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Ivan Nikolic vs Goran Arsovic
Belgrade (1989)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Positional Defense Closed Line (E95)  ·  1/2-1/2
To move:
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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Being in a masochistic mood, I decided to check a Namilov tablebase to see if white had any winning chances late in this 269-move game. :)

It turns out that white's last chance for a forced win occurred after 254...Ka4? (diagram:white to move)

click for larger view

Here white has 1 move that forces mate in 26!

255. Rh3!!!
Playing it out is instructive. The game might have proceeded (with best defense by black) as follows:

256. Rb3+ Ka4
257. Kc4 Rg4+
258. Kc5 Rh4
259. Rc3 Ka5
260. Ra3+ Ra4
261. Rb3 Rg4
262. Rb1 Rh4
263. Rb7! Rf6
264. Bf7!! Rf6 (Black's rook forced to f file, where it the bishop restricts its mobility - especially to the critical f7 square)

265. Bc4 Rf5+
266. Bd5 Rf6
267. Rb5+ Ka6
268. Rb1 Ka7
269. Rb7+ Ka6
270. Re7! (diagram:black to move)

click for larger view

Black has nowhere to go!

If 270...f5, then 271. Re8 and, without access to f7, black has no practical way to stop Ra8#.

If 270...Rf8, then 271. Bc4+ Ka5. 272 Ra7#

If 270...Ka5, then 271. Be6! Ka6 272. Bc4+ (and mate as above).

What I learned from this experience:
I wouldn't have found this win in a million years. :-|

Mar-23-06  strobane: Why wasn't the 50 move rule invoked?
Mar-30-06  McCool: I wonder how many hours it took them to play this game.
Apr-24-06  cuendillar: Enough to explain away the mistakes pointed out above as weariness. Multiple someones say it took 20 hours to play out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessmoron: <McCool> This game against Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic took over 20 hours (20 hours and 15 minutes to be exactly) INCREDIBLE---The longest game of chess in history!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: The longest game in time played was Y Stepak vs Y Mashian, 1980 I believe, with almost 24 hours, it is also the longest decisive game in recorded history
Premium Chessgames Member
  chessmoron: <TheAlchemist>Yes, but it has several interruptions but Nikolic vs Arsovic is a continuation game without any distractions
Jun-23-06  makaveli52: ok here are my calculations on the possible number of moves obeying the 50 move rule. I'm assuming its 49 moves including a capture, cause i really dont know and w/e. first you have to account for the fact that the pawns cant pass through each other, so they have to capture a piece. Since when they capture a piece they also move forward, this wastes one 49 move sequence. The smallest amount of these captures that needs to happen in order for all the pawns for both colors to promote is 8. So we can just subtract 8 from the total number of pieces to give up which is 30, so we have 22. The pawn pushes are then elft uninterrupted and 6*16 = 96. Then those pawns become pieces, which u can consequently capture so + 16 to the pieces. Subtract 1 piece, since 2 kings id imidietly a draw and we have 37 pieces. A piece and a pawn push each represent 39 moves. So (96 + 37) * 49 = 6517. Then 1 more move cause last sequence is 50 due to mate, so 6518 possible moves.
Sep-27-06  Far1ey: What a waste of time...
Oct-21-06  Eepero: There's one thing I don't understand in this game. The last pawn was captured on move 157. So the game should have ended in a draw in move 207 according to 50-move rule!
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: <Eepero> I believe that at the time there was a 100-move rule, but they apparently forgot to claim the draw and it was played for a few more moves.
Oct-29-06  Gbness: You would think that even at that point in time, that no less than 160 moves earlier, on let's say the 110th game when they reached a fairly obvious endgame, that they'd have the sense enough to conclude it there. Apparently not, though...
Nov-08-06  ketchuplover: null? ack phooey :(
Nov-16-06  soberknight: Although the 50-move rule is currently in effect, there was a 100-move rule at the time this was played. The actual length of the endgame was slightly more than 100 moves because Arsovic apparently wasn't counting that carefully and didn't care anyway.

I found the following item in an article by Guy McC. Haworth from the 2000 ICGA (International Computer Games Association) Journal. The article is titled "Strategies for Constrained Optimisation." It is available through Google Scholar.

Concerning this game, Haworth writes:

"KRBKR. Nikolic-Arsovic (1989, ECO E95, 1/2-1/2), 167. ♗xd5

click for larger view

+167b =. This is the longest game on record. White misses wins on moves 201, 238, 239, 241, 244 and 255 with depths dc = 4, 9, 3, 3, 9, and 20 respectively."

The original contains an FEN string, which was converted to a diagram by the software of this website. "dc" is maximum distance to conversion, i.e. to White either capturing the Black rook or giving checkmate without capturing the rook.

YouRang already dealt with one missed opportunity. Regarding the first one on the list, White sees the following position before move 201:

click for larger view

White played 201. Rg7. He should have played 201. Rf2 (other moves along the file also win) 201...Rd4 202. Re2+ Kf8/Kd8 203. Rg2 and Black must give up his rook to prevent the immediate mate.

After 200 decent moves, I will have to forgive Mr. Nikolic for missing this.

Jan-26-07  bob000: Nikolic had a win on move 201. Moral of the story: play to the bitter end.
May-18-07  gBizzle: one of the great miniatures of chess
May-31-07  Themofro: For the records...

that's a website that has all kinds of chess records, including longest game (in moves or time), worth checking out.

Jul-02-07  sanyas: <gBizzle> I wouldn't like to see one of your games...
Jul-02-07  scholes: why didn't black claimed a draw by 50 move rule, since last capture or pawn move took place at move number 167
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: <scholes> It was 100 move rule at the time, so Black couldn't claim a draw before move 267. He apparently forgot about it until two moves later.
Jul-16-07  noTALent: Anyone else notice that in CG's search results pages this shows up only as a 255 move game?

CG must be using a 1-byte data field to record move length of games! How short-sighted of them!

What are they going to do when <makaveli52> / <RandomVisitor> / <capablancakarpov> or whoever rehearse and play out the 5900+ move game in an actual tournament!

Aug-04-07  alexandrovm: a long game where white could have won earlier on...this very very long game
Aug-11-07  xeroxmachine: Why has the longest game ever not the most pages of kibitzing, I wonder peacefully?
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: This is actually not the longest game ever. Ristoja-Nykopp 1971 (300 moves, draw) beats it, but it is not in the database.
Sep-17-07  capablancakarpov: <alexmagnus> I´ve never heard about that game. Guinnes World Records book and Tim Krabbe´s page recognize this game as the longest ever among humans, so could you provide extra information about this game? Probably it would be a fake.
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