exchange of Pawns on f5 (28...g4xf5 e6xf5).

The pressure from White's Battery, on the g-file, also intensifies, against Black's Kingside position.
Now, White's focus shifts toward building up the attack against Black's Kingside position ...

2. Black has to defend against White's threatened Kingside invasion

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 29.Qd2 to 31.h4
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 29.Qd2 to 31.h4
After 29.Qd2 to 31.h4, White's Queen (29.Qg2-d2) supports the threatened b4-Pawn, before White's h-Pawn is pushed to the front line (31.h3-h4).

White's h-Pawn appears to be the threat that forces Black to concentrate his Pieces to the defence of his Kingside.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 31...Raa8 to 37...Rag8
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 31...Raa8 to 37...Rag8
After 31...Raa8 to 37...Rag8, Black has recalled his Rook, from a4 (31...Ra4-a8), to concentrate his Pieces on the Kingside, to defend against the threat of invasion on the g- & h-files.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 38.Rhg2 to 40.Qh6
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 38.Rhg2 to 40.Qh6
After 38.Rhg2 to 40.Qh6, White arranges his Rooks into Battery formation, on the g-file, and sent his Queen deep into Black's territory, on the h-file, as a prelude to the attack by White's h-Pawn, that will result in the series of exchanges that will take the game swiftly into the Endgame phase.

3. White is able to Improve his King's Position, while Black's Pieces are tied to defending against White's Kingside invasion

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 41.Kh2 to 44.Kf4
Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 41.Kh2 to 44.Kf4
After 41.Kh2 to 44.Kf4, White begins Improving his King's Position.

While Black's Pieces are tied to defending their Kingside position, White brings his King up (41.Kh1-h2 » 43.Kh2-g3 » 44.Kg3-f4) to support the Protected Passed Pawn (e5).
At this point, having gained the advantage of the Better King Position, White can now launch into the exchanges, to transition play into the Endgame phase.

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The Result of Improving the King Position...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - (RESULT) Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 44.Kf4
(RESULT) Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 44.Kf4
After 44.Kf4, while Black's Pieces are stuck, having to defend against the invasion threat, on the Kingside, White's King comes up, to support his Protected Passed Pawn (e5), while Improving his King's Position, in the process.

Incidentally, this is as far up the board as White's King gets, but this Better King Position will prove decisive, in White's victory.
Note: White's King has been mobilized BEFORE White launches into the exchanges that will transition play into the Endgame phase.

White wants his King to have the positional advantage, over Black's King, when the exchanges are done.

White doesn't want to be into the Endgame phase, with the mobilization of his King STILL to do.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - (RESULT) Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 45.h5 & 46.hxg6
(RESULT) Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 45.h5 & 46.hxg6
After 45.h5 & 46.hxg6, White launches his h-Pawn into the first exchange, on g6, taking-out Black's g6-Pawn in the process (45.h4-h5 & 46.h5xg6).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - (RESULT) Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 46...Bxg6 to 51.Qxg5
(RESULT) Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 46...Bxg6 to 51.Qxg5
After 46...Bxg6 to 51.Qxg5, the position has been Simplified, and the only heavy Pieces that remain are the adverse Queens, with the game having transitioned into the Endgame phase.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 181 - (RESULT) Better King Position, Improving the King's Position, After 52.e6
(RESULT) Better King Position,
Improving the King's Position,
After 52.e6
After 52.e6, Black resigns, as White threatens to Promote his Passed Pawn (52.e5-e6).

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Summary of Improving the King Position...

  1. White gains a Protected Passed Pawn (after 28...exf5), which appears to give White the purpose (and direction) to Improve his King's Position.

  2. Black has to defend against White's threatened Kingside invasion (after 31.h4), which prevented Black from carrying out his own offensive plans, over on the Queenside.

  3. White is able to Improve his King's Position, while Black's Pieces are tied to defending against White's Kingside invasion.

  4. White sends his King up to help support the Protected Passed Pawn 41.Kh1-h2 » 43.Kh2-g3 » 44.Kg3-f4), in the process of Improving his King's Position.

  5. With the advantage of the Better King Position, White causes the final series of exchanges, that helps to transition swiftly into the Endgame.

  6. White focuses on pushing his Passed Pawn towards its Promotion square. The threat alone, with Black unable to protect his King AND prevent that Pawn Promotion, appeared sufficient to force Black to resign.

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PGN

[Event "Vienna"]
[Site "Vienna"]
[Date "1898"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Siegbert Tarrasch"]
[Black "Karl August Walbrodt"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "103"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bf4 c6 6.e3 Nbd7 7.h3 Nf8 8.c5 Ng6 9.Bh2 Qa5 10.a3 Ne4 11.Bd3 Nxc3 12.Qd2 Nh4 13.Nxh4 Bxh4 14.b4 Qd8 15.Qxc3 O-O 16.O-O Qd7 17.Qc2 f5 18.Kh1 Bd8 19.Be5 Bc7 20.f4 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Qe7 22.g4 g6 23.Rf4 Bd7 24.Rg1 Kh8 25.Qg2 a5 26.Bb1 axb4 27.axb4 Ra4 28.gxf5 exf5 29.Qd2 Rg8 30.Qe1 Be6 31.h4 Raa8 32.Rff1 Rg7 33.Rg2 Rag8 34.Rh2 Qd7 35.Bd3 Ra8 36.Qg3 Qe7 37.Rg1 Rag8 38.Rhg2 Rf8 39.Qf4 Rfg8 40.Qh6 Bd7 {PCC, p.257 No.181} 41.Kh2 Be6 42.Rg5 Bd7 43.Kg3 Be8 44.Kf4 Bd7 45.h5 Be8 46.hxg6 Bxg6 47.Be2 Qd8 48.Bh5 Bxh5 49.Qxh5 Rxg5 50.Rxg5 Rxg5 51.Qxg5 Qf8 52.e6 1-0

End.

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