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Yuri Averbakh vs Igor Bondarevsky
"Cooling Tower" (game of the day Sep-01-2017)
USSR Championship (1948), Moscow URS, rd 4, Nov-15
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Keres Defense (C92)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-09-12  syracrophy: <AylerKupp><...only 60...Qg6+ wins. I'm not surprised that Bondarevsky didn't figure that out OTB!>

I don't think that just because the machine discovered 60...♕g6+ as the only winning move, it was really that impossible to find. It was a matter of technique to find out that black *CAN'T* allow the white rook to reach the third rank. In fact, I think that any ♕ move was more pleasing than the unconscious 60...♔e6?, letting half point slip. It was also consequence of being unprepared (or uninformed) about these unusual saving resources (as <Pawn and Two> pointed out, this scheme was already analyzed by Botvinnik and Kasparian and published in a popular magazine - if only Bondarevsky would have had that magazine in his hands previously!).

And there you have the importance of being informed of every novelty, study and analysis in the chess literature. Not only dominating the great depths of the Sicilian Defense or the King's Indian one has the game decided - also being informed of the chess fantasy compositions and the unlikely puzzles! There you have the real meaning of the "chess poetry" (the composition)!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Nice endgame defence by white.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <syracrophy> I didn't say that 60...Qg6+ was that impossible to find, just that it was difficult. As you said, the key is realizing that Black can't allow the White rook to reach the third rank. But if White didn't realize this (and he clearly didn't), then I don't think that it would be that simple to find the winning 61...Qg6+. As you also said, it's important to be informed of every novelty, study, and analysis in the chess literature but of course, before the availability of on-line databases, that was not all that easy to do.

There are 27 legal moves for Black on his 61st move; 20 with the queen, 5 with the King, and 2 with the h-pawn. Five of the queen moves (like 61...Qf1+) just lose the queen and need not be considered by a human player. Four of the queen moves (like 61...Qe4+) simply trade the queen for the rook and are not likely to provide winning chances, so these also need not be considered. Giving up the h-pawn by 61...h6 or 61...h5 are also not likely to provide winning chances so these need not be considered either, and neither are any of the six queen moves that allows White to safely capture the h-pawn (61...Qa3, 61...Qb3, 61...Qc3, 61...Qd2, 61...Qd1, and 61...Qe2). Moves with the king away from the action (61...Kc6, 61...Kd6, and 61...Kc5) would also not likely contribute to the win so they could also probably be ignored, at least for the moment.

That leaves two king moves to consider (61.Ke5 and 61...Ke6) and five queen moves (61...Qc2, 61...Qb1, 61...Qa6, 61...Qf5, and the winning 61...Qg6+). Of these five moves I would consider both 61...Qf5 and 61...Qg6+ to be plausibly "pleasing" and without realizing the importance of keeping the White rook away from the third rank, little to choose between them.

This is where I think I would have had a better chance to find the winning 61...Qg6+ than Bondarevsky. After all, patzer sees a check, patzer gives a check (Fischer). I think that I'm sufficiently "advanced" to realize that of the six available checks (61...Qf1+, 61...Qf3+, 61...Qg3+, 61...Qh3+, 61...Qe4+, and 61...Qg6+), that the first four lead to the loss of the queen and a certain loss of the game and the fifth one to the exchange of the queen for the rook and a likely draw. Therefore, by a process of elimination, I would most likely have played 61...Qg6+, ignoring all other possibilities. ;-)

Nov-12-12  vinidivici: <This is where I think I would have had a better chance to find the winning 61...Qg6+ than Bondarevsky.> DRAW'S still easy thing, my friend.

From the move after 61.Rh3, its an EASY DRAW. If white defense rightly, no way for black to get a win.

This position is known for Grigoriev Position, published by him in the 1917.

White rook has two safe squares e3 and h3. Theres no way for queen to penetrate the defense.

Although all other kind of rook + pawn v queen + passed pawn, the queen side wins easily.

e.g: if at the move after 61.Rh3...all pieces moved one file to the left then black wins . Its easy if u know the position.

<I didn't say that 60...Qg6+ was that impossible to find, just that it was difficult.> True, It is hard to find but i think its a win. The rook still not in the 3rd rank and black can prevent it with checks so prevent the Grigoriev position. But i dont sure though, maybe win.

