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Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Alexander Onischuk
Corus Group B (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 1, Jan-15
Spanish Game: Classical Variation. Modern Main Line (C64)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-16-05  SimonBrazil: The longest game of the day was played by Alexandra Kosteniuk, whose glamour and modelling activities sometimes make us forget what a strong player and tough fighter she is. Alexandra was women's vice champion of the world, recently won the European Women's Championship and is the tenth female in chess history to gain a male GM title.

In her game against top US grandmaster Alexander Onischuk Alexandra was clearly winning at move 69 when an inaccuracy – 70.g6 instead of 70.Rf7?? – spoilt the position to a draw. At move 75 a theoretically drawn endgame of rook and bishop vs rook was on the board, and a lesser spirit might have offered a dejected draw. But this lady simply fought on and after pressing for 36 more moves she had generated a position where her opponent had to find an only move (111.Rb3). Onischuk didn't and in four more moves the game was over – with a victory for Kosteniuk.


Jan-17-05  SEVEN: It looks to me that 21. d5 and then e6 is also a winning plan.
Jan-17-05  Shams: <Seven> 21.d5? Nxe5 and then what?
Jan-18-05  Pawsome: I've been trying to find "Cochrane's Position" on the www with no success so far. Does anyone out there know where it can be found or better still give me an example of it. I'd appreciate it? Thanks.
Jan-18-05  vonKrolock: <Pawsome> Differently from his predecessors in the study of the R+B vs R Endgame - i mean Philidor, Lolli, Chapais etc - Cochrane concentrates in situations in which the defense could demonstrates drawn finishes: Two of those positions, from his "Treatise" that appeared in 1822:

a) White: Kd5, Ra6, Bd4 - Black: Kd7, Rf7

b) White: Kf5, Ra6, Bf4 - Black: Kf7, Rd7

Another xixth Century studious, Szén, proposed following as a drawn position too: White: Ke6, Rb6, Be5 - Black: Kd8, Rc2

From those early propositions, Kling and Kuijpers (around 1850) developed a kind of system for the defense

(When i refered to "Cochrane's", i was just refering to the more known - for us - of those pioneer Endgame studiouses...)

Jan-18-05  JohnBoy: <vonKrolock> - this is quite interesting. Do you have any info on R+2N vs. R? Arose a few days ago. I'm sure it is usually a win, but have no examples.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Cochrane position: Kd5 Rh7 Bd4; Kd8 Rd1 =/= (draw regardless who moves).

Szen position: Ke6 Rb6 Be5; Kd8 Rc2 =/=.

Philidor position: Kd6 Rf1 Bd5; Kd8 Re7 (white wins, black draws).

Loli position: Kb6 Rd1 Bb5; Kb8 Rc7 =/= (I think).

General rules of thumb are these: (1) It is hard to force king to the edge of the board. (2) If on on the edge, oposition spells mortal danger -- many positions are lost if kings are in oposition and the defensive side can not break the oposition at once. (3) Along b-file (and its square symmetries) defender can allow oposition, but the defense then becomes quite tricky; it's better to avoid this altogether.

Hope this helps.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: I got stung by typesetting; it should have been

Philidor position: Kd6 Rf1 Bd5; Kd8 Re7 + / = (white wins, black draws).

<JohnBoy> That should be a clear win for R+2N over R. In fact, R+N is deadlier than R+B (vs. R) once the defensive king is at the edge and off the central files. (Its just harder to push the king there.)

Jan-18-05  JohnBoy: <Gypsy> - agreed, I just don't have a collection of examples to look at. Any references?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <JohnBoy> I found only these R+N / R studies by Centurini and Forth (vintage ~1850).

Centurini & Forth: Kf6 Rg7 Ke6; Kh8 Ra8 White to move wins

Forth: Kf6 Rd3 Nc5; Ke8 Rb4 + / =

Centurini: Kb6 Re7 Ne6; Kc8 Rh6 =/=.

And then there is the famous endgame of Judit Polgar vs Kasparov, 1996, which is similar but distinct from Centurini & Forth.

