Aronian's Arrows, Gelfand's rooks, Kramnik's king

4/6/2013 – The London Candidates Tournament produced some of the most exciting chess and game results we have seen in recent times. The endgames were equally fascinating, as our ChessBase Magazine columnist GM Karsten Müller proves in his latest column that explains what happened in three important games. Learn and enjoy.

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Aronian's Arrows

Tactics often play a role in the endgame:

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.16"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Gelfand, B."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A04"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2740"] [PlyCount "69"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2013.03.19"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Nf6 5. d4 cxd4 6. exd4 d5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Qb3 Nxc3 9. Bc4 Nd5 10. Bxd5 e6 11. Bxc6+ bxc6 12. O-O Be7 13. Be3 Qd5 14. Rfc1 Qxb3 15. axb3 Bb7 16. Ne5 O-O 17. Ra4 Rfd8 18. Nc4 Bf6 19. Na5 Rd7 20. Rb4 Ba6 21. Nxc6 Rb7 22. h3 Kg7 23. Rxb7 Bxb7 24. Ne5 Bd8 25. b4 {Aronian's Arrows Tactics often play a role in the endgame:} Rc8 $2 {This runs into a mighty blow.} ({After} 25... Bd5 $11 {Black has enough compensation for the pawn due to his strong bishops.}) 26. Bh6+ $3 {Aronian's first arrow activates his knight.} Kg8 ({The direct} 26... Kxh6 {runs into} 27. Rxc8 Bxc8 28. Nxf7+ Kg7 29. Nxd8 Bd7 30. f3 Kf6 31. Kf2 e5 32. d5 Ke7 33. Nc6+ Kd6 34. Nxa7 Kxd5 35. b5 Kc5 36. Nc6 $18) (26... Kf6 $5 {is more precise, but White wins nevertheless in the long run after} 27. Bg5+ Kxg5 28. Nxf7+ Kf6 29. Rxc8 Bxc8 30. Nxd8 Bd7 31. f3 {and the two extra pawns are too much, e.g.} e5 32. d5 Ke7 33. Nc6+ Kd6 (33... Bxc6 34. dxc6 a6 35. Kf2 Kd6 36. Ke3 Kxc6 37. Ke4 Kd6 38. f4 exf4 39. Kxf4 Ke6 40. Ke4 $18) 34. Nxa7 Kxd5 35. Kf2 $18) 27. Rxc8 Bxc8 28. Nc6 Bf6 ( 28... Bb6 $2 29. Ne7+ $18) 29. b5 $1 {Aronian's active approach to strengthen his bind is much stronger than the greedy} (29. Nxa7 $2 Bb7 30. b5 Bxd4 31. Nc6 Bxb2 32. Nd8 Bd5 {when Black has good chances to survive.}) 29... Bd7 (29... Bb7 30. g4 a6 31. g5 axb5 32. Na5 $18) 30. g4 $1 g5 (30... a6 31. g5 $1 axb5 32. Nb8 Bxd4 33. Nxd7 Bxb2 34. Kf1 $18) 31. h4 $1 {Aronian's second arrow destroys Gelfand's defense on the dark squares.} ({The immediate} 31. Nxa7 $2 Bxd4 32. Nc6 Bxb2 33. Bxg5 f6 {is much worse than the game of course, but White still has winning chances after} 34. Bd2) 31... gxh4 (31... a6 32. hxg5 axb5 33. Nb8 $18) 32. g5 $1 Bxc6 (32... Bg7 33. Bxg7 Kxg7 34. Nxa7 $18) (32... Bh8 $4 33. Ne7#) 33. bxc6 Bd8 34. Kg2 Bc7 (34... f6 35. gxf6 Kf7 36. Bf4 Kxf6 37. c7 $18) 35. Kh3 (35. Kh3 Bb6 36. Kxh4 Bxd4 $6 37. c7 $18) 1-0

Gelfand's glorious rooks

Double rook endings are different from single rook endings as king safety plays a larger role:

