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Vladimir Kramnik vs Peter Svidler
Corus Group A (2004), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-14
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Poisoned Pawn Variation (B97)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: When I suggested Bf2-g1-f2 here's what I had in mind:

49...Bg1 50.Kxa5 Bf2 51.Kb5 Bg1 52.a5 Bf2 53.a6 Bg1 =

The posts below give me some ideas to try to improve White's position, though. Like, what if White actually could get his Bishop on b5 then marched his King to b7? Now the advance of a-pawn would actually win. But how does he do that without Black playing Kc5 at the right moment?

In short I'm willing to believe that this might be a win for White but it certainly LOOKS like a draw to my patzer eyes, even with the Black a-pawn has fallen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I think the trick might be for White to make a break for the Kingside and Black cannot defend the threats on both sides of the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: I think it was Lasker who ruefully said, "the bishop cannot dance at two weddings", probably about the famous pawns versus bishop endgame Capablanca vs Lasker, 1924 If I understand right, the only way to win here is to take the a5 pawn, plant the bishop on b5, then walk over and take the h6 pawn, then come back to the q-side. Transferring the white bishop to d5 will take place, then creating another passed pawn on the K-side by h4. Wish they had played it out, so I could see the specific method...
Jan-14-04  PinkPanther: <I think the trick might be for White to make a break for the Kingside and Black cannot defend the threats on both sides of the board.> BINGO! That's what I already mentioned, white simply overloads black's king and bishop and there's no defense.
Jan-14-04  square dance: fritz8 has kramnik up (1.09). i wouldnt know how to do it for sure but i would think that white wins in the previously mentioned manner,e.g. Kxa5, Bb5, then i would think exchanging off the K-side pawns and then back over to the Q-side for the final march. i believe this would work but i am too tired to work it out. btw how did this game end? did black resign?
Jan-14-04  Reisswolf: Yep, my program has Kramnik up 1.5, but it could nto find a forced win. (<Note: I did not give it enough time to analyse very deeply.>) The reason the programs put Kramnik up is because he is up a pawn. In fact, in a knight-knight-king versus pawn-king endgame, many programs will initially put the side with the knights up by quite a bit, even though most such games are drawn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: <square dance> black resigned, but it may have been in a drawn position! Perhaps he saw the outlines of the methods sketched out above, and did not check everything. and
Jan-15-04  TheOddFella: I beat Fritz 8 from this position. With the bishop on b5, the black King can't prevent the white King from entering the kingside via c8 (without letting the a-pawn through). Then, a well timed sacrifice of the h-pawn wins, I think. Unfortunately, my computer crashed and I lost the line, but that's basically what happened.
Jan-15-04  aulero: This ending seems draw and in any case I cannot understand why Svidler did not continue to play: if there was a win, Kramnik had to find it.

See Svidler vs Anand, 1999 for a Svidler's sensational evaluation error.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <With the bishop on b5, the black King can't prevent the white King from entering the kingside via c8 (without letting the a-pawn through).>

Really? I don't think so. With black Bishop on g1-a7 diagonal and with King on d6 how can white King go through? When white King reaches a6, then black King will go to c7 and there is no way for white King on c8.

Jan-15-04  AdrianP: have posted analysis by Grischuk (appearing to demonstrate a draw) and by Speelman (appearing to demonstrate a win). So far as I'm concerned the jury's still out...! Whatever the outcome, it seems a bit early to resign... especially if someone like Grischuk would have missed the winning plan, if there is one.
Jan-15-04  crafty: 49. ... ♔c7 50. ♗g2 ♔d6 51. ♗f1 ♗g1 52. c5+   (eval 0.62; depth 20 ply; 2000M nodes)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I think that it is a dead draw and that Sneaky's first suggestion was correct. Black Bishop on g1-a7 and King on d6 are able to stop white Pawns as well as white King. I don't see there any way to make a significant progress from white's side in that position.
Jan-15-04  AdrianP: <Honza> here's Grischuk & Speelman's analysis from Chessbase. Waddya think of Speelman's line?


