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Svetozar Gligoric vs Vasily Smyslov
Moscow (1947), Moscow URS, rd 9, Dec-09
Formation: Queen Pawn Game: London System (D02)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  acirce: Smyslov plays the R vs R+f+h pawns ending flawlessly and shows why it is a theoretical draw, very instructive.
Oct-17-04  fgh: I tell you something: terrible play by white in the endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  aw1988: <Morphy gives odds and wins by clifton> Um... wrong game collection. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <fgh: I tell you something: terrible play by white in the endgame.>

Do you have a concrete example ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Position after <69.gxh4> is a TB draw.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: "Much depends on how far advanced the white pawns are. With h- and f-pawns, a third-rank defence like Philidor's in 6.33 is not enough to reach a draw ... However, if he starts from a normal position, the attacker usually cannot confine the defending king to the back rank. The following defensive effort by endgame virtuoso Vasily Smyslov is so impressive that Mark Dvoretsky thinks that for a practical player it is enough to study it to understand the whole ending with h- and f-pawns and rook vs rook."

click for larger view

"Black's rook occupies a good position on b5 as it hinders the advance of White's king: <1. Rg6+> After 1. f5 Black can give checks from behind: 1 ... Rb1 2. h6+ Kh7 3. Kg5 Rg1+ 4. Kf4 Rf1+ 5. Ke5 Re1+ 6. Kf6, and then: a) The immediate 6 ... Kxh6? runs into 7. Kf7+! Kh7 8. Ra2 Rh1 (8 ... Kh6 9. f6 Rb1 10. Rh2+! Kg5 11. Kg7 ) 9. f6 . b) 6 ... Rb1! is correct: Black draws after 7. Re6 Kxh6 =. <1 ... Kf7 2. Rg5> In "Batsford Chess Endings," Speelman draws attention to Kopaev's idea (see ECE 582) 2. Kh4!? with the plan of Rg3 to cut Black's king off from the h-pawn (he argues that therefore 1 ... Kh7 might even be preferable to Smyslov's 1 ... Kf7). Black must now find 2 ... Rb1! (2 ... Ra5? 3. Rg3 Ra1 4. h6 Rh1+ 5. Kg5 Ra1 6. f5 Rb1 7. Rg4 Ra1 8. Rh4 Rg1+ 9. Kf4 Rf1+ 10. Kg4 Rg1+ 11. Kf3 Rg8 12. h7 ) 3. Kg5 Rg1+ 4. Kh6 Rf1 5. Rg7+ Kf6 6. Rg8 Kf7 7. Rg4 Rh1 = in order to draw. <2 ... Rb1!> The south-west corner is the right place for the rook. It can give check from the side or behind depending on White's winning attempts. <3. Rc5> 3. h6 Ra1! (3 ... Rg1+? 4. Kf5 Rh1 5. Rg7+ ) 4. h7 (4. Rh5 Kg8 5. h7+ Kh8 6. f5 Ra4+ 7. Kg5 Ra6 =) Rg1+ 5. Kf3 Rh1 6. Ra5 Kg6 7. Ra7 Kf5 =. <3 ... Kf6 4. Rc6+ Kg7!> This decision is of crucial importance. After 4 ... Kf7? Black's king is driven to the back rank: 5. Kg5 Rg1+ 6. Kf5 Rh1 7. Rc7+ . <5. Kg5 Rg1+! 6. Kf5 Ra1 7. Rc7+ Kh6 8. Re7 Rb1 9. Re8 Kg7 10. Re5 Ra1 11. Rd5 Rf1> 11 ... Rb1 =. <12. Rd4 Ra1 13. Rd6 Ra5+ 14. Kg4 Ra1> 14 ... Rb5!? 15. Rg6+ brings us to the same position that arose after 1. Rg6+. <15. Re6 Rg1+ 16. Kf5 Ra1 17. h6+ Kh7!> Now Black's king has to go to the h-file so that it can take the h-pawn when necessary. <18. Rd6 Ra2 19. Kg5 Rg2+ 20. Kf6 Kxh6! 21. Ke7+ Kh7> Or 21 ... Kg7 22. f5 Re2+ 23. Re6 Rf2! 24. f6+ Kg6! (24 ... Kg8? 25. Re5 ) 25. Rd6 (25. f7+ Kg7! =; 25. Re1 Ra2 26. Rg1+ Kh7 27. f7 Ra7+! =) 25 ... Rf1 =. <22. f5 Re2+ 23. Re6 Ra2 24. f6 Ra8! 25. Kf7 Kh6 26. Re1 Ra7+! 27. Re7 Ra8> 27 ... Ra1 28. Kf8 Kg6! 29. f7 Kf6! 30. Kg8 Rg1+! =. <28. Rd7 Kh7 29. Rd1 Ra7+! 30. Ke6 Ra6+ 31. Rd6 Ra8 32. Rd4 Kg8 33. Rg4+ Kf8 1/2-1/2> You should study the role of Black's king in detail. It must avoid being confined to its back rank and can stay on g7 until White plays Rg6+ or h6+. After Rg6+ both ... Kf7 and ... Kh7 draw, but h6+ forces it to go to h7."

Karsten Muller & Frank Lamprecht: "Fundamental Chess Endings." Gambit Publications Ltd, London, 2001.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Resignation Trap: First, the header for the tournament name is wrong. This game was from the Chigorin Memorial played in late 1947.

Smyslov had this type of endgame six years earlier (Smyslov vs Bondarevsky, 1941 ) and undoubtedly learned how to master it after studying that game. He also had advantages over players of today: after Black's 41st move and again after White's 66th move, the game was adjourned. Nowadays, games are finished in one session, and when the players reach such endgames, they are frequently playing at a very fast rate and more errors are made.

In an effort to win, White usually sacrifices the h-Pawn in an attempt to promote the f-Pawn. But if Black wants to draw, it is important to know what to do in the following position:

click for larger view

Smyslov's 106...Ra8! is the only move to draw in this position. For an example of a different (=losing) move see Onischuk vs S B Hansen, 2006 after White's 83rd move.

Jul-25-08  4tmac: Extremely difficult ending. Still don't understand it. I'll come back to it later. Nice job <tpstar> on the details. Nice job <Resignation Trap> on the history and the very end. I'll just add that the checks on move 108 & 111 were "only moves".
Nov-15-15  Howard: A message to AylerKupp or anyone else who has engine analysis available:

Did White miss a win anywhere ?!

Mar-12-16  Chinchi: Howard, the answer is NO, at least from move 69.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Omnipotent00001: If 63...h4 White mates in 36. The move played is a tad weaker.
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