Ivanchuk's initiative, Radjabov's rook pawn

4/15/2013 – One last look at the London Candidates? It produced exciting chess and some fascinating endgames, which have been commented by our ChessBase Magazine columnist GM Karsten Müller. Today he looks at two instructive encounters, and also shows us an endgame from the Israeli Championship. Learn and enjoy.

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Ivanchuk's Initiative

In endings with rook and knight against rook and knight a slight initiative usually weighs heavily:

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.29"] [Round "12"] [White "Carlsen, M."] [Black "Ivanchuk, V."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "B48"] [WhiteElo "2872"] [BlackElo "2757"] [PlyCount "180"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Qc7 6. Be3 a6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. O-O-O Bb4 9. f3 Ne7 10. Nb3 d5 11. e5 Nd7 12. f4 b6 13. Bd4 Nc5 14. a3 Ne4 15. Qe1 Nxc3 16. Bxc3 Bxc3 17. Qxc3 Qxc3 18. bxc3 a5 19. Nd4 Ba6 20. Bd3 Kd7 21. Kd2 Nc6 22. Rb1 Bxd3 23. Kxd3 Rab8 24. Nb5 g5 25. g3 Rhg8 26. c4 gxf4 27. gxf4 Ne7 28. Rhg1 dxc4+ 29. Kxc4 Nd5 30. Nd6 Kc6 31. Nxf7 Nxf4 32. Kb3 Kc5 33. Ng5 h6 34. Ne4+ Kd4 35. Nf6 Rxg1 36. Rxg1 Rc8 37. Re1 Rc3+ 38. Kb2 Rf3 39. Re4+ Kc5 40. Nd7+ Kd5 41. Nf6+ Kc5 42. Nd7+ Kc6 43. Nf6 Ng6 44. Rc4+ Kb5 {Ivanchuk's Initiative In endings with rook and knight against rook and knight a slight initiative usually weighs heavily:} 45. Re4 $2 {The passive solution makes life difficult for Carlsen.} ({The active} 45. Rc8 $1 {draws easier, e.g.} Nxe5 46. Ne4 Re3 47. Nd6+ Ka4 48. Rf8 b5 (48... Rf3 49. Rxf3 Nxf3 50. c4 Nd2 51. Ka2 Nb3 52. Ne4 Nc1+ 53. Kb2 Nd3+ $11) 49. Rf4+ b4 50. axb4 axb4 51. Rf8 Ka5 52. Rb8 Re2 53. Kb3 $11) 45... Rf5 46. Ne8 $6 ({The computer suggestion} 46. a4+ Kc5 47. Kb3 Nxe5 48. c3 {is better.}) 46... Kc5 47. Nc7 $6 ({Again the computer solution} 47. Kb3 Rxe5 48. Rc4+ Kd5 {is objectivly better, but White's house already looks very shaky.}) 47... Nxe5 48. Rh4 Kd6 49. Nb5+ Kd7 50. a4 h5 51. Nd4 Rg5 52. Re4 Nc4+ 53. Kc3 Re5 $1 54. Rh4 $6 {The rook is a bit misplaced here.} (54. Re2 $5 {is called for.}) 54... Nd6 55. Kd3 Rd5 56. c4 Rg5 57. Nf3 Rc5 58. Nd2 Rf5 59. Nb3 Nb7 60. Rh3 Kd6 61. Kc3 Nc5 $1 62. Nxc5 Kxc5 63. Re3 (63. Rh4 e5 64. Kd3 Kb4 $19) 63... e5 $2 {Until now Ivanchuk has played his initiative forcefully. But now he loses control for a short moment.} (63... h4 $1 {wins, e.g.