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Alex Yermolinsky vs Yasser Seirawan
Hoogovens (1997), Merrillville, rd 2, Nov-28
French Defense: Rubinstein Variation. Blackburne Defense (C10)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: This game was played in Merrillville (Indiana) and was called the Hoogoven USA Chess Festival. I believe it is the only GM tournament held in Indiana. 12..h6? overlooked white's 14th move losing a pawn; 12..Nxe4 or 12..cxd would have been better. Yermolinsky identified 30..Ra2? as the losing move and provided the following drawing variation: 30..f4! 31 Kf1..Rxa2 32 Ra8+..Kh7 33 a7..d4 34 Ke1..d3
35 Kd1..g6 36 hxg+..Kg7 37 Kc1..h5
38 Kd1..h4 (threatening ..f3)
39 f3..Ra1+ 40 Kd2..Ra3 41 Kc1..Ra1+.
The idea was that 30..f4! took away the e3 square from white's king. 36..g6? loses instantly but Yermolinsky showed that 36..Ra1+ 37 Kd2..Ra3 38 Ke3..Ra1 39 Kxd3..Ra2
40 Kd4..Ra1 41 Kd5..Ra2 42 Kc6..Rc2+
43 Kd6..Ra2 44 Rc8..Rxa7 45 Rc7+ leads to a winning pawn ending.

May-07-09  Jim Bartle: Seirawan said he took lots of time to play 36...g6, which turned out to be one of the biggest lemons of his career.
May-07-09  AnalyzeThis: That's really funny, because this x-ray tactic is Trap # 1 in this situation.
May-07-09  Riverbeast: Problem is, Black's in zugzwang!

Usually black wants to keep his king on g7 or h7 in this situation, to prevent the x-ray trick....But here he can't.

The king can't move anywhere else, because of the x-ray or a check followed by queening

If Black plays 36...d2, after Ke2 he loses his d pawn...The rook can't leave the 'a' file.

If Black moves his rook along the 'a' file, the king advances and eventually munches the 'd' pawn...Then you get the winning method <plang> showed above.

It's an instructive ending that occurs quite frequently

May-07-09  Jim Bartle: Yermolinsky and his wife (!) analyzed the ending in Inside Chess. It's a win for white no matter what black plays on 36, but it's not easy:

36...Ra4 37. Kd2 Ra3 38. Ke3 Ra5 39 Kxd3 Ra4 40 Ka3 Ra1 41 Kc4 Ra2 42 Kc5 Ra1 43 Kb6

Then white forces a winning pawn endgame, far above my pay grade and using that term "opposition" which I will never understand how many times it's explained.

May-07-09  AnalyzeThis: You've got to give yourself a chance with black, of course. Anything is better than losing the rook in 1 move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessCoachClark: This game was included in LEARN CHESS TACTICS by John Nunn, Chapter 4, Skewer.

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36. ... g6? was a bad move, allowing 37. Rh8 to win a Rook
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