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Etienne Bacrot vs Boris Gelfand
Corus Group A (2006), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 4, Jan-17
Slav Defense: Czech. Carlsbad Variation (D17)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jan-17-06  Kangaroo: The final position looks like quite an interesting example of <three-Rook-ending> that follows a simple rule: usually, the one who has more rooks will win!
Jan-17-06  Scarecrow: I don't get this, frankly. Is white really losing by force? I guess that if he manages to trade his rook, he has very good chances to draw. Even if he has a single pawn against a rook, a draw is very likely (although I see it depends highly on the position of the black king). Someone please explain.

Anyway, nice game by Gelfand.

Jan-17-06  azaris: After 20.Ne4 it actually looked like White had an edge, but Gelfand is on top of the complications. The ending is fascinating and deserves further study.

The Frenchman seems to be stuck in a pattern. He gets an edge in the opening, starts to drift, and becomes unstuck in the ending.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: A good game for Gelfand. Very impressive, from a technical point of view.

White loses material after 33... Bd2. If 34. Ne3, the simplest is 34... Rc4 35. Bc4 Rd4 winning a pawn. If 34. Rg4 Bh5 (or 34... Rc4 35. Bc4 Bh5) wins the exchange. If 34. Rh4 Bg5 (or 34... Rc4 35. Bc4 Bg5) wins the exchange. If 34. Rd4 cd 35. Qa3 Qd6 36. Qd6 Rd6 37. Rg4 Bg5 wins the exchange.

Instead of 36. Bc6, maybe better 36. Ng6 hg 37. Qe4 Re4 38. Rc6.

40. h3!?. Maybe better 40. g4!?, stopping g5-g4 and giving the g3 square to the Knight. For instance, 40. g4 Rd3 41. Kg2 (only move) Ra3 42. Ra6 and it is difficult for Black to catch the a pawn without giving his f pawn.

48. Rd8? Better 48. Rd7 (threatening 49. Nc6 and 49. Rf7), so White will win the h7 pawn. 48... R5a4 49. Rf7 Rd4 50. Rh7.

49... Ke6! was sound (better than the simple 49... Kf6).

If 55. Bd5 Rd5 56. Rh6 Kg7 57. Re6 Ra1, winning the Knight, because of the threat 58... Rdd1.

55... Kg5 would have been even stronger than 55... Ke7. 55... Kg5 56. Rg6 Kh5, winning the Rook.

Jan-18-06  firebyrd: <Is white really losing by force?>

Oh yes, Bacrot will not be resigning in Wijk unless he is completely, absolutely, 100% sure that there is no draw in sight.

Jan-18-06  cade: <firebyrd> I hope he learnt that lesson from his game against Aronian in the world cup. Of course it may just be in his nature to give up some positions without a fight, at least I think the final position deserves some analysis.
Jan-18-06  euripides: <scarecrow> drawing chances arise in R vs. P only if the side with the rook cannot get his king near the pawn. If he can get his king in front of the pawn, he wins, and he wins even if his king comes from behind the pawn if it is close enough (see this week's chess cafe column by Karsten Mueller for a nice example where the attacking side prevents the defender from using his king to hold the attacker's king off). R vs. 2P is much the same because only the front pawn matters, unless the pawns are well advanced.

In the final position here, if rooks came off Black would have plenty of time to get his king in front of the pawns. With the rooks on, White could think of cutting the Black king off with Rc4 but this is easily met by Rc1.

Jan-19-06  Scarecrow: <euripides> Thank you, it's definitely clearer now.
Jan-19-06  sucaba: <Mateo>, on 48. ♖d7, 48. _ ♗c4 seems to win: 49. ♘c6+ ♔e6 50. ♖xh7 ♗f1+ 51. ♔h2 ♖5a2 or 50. ♘xa5 ♗f1+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: <sucaba> Yes, you are right. Your 48... Bc4! was fine. It wins. So 48. Rd7 was not better as I wrote. Anyway, the endgame was lost for White.
Jan-31-06  euripides: Gelfand's apporach to this ending, winning by combining threats against the wandering knight with threats against the king's side, reminds me of Kasparov. He could probably retain his king's side pawns by 50...h5, but the way he chooses is both more economical and more pleasing. Well worth a close look.

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