drunknite: I have a very good idea of just how he may have missed this as we can assume Marcozy was well acquainted with standard endgame positions. Most everyone knows that very simple rule with K/p ending:
You usually need your K to be ahead of your pawn and in opposition to the opponents K. Right? Everyone knows this...
NOW also even more important (Higher priority) is another rule: With pawn on 4th rank (here the b pawn); if your K gets to a6 or b6 or c6, its an auto win (if he cant take your pawn) But if pawn is on 5th or 6th rank, your K can be anywhere in the 2x3 rectangle formed by a6---c7. Got that?
GM Geller once gave a beautiful example goes something like this: place white K on e5, his pawn on c4; and black K on c8. NOW: if you move Ke6 that does place K in opposition and your K ahead of your pawn. But if you play Kd6 that puts the K in the magic 3 square area for the pawn on 4th rank. Ke6 draws; Kd6 wins.
That is why we have the second rule for situations like that.
Now OK go back to white's 44th move. If you look at Rxp, then you start to calculate that you will have to move your h pawn and K will move 3 more times after the black rook sets up on the back rank. This gives blacks K, 3 more moves (includng the move right after Kxa8 ....)
So blacks rook takes on a8 and whites K takes on a8. Now where will blacks K be? If he gets to move 3 moves from g3 he will end up on d5 and whites K on a8. So white to move, he can get his K to a7 but just short of the magical 3 square strip (rule for 4th rank pawn) and black's K now moves to c4 and will get the last pawn.
Right? that is the perfect example similar to one Geller gives where the K is ahead but not in the magic line or magic rectangle. Because Marcozy has to know about this rule...
Except blacks K didnt start that sequence from g3 did he?
I.e. set up the board again on whites 44th and put black K on f4 and pawn on g3 and white rook on g8. If white plays Kxp, blacks K will get back in time to catch the last pawn.
So I think when Maroczy was looking at first side of the board and then the other and he is counting how many moves blacks K will get to make, and he looks back to where the black is when sequence starts and sees him standing on g3 (forgetting that the squence really starts after KxR on h2)
It looks like he just misplaced the black K in his mind before looking at RxP. Because he looks at one side of the board; the a8 sector and starts to count moves from there and then looks back to the other side of the board and sees K on g3 (forgetting that rxp and KxR on h2) )
Seems quite possible.