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Vladimir Eduardovich Akopian vs Alexander Khalifman
FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (1999), Las Vegas, NV USA, rd 7, Jan-04
Sicilian Defense: Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attack (B30)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-05-05  PARACONT1: Very instructive K+R+Ps endgame. Can anyone see if Akopian missed a win earlier between moves 20-30? I'm sure this game can be won quicker, but am too lazy to crack my head. Thank god he missed the winning line tho; would've deprived us otherwise of this fabulous endgame!
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Game 3 of their six game match in the finals of the World Championship tournament; this win tied the match but Khalifman then won game 4 and drew the last two to clinch the championship. 9 Bg5 had been played in Tal-Akopian Barcelona 1992 (Tal won in what turned out to be his last tournament game). Akopian had responded 9..e6; Khalifman's 9..Ne5 was new. The alternative 19..Rxb5 20 Qxd3..Rxb2 21 Rza6..Rxd2? 22 Qb5+ would have been disastrous for Black. 20..h5? was an erroneous strategy creating an additional weakness; 20..e6 21 b4 was a stronger defense. Not clear why Akopian turned down the strajght-forward 22 Qxd7+..Kxd7 23 Red1+ with a clear edge. In time pressure Akopian erred with 37 Rb2?; stronger was 37 Rb6..f5 38 gxf..exf 39 exf..Rh8 40 Rh1 supporting the h-pawn. Trading into the rook endgame with 51..Bxh2 was not forced; 51..Rg7 would have provided good drawing chances as well. The alternative 57..Ke2 58 Rh3..Kd2 59 Kf2..Rf8+ 60 Kg3..Rh8 61 Kg4 would have been winning for White. Akopian avoided the trap 65 Kb5?..Rxh7 66 Rxh7 stalemate. Khalifman defended well for a long tome but finally went wrong with 71..Rh8?; instead after 71..Kf6 72 Rh2..Kg7 73 Kb7..Rh8 74 Kc7..Rxh7 75 Rxh7+..Kxh7 76 Kd6..Kg7 77 Kxe6..Kf8 the game would have been drawn. The final error was 72..Kd6?; 72..Kd7 73 Rd2+..Ke8! would not have allowed White to make further progress.
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <PARACONT1: Very instructive K+R+Ps endgame. Can anyone see if Akopian missed a win earlier between moves 20-30? I'm sure this game can be won quicker, but am too lazy to crack my head. Thank god he missed the winning line tho; would've deprived us otherwise of this fabulous endgame!>

Game was not that clear cut - Akopian had the advantage thoughout the game but it was never clearly won until the end.

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