Jan-19-05  JohnBoy: <Gypsy> - There is also Kramnik vs Kasparov, 2000

Polgar erred and wasn't forced into the loss. Take a look at the endgame explorer - there are a bunch of examples of R+N v. R games. Almost all of them (like 95%) are drawn.

I don't know the theory here, but after looking at about 10 examples I doubt that the superior side can in general force a win. It seems to be really hard to force the king into a corner. In the Polgar-Kasparov game you cite, K had P's king on the edge from early on and still only won after a blunder.

But, back to my original issue. I have no examples whatsoever of R+2N v. R. I'd like to see an example if one is around.

Jan-19-05  vonKrolock: <Gypsy, JohnBoy> : About the R+N vs R Endgame Johann Nepomuk Berger published, in 1890, the following Study (White to Play and Win):

White; Kf5, Rd5, Nc7
Black: Kf7, Rf8

Ponziani, in 1769, presented this position:

White: Kf5, Rb2, Nd2, Nf6
Black: Kh8, Rf7, Pd3

He said "Black to Play Draws whith 1...Rb7 2.Sb3 d2 3.Rd2 Rb3" - But Centurini, in 1878, demonstrated that the position resulted is a forced win for White

The examples of R+B vs R brought up by <Gypsy> are of high practical value, and everyone should have them by heart (inclusively Onischuk)

Jan-19-05  JohnBoy: <Gypsy>, <vonKrolock> - you guys are doing a great service. Hopefully others will benefit from your postings as well. Thanks! I completely agree with the "high practical value" comment.
Jan-19-05  Pawsome: Man. I'm glad I asked! Thanks heaps <vonKrolock> <GYpsy> <JohnBoy> Great stuff. Cheers!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Polgar erred and wasn't forced into the loss.> Oh yes, only the last 2-3 moves were a "win study", and it came as a general shock, I believe. The "study" position from the game starts with (reversing the collors): Kh6 Rb7 Nc7; Kh8 Rg1 white to move wins. The winning pattern is remarkable: 1.Rb8+ Rg8 2.Ne8! Rf8 3.Kg6 Rg8 4.Kf7 Kh7 5.Nf6+ removes the rook.

And I thank you <von Krolock>, <JohnBoyd>, <Pawsome>.

Feb-06-05  Orbitkind: Cool rook & bishop vs rook ending.
Aug-18-05  bane77: 13...gxh4 is such a bad move. I'd say unbelieavably bad move for a grandmaster with such experience. 13...d5 is usual move in this kind of positions. If 14.Bb3 then 14...Ne4 15.Bg3 Bf5 . So, white has to sacrifice his knight. 14.Nxg5 hxg5 15.Bxg5 dxc4 and I'm not sure where this position leads to. 16.Qg3 is no threat, black has 16...Nh5. After 16.Nxc4 black has 16...Be6, and 17.Bxf6 Qxd4 18.Qg3 Qg4 and again no mate for white. So I'm not sure if 13.e5 is the beginning of the attack, it's more the beginning of complications. White has to play so precisely in order to keep his attack.
Apr-11-06  testingtesting: isn't 115. Ra1 checkmate?
Apr-11-06  testingtesting: Sure she was probably exhausted but a GM missed a CHECKMATE? weird...
Sep-09-07  Monkey King: Probably a misprint, black could repeat for the second time by playing Rd2 but obviosly Ra1# was probably played.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: 115.Ra1+ is not mate. (yet) black interposes 115...Rd1 and then comes the mate.(116.Rxd1#)
Nov-29-07  Duque Roquero: I think both players missed the mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: This is the first game Alexandra used last night at the Marshall Chess Club in New York for her lecture on the Ruy Lopez that I mentioned on her page. She just focussed on the opening and earlier middle game. The R+B vs. R was not relevant to the lecture topic. Paul Albert
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Gad, chess is a hard game, even for strong GM's. Kosteniuk played brilliantly, was winning, then screwed up and allowed Onischuk's desperate attempts to reach a R+B v. R ending to succeed. But then Onischuk blew the draw! Kosteniuk has become a bit of a specialist in this endgame; she also won it against GM Fressinet.
Jul-15-10  Don Cossacks: Nice game AK:P
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