Chess Endgame Study: Triangulation


Hello everybody, it’s Jrobi. Iím going to
be doing a video on triangulation and this is the second post. I made a video the other
day and all the examples are fine except for the first one. And Iíd like to thank Kazabull
for pointing this out. But basically, on the fist example on the original video, I had
the pieces one ranked too low and even though my primary goal with the first example was
just to show the basics of triangulation, some of the moves that I used were assuming
a rank higher and it just wouldnít work out with the pieces in position. So for someone
whoís just trying this out and practicing at home, it wouldnít work out very well on
the first example due to the pieces on the board. So better to fix it and re-upload it
and-, so weíll get into it here. What is triangulation? Well triangulation is a chess
tactic that you can use to gain the opposition in a position that you need it. And it usually
it takes place by giving your opponent kind of a Catch-22 situation and thatës called
a Zugzwang. Iíve heard a few different pronunciations but Matt Pullin, by the way Matt congratulations
on reaching expert status, said that was the right one so we are going to roll with that
for now. But basically you gain the opposition at a crucial point in the position where it
is giving your opponent nothing but poor moves in their position. So if we take a look at
whatís on the screen right now youíll notice that thereís an odd amount of squares in
between the king so whoeverís turn it is to move does not have the power of opposition.
And if youíre not familiar with opposition I have a video on that. But the general rule
of opposition states that whoeverís to move with an even amount of squares in between
the kings has opposition and whoever is to move with an odd amount of squares in between
the kings does not have opposition. And the whole point of opposition, the reason that
you would want to have it is so you can make inroads into the enemy position. So, in this
setup on the screen it is white to move. And youíll notice that white does not have the
power of opposition because thereís an odd number of squares in between the kings. But
if white did have the opposition in this position white would be able to easily secure the win.
So this is where triangulation comes in. White is going to use the tactic of triangulation
to reach the same position with the fundamental difference being that it is going to be blackís
turn to move instead of whiteís. And weíll get into it here and show you how that happens.
So the first move whiteís going to make is king to F5 and black doesnít have a lot of
options here. You notice that this square is protected, this squareís protected and
this square so — black could either go back or black could go and try to duplicate the
moves. Weíll get into that after. But the strongest move for black in this position
is to go down to D6. Now whiteís going to continue with its plan to triangulate the
king and move to E4. And now youíll notice that-, well, first of all, if black were to
come down here to C5 it would be completely a losing position. So black has to pull its
king back, but the only square that he can pull back to is the starting square on E7,
right here and when black does that white can now complete Triangulating its king and
end up back at E5. And the huge difference here, of course, is that now it is blackís
turn to move and black does not have the opposition in this position so white has completely turned
it around by triangulating its king, coming to the same position but making it so that
it is blackís turn to move. So since black does not have the opposition, black is going
to have to cede ground to white and whiteís going to be able to push into the position
now because a lot more squares are taken away from the enemy king so black only has a few
options to move the king to now in this position and none of which are good for blackís position.
So from here black will play back to E8. A move like F7 would just lose really fast for
black. We are going to take a look at what happens by the way if black tries to mirror
the technique. That was one thing that kazzabullhad mentioned. We are going to get into that here
shortly. But from here now white can just simply play king to F6. And youíll notice
that these squares are taken away from the king and the king has really nowhere to go
except for on its home rank, at which point white now can solidify the king away from
the action. So the king can no longer access any of these squares and the only move that
black has is to go down this side of the board. And from here white can just continue to push
the king away and now, as you can see this squareís taken away, this squareís taken
away. The only move that black has is one of these two squares and from here it is just
pretty much game over. Now I want to go back to the starting position here and talk about
what would happen if black tried to mirror whiteís moves when white was triangulating
the king? Well as it turns out it is not good for black because after white moves to king
to F5 if black does come over now to F7, white can simply push up the pawn in this position
and black has no good options in this position. For example, if black takes the pawn, white
can simply push the pawn up and it is going to promote next turn or alternatively, if
black tries to ignore this and move the king back to say, for example, E8 white can simply
capture the pawn here and now these two squares are protected. Black has to move so white
is going to be able to promote on the next turn. So thatís what happens if black tries
to mirror the technique in the position. So letís take a look at a different example
now with more pieces on the board. Weíll take a look at this one. Now if you take a
few moments to look at this position youíll notice that, well first of all, it is white
to move. So youíll notice that a move like say, for example, king to E3 here, immediately
would be met by black bringing its king down and then all of a sudden whatís going to
happen is whiteís going to be in a position where it is going to have to cede ground into
its position because now the only move that it really has is a king move. These two squares
are protected from the pawns, so that means that the king is going to have to go to one
of these three squares, at which point black can infiltrate whiteís position and just
begin munching up these pawns. So a straight move like pawn to E3 here would just be horrible
for white. Alternatively though, if white could reach the same position using triangulation,
itíll have the advantage and we are going to take a look at how that happens. So whiteís
going to play king to D2, black will come down just as it did in the other example but
now white can use the triangulation technique to put its king on E3 meaning that now black
has to move in this position. So this is the critical position here. Whoís going to be
able to get into-, make inroads into the position? Well from here youíll notice that the black
king canít access hardly any of these squares. Theyíre all being protected by whiteís pieces
so the only move that black has is it to move to D6 at which point white can now move in
and capture the pawn to secure the win. So from here black could play something like
king to C6 which just could be met by whiteís king to D3, black will move back to D6 and
now whiteís king can go to C3 and I think you can see whatís shaping up here because
since these squares are protected, the black king can never access those squares so really
thereíd be no point whatsoever to black trying to bring his king down here. So black instead
is going to try to come down this way and take these pawns. But unfortunately for black,
by doing so, heís just going to run out of time and it is going to end up into a position
where white can just obtain a crushing victory from here, from this position. And weíll
just flip through the moves here quickly so you can see how the checkmate happens, which
should be right about here. But if we go back to the starting position, the key square was
E3, but white couldnít do that immediately because he would lose the opposition once
black moved the king down to E5 because thereíd be an odd number of squares in between. So
instead white triangulates the king, gives black the square first and then comes in with
the fundamental difference being that now it is blackís turn to move and black has
lost the opposition and only has one square, at which point, it is pretty much game over.
Now I want to take a look at a match that took place between Spassky and Tal and I believe
it took place in 1965 and Spassky has the black pieces and heís going to use triangulation
to secure the win here. Now it is black to move in this position. We can see here that
black has a pawn on F3 that is threatening promotion at some point and the white king
right now is blocking that pawn from making advancing moves into the promotion square
so white wants to maintain this king on this square to stop that promotion from taking
place. Now whiteís rook is protecting its pawn on C4 so black canít just come in and
take this pawn because it is blocked and blackís pawns are currently being blocked by whiteís
pieces. So having the move in this position is not advantageous for black. Black wants
to have this position with white to move. Now what Spassky does is he uses the triangulation
technique and he moves his king to D2. White plays rook over to E4 because thereís really
not a lot of options for white in this position. So from here Spassky continues king now to
D3 and white can only really bring the rook back to H4 but now Spassky completes triangulizing
his king, moves to D3 and now it is white to move in the starting position. Now whatís
white going to do here? Youíll notice that the rook cannot go to G4. The rook cannot
go to F4. The rook cannot go to E4 and the rook cannot go to D4. So the rook has no squares
to move and also whiteís pawns are being blocked by its own pieces here on H3 and this
pawn canít advance due to blackís pawn on C5. So the only move that white has is a king
move but unfortunately for white, the king canít access all of these squares so basically
is forced to go to its home rank on one of these three squares or over to G3. All of
which, by the way, will allow this pawn to come farther down closer to promotion and
thatís basically a lost position for white. So in this position actually Tal resigned.
So if we go back to the starting position here basically, in summary, Spassky was able
to triangulate his king, achieve the same actual setup of the pieces with a big difference
though, of course, being that now it is white’s turn to move and white doesnít have any good
options. So it is definitely an interesting technique to know. A very powerful technique
to know especially in endgame play, although it can crop up in middle game. But I definitely
enjoyed going over it and looking forward to your feedback on that. So take care, hope
you enjoyed the video and weíll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Chess Endgame Study: Triangulation

