Endgames from the Alekhine Memorial

4/26/2013 – Kramnik's crushing breakthrough, Adams' activity, Aronian's attacking king, and Adams' amazing knights – those are the subjects of this week's endgame lessons, brought to you by ChessBase Magazine columnist GM Karsten Müller. They are all from the Alekhine Memorial that has two rest days while the players move from Paris to St. Petersburg. Learn and enjoy.

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Kramnik's crushing breakthrough

Queen and knight are stronger than queen and bishop, if they have full control and the bishop is dominated or hits the air:

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.04.21"] [Round "1"] [White "Kramnik, V."] [Black "Vitiugov, N."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2801"] [BlackElo "2712"] [PlyCount "99"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. O-O Nd7 5. d3 Ngf6 6. Qe1 e5 7. e4 dxe4 8. dxe4 Bd6 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. h3 Bh5 11. Nc4 Bc7 12. a4 Re8 13. Nh4 Nc5 14. Nf5 Ne6 15. Be3 Nf4 16. f3 Nxg2 17. Kxg2 Bg6 18. Rd1 Nd5 19. Nh4 Nxe3+ 20. Qxe3 Qe7 21. Qb3 Rab8 22. Rf2 Red8 23. Rxd8+ Bxd8 24. Rd2 Bc7 25. Rd3 Qe6 26. Qb4 b6 27. b3 a6 28. Qd2 b5 29. Rd7 bxc4 30. Rxc7 cxb3 31. Rb7 Qc8 32. Rxb3 Rxb3 33. cxb3 f6 34. Qd6 Kf7 35. g4 Ke8 36. Kg3 Qb7 37. b4 Qc8 38. a5 Kf7 39. Ng2 h5 40. Ne3 hxg4 41. hxg4 Qe6 42. Qd3 Qc8 43. Qc4+ Kf8 44. Qc5+ Kg8 {Kramnik's crushing breakthrough Queen and knight are stronger than queen and bishop, if they have full control and the bishop is dominated or hits the air:} 45. b5 $3 { Kramnik seizes the moment forcefully.} (45. Nd5 $2 Qd7 46. Qxc6 Qxc6 47. Ne7+ Kf8 48. Nxc6 {sells White's advantage too cheaply:} Be8 49. Nd8 (49. b5 {is mety by} g5 $1 $11 ({However, not} 49... axb5 $2 50. Nb4 Bd7 51. a6 Bc8 52. Kh4 g6 53. a7 Bb7 54. g5 f5 55. exf5 gxf5 56. Kg3 Kf7 57. Nd3 e4 58. Nc5 Ba8 59. f4 $18)) 49... Ke7 50. Nb7 g5 51. Nc5 Bb5 52. Nb3 Kd6 53. Nd2 Ke6 54. Nb1 Kd6 55. Nc3 Kd7 56. Nxb5 axb5 57. Kf2 Kc6 $11) 45... axb5 46. Qb6 $1 {The a-pawn will decide the day.} Qf8 47. a6 Qb4 48. a7 Qe1+ 49. Kg2 Qd2+ 50. Kg1 (50. Kg1 {and Vitiugov resigned as he runs out of checks after} Qe1+ 51. Nf1 $1 {The knight is the best friend of the king.} Qa1 52. Qd8+ Kh7 53. a8=Q $18) 1-0

Adams' Activity

In rook endings activity is often crucial:

