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Stuart Rachels vs Dimitri Borisovich Gurevich
USA-ch (1989), Long Beach, CA USA, rd 4, Nov-??
Pirc Defense: General (B07)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Poisonpawns: This is some grind it out endgame!! Can a player with experience please help,I think there is a draw for black but I cant find it.This Rachels guy was very strong,does anyone know what he is doing now? I am sure he passed up chess for monetary reasons as most american chess players have to do unfortunately.It is such a shame when i see games like this,that we in america do not support our talented players.This makes Bobby Fischers feat even more amazing!!
Sep-17-05  Killingsworth: Stuart Rachels is now a assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Alabama. I had the pleasure of sitting across the chessboard with Stuart on many occassions many years ago. Whne we played skittles he would look at a blunder by an opponent and just touch one of his pieces thereby telling you why your move was a mistake. Stuart went to Russia once and visited with Kasparov while Kasparov was still living with his mother. Kasparov was world champion by that time. He had lost his jacket and was frightfully looking for it. Stuart told him not to worry about it that he could always get another one. Gary was almost in tears and told Stuart, "No, No, NO. You do not understand. My mother, she will kill me!!"

Stuart is a very nice guy and still plays occassionally on the internet chess club.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: I seem to recall once beating Rachels in 20 moves, but then he was only nine years old at the time. :) He shows some nice endgame technique and incredible determination in this game vs Gurevich. It seems like Gurevich should have been able to draw the ending, but it is definitely difficult. His king has to stay mobile, following the White king to either side. For example, if he had played 61...Kb7, his king is unable to leave the queenside, and White then wins by sending his king to the kingside to push the pawn through. He also can't commit his king to the kingside, as the game continuation shows - White wins by trapping the a-pawn, and the Black king is too far away (barely) to get back in time.

So where did Gurevich lose this? I'm thinking move 82 is where he cracked, when his rook gave up the sixth rank and his king headed to the h-file. After 82...Rc5+ 83. Re5, if he tried 83...Rc6, Rachels had 84. Re6 Rc5+ 85. Kg6!, winning the a-pawn since 85...Rxa5?? 86. Re8 is mate. If 82...Rh6 instead, then 83. Re6! wins (not 83...Rxh5 84. Kg6), while 82...Rc1 allows 83. Re6 Rc5+ Kg6, again winning the a-pawn. That leaves 82...Kf8! as the only try, but it appears to hold the draw - note there are no sucker mates now, for example if 83. Re6 Rc4+ is okay.

Mar-01-14  Howard: Actually, Stuart briefly analysed the endgame phase of this game in the now-defunct Inside Chess back when IM Boris Kogan passed away, around 1994.

The reason for presenting this long, but interesting endgame is because Kogan--a former trainer of Rachels--helped him to win it. When the endgame was adjourned at one point (around the 80th move I think), Rachels called Kogan to give him the adjourned position. Shortly later the much-more-experienced Kogan called Rachels back to explain the winning method.

Kogan died of cancer at a fairly young age.

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Position after black's 46 move, the black king just took white's bishop on b2

click for larger view

According to FinalGen, a chess endgame tablebase generator for Windows, one now knows this is a draw for Black despite being a pawn down. Those with Lomonosov Endgame Tablebases for 7 pieces can verify this.

A sample line using the game continuation would be as follows:

47. Ra5 Rb6 48. h4 Kg6 49. h5+ Kf7 50. Kf4 Rc6 51. Ke5 Ke7 52. Kd5 Rh6 53. Kc4 Rc6+ or Re6 or Rf6 draws while 53...Rh8? loses.

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Continuing with the game continuation up to Black playing 56...Rh6 White has conducted the rook ending well, see the below diagram with White to move:

click for larger view

White can win with either 57. Re5+ or a4 but White played instead 57. Ka5? which allows Black to draw by setting up a defensible hybrid Vancura type of position - a technique in which the rook can defend by checking laterally.

A series of errors ensued as now Black returns the favor by playing a lemon 57...Kd6? and White can play either 58 Kb6 or Kb4 puts him on top again. After 57...Kd6? White played 58 Rg5? Kc7? (Ke7! draws) and White eventually won...

The Vancura position is so important for a chess player to know that I give the following reference (6.2.1 Vancura position):


Included in above there is also an external link to A.J. Goldsby's page on Vancura position - see the following quote:

<"Mastery of this position is BASIC (and required!) Rook-and-Pawn End-game knowledge!!! You will save MANY tournament games with a thorough knowledge of this endgame position!!">

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: To me this was a fascinating rook endgame!
As a follow-up I was looking for any analysis on this particular endgame and saw the following article on ChessPublishing from Poghosyan - a great endgame specialist especially on rook endings! Black to move

click for larger view

The only problem he has the position from the viewpoint of a- and h-pawns versus h-pawn; but for those you more want detailed analysis - have fun!

Start with diagram D.2 - the reading will make more sense


Premium Chessgames Member
  AlbertoDominguez: Dvoretsky analyzes this game in Secrets of Endgame Technique (p.45)
Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Quoting Vardan Pogosyan from the above article - diagram D. 2:

<"M. Dvoretsky analysis this endgame in his Secrets of Endgame Technique (Russian edition of 1998 and English edition of 2008). The game was completely misplayed by both players - they committed 15 result-changing errors but only a couple of them have been taken notice of in the analysis of Dvoretsky.">

Who is Vardan Pogosyan?

<"I knew that name sounded familiar! For those interested, Pogosyan made frequent contributions to the Endgame section of the ChessPub forum. His wonderful posts are full of critical analyses, often correcting previous literature. I assume many of these corrections have thus been offered to Dvoretsky.">

Comment from a reader, Vladimir:


From Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual - Fourth Edition:

<"As always with new editions, I have revised the text with clarifications and corrections which were found since the release of the previous edition. Significant revisions have been made in some aspects of the theory of rook endings. For that, I would like first and foremost to thank the analyst Vardan Pogosyan. In 2011-2012, I actively corresponded with Pogosyan, and he showed me many of the discoveries he had made, leading me to rethink some important theoretical concepts.">

Mark Dvoretsky Moscow September 2014

Another tribute to Pogosyan (Some mistakes in ECE II):

<"ChessPub forum members Micawber and Poghosyan have published numerous corrections to older analysis of this game along with other similar (a-pawn or b-pawn 4-3 rook endings) positions, many of which have found their way into the works of Dvoretsky and Muller.">

Source: 'https://chessbookreviews.wordpress....

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Correction to the above:

Right spelling is Poghosyan not Pogosyan - my mistake (even Dvoretsky and a reader, Vladimir misspelled his name)...

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