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Alexander Grischuk vs Judit Polgar
Biel Chess Festival (2007), Biel SUI, rd 8, Aug-01
Russian Game: Classical Attack. Chigorin Variation Browne Attack (C42)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-20-08  Strelz: I thought that the pawns were promoting on the first rank and as a result I couldn't see how to stop a possible Kh4 move by Black...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: An interesting stalemate trap: White cannot capture the knight at g4 nor drive it away from the pawns. In the fulness of time,as in the text,white must abandon the g-pawn and then the game is a draw.
Feb-20-08  JG27Pyth: Isn't 69...Kh2 sort of pointlessly complex? Doesn't the straightforward 69.Nh5 work just as well?

Feb-20-08  JYMMI: Kosteniuk has something to say about this position:
Feb-20-08  xrt999: <CI : 61. ... Ng4 leads to a draw in all variations, but in a wide spectrum of ways.>

Of course, 61...Ng4 is the right move, but did you look at a strange looking move like 61...Kh7? to jump into g5, seeing that it is impossible and discarding it. Probably you did, just as you almost immediately discarded a move like 61...Kh2. But you did look at it, even if for a fraction of a second.

My point is this is a puzzle, and you have to look at all 9 possible moves. Even a cursory glance at all 9 moves, and the possible response by white, and the answer to the puzzle has 117 possible combinations for blacks 61st move and white's 62 move, making the puzzle time consuming to solve in order to achieve a draw without miscalculating.

You are off the hook to a small degree, since we know this week's theme is achieving a draw.

Feb-20-08  YouRang: Well, I knew this one because I was monitoring this game as it was being played (and rooting for Judit to save the draw). :-)

From Biel Chess Festival (2007)

<Aug-01-07 YouRang: <Grischuk-Polgar> white to move:

click for larger view

According to tablebase, Grischuk must find 61. f4! -- all other moves draw.

Grischuk just played....61. Kf3?!

And Polgar just found the one drawing resource: 61...Ng4!!

Let's see if Polgar hangs on to the draw! :-)>

I recall that Polgar had 2 or 3 games in this tournament where she managed to snatch a draw out of the jaws of defeat, and she ended up doing pretty well (finishing i/2 game behind the leaders).

Feb-20-08  JG27Pyth: <zb2cr: 62. (Any Knight move), Nh2+ drives the King away from defense of the g-Pawn.>

But 63. Kxg3 loses...

I'm surprised at the lack of comment around that move -- is it really so obvious?

It is easier to find 61. Ng4 than to find 63.Ng4 IMO ... On move 61, there are simply no other good options. The move is flashy, but there's nothing else to play. Whereas on move 63, there is a very enticing, albeit poisonous, option. I'm pretty sure OTB I take the pawn and lose the game.

Feb-20-08  sotoohy: "awfulhangover" asks about what happens if white plays 65.Kf5 instead of 65.Kf3, which was the moves actually played. If 65.Kf5 then black draws as follows: 65.Kf5 Kxg3 and the black N is immune since 66.Kxf6 Kxf4 draws. On the other hand after 65.Kf5 Kxg3 the white K has to move from f5, otherwise black plays Nh4 and captures the f5 pawn the next move with a draw. The only move that vacates f5 while still protecting the f4 pawn is 66.Kg5, but then 66..Ne4+ 67.Kf5 Nd6+ 68. Kg5 Ne4+..etc. draws. The same theme applies if, earlier on, white played 62.Ke4 rather than 62.Nd3 : 62.Ke4 Nf2+ 63.Kf5? Kxg3 and the threat of Nh3 ensures the f pawn will be taken in a maximum of two moves no matter what white plays.
Feb-20-08  neosystems: I think I'm getting better at these. I got all of them last cycle except Sunday, and I got all of them this week so far. :o
Feb-20-08  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: But 63. Kxg3 loses... [snip] I'm surprised at the lack of comment around that move -- is it really so obvious?>

I am glad someone else picked up on the point, <JG27Pyth>. Polgar avoided the loss in 20 from Nalimov tables, where ordinary mortals like you and me would have grabbed Pg3 with a sigh of relief. Maybe she calculated the loss in 20 if she captured, but I am suspicious that there is some general principle about N+P vs. N that she knows (and obviously, I don't). I went searching on the 'net before I left the door this morning, but without success. I could spend a lifetime wishing I knew what I don't know.

