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Peter Leko vs Vasyl Ivanchuk
Dresden Olympiad (2008), Dresden GER, rd 5, Nov-17
Sicilian Defense: Kan. Polugaevsky Variation (B42)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-04-10  tarek1: It was actually Rg8 and Re8 by white of course
Jul-04-10  David2009: Leko vs Ivanchuk, 2008 Black 124...?

This is a puzzle so the position must be won (?) : the challenge is to find the win over the board without looking up the solution in a tablebase. 124...Re3 forces 125 Rg8 and now NOT 125...Rd3 126 Re8! = (the 'Szen draw' see Fine) BUT 125...Rf3+ 126 Kg1 (forced: 126 Ke1 Rd3 mates; or 126 Ke2 Re8+ wins the exchange) Rd3 127 Rf8 and now what?

With a central Pawn this position would be won: with a N Pawn it is drawn (ref: 'Basic Chess Endings' by R Fine).
GROAN! 1/7 this week. The true solution was so simple! 124...Re3 125.Rg8 Re7!! ZUGZWANG

click for larger view

Note this is the ONLY move to win: e.g. 125.. Re5? 126 Rg7! draws . If 126...Rh5 127 Kg1! draw; if 126...Rd5 127 Re7! draw.

In the Diagram White can choose betwen the game line 126.Rg5 Rh7 (126...Rf7+ also works) 127.Ke1 Rd7 or 127. Kg1 Rd7 and the White Rook cannot block on f1; or 126 Rg6 when Rd6 and the R cannot defend from the e file

Crafty link to the puzzle position colours swapped over:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <David2009: this is the ONLY move to win: e.g. 125.. Re5? 126 Rg7! draws>

Are you sure? Fritz 11 says that 125...Re5 126. Rg7 is mate in 11.

Jul-04-10  David2009: A postscript to Leko vs Ivanchuk, 2008

click for larger view

(A) Leko-Inanchuk 2008, 119? White to play and draw. Crafty End Game Trainer link:

(B) The game concluded 119.Rh2 Ra1+ 120.Kf2 Kf4 121.Rh8 Ra2+ 122.Ke1 Re2+ 123.Kf1 Kg3 0-1 (see puzzle position). Without using a table base, what was White's final mistake?

Jul-04-10  David2009: <Once: <David2009: this is the ONLY move to win: e.g. 125.. Re5? 126 Rg7! draws> Are you sure? Fritz 11 says that 125...Re5 126. Rg7 is mate in 11.> I most certainly was before your post! But let's look it up on Nalimov to make sure:

You are absolutely right! After 126 Re5 Rg7 White plays 126 Re8! and Black is in the same sort of zugswang as the game.

I had misunderstood Fine's 'Basic Chess Endings': he refers to the positions with the K safely on g1 and not on f1 (and able to deal with back rank checks by Rf1).

Thanks for putting me right!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: A couple of posts from Nov-18-08 that appear at the beginning of this thread are worth noting:

<who: 124.Rd8 lost. Nalimov gives [124.] Rf8 as the only drawing move (it allows 124.Rf8 Re3 125.Kg1[=]).>

<Eyal: R+B vs. R seems like one of the most difficult theoretical draws to hold in practice: Endgame Explorer: RB vs R; the list of players who failed to hold it at one time or another includes Reti, Bronstein, Olafsson, Hort, J. Polgar, Short (twice), Almasi, Grischuk, Ljubojevich, Van Wely and Rublevsky, so Leko is not in such bad company...>

… and since the date of the above post by <Eyal>, Kamsky’s name has been added to the list of very strong players who have lost this theoretically drawn ending: Akopian vs Kamsky, 2009

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Got Re3 as first move right, but certainly not because I saw all the variations. Bill Lombardy made a comment the other night at his commemorative lecture on Smyslov at the Marshall Chess Club ( I think it was because R+B vs. R came up in one of the Smyslov studies he was showing ) that albeit theoretical draw, even GM vs. GM this ending should always be played out because there are plenty of ways for the weak side to go wrong. Paul Albert
Jul-04-10  gofer: Still working on yesterday's (I have guests...). Today's seems easier...

124 ... Rd3 (threatening Bh3+ Kg1 Re1#)

125 Rg8 Re7 (only allowing Rg6 and Rg5)

126 Rg5 Rf7+ (Rg6 127 Rd7 mating as Re6 is not available)

127 Ke1/Kg1 Rd7 mating as Rf5 is not available

Time to check...

