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Alexey Shirov vs Veselin Topalov
Dresden Olympiad (2008), Dresden GER, rd 10, Nov-23
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation. Van der Wiel Attack Bishop Hunt (B12)  ·  1-0



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Given 12 times; par: 41 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-22-10  ZUGZWANG67: A great move, blocking the h-file and therefore preventing ...Rxh4+.
Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: Not even close. I ended up at ♔e5. Wow!
Aug-22-10  James Bowman: I got h5 quickly but think after gxh5 I like g6 putting pressure on the weak King and his hapless pawn, which lead to a number of mating nets for white and no good solutions that I could find for black, while I would have taken a different route from Shirov it appears to be very much winning so I am mark this in my + column for now. I think h5 is just below obvious though.
Aug-22-10  BOSTER: <Jamboree >. <I saw the first 3 or 4 moves of the winning line , but missed the sweet and unexpected mating net>. I played 30.h5 gxh5 31.g5 Rg2 (all forced) 32 Kf5 Rf2 33. f4 h4 and even moving rooks on 8 rank I did not see the mate . I guess this mating pattern is very nice, something makes it invisible.
Aug-22-10  James Bowman: We shouldn't overlook how brilliant of a game this was by Shirov he is constricting the King and coordinating his attack while isolating the defenders with remarkable style and efficiency also opening doors with pawns at the same time. The influence of Tal is there to see.
Aug-22-10  wals: Rybka 3 1-cpu: depth 21: also selected
h5 but with some differences in the detail.

1. (5.09): 30.h5 g5+ 31.Kxg5[] Re2 32.h6 a4 33.Ra7[] Re8 34.Kh5[] Rb8 35.Rxa4[] Ke8 36.g5 Kf8 37.Ra5

2. (1.74): 30.Ra7 Re2 31.Kg3 Re3 32.g5 Re5 33.Ra8+ Re8 34.Rxa5 Rd8 35.Raa7

3. (1.74): 30.Kg3 Re2 31.Ra7 Re3 32.g5 Re5 33.Ra8+

4. (1.34): 30.Rb8+ Kg7[] 31.Kg3 Ra1 32.Rbb7 Kh8 33.Rxf7 Rxf7 34.Rxf7[] Kg8 35.Rd7 Rd1 36.Rxd5 a4 37.Ra5 Rxd3 38.Rxa4 Rd1 39.Kf4 d3 40.Ke3 d2 41.Ra2 Rh1 42.Rxd2 Rxh4 43.Rd7 Rh3 44.Ra7 Kf8 45.Ke4

5. (1.34): 30.Rc8+ Kg7[] 31.Kg3 Ra1 32.Rcc7 Kh8 33.Rxf7 Rxf7 34.Rxf7[] Kg8 35.Rd7 Rd1 36.Rxd5 a4 37.Ra5 Rxd3 38.Rxa4 Rd1 39.Kf4 d3 40.Ke3 d2 41.Ra2 Rh1 42.Rxd2 Rxh4 43.Rd7 Rh3 44.Ra7 Kf8 45.Ke4

Black's blunder was:-


Alternatives: depth 21: Nothing really flash.

1. (1.74): 29...Re2 30.Kg3 a6 31.Ra7 Re8 32.Rxa6 Re3 33.g5

2. (1.74): 29...Ra6 30.Kg3 Ra1 31.g5[] Re1[] 32.Rxa7 Re5 33.Ra8+ Re8[] 34.Ra5 Rd8 35.Raa7

3. (1.83): 29...Rg2 30.Rxa7 Rb2 31.Kg3 Rb1 32.g5 Rb8 33.Rd7 Ke8 34.Rxd5 Rd8 35.Re5+ Kf8[] 36.Ree7 Rg7 37.Rad7 Rxd7 38.Rxd7 Ke8 39.Rd5

4. (1.94): 29...Kg8 30.Kg3[] Kh8 31.Rxa7 Rxa7 32.Rxa7 Kg7 33.Rd7 Kf6 34.Rxd5 Rh8 35.Rxd4 Ke6 36.Re4+ Kd6 37.Ra4 Ke5

5. (5.09): 29...Rf2 30.h5[] g5+ 31.Kxg5[] Re2 32.h6 Re5+ 33.Kf4[] Re8 34.g5[] Ra8 35.Rxa7 Rd8 36.Ke5 Re8+ 37.Kf6 Re6+ 38.Kf5 Re8 39.Kg4

Aug-22-10  gofer: Topalov is in REAL trouble, only Pf7 stands as some form of defense against white's doubled rooks on the seventh rank. But even worse than that lots of moves lead to real problems for black!