Feb-20-08  awfulhangover: <johnlspouge> :-) and <soothy> answered my question what happens after 65. Kf5 Well I was totally blind that didn't think that after Kxf5 Kxf4 white has only king and knight, and not enough material. Soothy's perp variation (Kg5/Ne4+)is nice.
Feb-20-08  wals: Noting think:- Play not too fast.Examine each move however natural it may appear. Look at board.
black to play
61...Ng4 62.N x g4 stalemate
First move correct

Feb-20-08  zb2cr: Hi <JG27Pyth>,

You wrote: <But 63. Kxg3 loses...>

In my post, I saw no point in going over ground which <dzechiel> had covered in his post on page 1. Sorry for the confusion.

Feb-20-08  johnlspouge: <<JYMMI> wrote: Kosteniuk has something to say about this position>

Unfortunately, all she says is that Black builds a fortress, without giving any specific analysis. The way the Black N bounces around, her idea of a fortress has very flexible walls.

<ConstantImprovement> enumerates the possibilities very nicely, and <dzechiel> is cogent, as usual. Unfortunately, I would like to understand what I am seeing as some principle of N+P endgames, but presently, I cannot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: I have to agree with those who say this is a very difficult endgame once you get past the first move. For example, if White responds with 66. Nc4, Black's only move to hold the draw is 66...Nh2+! - the plausible-looking moves 66...Nf6? and 66...Nh6?, keeping the knight in front of the pawns, both lose. Instead, moving the knight onto the edge of the board away from the pawns holds the draw. For my feeble mind, that's hardly obvious.

After 66. Nc4 Nh2! 67. Ke4, Black has another only move that strikes me as less than obvious: 67...Nf1! Here, two moves that look reasonable but lose are: (a) 67...Kxg3?, which loses to 68. Ne5! and (b) 67...Ng4?, which loses to 68. Ne3! From here it gets easier, but these first few moves are definitely toughies.

* * * *

Wow, it's even deeper than that. After 62. Nd3, as played in the game, the only move was 62...Nh2+!, and after 63. Ke4, the only move was 63...Ng4! - this time ...Nf1 loses. So, between moves 61 and 67, I think Polgar had to find 6 only moves (although one was a repeat) to hold the draw, none of which strike me as obvious. Geez, I'm impressed!

Feb-20-08  valdez: Hello everyone. hopefully I am not interupting, and please excuse my obvious ignorance, but in reference to the game, Grischuk vs Polgar, my initial thought or first instinct was black knight moves to g-4, but then I thought that was a losing proposition as white would just capture, wouldn't it? why is this not what transpired, anyone? thank you
Feb-20-08  valdez: Hello everyone. hopefully I am not interupting, and please excuse my obvious ignorance, but in reference to the game, Grischuk vs Polgar, my initial thought or first instinct was black knight moves to g-4, but then I thought that was a losing proposition as white would just capture, wouldn't it? why is this not what transpired, anyone? thank you
Feb-20-08  johnlspouge: <amuralid> has a fondness for endgames. If you go to his chessforum,

User: amuralid

you will see Ns doing amazing endgame tricks. In particular, it appears that although there are many principles in a N+Ps vs. N+Ps endgame (the biggest one being that the strategic plan is usually what you would do in the K+Ps vs. K+Ps endgame without the Ns), N endgames usually involve a lot of calculation.

Feb-20-08  iscu two: Hi <valdez>. 52. Nxg4 1/2-1/2. The relocated N blocks the white K's only legal move, and removes the white N from the board. Hope that helps. Peace.
Feb-20-08  iscu two: Well, perhaps it would have helped if I'd had my colors straight. Let's try this again: 52. Nxg4 1/2-1/2. The relocated N blocks the *black* K's only legal move, and removes the *black* N from the board. And hopefully *that* helps.
Feb-21-08  zb2cr: Hi <iscu two>,

it might be even clearer what you're talking about if you gave the right move number: 62. Nxg4.

Feb-21-08  iscu two: Yikes - you're right. In my defense, though, the 5s and 6s are indistinguishable in the game viewer on this site. But, yeah. It was a pretty sloppy effort.
Feb-21-08  valdez: To iscu two & zb2cr, Yes, I see it now. thank you very much for the clarification. very interesting.
Aug-29-09  WhiteRook48: 61 f5 wins
Mar-12-18  butilikefur: Judit was just talking about this game as her greatest save in Candidates commentary "...of course he was looking at me like 'Come on, i mean, why don't you resign... you've been lost already for the last 45-50 moves..."
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