  1. Hey nice video! You forgot to mention in the second position the tricky move e3+. If that happens white can't simply take the pawn because that ensures the opposition and a draw for black! White must instead play Kd3.

  2. Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing, metricprime: in the second position play goes 1. Kd2 e3+ and you say 2. Kxe3 Ke5 is still a win for white. Can you show me a forced win for white? I can't seem to find it…it looks like a draw (with best play for black of course).

  3. If move A gives you a losing position, that doesn't mean that you have to do move B if that also gives you a losing position 🙂

  4. Thank you..i can use this in tomorrows tournament^^…..i wan to be just like wesley so….Im from philippines too…. thanks for the upload

  5. uh yeah it is but black can trick white:

    if 1. d6+ cxd6+ 2. Kd5 Ke8! (black's best response, obviously not 2. …Kd8 3. Kxd6 Kc8 4. c7 wins) 3. Ke6! (if 3. Kxd6 Kd8 4. c7+ Kc8 draws) Kd8 (if 3. …d5 4. c7) 4. Kxd6 and wins

  6. nice trick.

    i mean.. in chess there are no tricks, just well thought plays.

    i mean… the triangulation was already there, but someone named it "triangulation" and understood that this set of moves could be used in every similar situation, promoting it to the level of "technique".

    so i would say: well thought! i haven't thought it before. thanks.