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.04.21"] [Round "1"] [White "Anand, V."] [Black "Adams, Mi"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C88"] [WhiteElo "2783"] [BlackElo "2727"] [PlyCount "112"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a4 b4 9. d4 d6 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Qxd8 Rxd8 12. Nbd2 Bc5 13. Bc4 Ng4 14. Re2 Na5 15. Bd5 Rb8 16. Nb3 Nxb3 17. cxb3 h6 18. h3 Nf6 19. Nxe5 Nxd5 20. exd5 Rxd5 21. Bf4 Be6 22. Rc1 Bd6 23. Bg3 Re8 24. Re3 c5 25. Nd3 Bxg3 26. fxg3 Red8 27. Nf4 Rd1+ 28. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 29. Kh2 Rd2 30. Nxe6 fxe6 31. Rxe6 Rxb2 32. Rxa6 Rxb3 33. Rc6 Rc3 34. a5 {Adams Activity In rook endings activity is often crucial:} Kf7 $1 {First Adams activates his king.} ({The direct} 34... b3 $2 {spoils it due to} 35. a6 b2 36. Rb6 Ra3 37. Rxb2 Rxa6 38. Rb8+ Kf7 39. Rc8 Ra5 40. Rc6 Ke7 41. g4 Kd7 42. Rg6 {and White has won many tempi compared to the game and draws easily, e.g.} c4 43. Rxg7+ Kd6 44. Rg6+ Kc5 45. Rxh6 c3 46. Rf6 c2 47. Rf1 $11) 35. a6 {The alternativs do not help either, e.g.} (35. Kg1 b3 36. Rb6 c4 37. Kf2 Rc1 38. Ke3 Rd1 39. Ke2 Ra1 40. Kd2 Rxa5 41. Kc3 Rc5 {and Black should win in the long run.}) (35. g4 $5 {is interesting to create counterplay, but Black is just too quick in the resulting races:} Ke7 36. h4 (36. a6 Kd7 37. Rg6 Ra3 38. h4 b3 39. Rxg7+ Kc6 40. g5 hxg5 41. h5 Rxa6 42. Rg6+ Kc7 43. Rxa6 b2 $19) 36... Kd7 37. Rg6 Re3 38. Rxg7+ (38. g5 hxg5 39. hxg5 (39. h5 Re8 40. Rxg7+ Kc6 41. Kg3 b3 $19) 39... Re7 40. Rb6 Kc7 41. Kg3 Re8 42. Rb5 Rb8 43. Rxc5+ Kb7 44. Rc1 b3 45. Kf4 Ka6 46. Kf5 Kxa5 47. Kg6 Rb7 48. Rb1 Kb4 $19) 38... Kc6 39. a6 (39. Rg8 Kb5 40. g5 hxg5 41. h5 b3 42. Rb8+ Kxa5 43. h6 Re6 44. Rxb3 Rxh6+ 45. Kg3 c4 $19) 39... Kb6 40. Rg6+ Kb5 41. Rxh6 Re8 42. a7 b3 43. Re6 Ra8 44. Re7 Kb6 45. Re1 c4 $19) 35... Ke7 36. a7 ({After} 36. Kg1 Kd7 37. a7 Ra3 38. Rxc5 Rxa7 39. Kf2 {Black's rook gets behind the passed pawn:} Rb7 40. Ke3 b3 41. Rc1 b2 42. Rb1 Kd6 43. Kd4 Rb4+ 44. Kc3 Kc5 $19) (36. g4 $5 {is again just too slow:} Kd7 37. Rg6 Ra3 38. Rxg7+ Kc6 39. h4 b3 40. g5 hxg5 41. h5 Rxa6 42. Rg6+ Kc7 43. Rxa6 (43. Rg7+ Kd8 44. Rb7 c4 45. Kg3 Rc6 46. h6 Rxh6 47. Kf3 Rc6 $19) 43... b2 44. Ra5 (44. Ra7+ Kc6 45. h6 b1=Q 46. h7 Qb8+ 47. Kh3 c4 48. Rg7 Qh8 $19) 44... Kc6 45. Ra6+ Kb7 46. Ra5 b1=Q 47. Rxc5 Qe4 $19) 36... Ra3 37. Rxc5 (37. Rg6 $6 {runs into} Kf7 38. Rc6 Rxa7 39. Rxc5 Rb7 $19) 37... Rxa7 38. Rb5 Ra4 39. Rb7+ {Adams king is also always in time on the queenside after the alternativs, e.g.} (39. Kg1 Kd6 40. Kf2 Kc6 41. Rb8 Kc5 $19 ) (39. g4 Kd6 40. Kg3 Kc6 41. Rb8 Kc5 42. Rb7 Kc4 43. Rc7+ Kd3 44. Rd7+ Kc2 45. Rc7+ Kb2 46. Rxg7 b3 47. g5 hxg5 48. Rxg5 Ka3 49. Rb5 b2 50. Rxb2 Kxb2 $19) 39... Kd6 40. Rxg7 (40. Kg1 Kc6 41. Rb8 Kc5 42. Kf2 Kc4 43. Ke3 Kc3 44. Rc8+ Kb2 $19) 40... Kc5 41. Rc7+ Kd4 42. Rd7+ (42. Rf7 Kc3 43. Rf4 Kb2 44. g4 Ka3 45. Kg3 b3 46. Rf1 b2 47. Kh4 Ra5 $19) 42... Kc3 43. Rc7+ Kd3 44. Rb7 Kc3 45. Rc7+ (45. g4 b3 46. Kg3 b2 47. Rxb2 Kxb2 48. Kh4 Ra5 $19) 45... Kb2 46. Rc6 b3 47. Rxh6 Kc3 48. Rb6 (48. Rf6 b2 49. Rf3+ Kc2 50. Rf2+ Kb3 51. Rf3+ Ka2 52. Rf1 b1=Q 53. Rxb1 Kxb1 $19) 48... b2 49. Rxb2 (49. g4 Rb4 $19) 49... Kxb2 50. g4 Kc3 {Now Adams king is always in time on the kingside:} 51. Kg3 Re4 52. Kh4 ( 52. g5 Kd4 53. g6 Re6 54. Kf4 Rxg6 55. g4 Rf6+ 56. Kg5 Ke5 57. h4 Rf8 $19) 52... Kd4 53. Kg5 Ke5 54. Kg6 Re2 55. g5 (55. g3 Rg2 56. h4 Rxg3 57. h5 Rxg4+ 58. Kf7 Kf5 59. h6 Ra4 60. h7 Ra7+ 61. Kg8 Kg6 62. h8=N+ Kf6 $19) 55... Rxg2 56. h4 Kf4 (56... Kf4 {and the World Champion resigned due to} 57. Kf6 Kg4 58. g6 Kh5 59. g7 Kh6 $19) 0-1

