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Peter Leko vs Magnus Carlsen
Morelia-Linares (2008), Linares ESP, rd 11, Mar-03
Sicilian Defense: Lasker-Pelikan. Sveshnikov Variation Chelyabinsk Variation (B33)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 11 OF 11 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  euripides: <Jim> if 33...Rb8 White could play 34.Bc6 (or posibly delay this till the rook reaches c8) and it looks difficult for the rook to reach an open file; also note 34...Kg8 35.Kg2 Kf7 36.Kf3 Ke6 37.Ke4 and White keeps control of d5.

In general, it's probably more often than not worth sacrificing a pawn to activate a rook in an endgame. But there are of course exceptions, and recognising them is one of the hardest things - because any strong player's instinct will tell them to seek activity. I haven't analysed this but some sites are suggesting Carlsen's later activation of his king cost him the game. Likewise, I think 33...d5 is natural but it may or may not be right.

Mar-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  euripides: Everyone since Tarrasch has known that rooks belong behind passed pawns. Leko shows that that needn't apply if the rook can combine with a minor piece to generate king's side pressure. The presence of opposite coloured bishops increases the return to having the rook on the 7th rank, because the bishops cannot defend against each other.
Mar-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: In connection with Carlsen's pawn sac on move 33, Leko said after the game (speaking of the position after 27.Rb3): <I saw that this is very pleasant for White – a computer might show that this is completely equal, but it's not. Magnus also understood quite quickly, I think, that something is not right. Probably he shouldn't have sacrificed the pawn with d5, but it's a human reaction – because if you don't play d5 you might hold the position by just waiting, but there are no guarantees; and once you just wait you already can't be active, and then if something goes wrong you might regret not playing d5.> (http://webcast.chessclub.com/Linare...)

There's also the matter of personal style and temperament - Carlsen has demonstrated several times recently that in difficult situations he's best in active counterplay mode. And as it turned out, he probably had a draw as late as move 52, with Be3 instead of Kg8.

Mar-05-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: It seems that on 53...Kh8 Black's King is out of play and White is playing a King ahead.>

More concretely, after 53...Kh8 54.Kg3 Be3 55.Kg4 Bd4 56.Re6:


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Black is in zugzwang and has to lose the 'e' pawn after the bishop moves along the a7-g1 diagonal (if it leaves this diagonal - or the rook leaves the b-file - then 57.b6 wins; and if the rook leaves the back rank it's mate on e8, of course).

Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: If one assumes that the move h6 wins for White, as Black must then either keep his King out of the game, or else expose h7 ro attack, this suggests that 47 h6 has to be considered a threat after 45 h5.

However on 45 h5 the g6 pawn is pinned, and that suggests that the move 43 Rc7 has made the move h5 a threat, a move which is delayed as 44 Rb7 defends the b5 pawn.

his delay suggests doing something to answer the threst of h5 following 43 Rb7, but the h7 pawn is tied to the defence of the g6 pawn and so cannot move so as to unpin the g6 pawn.

If after 43 Rb7 Black is unable to answer the threat of h5, that means that the move 43 Rc7+ must be considered a threat, more specifically, the threat of preparing h5 when Black lacks a way to answer it.

So on 40 Rc2 White is thtearening to prepare h5 by Rc7. The only way to answer the threat seems to be 40...Ra7, however two other threats are b6 and g5 followed by Rc8, Bd5 and Rg8 mate. Black's Rook cannot cover both the 7th and 8th ranks.

If Black cannot answer all of these threats, that means that on 39 g4, Rc2 is a threat.

However Black's R cannot cover both the a and c files. That suggests that on 38 Be4 the move g4 is to be considered a threat, because Black cannot then prevent both Rc2 and Ra2.

Suppose on 48 Be4 Black tries to harass the B by 38...Rd4. The B is after all placed well on e4, both attacking g6 and the point b7. If White's B now moves along the b1-h7 diagonal in order to maintain its attack upon g6- and so maintain the threat of g4 and h5, otherwise Black might play ...h6- Black can then continue to attack the B.

Defending the B with the Rook hinders an invasion of the 7th or 8th ranks. Suppose that White tries 39 Bb7 then. Then g6 is not attacked and 39...h6 answers the threats of h5.

This suggests the conclusion that Carlsen may draw by 38...Rd4! and then attacking persistently White's KB if White tries to maintain one of his threats- the attack on g6- by keeping the B on the b1-h7 diagonal.

Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: If one assumes that the move h6 wins for White, as Black must then either keep his King out of the game, or else expose h7 ro attack, this suggests that 47 h6 has to be considered a threat after 45 h5.>

If you really think that 47.h6 wins by force, where is the win after 52...Be3 (instead of Kg8)? E.g. 53.Re6 Bxg5 54.b6 Bxh6 55.b7 Bf8 - defending against an immediate Rc6, and preparing Bd6 to support Rb8 in case the white rook penetrates the back rank another way, such as Ra6-a8.

Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: < Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: If one assumes that the move h6 wins for White, as Black must then either keep his King out of the game, or else expose h7 ro attack, this suggests that 47 h6 has to be considered a threat after 45 h5.> If you really think that 47.h6 wins by force, where is the win after 52...Be3 (instead of Kg8)? E.g. 53.Re6 Bxg5 54.b6 Bxh6 55.b7 Bf8 - defending against an immediate Rc6, and preparing Bd6 to support Rb8 in case the white rook penetrates the back rank another way, such as Ra6-a8. > After 52...Be3 53 Kg3 ( instead of 53 Re6)53... Bxg5 54 b6 Bxh6 55 b7! Black cannot capture the b7 pawn, as on 55...Rxb7 56 Rc8+ discovers an attack upon Black's Rook, and in that case Black seems to have no answer to the threat of Rc8
Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: After 52...Be3 53 Kg3 ( instead of 53 Re6)53... Bxg5 54 b6 Bxh6 55 b7! Black cannot capture the b7 pawn, as on 55...Rxb7 56 Rc8+ discovers an attack upon Black's Rook, and in that case Black seems to have no answer to the threat of Rc8> In this line, Black is fine after 54...Bd8!
Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: After 52...Be3 53 Kg3 ( instead of 53 Re6)53... Bxg5 54 b6 Bxh6 55 b7! Black cannot capture the b7 pawn, as on 55...Rxb7 56 Rc8+ discovers an attack upon Black's Rook, and in that case Black seems to have no answer to the threat of Rc8> In this line, Black is fine after 54...Bd8!> An alternative to 53 Kg3 is 53 Bd5 eg 53...Bxg5 54 b6 Bd8 55 b7 Rxb7 56 Rc8 Rd7 57 Bc4 and White plays for zugzwang.
Mar-07-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: An alternative to [52...Be3] 53 Kg3 is 53 Bd5 eg 53...Bxg5 54 b6 Bd8 55 b7 Rxb7 56 Rc8 Rd7 57 Bc4 and White plays for zugzwang.> I don't see how he can get it, since Black is able to move not only his rook but also his g-pawn if necessary.
Mar-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: An alternative to [52...Be3] 53 Kg3 is 53 Bd5 eg 53...Bxg5 54 b6 Bd8 55 b7 Rxb7 56 Rc8 Rd7 57 Bc4 and White plays for zugzwang.> I don't see how he can get it, since Black is able to move not only his rook but also his g-pawn if necessary.> Black's R may have to let White's King come in while Black plays a King down eg with the black R on d4, and the White K on f3, Black either has to let the White King advance or else expose his e pawn or g pawn to attack by advancing them
Mar-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: With the Black R on d4, and the White K on f3 (as well as in several other situations with the White K on the f-file), Black has Rf4+ (or some other check on the f-file) followed by Rf8 and Be7, disentangling his pieces. And yeah, in some lines Black has moves with the e-pawn as well, which makes his life even easier.
Mar-26-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: With the Black R on d4, and the White K on f3 (as well as in several other situations with the White K on the f-file), Black has Rf4+ (or some other check on the f-file) followed by Rf8 and Be7, disentangling his pieces. And yeah, in some lines Black has moves with the e-pawn as well, which makes his life even easier.> In that case Bf7 may be better than Bc4.
Mar-27-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: I don't see how that helps. Black plays e4, g5, and can then shuffle his rook back and forth along the d-file. If the white king tries to invade Black's camp he'll either get caught on the f-file with the same disentangling maneuver or get too far away from Black's advanced e pawn.
Mar-28-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: I don't see how that helps. Black plays e4, g5, and can then shuffle his rook back and forth along the d-file. If the white king tries to invade Black's camp he'll either get caught on the f-file with the same disentangling maneuver or get too far away from Black's advanced e pawn.> White can play Kf2 when Black's Rook is not on the seventh rank, eg on d6. Then on ...Rf6+ the move Ke2 can't be answered with ...Rxf7 as the Black Rook has to defend the B on d8.
Mar-28-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Perhaps the simplest for Black is just to push the e-pawn. Let's say he plays 57...e4 with the intention of continuing e3, either immediately or after Rd2+ in case of a move like 58.Be6. How can White make any progress?
Mar-28-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: Perhaps the simplest for Black is just to push the e-pawn. Let's say he plays 57...e4 with the intention of continuing e3, either immediately or after Rd2+ in case of a move like 58.Be6. How can White make any progress?> 57...e4 58 Be6 Rd2+ 59 Kf1 e3 60 Ke1 and after Black runs out of pawn moves, his R has to give way and allow the White King to advance
Mar-28-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: 57...e4 58 Be6 Rd2+ 59 Kf1 e3 60 Ke1 and after Black runs out of pawn moves, his R has to give way and allow the White King to advance> Black has no problems here: 60...g5 and the g-pawn just keeps progressing, unless White makes some concession in order to stop it (e.g., Bxg4 allows Kg8 with the black king released from being trapped in the corner).
Mar-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: 57...e4 58 Be6 Rd2+ 59 Kf1 e3 60 Ke1 and after Black runs out of pawn moves, his R has to give way and allow the White King to advance> Black has no problems here: 60...g5 and the g-pawn just keeps progressing, unless White makes some concession in order to stop it (e.g., Bxg4 allows Kg8 with the black king released from being trapped in the corner).>

After Bxg4 on ..Kg8 if after the check Be6+ the K goes to f8 and White's Rook is on a8, Ra7 can the attack the h7 pawn. However this may be insufficient eg if Black plays the counter-atack ..Rd6.