} 64. Rxe6 (64. Kd3 e5 65. Ke4 (65. Kc3 e4 66. Rxe4 Rf3+ 67. Kc2 Rh3 $19) 65... Rf4+ 66. Kxe5 Rxc4 67. Ra3 Kb4 68. Ra1 Rc2 $19) 64... Rf3+ 65. Kb2 (65. Kd2 Rh3 $19) 65... Rh3 66. Re5+ Kb4 67. Rb5+ (67. Re2 Kxa4 $19) 67... Kxc4 68. Rxb6 Rxh2+ 69. Ka3 Rh3+ 70. Kb2 Rd3 71. Rb5 Rd5 $19) 64. h4 Kd6 65. Rd3+ Ke6 66. Rg3 Kf6 67. Rd3 Rf4 (67... Ke6 68. Rg3 (68. Rd5 $2 Rf3+ (68... e4 $2 69. Kd4 Rxd5+ 70. cxd5+ Kf5 71. d6 Ke6 72. Kxe4 Kxd6 73. Kd4 Kc7 74. Kc3 $11) 69. Kc2 Rf4 70. Kc3 Rxh4 71. Rb5 Rh3+ 72. Kd2 (72. Kb2 e4 73. Rxb6+ Ke5 74. c5 Kd4 75. Re6 Rc3 $19) 72... e4 73. Rxb6+ Ke5 74. c5 Rd3+ 75. Ke2 Rc3 76. Rb5 h4 77. Rxa5 (77. c6+ Kd4 $19) 77... h3 78. c6+ Kd6 79. Rh5 h2 80. Rh6+ Kc7 81. Kd2 Ra3 82. a5 Ra1 $19) 68... Kd6 69. Rd3+ Kc6 70. Rd5 Rf3+ 71. Kc2 Rh3 72. Rxe5 Rxh4 73. Kc3 Rh1 74. Re6+ Kc5 75. Re5+ Kd6 76. Rb5 Kc6 77. Kd4 h4 78. Rh5 h3 79. Rh6+ Kd7 80. Kd5 h2 81. Rh7+ Ke8 82. Kc6 Kf8 83. Rh3 Kg7 84. Kb7 $11) 68. Rd6+ Kf5 69. Rxb6 Rxh4 70. c5 Rxa4 (70... Ke4 71. c6 (71. Kc4 $11) 71... Kd5 72. Rb5+ Kxc6 73. Rxe5 $11) 71. Rh6 $2 {The large drawish tendency of rook endings still saves White, but over the board it is next to impossible to defend this position.} (71. c6 Ke6 (71... Ra1 $6 {is met by} 72. Kb2 {when} Ra4 {is the only move to draw for Black.}) 72. Rb5 Kd6 73. c7 Kxc7 74. Rxe5 {is a tablebase draw, e.g.} h4 75. Rh5 Kb6 76. Rh6+ Kc5 77. Rh5+ Kd6 78. Kb3 Rd4 79. Rxa5 Rd5 80. Ra6+ Ke5 81. Rh6 Rd4 82. Kc3 Ra4 83. Kd2 Kf5 84. Ke2 Kg5 85. Rh8 $11) 71... Ke4 $1 {Ivanchuk's king crosses over to deal with the passed c-pawn himself.} 72. Rd6 (72. Rxh5 Kd5 73. c6 Rc4+ 74. Kd3 Rxc6 $19) (72. c6 Kd5 73. Kd3 Rd4+ 74. Ke3 Rc4 $19) 72... Rd4 $1 73. Ra6 (73. Rxd4+ exd4+ 74. Kc4 d3 75. c6 (75. Kc3 Kd5 76. Kxd3 Kxc5 $19) 75... d2 76. c7 d1=Q 77. c8=Q Qc2+ $19) 73... Kd5 74. Rxa5 (74. c6 Rc4+ 75. Kd3 Rxc6 76. Rxa5+ Ke6 $19) (74. Rh6 Kxc5 75. Rxh5 Kd5 $19) 74... Rc4+ 75. Kd3 Rxc5 76. Ra4 Rc7 ({The computer move} 76... e4+ {wins quicker as} 77. Rxe4 $6 {runs into} Rc3+ 78. Kxc3 Kxe4 79. Kd2 Kf3 80. Ke1 Kg2 $19) 77. Rh4 Rh7 78. Ke3 Ke6 79. Ke4 Rh8 80. Ke3 Kf5 81. Ke2 Kg5 82. Re4 Re8 83. Ke3 h4 84. Ke2 (84. Kf3 $5 h3 (84... Rf8+ $6 85. Kg2 Rf5 $2 86. Kh3 Rf3+ 87. Kg2 Rg3+ 88. Kf2 Kf5 89. Rxh4 $11) 85. Rg4+ (85. Kg3 h2 86. Kxh2 Kf5 $19 {is similar to the game.}) 85... Kf6 (85... Kf5 $2 86. Rh4 e4+ 87. Ke2 Ra8 88. Rxh3 $11) 86. Rh4 Ra8 87. Rxh3 Ra3+ 88. Kg2 Rxh3 89. Kxh3 Kf5 90. Kg3 Ke4 91. Kf2 Kd3 $19) 84... h3 85. Kf2 h2 86. Kg2 h1=Q+ 87. Kxh1 Kf5 88. Re1 Rg8 $1 {The cut off decides.} 89. Kh2 (89. Rg1 Rxg1+ 90. Kxg1 Ke4 91. Kf2 Kd3 $19) 89... Kf4 90. Rf1+ Ke3 (90... Ke3 91. Re1+ Kf2 $1 92. Rxe5 Rh8+ 93. Rh5 Rxh5#) 0-1