  7. Please do a video on Related Squares! 'Triangulation' is OK for limited situations, but doesn't really get to the heart of the concept.

    TY

  8. Wow! I never realized that just a simple move to buy for time lets you get the opposition and a crushing advantage! You and Triangulation are brilliant! *tips hat in respect*

  9. Opposition and Triangulation are great guidelines for these sort of positions. They are fallible though as rules. For more detail I recommend a study of corresponding squares. Great vid though.

  10. Very nice. I'd heard of all of these concepts before, but these are very good examples. I'm really glad there's someone like you putting up videos like these. 😉

    Though I still curse 'zugzwang'. I've got into that 2 times with my school's 3rd best player and ended up losing because of it… though it did help me win against him once too…

  11. Sometimes there are more ways to win, and this one was an example of Triangulation. That being said, I definitely don't claim to be a genius. =)

    Thanks for checking out the vid!

  12. Free internet chess server with the babas graphical client is my current favorite. I have a video on it if you're interested.

  13. That's really helpful, Thanks for all your videos, these are really entertaining and informative, they're easy to understand, and I like all the arrows that show possible moves and captures, very helpful for visualizing coverage on the board.

  14. I talk about it in the video – basically if the pawn is taken white just promotes. However it wouldn't be enpassant because black's pawn would have to be on white's 3rd rank in order for that to happen. Thanks for checking out the vid!

  15. I'd play the obvious, d6, if black plays d6, then d5 d8 d6 c7 b7 d7

    If black plays d8 then d7 forcing black king to bounce between d8 and e7 until the white king swings around the other side.

    I know, you wanted to teach triangulation.

  16. @Libertarianist Well that doesn't work if the white pawns were on d4 and c5 and black pawn is on c6 and the kings are on e4 and e6 . There in that position you must use the triangulation. Because the black king can sit in front of the remaining white pawn-stalemate.

  17. wow, this is really helpful. My endgame is really weak and I can't tell you how many times I've been faced with a similar scenario and lost!

  18. hi, what do you propose the best way to study endgames?
    for example, i saw a challenge on your website jrobichess . com of king + queen VS queen + rook.
    I could not solve it and never quite reached a mate even after trying for 30 minutes.
    where would i go from there? what do i do now?

    take care
    Nimrod Weinberg

  19. @ scath7: I'm German, the word is (originally) from German, so believe me, Eloviat is right (whether he is German or not) 😉

  20. shiz ive been doing this technique in every end game i play but i never knew there was such a known name for it.. .. which is triangulation…..

  21. Hi Jrobi. You oughtta show that triangulation is not the only way to get opposition.
    There's also the pawn sacrifice d6
    Either (1. d6 cxd6 2. Kd5 Ke8 3. Ke6!)
    or (1. d6 Kd8 2. d7 Ke7 3. d8=Q Kxd8 4. Kf6)

  22. @vedachala1 He has a bunch of strong openings uploaded. But consider that the knowledge of the opening from your opponent is one of the key factors to tell how strong an opening is.

  23. OMG thank you sooooo much ! i finaly get it ! opposition knowledge is nice , but nut much without triangulation !!!!!!

  24. @SydneyFC010 i was asking an innocent question back when i did not really know the rules of the game and was simply trying to find out as much as i could before i started playing. You are insulting a person who has never tried the game before and wanted to know more about it before blindly jumping in. YOU sir are the idiot.

  25. How about 9:54, what would happen if Rxh5? Then black would have to play rxh5, or ignore and lose the rook, no?

  26. Why not just pronounce it in German? There's really only one way for a German to pronounce that word.

  27. In the first position white could simply play d6+. It's easier and quicker than the triangulation technique.

  28. 9:24 why can't the rook take the pawn on c5?? if black advances the pawn on h5, the rook can just come back to take it.

  29. dont know why he stopped making videos…….this was the FIRST official chess channel…..with solid material………i was a 12-1300 before……now i float around 14-1500…..that's ALL thanks to this guy and some extra study by myself

  30. What if blacks reply to white f5 triangulation is king d8, e8, e7 and create his own triangulation? Thy will be back to same position with still white to move. Im referring fo the first situation

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