Jul-04-10  tarek1: <David2009>
<124...Re3 forces 125 Rg8 and now NOT 125...Rd3 126 Re8! = (the 'Szen draw' see Fine)> Right. Good lesson for me. I didn't know this position had a name. I fluked the puzzle but learnt something new :)
Jul-04-10  butilikefur: this line sucks <124...Rh2 125. Rd3+ Bf3 126. Ke1 Rc2 127. Rb3 Re2+ 128. Kf1> 128. Kd1 Re3+ 129. Kc2 Bd1+ <128...Re4 129. Ra3>
Jul-04-10  rapidcitychess: Wow. Too easy,come on
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: <dakgootje> The downside of Captain America is that Marvel Comics decided to kill him off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: And as fatal flaws go, you have to admit that being killed off is rather ... fatal.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: According to the table base endgame server at, Leko's losing move was 124. Rd8?, which allowed today's winning Sunday puzzle solution 124...Re3! Instead, 124. Rf8! would have held the theoretical draw.

See the comments by <Dzechiel> for a good explanation of the tactics involved in the win with 124...Re3! Also, <Once>'s entertaining analogy is a must read which adds to the fun of learning this very useful endgame technique.

The main idea is 124...Re3! forces the White Rook to the g-file to avoid a mate-in-three. Once imprisoned on the narrow g-file, the poor Rook has only two other squares on which to move back and forth, or else White gets mated (e.g. 124...Re3! 125. Rg8 Re7! 126. Rf8? Bh3+ 127. Kg1 Re1+ 128. Kf1 Rxf1#).

After the forcing 124...Re3! 125. Rg8 Re7! 126. Rg5, Black again forces the issue with 126...Rh7! when White must surrender his Rook for Bishop as in the game continuation or after 127. Kg1 Rd7! (diagram below):

click for larger view

(Above is the position after 124...Re3! 125. Rg8 Re7! 126. Rg5 Rh7! 127. Kg1 Rd7!)

Here White cannot maneuver to interpose his Rook to stop the threatened mate, since 127. Bf5 is met with 127. Bxf5! and 127. Re5 Rd1+ 128. Re1 Rxe1# ends it with a quick two-move mate.

Jul-04-10  Patriot: WOW! It came as a complete surprise that I would win! I try to post comments that are useful to other's on this site because I really want to be helpful to someone's improvement. It's hard to tell sometimes when there is little to no feedback, so I figured the worst. But I'm quite shocked someone voted for me.

THANKS to everyone who supported me and for the honor. I really appreciate that.

<<zanshin>: Congratulations to <patriot> - a patriotic choice for the 4th of July ;-)>

Thanks <zanshin>! I'm only a "patriot" in name and spirit. Thanks to the true patriots that may be on this site and elsewhere who have defended this great country.

May everyone have a safe and happy 4th of July celebration!!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Patriot> Well said, and very well done!
Jul-04-10  tivrfoa: I didn't get why he played 126. ... Rh7 instead of Rd7. It works the same way ...
Jul-04-10  tivrfoa: nice game. this is a proof that chess requires patience. :]
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <tivrfoa> 126... Rd7 127. Re5 Rd1+ 128. Re1 and white is still holding on. 126...Rh7 is the only way to win as it forces the white king to e1 so that this defence doesn't work.
Jul-04-10  reti: HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!! I hope everyone is drinking lemonade right now. Leko should have played 125.Rd8.


24...Re3 win in 12

anything else = a draw.

Jul-05-10  M.Hassan: I could see the first two moves and that was it!, I did'nt see the rest. Ingenious play by Ivanchuk
Jul-05-10  Marmot PFL: In all the years I played I never had this ending with either color so my knowledge of it is very low. I think many positions are won with the king on the back row, but you don't want the king running to the wrong color corner for your bishop. Pinning the B is often the defenders best resource. I would start with Re3, stopping R checks and threatening Bh3+ Kg1 Re1#. White can't even stop this with Rd1 so things are looking grim. So black pins with Re3 Rg8, then Re7 and white has no checks, nor can his king escape. Now the threat is simply Rh7-h1# but Rh5 loses to Bh3+ and Ke1 to Rd7, game over.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: The player with the R can draw especially if he keeps it close to his King. But it is hard. The defender relies on stalemate sacrifices that the attacker has to refuse and keeps the defense. It was shown in this more recent game.

Carlsen vs Ding Liren, 2016

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: Here 120. Kg2 is good, and on my computer I cant find a win for Black.
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