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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
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Could we call the final position a chess version of rope a dope? White looks hopelessly lost,but black has no move to hurt him.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: The final position was analyzed by Grigoriev in 1917 or at least that's what I've read) as a draw, so it should have been theory by then.

I've seen the following analysis (which I don't quite understand :-)):

Black missed 60...Qg6+, not letting the Rook on the third rank. 61.Kh2 Qf5 62.Kg3 Qe5+ 63.Kf3 (63.Kh3 Qg5 64.Rg4 Qf5 65.Kg3 h5 66.Rh4 Qg5 67.Kh3 Qg1 68.Rxh5 Qh1+ ) Qg5 64.Rh3 Kd4 65.Rg3 Qd5+ 66.Ke2 Qh1 and according to my source this is winning.

Aug-20-06  RandomVisitor: Does anyone know where to find the 6-piece tablebase KQPKRP? This would answer the question about the won/drawn nature of the position after 60.Rxh4.
Aug-20-06  LivBlockade: I wonder if Black can win with 55...♕xf3 with the idea of 56. ♖xf3 a3. Can White really stop all of the pawns?
Aug-20-06  LivBlockade: Never mind. After 55...♕xf3; 56. ♖xf3 a3; 57. ♖d3 draws. Oh, well.
Aug-20-06  soberknight: <RandomVisitor> I could not find it, but many other tablebases are available here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A strange ending:Q+P vs R+P= seems to always win-----but not here. With just a rook and a lone pawn,white is able to keep the black queen out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Averbakh's notes to this game are very detailed and interesting.

At move 25.c6? he stated, <An obvious oversight: I forgot that the pawn could be taken by the rook. Meanwhile by continuing 25.Qxe4! Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 Rxg5 27.Re2 Qf4 28.Qd5+! Kh8 29.Qxb5 White would have won a pawn.>

At move 41.b3 he stated: <Here the game was adjourned, and Black sealed his next move. I returned home in a bad mood - the adjourned position looked hopeless. It appeared that after 41...Qb1+ 42.Kg2 Qf5, the d-pawn would quickly promote to a queen.>

During the night Averbakh found some defensive possibilities. As he stated it, chance came to his aid. Averbakh remembered that a few months before he had been a judge in the studies section of the USSR Championship. There a study had been received by Henrich Kasparian. The original study had a flaw in it so it did not win a prize. However, a published review of the study by Botvinnik, showed that if the White bishop was removed and the White Rook was on a different square, White could obtain a draw. Here is the position where White can obtain a draw:

click for larger view

After completing his analysis Averbakh realized that now everything depended on Bondarevsky. As Averbakh relates; <The point was that Kasparian's discovery had been published - Mikhail Botvinnik had talked about it in the chess section of Ogonyok. My chances of saving the game depended largely on whether Bondarevsky had read this popular magazine!>

When Averbakh made his 60th move 60.Rxh4 he stated: <Literally holding my breath, I awaited my opponent's reply. I was only one step away from the draw, but I was worried that Black might be able to prevent the rook from going to h3. As Lev Abramov later showed, this could have been done by the subtle queen manoeuve 60...Qg6+ 61.Kh2 Qf5 62.Kg3 Qe5+ 63.Kf3 Qg5 64.Rh3 (now this is too late; it is not possible to achieve Kasparian's position) 64..Kd4 65.Rg3 Qd5+ 66.Ke2 Qh1 and wins. Alas, however, Bondarevsky did not suspect any danger, and he serenely made his next move (60...Ke6)>. After 61.Rh3! Averbakh stated: <Now, finally, I could breathe easily. Black's subsequent attempts to refute the evaluation of this position as being drawn proved unsuccessful.>

Note that if the Black queen can occupy h1 or f1, white cannot hold the game.

At the end of the game Averbakh gave the following summary: <The reader may wonder: how was it that such a simple position was not known to theory? The reason was that such endings occur extremely rarely. Later it transpired that the honor of discovering this position did not belong to Kasparian. When in 1952 were published the analytical works of Nikolai Grigoriev, whose untimely death had occurred in 1938, in them was discovered a detailed analysis of this position, dated approximately 1917. And the person who edited this book was none other than Bondaresky!>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: What a neat endgame study! My computer program is giving Black better than a -5.00 advantage after 61. Rh3!, when for all practical purposes a knowledgeable player can maintain the fortress and force the draw with Rook and Pawn versus Queen and Pawn.

Unless some super computer has already done the research, I suspect we'll have to wait and see if 60...Qg6+! really does force a win as <Pawn and Two> attributes to Averbakh.

In any event, I'll include these two in my endgame tactics collection.

Sep-08-06  Runemaster: <As Averbakh relates; ...My chances of saving the game depended largely on whether Bondarevsky had read this popular magazine!>

Hell, I've been reading the National Enquirer for years and it hasn't helped me get many draws against GMs.

May-12-07  Fourpointo: Why no 18. Ne6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <Fourpointo: Why no 18.Ne6?>

Averbakh in his notes to this game, stated after 18...f6: <Disregarding loss of material, Bondarevsky hurries to open lines for an attack on the kingside. If 18.Ne6 he was intending 18..Qb6 19.Nxf8 Qxf2+ 20.Kh1 Ng3+ 21.Kh2 Rxf8, and if 22.Be3 Nf1+ 23.Rf1 Qxe3. It is doubtful whether he calculated precisely all the consequences of this sacrifice, but intuition suggested to him that Black should gain sufficient compensation for it.>

Fritz 9 confirms that Black obtains the advantage after 18.Ne6 Qb6 19.Nxf8. Fritz indicates that after 18.Ne6 Qb6, White's best line is 19.Bxe4 Qxe6 20.exf6 dxe4 21.fxe7 Qxe7 with an almost equal position, just slightly favoring Black. The resulting lines and position indicate a draw would then be the likely result. Averbakh was correct in rejecting 18.Ne6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Pawn and Two>, thanks so much for sharing Averbach's comments on this game, especially the thrilling endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: << RandomVisitor>: Does anyone know where to find the 6-piece tablebase KQPKRP? This would answer the question about the won/drawn nature of the position after 60.Rxh4.>

In case you're still wondering, the Nalimov tablebases at indicate that the position after 60.Rxh4 results in a mate in 29 for Black after 60...Qg6+ 61.Kh2 Qf5 62.Kg3 Qe5+ 63.Kh3 h5 64.Ra4 Qf6 65.Kg2 Qg6+ 66.Kh3 Qg1 67.Ra5+ Ke4 68.Ra4+ Kf3 69.Ra3+ Kxf2 70.Ra2+ Ke3 71.Ra3+ Kd4 72.Ra4+ Kc3 73.Kh4 Qh2+ 74.Kg5 Qe5+ 75.Kh6 Qh8+ 76.Kg5 Qd8+ 77.Kh6 Qb6+ 78.Kg7 Qc7+ 79.Kh8 Qd8+ 80.Kg7 Qd7+ 81.Kh8 Qxa4 etc.

And the Nalimov tablebases at both confirm the mate in 29 for Black (no details) and indicate that of the 19 legal 60th moves for Black, only 60...Qg6+ wins. I'm not surprised that Bondarevsky didn't figure that out OTB!

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.

Premium Chessgames Member
  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

Premium Chessgames Member
  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.
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