Radjabov's Rook Pawn

Endings with rooks and bishop against rooks and knight occur very often. The following position is better for Radjabov's bishop, but it is not easy to break the defense of Grischuk's knight:

[Event "FIDE Candidates"] [Site "London ENG"] [Date "2013.03.29"] [Round "12"] [White "Radjabov, T."] [Black "Grischuk, A."] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E35"] [WhiteElo "2793"] [BlackElo "2764"] [PlyCount "173"] [EventDate "2013.03.15"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bxf6 Qxf6 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. Qxc3 O-O 10. e3 Bf5 11. Nf3 Nd7 12. Be2 Rfc8 13. O-O c5 14. b3 Qb6 15. dxc5 Nxc5 16. b4 Na4 17. Qe5 Nc3 18. Rfe1 Bg4 19. Bd3 Bxf3 20. gxf3 Qe6 21. Qd4 Rc6 22. b5 Rc7 23. Kh1 Re8 24. Rg1 Qe5 25. Qxe5 Rxe5 26. Rg4 Kf8 27. a4 Rc5 28. Rd4 g6 29. h3 Re6 30. Kg2 Kg7 31. Rb4 b6 32. Rd4 f5 33. Kf1 Kf6 34. Ke1 Re7 35. Kd2 Rc8 36. Ra3 Rec7 37. Ra1 g5 38. Rb4 Rd8 39. Rd4 Rdc8 40. Ra3 h5 { Radjabov's Rook's Pawn Endings with rooks and bishop against rooks and knight occur very often. The following position is better for Radjabov's bishop, but it is not easy to break the defense of Grischuk's knight:} 41. h4 $1 {This rook pawn advance opens the gates on the kingside.} g4 ({The amazing computer suggestion} 41... Ne4+ $6 {is also not sufficient:} 42. fxe4 dxe4 43. hxg5+ Kxg5 44. Be2 (44. f4+ $2 Kg4 45. Be2+ Kg3 $11) 44... Rc2+ 45. Ke1 h4 46. f4+ exf3 47. Bxf3 h3 48. Rad3 h2 49. Rd8 {and White should be winning in the long run.}) 42. Rf4 gxf3 43. Bxf5 $6 {Now Black always seems to be too active.} ({ After} 43. Rxf5+ $5 {I could not find a clear path to a draw, e.g.} Kg7 (43... Ke7 44. Rxf3 Ne4+ 45. Ke2 Rc3 46. Rxc3 Nxc3+ 47. Ke1 Nxa4 48. Rf5 Nc5 49. Be2 Ne4 50. Rxd5) (43... Ke6 44. Rxf3 Ne4+ 45. Ke2 Rg7 46. Rf4 Rg4 47. Rxg4 hxg4 48. a5) 44. Rxf3 Ne4+ 45. Ke2 Rc1 46. Rf4 Nc3+ 47. Kf3 Rc7 48. Bf5 {and White has at least good practical winning chances in all cases.}) 43... Ke5 $1 44. Rxc3 ({The alternative is} 44. Bxc8 {but Black should be able to hold after} Nb1+ 45. Kd3 Nxa3 46. Rf5+ Kd6 47. Rf6+ Kc5 ({Even} 47... Ke7 {is probably playable, e.g.