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Peter Leko vs Vassily Ivanchuk
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 2 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-04-10  Eduardo Leon: <JeremyBrowne>, yes, you are right, and I made the same mistake as <dzechiel>. According to the Nalimov tablebases (, 125...♖e5? 126.♖g7! forces black to play 126...♖e8 and only then 127...♖h8, because 126...♖h5 is a win in 50, which probably means it would be a draw by the 50 move rule.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Hmm... that's odd. Fritz 11 is saying that black mates in less than 15 moves with any one of Re4, Re5, Re6 or Re7. The number of moves to mate has been falling, but seems to be stabilised at:

125...Re4 - mate in 13

125...Re5 - mate in 12

125...Re6 - mate in 12

125...Re7 - mate in 11.

If this is correct, then the difference between Re5 and Re7 seems to be only one move longer to mate. In which case, it may be a little harsh to say that 125...Re5 is a mistake. It would be a little like criticising Germany for not beating Argentina 5-0 last night!

Premium Chessgames Member
  mig55: 124. Rf8 is the only drawing move, and Leko missed it!
Jul-04-10  C4gambit: For the first time i thought i got an "insane quiz" correct. But I came up with Ra2. I believe this is winning, may be a bit long though. Have I missed something?
Jul-04-10  C4gambit: Never mind... as always.. i got the mistake right after posting.
Jul-04-10  awfulhangover: Extremely impressive ending. 124.-Re3 was a "AHA"!-move. But Chucky is known to be the best player in the world when he plays his best chess. But sometimes he plays like a FM :-)
Jul-04-10  dakgootje: < I finally found a fatal flaw for Captain America. He cannot get intoxicated by alcohol. Which kind of misses the point, doesn't it?>

Hmmm, I don't know.. I suppose, if Superman blasts the wrong car/person/building/country he can always still say he was drunk-flying - not so for Captain America! Neither does the Captain have this excuse for trying-out bad pick up-lines ("hey, don't you owe me $20?"). On top of that, he has the powerful Lobby of Mothers against him who argue that his lack of intoxication downplays the effects of alcohol and sets a bad example for the American youth.

Tough job, being a superhero.

It must be good to be a hero-villain combination: sometimes you are good, sometimes bad [just whatever suits the situation] and you are not Superhero/villain so none will really care enough to go after you. Makes for better headlines in the papers as well "captain whatshisname catches bank robbers! Unfortunately he leaves with the loot."

I don't really know how to connect this all to the game enough though.


Jul-04-10  hms123: First, we wish to thank everyone who made a nomination and everyone who was nominated for helping us to come up with this year’s winner of the <POTD’s> award in honor of User: Rinus . Second, there were lots of good candidates who made good and constructive contributions to the <POTD> and who help to make the <POTD> one of the most enjoyable daily discussions at

We focused specifically on the content of the posts. To that end, a few us went back and read a sample of posts from the main nominees. Even having done so, we still found the decision a close one. Nonetheless, we agreed on <Patriot> as this year’s winner of a year-long premium membership. I will be writing to later today to notify them as well.

Thanks again for your help.

Jul-04-10  dakgootje: contrafibularities mr Patriot!
Jul-04-10  zanshin: Congratulations to <patriot> - a patriotic choice for the 4th of July ;-)
Jul-04-10  tarek1: It seems that 124...Re3 wins threatening Bh3 and Re1 mate. Only defense is Rg1 to pin the bishop but then 125...Rd3 and Rd1mate looks unstoppable except by giving up the rook so Black wins. If 126.Re1 Rd1 and Bh3 nabs the rook
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.

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