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Sabina-Francesca Foisor vs Irina Krush
US Championship (Women) (2019), St Louis, MO USA, rd 4, Mar-23
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer Variation (B62)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-24-19  woldsmandriffield: Position after 58 Kb2

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To mount a successful defense, the weaker side's King must either A) interfere with the advance of the c-pawn or B) harass the superior side's King and draw by perpetual check. Krush's monarch heads of to h1 to avoid being caught in the cross-fire so as to facilitate plan B (perpetual check).

Position after 74..Qb8+

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Foiser realises her King cannot advance beyond the c-pawn at present and so selects the alternative plan. White can push the c-pawn with the King further back.

Position after 81 Kd1

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The Qd5 prevents checks from b3 or f3 while the fact the White King is on d1 means that there are no checks from the rear to worry about.


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Foiser played 87 Qc2? She should have returned the Queen to its dominant central square: 87 Qd5! Kh3 88 c6 making significant progress.


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Krush played 88..Qf4+? missing the chance to activate the A-plan: 88..Kf4! 89 Kb1 Ke5 was the drawing pathway.

There were no more chances and Foiser steadily reels Krush in. One the pawn reaches the 7th rank and Black resorts to pinning moves the end is nigh in these types of position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: 57. Nxe1?

Better was 57. Kb2! and White wins very easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: white underpromotes to win! 146 moves.
Mar-26-19  rcs784: What is the tablebase evaluation of the position after 58. Kb2?
Mar-26-19  woldsmandriffield: After 58 Kb2 it is a tablebase win but nobody resigns such a position.

In practice the result depends on whether Black is able to implement plan A) or plan B).

The actual moves played and (I hope!) the diagrams are very instructive. The result was consistent with expectations: White should win most of the time (70%?) but Black can expect a drawing opportunity to arise, as on move 88 in this game. If the defender can stay alert and overcome fatigue, it is possible to hold!

The attacker also needs perseverance. Foiser worked hard at the end to engineer a winning position. She would have felt good and (in view of earlier chances) relieved. Krush made her sweat and although annoyed not to take her chance I hope didn't feel too bad for too long afterwards - these endings are tough!

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: It appears the person with the pawn must create a straight line between the kings, to increase the chances of blocking a check *with* a check, which immediately swaps queens and produces a win. The straight line is better than a diagonal.
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  offramp: A fascinating game all the way through. It must have been very nerve-wracking to play.

25.♕a3 x ♙a2.

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The black queen now stays on a2, completely trapped, until move 39.
That makes me think that this move was a mistake.
25...d5 might have been better.

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SF10 tells us that 33.g6+ followed by Rh3 wins. But no human could play that! It is too complicated.
33.g6+ Kg7 34.Rh3 dxe4+ 35.Ke3 Qxc2 36.Rh7+ Kf8 37.g7+ Kg8 38.Rh8+ Kf7 39.Qh5+ Ke6...

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That is a long way to visualize, and is it a win or does Black have some kind of perpetual? It <is> a win, but it would be superhuman to see that.
With 39...Qa1 Black sets a trap, just before the time control.

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40.g8Q?? allows a drastic mate in 2!
Black did very well to reach this position.

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56.b8Q e1Q+.

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White could now have played a dazzlingly good, study-like move: 57.Kc4!!
Incredible: White walks onto the only square that makes 58.Nxe1 impossible owing to the pin.
You can see that 57.Kc4 would have led to an easily won pawn-ending after

The rest of the game has been well annotated by <woldsmandriffield>, especially that surprise draw at move 88.


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