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.25"] [Round "9.4"] [White "Gelfand, B."] [Black "Aronian, L."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D37"] [WhiteElo "2740"] [BlackElo "2809"] [PlyCount "119"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] [Source "Mark Crowther"] [SourceDate "2013.03.26"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 c6 8. O-O Nh5 9. Be5 f6 10. Bg3 f5 11. Be5 Nhf6 12. h3 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Nd7 14. f4 Nxe5 15. fxe5 Bg5 16. Qd2 Bd7 17. Rac1 Rc8 18. a3 Kh8 19. b4 Be8 20. Bd3 Rc7 21. Ne2 Bh5 22. Nf4 Bxf4 23. exf4 Rd7 24. Qe3 dxc4 25. Bxc4 Rxd4 26. Bxe6 Bf7 27. Bxf5 Bc4 28. e6 Qd6 29. Rfe1 Re8 30. e7 Bf7 31. Rc5 g6 32. Bg4 h5 33. f5 Kg7 34. fxg6 Bxg6 35. Bxh5 Rd3 36. Qe5+ Qxe5 37. Rcxe5 Bxh5 38. Rxh5 Rxa3 {Gelfand's glorious rooks Double rook endings are different from single rook endings as king safety plays a larger role:} 39. Rf5 $1 Rd3 (39... Rg3 {does not stop the advance on the kingside due to} 40. Kh2 Rg6 41. h4 Rf6 42. Rfe5 $18) 40. Re4 { Gelfand brings both rooks into the attack.} Rd7 (40... Rd6 41. h4 Rf6 42. Rfe5 b6 43. g4 Rd6 44. h5 Kh6 45. Kg2 Rd5 46. Kg3 a5 47. bxa5 bxa5 48. Kh4 $18) 41. Rg4+ Kh6 42. Rf6+ Kh7 43. Rf7+ Kh6 44. Rgg7 Rd1+ 45. Kh2 Rf1 $1 {Aronian wants to exchange one pair of rooks to reduce Gelfand's attacking potential.} 46. Rh7+ $1 {Gelfand keeps both rooks on the board of course.} ({The single rook ending} 46. Rxf1 $2 Kxg7 47. Re1 Kf6 48. Kg3 Rxe7 {is only drawn.}) 46... Kg6 47. Rhg7+ Kh6 48. Rh7+ Kg6 49. Rfg7+ Kf6 50. h4 $1 {The h-pawn not only advances towards promotion but also helps to restrict Black's king.} Ke6 51. Rg4 Kf5 (51... Rf5 52. h5 a5 53. Rg6+ Kd7 54. g4 Rb5 55. bxa5 Rxa5 56. h6 b5 57. Rhg7 Raa8 58. h7 b4 59. Rg8 $18) (51... Rf7 $6 52. Re4+ Kf5 53. Rxf7+ Kxe4 54. h5 Ke5 55. h6 Ke6 56. Rf3 Rxe7 57. Re3+ Kf6 58. Rxe7 Kxe7 59. h7 $18) 52. Kg3 Re1 53. Rf4+ Ke6 (53... Kg6 54. Rff7 Re4 55. Rhg7+ Kh6 56. Kf3 Rxh4 57. g4 b6 58. Kf4 $18) 54. h5 Rxe7 (54... Kd5 55. Rf5+ Kc4 56. h6 R8xe7 (56... Kxb4 57. Rh5 c5 58. Rf7 c4 59. h7 Rh8 60. Rf8 $18) 57. Rxe7 Rxe7 58. Rh5 Rh7 59. Kf4 Kxb4 60. g4 c5 61. g5 c4 62. g6 $18) 55. Rxe7+ {Now Gelfand can exchange rooks as his passed pawns on the kingside will decide the day.} Kxe7 56. Kh4 b6 ( 56... Re6 57. g4 Rf6 58. Rd4 Re6 (58... Kf8 59. g5 Rf1 60. h6 Rh1+ 61. Kg4 Rg1+ 62. Kh5 Rh1+ 63. Kg6 $18) 59. g5 Re1 60. h6 Rh1+ 61. Kg4 Ke6 62. Rf4 Ke5 63. Rf7 $18) 57. h6 Rh1+ (57... Kd6 58. Kg5 Re8 59. h7 Rh8 60. Kg6 $18) 58. Kg5 Ke6 59. Kg6 Ke5 60. Rf5+ (60. Rf5+ Ke6 61. g4 ({Of course not} 61. Rh5 $4 Rxh5 62. Kxh5 Kf7 63. Kg5 a5 $19) 61... a5 62. bxa5 bxa5 63. h7 a4 64. Rh5 Rxh5 65. gxh5 a3 66. h8=Q $18) 1-0

Kramnik's King

When a minor piece fights against passed pawns the activity of the attacking king is usually of crucial importance:

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.29"] [Round "12"] [White "Aronian, L."] [Black "Kramnik, V."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D42"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2810"] [PlyCount "124"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e3 Nc6 7. Bd3 Be7 8. a3 O-O 9. Qc2 cxd4 10. exd4 f5 11. O-O Bf6 12. Nxd5 Qxd5 13. Be3 b5 14. Qe2 Bb7 15. Rac1 a6 16. Rfd1 f4 17. Rc5 Qd6 18. Qc2 fxe3 19. Bxh7+ Kh8 20. fxe3 Ne7 21. e4 Rac8 22. e5 Bxe5 23. Nxe5 Rxc5 24. Ng6+ Nxg6 25. dxc5 Be4 26. Rxd6 Bxc2 27. Bxg6 Bxg6 28. Rxe6 Bd3 29. h4 a5 30. c6 Rf1+ 31. Kh2 Rc1 32. Re3 Bb1 33. Rc3 Rxc3 34. bxc3 Kg8 35. c7 Bf5 36. Kg3 Kf7 37. Kf4 Bc8 38. Kg5 Bd7 39. h5 Be6 40. g3 a4 41. g4 Kf8 42. Kf4 Ke7 43. g5 Kd7 44. Ke5 Bg8 45. c8=Q+ Kxc8 46. Kd6 Kd8 47. Kc6 Ke7 48. Kxb5 Ke6 49. Kxa4 Kf5 {Kramnik's King When a minor piece fights against passed pawns the activity of the attacking king is usually of crucial importance:} 50. g6 $2 {Now Kramnik's king is just in time on the queenside.} ({After} 50. h6 $1 {Black must save his g-pawn, which costs the all important tempo:} g6 51. Kb5 Kxg5 52. a4 Kxh6 53. a5 {and Aronian's activity is always just in time:} g5 (53... Kg7 $4 54. c4 $18 {even loses.}) 54. a6 g4 55. c4 g3 (55... Bh7 56. a7 Be4 57. c5 g3 58. c6 $11) 56. a7 g2 57. a8=Q g1=Q 58. Qf8+ $11) 50... Kg5 51. Kb5 Kxh5 52. a4 Kxg6 53. a5 (53. Kc5 {is met by} Kf5 {and Kramnik's king is too active, e.g.} 54. Kd4 Kf4 55. a5 g5 56. a6 Bh7 57. a7 Be4 $19) 53... Kf6 54. a6 (54. c4 {is met by} Ke5 $1 {and Black can stop White's passed pawns in all lines, e.g.} 55. c5 (55. a6 Kd4 56. c5 Bc4+ 57. Kb6 Bxa6 58. Kxa6 Kxc5 $19) 55... g5 56. c6 Kd6 57. Kb6 (57. a6 Bd5 $19) 57... Bd5 ({Even} 57... g4 {wins the race:} 58. c7 Be6 59. a6 g3 60. a7 g2 61. a8=Q g1=Q+ $19) 58. c7 Kd7 59. a6 g4 60. Ka7 Kc8 61. Kb6 g3 $19) 54... Bd5 55. c4 Ba8 56. Kb6 Ke5 ({However, not} 56... g5 $6 57. c5 g4 $4 58. c6 Ke7 59. c7 Kd7 60. Ka7 Kxc7 61. Kxa8 g3 62. a7 g2 {stalemate.}) 57. Kc7 g5 58. Kb8 Be4 59. Kc7 (59. a7 Kd4 60. a8=Q Bxa8 61. Kxa8 Kxc4 $19) 59... g4 60. a7 g3 61. c5 Ba8 (61... g2 {wins as well as Black's king is just inside the winning zone after} 62. c6 Bxc6 63. Kxc6 g1=Q 64. Kb7 (64. a8=Q Qh1+ $19) 64... Qg7+ 65. Kb8 Kd6 66. a8=Q Qc7#) 62. Kb8 (62. c6 Kd5 63. Kb8 Bxc6 $19) 62... Bc6 ({After} 62... Bc6 63. a8=Q Bxa8 64. Kxa8 Kd5 65. Kb7 Kxc5 $19 {Kramnik's king has the last word!}) 0-1

Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine

Do you like these lessons? There are plenty more by internationally renowned endgame expert Dr Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine, where you will also find openings articles and surveys, tactics, and of course annotations by the world's top grandmasters.

Click to go to the ChessBase Magazine page

Apart from his regular columns and video lectures in ChessBase Magazine there is a whole series of training DVDs by Karsten Müller, which are bestsellers in the ChessBase Shop.


Topics Endgame, Mueller
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