Aronian's Attacking King

Activity is of crucial importance in rook endings:

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.04.22"] [Round "2"] [White "Aronian, Levon"] [Black "Kramnik, Vladimir"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D41"] [WhiteElo "2809"] [BlackElo "2801"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Bxd2+ 10. Qxd2 O-O 11. Rc1 b6 12. Bd3 Bb7 13. O-O Nd7 14. Qe3 Rc8 15. e5 Bxf3 16. Qxf3 Qh4 17. Qe3 Rfd8 18. f4 Nf8 19. Rxc8 Rxc8 20. f5 exf5 21. Bxf5 Rd8 22. Rd1 Ng6 23. Bxg6 hxg6 24. d5 Qc4 25. d6 Qe6 26. Qg3 b5 27. h3 a6 28. Qe3 Rd7 29. Qc5 Kh7 30. Qd5 Qe8 31. Rc1 Qd8 32. Rc6 Qg5 33. Qd4 Rd8 34. Rc5 Qg3 35. Qf2 Qxf2+ 36. Kxf2 f6 37. Rc6 fxe5 {Aronian's Attacking King Activity is of crucial importance in rook endings:} 38. Ke3 $1 {Aronian's king will arrive in time to support his passed d-pawn.} ({The greedy} 38. Rxa6 $2 Kg8 39. Kf3 Kf7 40. Ke4 Ke6 41. d7+ Kxd7 42. Rxg6 Ke7 43. Rxg7+ Kf6 {gives Black good chances to defend due to the large drawish tendency of rook endings. }) 38... Kg8 39. Ke4 Kf7 40. Kd5 {White's passed d-pawn will now decide the day.} ({The direct} 40. Kxe5 {wins as well, e.g.} Re8+ 41. Kd5 Re2 42. Rc8 Rd2+ 43. Kc6 Rc2+ 44. Kb7 Rd2 45. Kc7 Rc2+ 46. Kd8 Rxg2 47. d7 Rxa2 48. Kc7 $18) 40... a5 (40... e4 41. Rxa6 e3 42. Ra3 e2 (42... Re8 43. d7 Rd8 44. Kd6 $18) 43. Rf3+ Ke8 44. Re3+ Kd7 45. Re7+ Kc8 46. Kc6 $18) 41. Rc5 b4 42. Rxa5 Kf6 ( 42... e4 43. Ra7+ Kf6 44. Re7 $18) 43. Ra7 $1 {Necessary precision as} (43. Kc6 $2 Ke6 44. Rd5 $2 {runs into} Rc8+ 45. Kb7 Kxd5 46. Kxc8 Kxd6 $19) 43... Rb8 44. Kc6 b3 (44... Rc8+ {does not help due to} 45. Kd7 Rc2 46. Kd8 e4 47. d7 Kf7 48. Rb7 e3 49. Rxb4 e2 50. Rf4+ Kg8 (50... Ke6 51. Ke8 e1=Q 52. d8=Q $18) 51. Re4 Kf7 52. a4 $18) (44... Ke6 45. Kc7 Rb5 46. d7 Rc5+ 47. Kd8 Kf7 48. Rc7 $18) 45. axb3 Rxb3 46. Ra8 Rc3+ 47. Kd7 e4 48. Rf8+ Kg5 (48... Ke5 49. Ke7 e3 50. d7 Rc7 51. Ke8 Rxd7 52. Kxd7 g5 53. Ke7 Ke4 54. Kf7 Kf4 55. Kxg7+ Kg3 56. Rf3+ Kxg2 57. Rxe3 $18) 49. Ke7 e3 50. d7 e2 (50... Rd3 51. d8=Q Rxd8 52. Kxd8 Kh4 53. Rf3 e2 54. Re3 $18) 51. d8=Q e1=Q+ 52. Kd6+ Qe7+ (52... Qe7+ 53. Qxe7+ Kh5 54. Rh8#) 1-0