(49...Be3 Grischuk 50.Kxa5 (50.Ba6 Bd2 (50...Bf2 51.Kxa5 Kc5 52.Bb5 Be1+ 53.Ka6 Bd2 54.Kb7 Bb4 (54...Ba5 55.Kb8 Bb6 56.Kc8 Kd6 57.Kb7 (57.Bd7 Kc5 58.Kb7 Ba5 59.Be6 Bc3 60.Bf7 Bd2 61.Kc7 Bf4+ 62.Kd8 Kb4 63.Ke7 Kxa4 64.Kf6 Kb4 65.Kg6 Bd6 66.Kxh6 Be7) 57...Ba5 58.Bc6 Kc5 59.Bd5 Be1 60.Kc7 Kb4 61.Kd6 Kxa4 62.c5 Bg3+ 63.Kd7 Kb5 64.c6 Kb6 65.Bf3 Bf4 66.Ke6 Kc5 67.Kf7 Kd4; 55.Kc7 Kd4 56.Kd7 Ke5 57.a5 Bxa5 58.c5 Kf4 59.c6 Kg3 60.Be2 Kxh3 61.c7 Bxc7 62.Kxc7 Kg3 63.Kd6 Kf2; 51.c5+ (51.Kb6 Bb4 52.Bb5) 50...Kc5 51.Bd5 Bd2+ 52.Ka6 Be1 53.a5 (53.Kb7 Ba5 54.Kc8 Kd6 55.Bb7 Bb6 56.Ba6 Ba5 57.Bb5 Bb6) 53...Bc3 54.Be4 Be1

50.Ba6 Speelman 50...Be1 51.c5 Bd2 52.c6 Be1 53.Bb7 Bd2 54.Kc5 Bf4 55.Kd5 Kb6 56.Ke6 Kc5 (56...Kc7 Passive defense appears to lose. 57.Kf6 Kb6 58.Kg6 Kc7 59.Kxh6 Kb6 60.Kg6 Kc7 61.Kf6 Kd6 62.Kf5 Bd2 63.Ke4) 57.Kf6 Kb4 58.Kg6 Kxa4 59.Kxh6 Kb5 60.c7 Bxc7 61.Kxg5 Kc5 62.Be4 a4 63.Bb1 Kd6]

Jan-15-04  aulero: Grishuk's defensive strategy is simple: give up the a5 pawn and catch the White's King in the queen's side.

Speelman seems to not have understood the nature of the ending and provides a variant where Black defends the a5 pawn but looses the king's side.

In my opinion Speelman's analysis is hasty and incomplete.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: I think that Speelman misses that black can give up the a-Pawn without any fear. Also Grischuk's idea to play with black King after 50.Kxa5 is needless. Black's defence with Bishop on g1-a7 diagonal and King able to stop every possible attempt of opponent's intrusion from black fields d6, c7 and e5 looks absolutely insurmountable.
Jan-15-04  TheOddFella: Yup - Honza you are right as far as I can tell. I suppose that my Fritz program must have blundered(!) There is no way white can pass the black King with the bishop controlling the diagonal. Looks like Fritz doesn't understand the position as well as you!
Jan-15-04  AdrianP: <Honza> does it make any difference if W manages to get his c-pawn to c6 (as in Speelman's analysis). The B king can't stay at d6 forever. Once the c-pawn gets to c6 the B bishop may have to abandon the g1-a7 diagonal...?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Wow, I saw what most of the posters here didn't see, and what computers didn't see, and what Speelman didn't see? I feel honored!

Adrian <Does it make any difference if W manages to get his c-pawn to c6 (as in Speelman's analysis)> if White just keeps playing Bf2-g1 then c6 will always be met with ...Bxc6.

White can't really hustle to the kingside because then Black will block him with his own king.

Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Malcolm Pein in the Telegraph says that Svidler thought the winning plan was for white to go first to the K-side and grab the h6 pawn, then return and threaten the a5 pawn. He assumed he had to guard the a5 pawn with Be1, so he thought that white could cross over in the center.

"However what Svidler missed was that he can let the a5 pawn go and prevent the white king reaching the kingside while still holding the two passed pawns on the queenside. From the diagram he could have played

49...Be3 50.Ba6 Bf2 51.Kxa5 Kc5 52.Bb5 Be1+ 53.Ka6 Bd2 54.Kb7 Ba5 55.Kc8 Kd6 blocking the king. If 54.a5 Be1"

Sneaky called it. Man, oh man. It looks airtight. Anybody see a way to win?

Jan-15-04  rags: Analysis of this game in
Jan-16-04  Helloween: To me, it looks like a sure draw if the a-pawn's capture is allowed, but when I set the position up against the Fritz 8 program it always protects the a pawn and I can force a win pretty easily. Svidler should have stopped and thought for a moment or two. Oh well, it's good to see that he rebounded well and had Anand in a sticky endgame of his own the very next day.
Nov-07-07  PAWNTOEFOUR: after 1.2 million nodes,shredder came up with this.....49...Kc7 50.Bg2 Be1 51.c5 Bd2 52.Bf1 Be1 53.Bd3 Bb4
Nov-07-07  PAWNTOEFOUR: after 1.9 million nodes..54.Kc4 Be1 55.Kd5
Premium Chessgames Member
  Teyss: "Svindler" (CG deleted some of my pun submissions without explanation so I'll kibitz them for memory's sake.)
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