Sep-01-17  offramp: One of those games that is really fascinating all the way through.

I thought White was finished after 58...Qxd3

click for larger view

but he managed a draw, with a bit of luck.

Great game and a good pun, which I think refers to the rook's cooling of the opposing queen's fervour.

Sep-01-17  clement41: An amazing fight!
9...a5 is a rare move. It can transpose into a line of the Chigorin, though (9...Na5 10 Bc2 c5 11 d4 Qc7 12 Nbd2 cd 13 cd Nc6 14 d5?! (14 Nf1 is best) Nb4 15 Bb1 a5

The endgame fortress is worth seeing

Sep-01-17  morfishine: Fascinating game, I wish I knew how to handle rooks like that


Sep-01-17  Ironmanth: A tremendous game! Thanks for this great endgame war.
Sep-01-17  eaglewing: <offramp: I thought White was finished after 58...Qxd3>

And in fact he was lost quite more easily then the discussed 59. Rxa4 Kd5 60. Rxh4 Qg6+. It should have been known well, that positions with a white pawn on second rank between b- and g-file, the white king next to the pawn on 1st or 2nd rank and a white rook on a 3rd rank square protected by the pawn is drawn against black king and queen with the king in front of the rook. In case the black king came to 1st or 2nd rank it will depend if an immediate threatening position is given or the white king can escape to the other side of the pawn related to the black king. E. g. (to be compared with Nalimov) white to move with Kd2, Rd3, Pe2, black king b2 and now black queen c5 or b6 or a7 or f2 or g1 all win, black queen on c6 does not. Either a mate will follow or the white king is forced onto a square in front of its pawn, then the pawn will be conquered and a normal KQ vs KR follows.

The final game/Grigoriev study position is some kind of special extension of this kind of positions. So, there should have been a warning lamp blinking red, that it might not be easy. However, with a black king on 1st/2nd rank threats are stronger.

Therefore, I think, black missed 59. Rxa4 Kb3! 60. Rxh4 Kc2. I don't see another useful option for white on move 60. Nalimov shows then not just one move-option to win, because a necessary 'Zugzwang' can be better achieved, when the black king is able to attack pawn f2. In comparison to the mentioned drawn positions the difference is, that the additional black h-pawn can first be pushed to h4, denying the rook square g3, and then the 'Zugzwang' allows the attack against Pf2 by pushing Ph4-h3, which creates alternative threats supported by the queen exchanging pawns for a win.

Sep-01-17  borabc: Who gets the pun ? I couldn't understand
Sep-01-17  Petrosianic: I guess the Rook is the tower that cools off Black's attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White is able to keep out the adverse queen with a rook vs a queen and a pawn on each side
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Igor Bondarevsky died in 1979, the same year of the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

Since cooling towers are the iconic symbol of nuclear power plants, this explains the GOTD title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <thegoodanarchist> Wow, I think that connection in the pun is harder to figure out that 60...Qd6+!
Sep-01-17  Nova: I have a question related to what <eaglewing> brought up. Could Black have had more or easier winning chances after 59. Rxa4 by going 59...Kb3! 60. Rxh4 ?

Most chess players nowadays know the fortress at the end of this game, so with that in mind would the Black King have been more effective on the 1st/2nd rank? Thereby the King and Queen can work together to attack the f pawn, using the h-pawn as a distraction mechanism?

Could someone please provide lines on how such a sequence would go? Is it still a draw? Is White's plan to play Re3 and keep his king on the other side of the pawn (e.g., Kg2)? Many thanks

Sep-01-17  eaglewing: <Nova> You can check how it works with the Nalimov-tablebase at

Just start with the position following 59. Rxa4 Kb3 60. Rxh4 Kc2. Choose to test what you like, perhaps next Rh3 Qd7 Re3 Kd2, then most often one of the choices showing the shortest path to mate (or a particular white defense you like to know about) and the way to win will unfold. Try to hold onto staying with the rook at e3 as long as it seems to work, it won't hold forever and the Zugzwang will announce the doom.