Adams' Amazing Knights

Sometimes the knights can be better than the bishops:

[Event "Alekhine Mem"] [Site "Paris/St Petersburg FRA/RUS"] [Date "2013.04.22"] [Round "2"] [White "Adams, Michael"] [Black "Svidler, Peter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C84"] [WhiteElo "2727"] [BlackElo "2747"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2013.04.21"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. a3 O-O 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. Re1 Qd7 11. Ne2 Rae8 12. Ng3 Bd8 13. a4 d5 14. axb5 axb5 15. c3 h6 16. Be3 Re6 17. h3 Be7 18. Nh2 Ra8 19. Rxa8+ Bxa8 20. Qf3 Na5 21. Ra1 Ra6 22. Ng4 Bb7 23. Bxd5 Nxd5 24. exd5 Bxd5 25. Nxe5 Qe6 26. Qf5 Bd6 27. Qxe6 fxe6 {Adams Amazing Knights Sometimes the knights can be better than the bishops:} 28. Nf3 $1 {Now the pin on a-file and the good prospects of both knights make life very difficult for Black.} (28. d4 $2 Bxe5 29. dxe5 Ra8 {and}) (28. f4 $2 Bxe5 29. fxe5 Bb7 {allow Black to exchange one knight, which gives him better chances to fight.}) 28... b4 (28... Bxf3 $2 29. gxf3 b4 30. cxb4 Bxb4 31. Ra4 c5 32. d4 {loses due to the pin on the a-file.}) 29. Ne4 ({The alternatives} 29. c4 Bb7 30. Nd4 {and}) (29. cxb4 Bxb4 30. Ra4 c5 31. Ne5 {are also very strong.}) 29... bxc3 30. bxc3 Bb7 31. Nd4 {Just look at those centralised monster knights!} Bf8 $2 {Black does not have time for this retreat.} (31... e5 32. Nxd6 cxd6 33. Nf5 Nc6 34. Rb1 Nd8 {was more tenacious.}) 32. c4 c5 (32... Bb4 {is met by} 33. Bd2 Bxd2 34. Nxd2 Rd6 35. N4b3 Nxb3 36. Nxb3 {as} Rxd3 $2 { runs into the knight fork} 37. Nc5 $18) 33. Nb5 Nb3 34. Rxa6 Bxa6 35. Nbd6 Bxd6 36. Nxd6 Kf8 37. f3 $1 {A very strong and deep prophylactical move.} ({The direct} 37. Ne4 $6 Kg8 38. Bxc5 $2 {runs into} (38. Nxc5 $2 Nxc5 39. Bxc5 e5 40. f3 Kf7 {is also not precise.}) ({Best is} 38. Nd6 $18) 38... Nc1 $1 {when Black has chances to defend.}) (37. f3 $1 Ke7 38. Ne4 e5 39. Bxc5+ $18 {It is important not to exchange the mighty white knight as pure opposite colored bishop endings have a very large drawish tendency.}) 1-0

Karsten Müller in ChessBase Magazine

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Topics Endgame, Müller
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