} 48. Rc6 Rxc6 49. bxc6 Kd6 50. c7 Kxc7 51. Be6 Kd6 52. Bf7 Nc4 53. Bxh5 Ne5+ 54. Kd4 Nc6+ 55. Kc3 Ne5 56. Be8 Ng4 57. Kd4 Nxf2 58. Bh5 Ne4 59. Bxf3 Nf6 60. h5 Ke6 61. h6 Kf7 62. Bxd5+ Kg6 63. e4 Kxh6 64. e5 Ne8 65. Bc4 Nc7 $11) 48. Bf5 Nc4 49. Kc3 Ne5 50. Bb1 d4+ 51. exd4+ Kd5+ 52. Kb3 Nc4 53. Bg6 Nd2+ 54. Ka3 Rg7 55. Bxh5 Kxd4 56. Bxf3 Rh7 $11) 44... Rxc3 45. Bxc8 Rxc8 46. Kd3 Rc1 47. Rxf3 Rc4 48. Rf7 (48. Rf4 $6 {leads more or less to a forced draw:} Rxf4 49. exf4+ Kxf4 50. Kd4 Kg4 51. Kxd5 Kxh4 52. f4 Kg4 53. Ke5 h4 54. f5 h3 55. f6 h2 56. f7 h1=Q 57. f8=Q Qe1+ 58. Kd5 Qd1+ 59. Kc6 Qxa4 $11) 48... Rxa4 $1 {Grischuk takes the right rook's pawn.} (48... Rxh4 $2 {runs into} 49. f4+ Kd6 50. Kd4 Rh1 51. Rf6+ Ke7 52. Rh6 {when White has excellent winning chances. }) 49. f4+ Ke6 50. Rh7 Ra3+ 51. Kd4 Ra4+ 52. Kd3 Ra3+ 53. Ke2 Ra2+ 54. Kf3 Ra3 55. Rh6+ Ke7 56. Rxh5 {In a higher sense White has a choice here for which drawn endgame he wants to aim. He can try to reach an endgame with f- and h-pawn or with e- and f-pawn against d-pawn. Radjabov goes for the bishop's and rook's pawn case.} ({The alternative is} 56. Ke2 $5 {when one sample line runs} Ra5 57. Rxh5 Rxb5 58. Rh7+ Kd6 59. Rxa7 Rb1 60. h5 Rh1 61. Rh7 b5 62. h6 Rh2+ 63. Kd3 b4 64. Rb7 Kc5 65. h7 Kc6 66. Rxb4 Rxh7 {and the position is draw, but White still has practical chances of course.}) 56... d4 57. Re5+ Kf6 58. Re4 (58. Kg4 dxe3 59. h5 a6 60. bxa6 Rxa6 61. Rxe3 Ra1 $11) 58... dxe3 59. Rxe3 Ra5 60. Re5 a6 61. bxa6 Rxa6 62. Rb5 Ra1 $5 {Grischuk activates his rook immediately.} 63. Rxb6+ Kf5 $5 {This active set up is the best defense.} (63... Kg7 $6 64. Kg4 Rg1+ 65. Kf5 Ra1 {draws as well as the rook is in the south west corner, but this is much more difficult to hold.}) 64. Rb5+ (64. h5 Rh1 65. Ra6 Rh3+ 66. Kg2 Rxh5 $11) 64... Kf6 65. Kg4 Rg1+ 66. Kh5 Rh1 67. Ra5 Rh2 68. Ra8 Rh1 69. Rg8 Kf7 70. Rg4 Kf6 71. Rg8 (71. Kh6 {can be met by} Kf5 72. Rg5+ Kxf4 73. h5 Ra1 74. Rg7 Kf5 75. Rf7+ Ke6 76. Rf2 Rg1 77. Kh7 Ke7 78. h6 Rg3 $11) 71... Kf7 72. Rc8 Kf6 73. Rc5 Rh2 74. Rg5 Rh1 75. Kg4 Rg1+ 76. Kf3 Rf1+ 77. Kg3 Rg1+ 78. Kf2 Rh1 79. h5 Rh4 80. Kg3 Rh1 81. Ra5 Rg1+ 82. Kf2 Rh1 83. Kg2 Rh4 84. Kf3 Rh1 85. h6 Rxh6 {Finally Radjabov's rook's pawn is taken.} 86. Ra6+ Kf5 $1 {Grischuk's beautiful point} (86... Kg7 $2 87. Rxh6 Kxh6 88. Ke4 Kg6 89. Ke5 Kf7 90. Kf5 $18) 87. Rxh6 {stalemate. Grischuk really defended in textbook style!} 1/2-1/2

