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Boris Gelfand vs Peter Svidler
FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001), Moscow RUS, rd 5, Dec-07
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  1/2-1/2

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: OK, 95. Rg1 reaches this position Taimanov vs G Barcza, 1967 Move 88 where Black wins with 95 ... Qh4+ 96. Kg2 Qd4! and now (1) 97. Rb1 Qe4+ (2) 97. Rc1 Qg4+ 98. Kh1 Qh5+ & 99 ... Qg5+ (3) 97. Rh1 Qg4+ 98. Kh2 Kf2 (4) 97. Kh2 Kf2 98. Rg2+ Kf1 (4a) 99. Kh1 Qe4 (4b) 99. Kh3 Qh8+ 100. Kg3 Qg7+ (4c) 99. Rg3 Qh4+ 100. Rh3 Qf2+ 101. Kh1 Qg2# (4d) other Rook moves = 99 ... Qh4#. Ta Da!

<aw1988> It is just you.

Oct-30-05  you vs yourself: After 54.Kg3, can anyone check if 54...h1=Q gives a direct victory for Svilder? The position after 55.RxQ 55...f4+ would be:

click for larger view

Nov-05-05  Professeur Y: <you vs yourself> you mean 64. Kf3, and not 54.Kf3. It's hard to tell if there's a win; if so it is not obvious. After 56.kh4, what does black do to promote? Very difficult to analyze, as I feel a bit lazy and don't own Fritz.

This, however, doesn't require Fritz: Svidler missed 85... Qc5+ picking up the rook.

Dec-14-05  gadfly: 85. ...Qc5+ is a winning move for black. Unbelievable that Svidler and Gelfand both missed it. Simply pathetic.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KingG: That's FIDE time controls for you.
Dec-14-05  gadfly: It is hard to miss such a move even in a bullet game. The FIDE time controls cannot serve as an excuse here, although I admit I am not their biggest fan.
Nov-18-06  ahmadov: I guess Svidler could convert this into a win if this happened nowadays. After all, this happened when he was under 2700 (I believe that this does matter).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Aside from 85...♕c5+ as pointed out by <gadfly>, one of the better known wins missed (twice) by Svidler was at move 95, when instead of 95...♕f4+ Black could have played 95...♕h4+ 96.♔g2 ♕d4! arriving at this zugzwang position:

click for larger view

Here Rook moves are out (97.♖h1 ♕g4+ 98.♔h2 ♔f2 and mates; 97.♖f1 ♕g4+; 98.♖c1 ♕g7+ 99.♔h3 ♕h6+, etc.), so what must follow is:

97.♔h2 (97.♔h1 is basically the same, 97...♔f2 98.♖g2+ ♔f1) ♔f2 (Δ mate) 98.♖g2+ ♔f1 (diagram)

click for larger view

Now White can resign (even against Svidler ;) since there is only 99.♖a2 ♕h4# or 99.♔h1 ♕e4 or 99.♔h3 ♕h8+ 100.♔g3 ♕g7+ or 99.♖g3 ♕e5 100.♔h1 (100.♔h3 ♕h5#) ♕h8+ 101.♖h3 ♕xh3#.

There are, in certain variations, yet other ways for Black to win, but these are redundant. Had Svidler known (or recalled) this position, then he could have won later in the game as well, since 110...♕e4! would have produced the first diagram above, just rotated.

Apr-10-08  positionalgenius: How is this one of Gelfands notable games? Svidler couldn't convert an ending that all top GMs should be able to win.
Apr-11-08  whatthefat: <positionalgenius: How is this one of Gelfands notable games? Svidler couldn't convert an ending that all top GMs should be able to win.>

It's for precisely that reason that it's ended up in a enough game collections to render this a notable game. I agree it's rather silly if someone's looking for one of Gelfand's best games though.

May-13-08  numbersguy70: Semantics, but by the 50 move rule, it should have been a draw a move earlier. Last piece was taken on move 78, and no pawns left, so the 50th move without a piece taken or pawn pushed was 128.
May-14-08  sfairat: 86.Qc5+ wins the rook. And this guy is really a GM? Wow.
Jul-23-08  GeauxCool: <"...after 78.Rxf4

Instead of resigning, as most players would have done, Boris Gelfand simply challenged his opponent to prove that he could do it. Peter Svidler went to work against the almost flawless defence put up by White. Only on move 85 Boris allowed a deadly fork, which Peter did not see!">

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: 85 ... ?

click for larger view

85 ... ♕g1-g7??