Sep-01-17  Petrosianic: <kevin86: White is able to keep out the adverse queen with a rook vs a queen and a pawn on each side>

In this case, yes. But there are plenty of endings where Q beats RXP. In this case, I think the difference is that the pawn is on the 2nd rank, so Black can't get behind the RXP formation and flank it. However, I believe an ending like this is a win, even with no pawn for Black.

click for larger view

Sep-01-17  Nova: <eaglewing> Thanks for the link! Indeed it does appear that Black has many routes to win after 59...Kb3! due to the Zugzwang possibilities.

It seems to me that the advantage of the black King being on the 1st/2nd rank, while still being cutoff from the f pawn by a rook on e3, is that the black Queen can make mate threats with the h pawn (e.g., ...h5-h4-h3, queen on g file threatening ...Qg2+, etc.). From then on, if the White king and rook threaten to win the h pawn, then the Black king can attack the f pawn and win it, leading to a winning Q vs. R endgame.

This is quite interesting to me! Compare this to the game situation, in which the king is cutoff along a rank (the rook on the 3rd rank), in which case the rook simultaneously prevents the Black king from attacking the f pawn AND it controls the h3 square preventing the Black pawn from creating mate threats.

In general, it seems to me that it is better for the side with the queen to have the rook cutoff your king along a file (e.g., the e-file) so that the rook can't guard the file AND the rank without leaving guard of one. In contrast, when the rook can cutoff the king on a rank it is an easy draw, like in the game.

Cool! :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <AylerKupp: <thegoodanarchist> Wow, I think that connection in the pun is harder to figure out that 60...Qd6+!>

Probably because <Petrosianic>'s pun explanation is much more likely than mine!

Premium Chessgames Member About the pun, <Petrosianic: I guess the Rook is the tower that cools off Black's attack.> That's the only idea we had in mind. Not intended to be particularly funny, just a petite play on words to emphasize this important type of fortress.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 60...Qg6+ is an obvious move in and of itself. It is the only way to keep white from making a fortress. Black's rook pawn is irrelevant to sustaining the fortress (as Averbakh demonstrates nicely).

Having said that, the rest of the technique for black to win after Qg6+ takes some serious calculation.

Sep-01-17  eaglewing: <Nova> and <Petrosianic>: The main principle is, that the king needs to be able to attack the pawn. That is usually decisive.

Therefore, the position by <Petrosianic> can be won following several main steps. First, the king needs to cross the rank defended by pawn-protected rook. Here, Qc3+ Ke4 Qd2 creates connected with the threat Qe2+ the first Zugzwang. The white king will be forced to move to the square directly in front of the pawn (d5), then the rook cannot longer switch between e5/c5 and needs to allow the black king to cross 5th rank, which achieves the first goal. Remark: The manoeuvre Qd2 (two squares behind the pawn) and Qe2+ corresponds to Qd0/Qe0 if the pawn is on 2nd rank. Not possible, therefore a draw with 2nd rank pawns.

When the king has crossed 5th rank, white would try to cut off along the e-file, but that won't work long. As soon as the black king can get in touch with the pawn the defense can switch to protect the pawn with Rd5-d8. However, that is a more volatile defense and a mixture of attacks against king, rook and pawn will surrender the pawn at some point. It is not easy, you can check it with the tablebase. And you will see, that the tablebase shows moves as fastest mating which combine these principles with tactical elements.

Sep-01-17  Petrosianic: Well, that's a really good explanation of the basic ideas. Particularly this part:

<The white king will be forced to move to the square directly in front of the pawn (d5), then the rook cannot longer switch between e5/c5>

In fact, that was an excellent post from beginning to end. Anyone can quote variations, but the important thing is the <ideas> behind a position. This is an ending I don't know as well as I should. I'm going to need to give it some more study.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: < About the pun, <Petrosianic: I guess the Rook is the tower that cools off Black's attack.>

That's the only idea we had in mind. Not intended to be particularly funny, just a petite play on words to emphasize this important type of fortress.>

Ugh, I am downhearted.

But not at all surprised. I had steeled meself for the hour of this revelation!

Now I shall serve a dinner of grits and hawg jowls. Bon apetit!

Sep-03-17  Nova: Wow, excellent comments! Thank you <eaglewing> and <Petrosianic>!
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