Smirin's Surprise

A knight can often construct a fortress against a bishop, if it does not fall into zugzwang:

[Event "ch-ISR 2013"] [Site "Acre ISR"] [Date "2013.04.07"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Smirin, Ilia"] [Black "Baron, Tal"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C92"] [WhiteElo "2663"] [BlackElo "2473"] [PlyCount "139"] [EventDate "2013.04.06"] [Source "Chess Today"] [SourceDate "2013.04.13"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Bb7 10. d4 Nd7 11. Nbd2 exd4 12. cxd4 Bf6 13. Nf1 Na5 14. Bc2 Re8 15. N1h2 c5 16. d5 Nc4 17. Rb1 Nce5 18. Nxe5 Nxe5 19. f4 Ng6 20. Be3 Bh4 21. Re2 a5 22. g4 Bg3 23. Qf1 b4 24. Qf3 Ba6 25. Rg2 Bxh2+ 26. Rxh2 Bc4 27. b3 Bb5 28. h4 a4 29. h5 Nf8 30. bxa4 Bxa4 31. Bd3 Qd7 32. h6 g6 33. e5 Bb5 34. Bxb5 Qxb5 35. f5 Rxe5 36. fxg6 fxg6 37. Rf2 Qe8 38. Bf4 Ra3 39. Rb3 Rxb3 40. axb3 Re1+ 41. Kg2 Nd7 42. Bxd6 Re3 43. Qf4 Re2 44. Kf3 Rxf2+ 45. Kxf2 Qf7 46. Qxf7+ Kxf7 47. Ke3 Kf6 48. Kd3 Nb6 49. Bxc5 Nxd5 50. Kc4 Ke5 51. g5 Ke4 52. Bxb4 Ne3+ 53. Kc5 Nc2 54. Bc3 Kf5 55. Bf6 Ke6 56. Kc4 Kd6 57. Bg7 Ne3+ 58. Kd4 Nc2+ 59. Kd3 Nb4+ 60. Kc4 Nc6 61. Bc3 Nd8 62. b4 Nf7 63. Bf6 Kc6 64. b5+ Kd7 65. Kd5 {Smirin's Surprise A knight can often construct a fortress against a bishop, if it does not fall into zugzwang:} Nd6 $1 66. b6 (66. Kc5 $6 {runs into} Nxb5 67. Kxb5 Ke6 {and Black has a book draw fortress.}) 66... Nc8 $2 {Baron wants to force the draw directly and miscalculates.} ({After} 66... Nb7 $1 {Black's castle can not be taken, e.g.} 67. Be5 Nd8 68. Bf4 Nb7 69. Bc1 Nd6 70. Ke5 Nb7 71. Kf6 Nd6 72. Kg7 Ke6 73. Kxh7 Kf7 74. Bf4 Nb7 $11) 67. b7 Nb6+ 68. Ke5 Nc4+ (68... Kc7 69. Bd8+ Kxb7 70. Bxb6 Kxb6 71. Kf6 $18) 69. Kd4 Na5 (69... Kc7 70. Kxc4 Kxb7 71. Kd5 Kc7 72. Ke6 $18) 70. b8=N+ $1 {Smirin's surprising underpromotion wins as the knight will storm Black's fortress sooner or later, e.g.} (70. b8=N+ $1 Kd6 71. Be5+ Ke6 72. Ke4 Nc4 73. Bf4 Nb6 74. Na6 Nd7 75. Nc7+ Ke7 76. Nd5+ Kf7 77. Be3 Ke6 78. Bd4 Kd6 79. Nf6 Nf8 80. Bb2 Ne6 81. Nxh7 $18) ({Of course not} 70. b8=Q $4 Nc6+ $11) 1-0

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Topics Endgames, Müller
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