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<sfairat: 85.Qc5+ wins the rook. And this guy is really a GM? Wow.>

<gadfly: 85. ...Qc5+ is a winning move for black. Unbelievable that Svidler and Gelfand both missed it. Simply pathetic.>

85 ... ♕g1-c5+! <fork>

click for larger view

Feb-20-09  WhiteRook48: Gelfand was now the one to swindle into a draw
Mar-07-09  WhiteRook48: and Svidler missed the fork?
Jun-06-09  WhiteRook48: 85 Kh3 avoids the fork
Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: Big fan of Svidler’s here, but frankly, I don’t think he ever had a chance. He missed too many ”golden plums” along the way for me to believe he ever practiced up on the basic ideas of this ending. Beating a dead horse, I suppose, but here are just a few more random shots along the way that I think screamed out for the taking.

86. ...Qg3 is the standard way to help your king “cross the rubicon”. Black must conquer the f file. The queen excludes the rook from four squares . Now maneuver your king to e6 which observes three more. Finally, if the rook is still on f8, transfer the move (with two queen checks and return) and the rook is zugzwanged off the file. Understanding, not memory.

90. ... Qg5 An even more golden opportunity along the same lines. From here the queen steals five squares along the file and black won’t even need a tempo battle to chase the rook away.

91. ...Ke4 !! Now if white maintains his straegy with 92. Rf2 (computer best) the key position of the “third rank” defence is reached. [ ke4, qg6, Kh4, Rf2, or suitable reflection ] I’m sorry, but if you want to append this half point to your career result you will just have to recognize this position and brute memorize the forced mate in eighteen that begins with the only best but humanly unfindable move 92. ...Qd5. I don’t think Svidler had this in his bag of tricks at the time.

122. ...Although it is already too late here, 122. ...Qd5 forks (via discovery) the white king and the vital “anchor square” a8. Now harassing checks from the rear are ineffective as the black king will encroach on the eighth rank. If the rook returns to f7 he is back somwhere in the mating sequence from before.

Except for the one blunder, Gelfand did a good job of serving up the trickier variations along the way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: Here for example is the key position and the computer perfect mate in 18 from the last note. (sorry for a typo: 92. ...Qd6 is correct). It’s not so hard if you break it down in stages.

click for larger view

92. ...Qd6; 93. Kg4,Qd1+; 94. Kg3,Qg1+; 95. Rg2,Qe3+; 96. Kh2,Kf4; 97. Rg7,Qe5; 98. Rg3,Qe4; 99. Rh3,Qd5; 100. Rg3.Qe5; 101. Rg2, Kf3+; 102. Kh1,Qa1+: 103. Kh2,Qe1; 104. Rg8,Qe5+; 105. Kg1, Qd4+; 106. Kh8,Qa1+; 107.K-h2,Qa2+; 108. Kg1,Qg8+; 109. Kf1, Qg2+; 110. Ke1,Qe2#

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: This could be a Monday puzzle after 85.Kh5?? But Svidler couldn't solve it!
Oct-26-14  RandomVisitor: perhaps 50.Kc5 is better, but does it hold for white?

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Rybka 4.1 x64:

+0.00/24 50.Kc5 Rb8 51.Kc6 g5 52.b7 Kg6 53.Kc7 Rxb7+ 54.Kxb7 h3 55.Kc7 g4

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi,

I used this missed tactical shot...

click for larger view kick off my latest article. I've found some incredible examples:

Apr-01-16  siegbert: I had this position against the magnus carlsen app recently. Queen v rook. I couldnt remember what to do either.
Apr-12-16  Exploding: <siegbert> What is your rating anyway?
Nov-18-16  Helios727: And to think Svidler could have started forcing the win as late as move 117, as follows: 117... Qg5 118. Rb7 Qc5+ 119. Kg7 Qd4+ 120. Kg8 Kf6 121. Rg7 Qd8+ 122. Kh7 Qe8 123. Ra7 Qe4+ 124. Kg8 Qd5+ 125. Kh8 Qh1+ 126. Kg8 Qg1+ 127. Kh7 Qxa7+. Thus capturing the rook within the 50 move limit.
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