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Max Euwe vs Alexander Alekhine
Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937), Rotterdam NED, rd 23, Nov-30
Queen's Indian Defense: Euwe Variation (E17)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-14-07  micartouse: The rook ending after 31 ... Kxf8 is a perfect example of why a rook protecting a passed pawn from the side is no match for a rook behind a passed pawn. Easy draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Agreed,the pawn guarded from behind is fully mobile as is the rook on defense. On the rank,the rook is very awkward and the pawn can be stopped from behind or in front. To stop a pawn guarded from behind reqires the opponent to BLOCKADE the pawn.
Apr-08-08  Knight13: I don't get why they have to play on a book draw endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: <<I don't get why they have to play on a book draw endgame.>> This endgame is actually pretty involved. I assume that they not only played on but played on after adjournment.

Rather than being an easy draw, is it even drawn at all? Rueben Fine thought so, and he provided the position after 41...Kg6 in his seminal work Basic Chess Endings, giving it as an example of an outside passed pawn protected by a Rook from the side and attacked by a Rook from behind, which he said was "a draw in general unless the pawn has reached the seventh."

Black is attempting to bring his King over to the queenside to escort the pawn, which he does by moving in an L-shape, shifting along the second rank to c7 kicking the White Rook, and then moving forward along the c-file. This wins if White does nothing. White must oppose the encroaching Black King with his own King, but this will leave his pawns undefended on on the kingside. Perhaps he can shift his own King to the kingside to go after Black's pawns?

In his anlysis, rather than Alekhine's 44...f4, Fine considers 44...Rc3, giving the continuation 45.Kd2 Rc2+ 46.Ke3 (White's King is freed from the first rank ...) b2 (... but Black's passer gets to the seventh) 47.Rb6 Ke7 and now Fine shows that the draw is not so easy:

click for larger view

Here Fine points out that on 48.f3? Kd7 49.Kf4 Kc7 50.Rb5 (50.Rb3 Kc6 51.Kxf5? Rc5+ and 52...Rb5 shows a recurring tactical theme here) Kc6 51.Rb8 Re2 52.fxg4 fxg4 53.Rb3 (53.Kg5 Re5+ and 54...Rb5 finishes White instantly) Kc5 54.Rb8 Kc4 White is lost. The draw claimed by Fine requires 48.f4! (instead of 48.f3) and now 48...Kd7 49.Kd4 Kc7 50.Rb3 Kc6 51.Rb8 Rg2 52.Rb3 Rxg3 53.Rxb2 Rh3 54.Ke5 Rxh4 55.Kxf5 and Fine concludes that "in view of White's strong pawn and Black's lack of coordination of his pieces no win is possible."

click for larger view

It seems to me that Black now wins with the straightforward 55...g3 and now:

(a) 56.Kg5 Rh2 (56...Rg4+ 57.Kxh5 g2 58.Kxg4 g1/Q+ is another, far more difficult win) 57.Rb1 g2 58.Rg1 h4 59.Kg4 h3 60.Kg3 Rh1 61.Kf2 Rxg1 62.Kxg1 Kd5 - +

(b) 56.Ke4 Rh2 57.Rb1 g2 58.Rg1 h4 59.Kf3 h3 60.Rc1+ Kd6 61.Kf2 Rh1 62.Rg1 Rxg1 63.Kxg1 Kd5 - +

(c) 56.Rc2+ Kb5 57.Rb2+ Kc4 58.Rc2+ Kd3 59.Rg2 Rg4 60.Ke6 h4 61.f5 h3 62.Rg1 h2 63.Rd1+ Ke2 64.Ra1 g2 - +

(d) 56.Rg2 (this is the stiffest resistence) Rg4 57.Ke4 h4 58.Kf3 Rg8 59.Rg1 Kd5 60.Rd1+ Ke6 61.Kg2 Kf5 62.Rf1 h3+ 63.Kxh3 g2 64.Rg1 (64.Kh2 gxf1/R!) Kxf4 65.Kh2 Kf3 66.Ra1 Rh8+ 67.Kg1 Rh1#

So is Black winning after all? Or is some saving tactic right under my nose?

Aug-01-10  Calli: <56.Rg2 (this is the stiffest resistence)>

Might indicate that 55.Rg2 is better because then Black would have play Rh3, g3, h4 and doesn't have Rg4 as inline(d).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Eggman: Of course, 55.Rg2 first! There's no need to play 55.Kxf5 right away as given by Fine. Now, for example, after 55...Rh3 56.Kxf5 g3 57.Ke4 h4 58.Kf3 Kd5 (58...Rh2 59.Rxh2! =) 59.Re2 Rh1 60.Kg4 I don't see how Black can make progress. So it probably is a draw after all. Thanks so much, <Calli>!

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