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Judit Polgar vs Nigel Short
Corus Group A (2005), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 7, Jan-22
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Breyer Defense Zaitsev Hybrid (C95)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  me to play: Here is a line I looked at right after the game. I didn't analyze deeply at all, but here it is...

55. Kb6 f5 56. c7 Rc4 57. Re2ch Kd6 58. Rd2ch Ke5 59. Rd8 f4 60. c8=Q Rxc8 61.Rxc8 now it's the rook vs the two passed king-side pawns. I haven't really looked at what happens next, but, it looks like it might be interesting.

Jan-22-05  Jack Rabbit: <me to play>, I was just look at that as well. I thought that Ms. Polgar had a shot at the Lucena at this point during the game, but hintza rightly rubuffed me. However, I thought there must be some sort of win as White makes her 55th move based on the advanced passed Pawn.

Black's probelm after <55 Kb6> is that his Rook and Pawns are in each others' way.

He can't use a backrank defense simply because he can't get the Roook to the backrank; in order to reach a Philodor position after <56 -- Kd8>, he would almost have to just throw his two Pawns away when nobody is looking.

<55 Kb6 Kd8 56 Kb7> Black's king can't occupy the Queening square and his rook can't give check without being taken for free. That leaves a line sacrificing the Rook for the new Queen and relying on the connected f- and g-Pawns, a plan that doesn't look too promising.

Black can avoid the threat of <57 d7+> in this variation by playing <55 -- Kd6> instead of <55 -- Kd8>. That would give him time to start mobilizing his own Pawns, but then he is still in no position to block White's c-Pawn.

So, do we award <55 Re2+> with the <?>. Is <55 b6> a winner that Judit missed?

Premium Chessgames Member
  me to play: I played through a couple of lines, and it looks like the ending with the rook vs the g and f pawns is also dead drawn...oh well
Jan-22-05  Jack Rabbit: From Reuben Fine, <Basic Chess Endings> (1941), Chapter VI.B.1 Rook and Pawn Endings (Two Connected Passed Pawns):

"Two connected passed pawns, in the absence of the Kings, win if they are both on the sixth, but otherwise lose . . . "If the enemy King can reach any sqare in from of the Pawns the game is a win."

BTW, me to play, are you a Shakespeare buff? I'm just wondering about your avatar.

Premium Chessgames Member
  me to play: Jack Rabbit, good guess! I am a big Shakespeare fan, and of Theatre in general. Actually my user name, is a reference from the Samuel Beckett play "Endgame".
Jan-22-05  Jack Rabbit: I'm not all that familiar with Becket, but the Bard is my man.

Returning to Fine as it relates to Polgar-Short, it would seem that the Kings were too far back to get in front of the Pawns, but the pawns are nowhere near the sixth rank, either.

I was a little sorry they agreed to a draw. It would have been interesting if they had played on.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jack Rabbit, me to play> 55.Kb6 Rc4 (now, to stop 56.Rc2) 56.Kb7 g5 57.c7 Ke6 (lest 6th rank a cut-off complicates things) 58.c8=Q Rxc8 59.Kxc8 f5. Now we come to the thematic position of this endgame; it arises many different ways. Alas, I fear the position is now actually LOST for White! (If you find a saving idea, do let me know.)

With that, Polgar's 55.Re2+ seems quite prudent and timely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  me to play: Gypsy, It is interesting, but I still think a draw results.....starting from the position after your 59.Kxc8 f5

now 60.Rg2 g4 61.Rg1 Ke5 62.Kd7 Kf4
63.Kd6 g3 64.Kc6 1/2-1/2

There are I'm sure different tries,but I think white always can win both pawns ( by giving up the rook of course )

Jan-23-05  Jack Rabbit: <Gypsy>: It looks good to a point. What it does is makes Black's Rook mobile and thus frees the King for escort duty.

Nevertheless, Black's Pawns do not seem far enough adavnced and with the best play the game should end in a draw. If you have some variations, I would be willing to look them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <me to play, Jack Rabbit> I convinced myself that 60.Rg2! (likely the best and perhaps the only defense) indeed works also after 60...Kf6. The line goes 61.Kd7 f4 62.Kd6 Kf5 63.Kd5 f3 64.Ra2! (64.Rg1 or 64.Rf2 loose) Kf4 65.Kd4 ...
Jan-24-05  Jack Rabbit: <Gypsy>: I have selected a few Rook vs. Two Connected Pawns endings and will make a collection for your review. There are six cases of the Rook winning; six cases of the Pawn winning; and six draws.

Vacinity of the Kings to the Pawns is a factor in most of these games (selected more-or-less at random); in the absence of Kings, the main factor is the advanced position of the Pawns. It should be noted that in the variations worked out by me to play and me that White's King cannot be a factor. Conesequently, the best White can hope for in such an ending is a draw. In light of that, Ms. Polgar's check at e2 in this game would appear to be her best move.

If I've learned nothing else in the last couple of days, I've learned that. Thank you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < Jack Rabbit: <Gypsy>: I have selected a few Rook vs. Two Connected Pawns endings and will make a collection for your review. There are six cases of the Rook winning; six cases of the Pawn winning; and six draws. > Man, you are awesome! Thx.
Jan-25-05  Jack Rabbit: <Gypsy>: It's done. The tour starts here: Game Collection: Rook v. Two Connected Pawns.

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