On 52 Rc6 Be3 53 Bd5 Bxg5 an interesting alternative to 54 b6 is 54 Re6 which prevents both 54...Bd8 (as then White has 55 Re8 mate) and 54...Kg8 ( as then White has 55 Rb6+) eg 54...Bxh6 55 b6 Kg7 56 b7

Mar-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: After Bxg4 on ..Kg8 if after the check Be6+ the K goes to f8 and White's Rook is on a8, Ra7 can the attack the h7 pawn. However this may be insufficient eg if Black plays the counter-atack ..Rd6.>

[52...Be3 53.Bd5 Bxg5 54.b6 Bd8 55.b7 Rxb7 56.c8 Rd7 57.Bf7 e4 58.Be6 Rd2+ 59.Kf1 e3 60.Ke1 g5] Now after 61.Ra8 g4 62.Bxg4 Kg8 63.Be6+ Kf8 64.Ra7?? White is actually losing: 64...Bh4+ 65.Kf1 e2+.

<On 52 Rc6 Be3 53 Bd5 Bxg5 an interesting alternative to 54 b6 is 54 Re6 which prevents both 54...Bd8 (as then White has 55 Re8 mate) and 54...Kg8 ( as then White has 55 Rb6+) eg 54...Bxh6 55 b6 Kg7 56 b7> Let's say 56...Bg5 - again, I don't see any conceivable winning plan for White.

Mar-30-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal:
<On 52 Rc6 Be3 53 Bd5 Bxg5 an interesting alternative to 54 b6 is 54 Re6 which prevents both 54...Bd8 (as then White has 55 Re8 mate) and 54...Kg8 ( as then White has 55 Rb6+) eg 54...Bxh6 55 b6 Kg7 56 b7> Let's say 56...Bg5 - again, I don't see any conceivable winning plan for White.>
The plan is to play the Rook to c8 and then with a black bishop on d6, say, to play the King to a7 and attack the Rook a second time
Mar-30-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: The plan is to play the Rook to c8 and then with a black bishop on d6, say, to play the King to a7 and attack the Rook a second time> That seems much too slow - the rook needs 3-4 moves to reach c8 (it can't do it by route of c6, because of Rxb7), and the king needs 7 moves to reach a7. If the white king is going to abandon the kingside and embark on this journey while the rook is stuck on c8, Black would have time to push forward his connected passed pawns and queen one of them (or at least get sufficient counterplay to maintain the balance), since the white bishop can't handle them by itself.
Apr-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: <Eyal: <Ulhumbrus: The plan is to play the Rook to c8 and then with a black bishop on d6, say, to play the King to a7 and attack the Rook a second time> That seems much too slow - the rook needs 3-4 moves to reach c8 (it can't do it by route of c6, because of Rxb7), and the king needs 7 moves to reach a7. If the white king is going to abandon the kingside and embark on this journey while the rook is stuck on c8, Black would have time to push forward his connected passed pawns and queen one of them (or at least get sufficient counterplay to maintain the balance), since the white bishop can't handle them by itself.> With a R on c8, the B has to cover the R on b8. Then the White KB covers the points e4 and g2, and the White King stops the pawns during at least a part of his journey
Apr-12-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <the White KB covers the points e4 and g2> White can pick up Black's e pawn, so covering e4 isn't crucial; on the other hand, covering g2 isn't enough to stop Black's connected passed pawns on the g and h files.

<the White King stops the pawns during at least a part of his journey> "at least" implies that perhaps the king can stop them even during all of his journey, which of course isn't true - during the later part of the journey to a7 he can't stop them anymore, which is exactly why he can't do all the way (and the advancing black pawns can be supported by the black king as well, though this might not even be necessary if both White's rook and king abandon the kingside).

May-15-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ulhumbrus: < Eyal: <the White KB covers the points e4 and g2> White can pick up Black's e pawn, so covering e4 isn't crucial; on the other hand, covering g2 isn't enough to stop Black's connected passed pawns on the g and h files. <the White King stops the pawns during at least a part of his journey> "at least" implies that perhaps the king can stop them even during all of his journey, which of course isn't true - during the later part of the journey to a7 he can't stop them anymore, which is exactly why he can't do all the way (and the advancing black pawns can be supported by the black king as well, though this might not even be necessary if both White's rook and king abandon the kingside).> My meaning is that the King can use at least a part of his route to hold the pawns up, if not all of his route. He cannot of course do that once he moves out of range.
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