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Georg Salwe vs Akiba Rubinstein
Prague (1908), Prague AUH, rd 1, May-18
Four Knights Game: Spanish. Symmetrical Variation (C49)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-25-07  Karpova: Nobody commented on this groundbreaking endgame yet - that's unbelievable!

I won't give all the analysis on this game from "The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein - Volume 1: Uncrowned King" by IM Donaldson and IM Minev but the anaylsis done by Maizelis on this position (after 60.Bg5):

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60...Kd3 61.Bf4 Ke2 62.Bg5 Rf3+ 63.Kg2 Ra3 64.Be7 Ra4 65.Bd8 Rg4+ 66.Kh3 Kf3 67.Bc7 Rg1 68.Bh2 (<if 68.Kh2 Rf1! 69.Bd8 Kg4 70.Kg2 Rf5 71.Bg5 Rf8! 73.Be7 Re8 and wins as in the main variation 68.Bh2>) 68...Rf1 69.Bg3 Rh1+ 70.Kh2 Ke4! (next diagram)

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71.Kg2 Rd1! 72.Bc7 (<The alternatives are 72.Bg3 Kf5 73.Kf3 Rd3+ 74.Kg2 Kg4 75.Be1 Rb3 76.Bf2 Rb2 77.Kf1 Kf3, and Black wins, and 72.Bg1 Kf4 73.Bc5 Kg4 74.Be7 Re1 75.Bg5 Re2+, and Black wins as in the main variation with 72.Bc7>) 72...Rd7! 73.Ba5 (<if 73.Bb8 Kf5 74.Kf3 Rd3+ 75.Kg2 Kg4 and wins>) 73...Kf4 74.Bc3 (<after 74.Be1 Ra7 75.Bd2+ Kg4 76.Bg5 Rf7 77.Bd8 Rf5 78.Bg5 Rf8 79.Be7 Re8, Black wins in the same way as after 74.Bc3>) 74...Kg4 75.Bf6 Rf7 76.Bd8 Rf5 77.Bg5 Rf8 78.Be7 Re8 79.Bg5 Re2+ 80.Kf1 Kf3 (next diagram)

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81.Kg1 (<or 81.Bf6 Re8 82.Bg5 Kg3 and wins>) 81...Kg3 82.Kf1 Re8!, and black wins.

Final position (after 82...Re8):

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Nov-25-07  Karpova: In the game Rubinstein didn't go for this winning procedure but won in very instructive fashion after White missed his drawing chance with 71.Kd5?. The game is really worth analyzing!
Jan-15-08  Grumpi: Example for correct play for defending side:

Radjabov vs Van Wely, 2008

Jul-09-08  4tmac: WHITE does not realize he has a known fortress after move 92! This is a draw (after 93. K-g1!) WHITE needs to keep his BISHOP on the diagonal that helps his KING block h2! Once WHITE gives up the diagonal he is lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OlimpBase: Chess classics stripped off its magic... Actually Black blundered three times in this ending which for many years was an example of pure masterplay. Nalimov tablebases claim that 88...Rb4?? was blunder (h3 or any robust move of the Rook on g file) but then White lost due to 92.Bc5?? While Kg1 held the grip easily.
Oct-18-14  TheFocus: Instead of 57...Kd5, Black wins outright with 57...g5!, as 58. hxg5 h4+; or 58. Bxg5 Rxf3+.
Oct-19-14  Karpova: The reason why this endgame deserves to be famous seems to have been forgotten, but it may be worth pointing it out again:

Rubinstein is faced with a new situation, a new problem, and now has to find a solution to it in OTB play, after a long and exhausting battle already. He comes up with an ingenious, and finally successful, solution to the problem. His solution proved not to be the best possible one. Furthermore, neither his nor Salwe's play in the endgame were faultless.

It may be worth adding here that Kmoch doesn't include this game in 'Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces / 100 Selected Games', although he gives three games from Prague (1908). This indicates that it is no new discovery that play was not flawless.

But this doesn't distract from its importance: In a way, Rubinstein boldly presented a theory, a conjecture on how to win this special kind of endgame. Salwe was unable to refute it. And this endgame, this theory, provided later analysts with the model to research the endgame on their own. They understood that the more obvious mistakes didn't made the endgame study futile. And when digging deeper they found that Rubinstein's plan was not the best. Instead, they offered a better solution and enriched chess theory immeasurably. And Rubinstein's bold conjecture, his first offer of a solution, although far from perfect, provided them with the basis for their research and made it possible.

This is perhaps worth keeping in mind, when you can solve the endgame in the Nalimov tablebases (win in 48 after 60.Bg5) by simply inserting the position. Or when you mention the winning 57...g5, given on p. 140 of Donaldson & Minev, Volume 1: Uncrowned King, 2nd edition, Milford, CT, USA, 2006.

Jun-18-18  Omnipotent00001: 59...Kxe4 mates in 49 moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: Averbakh discusses the position after 60 Bg5 in Rook versus Minor Piece Endings. He draws on analysis by Baranov (71 Kd5? was an error: 71 Kd3! draws) published in 1959 and analysis by Maizelis (cited above) that demonstrated the position is winning for the attacker. Maizelis discovered the plan of forcing the defending King to the h-file. His work was published in 1963 - 55 years after the game was played!

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