1 ... f6/f5/Rg7/Ke8 2 Rb8/Rc8#

1 ... Kg7 2 Rxf7+ K anywhere Rxh7 winning the rook and the game

1 ... Rh8/Rh6 2 Rxf7+ Ke8 (Kg8 Rc7 mating) 3 Rg8 Kf8 4 Rc7 mating

Also, white's pieces are difficult to attack or displace! The white king can happily stay on f4 protected by Pf3. The rooks if attacked by Ra2 coming to b5 or c3 can hide on d7 and a7! So white simply needs to find a bit more straw to break the camel's back! If Shirov can get a pawn to g6 then black is lost! Pxg6 is mate in one and Rg7 is mate in one Rook anywhere else is mate in two. So our aim is to threaten to get a pawn to g6.

30 h5 ... Black cannot allow hxg6

Option 1 (not really an option)

30 ... g5+?
31 Kxg5 ...

31 ... Rg7+ 32 Kh6! with mate in four more!
31 ... Rh2 32 Rc8+ Kg7 33 Rbb8 f6+ 34 Kf5 Kh6 35 Rh8 Rg7 35 Rh8+ Rh7 36 Kxf6 and black resigns (Rf2 37 g5+ Kxh5 38 Rxh7#)

Option 2

30 ... gxh5
31 g5! Rg2
32 Kf5! ...

Black realises that white is now threatening Kf6! At which point its all over, so black is left with trying to check the king as Rxg5 is losing.

32 ... Rg3 (Rf2 allows g6 at some point)
33 Rc8+! Kg7

Before playing f4 white forces the king to g7 to not allow Rg3 to come to e3 and then e8 in defense!

34 f4 ...

and black is dieing, Rf2 cannot come to its defense, white is threatening Rbb8 and then Rg8#, so black must offer the rook-swap that he knows is losing anyway...

34 ... Rh8

35 Rxf7 Kxf7
36 Rxh8 Re3
37 g6+ Kg7
38 Rh7+ Kg8
39 Rxh5 Re8
40 Kf6 Ra8
41 f5 Ra6+
42 Kg5 a4
43 f6 a3
44 g7 Kf7
45 Rh8 Rxf6
46 g8=Q+ Ke7
47 Qd8+ Ke6 (Kf7 48 Qd7#)
48 Rd8+ Kf7
49 Qe7#

But white has other ways to win other than the rook swap! But a win is a win. Time to check...

Aug-22-10  gofer: Missed the best defense :-(
Aug-22-10  gofer: Ahh! But I can take much solace that I got the first three moves and it seems many today didn't... :-)
Aug-22-10  WhiteRook48: ugh... i failed
Aug-22-10  gofer: <CHESSTTCAMPS: Another position of interest is the defense 30 h5 g5+ 31.Kxg5 Re2. White has a winning endgame, but perhaps someone can find something crisper than 32.Kf5.>

32 Rc8+ Re8
33 Rxe8 Kxe8
34 Rb8+ Kd7/Ke7
35 h6 ...

Now black only has two options

1) leave the rook trapped and allow 36 Kh5 ... and then either 1a) 37 Rg8 ... 38 Rg7 promoting OR 1b) 37 g5 ... 38 ... g6 winning the rook depending on what black's king does



36 ... f6+
37 Kg6 Rf7/Re7
38 Rb7+ Kd8/Ke8
39 Rxf7/Rxe7 Kxf7/Kxe7
40 h7 winning!

If black refuses the rook swap then we get...

32 Rc8+ Kg7
33 Kf5 Rh6/Re6
34 g5 Rxh5
35 Rbb8 winning as in both cases black must give up a rook to avoid mate.

Is 32 Rc8+ crispy enough for you?

Aug-22-10  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Jimfromprovidence:> My original post should read C.1) 31... Re2 32.Kf5 *Rd3* 33.Rc8+ Re8 34.Rxe8+ Kxe8 35.Ra7

Yes, I looked at 32.h6 before I opted for 32.Kf5 in the post, concerned about 32... Re5+ or 32... Re6. After reexamining the position from your diagram, I think that 32... Re6 33.Rxf7+ Rxf7 34.h7 looks good for white:

click for larger view

Alternatively, 32...Re5+ 33.Kf4 Re6 (or e8) 34.g5 should be an easy win for white.

BTW, thanks for the problem that you posted to my forum.

Aug-22-10  felixd: Very easy for a sunday... h5 was the only obvious move and the rest was almost forced.
Aug-22-10  rapidcitychess: I think I'll try and come up with some chess analogy to this. Here goes nothing (except all my admirers. You know who you are.)

How does the position make you feel? It feels cold to me. Accuracy. Not the party favour tactics like on other sundays. Precise, razor-edge margin of error. The king and his guards are approaching. Kneel or die. The pawns were once loyal soldiers, now they are men grasping for opprutunity. To see one attain the goal, is the cause of them all. You see the g-pawn feels it is the best. Its soul mate, the b-pawn, is dead. It feels it must complete the destiny of a knight pawns. The h-pawn, in pity for its brother throws it self upon the enemy for its brother. That's one dead. 30.h5 Can you feel the courage of the g pawn as he sails past the enemy? We watch as he is brought to his achievement. He get's his wish and all the pawns are fuffiled through this one.

Aug-22-10  TheBish: Shirov vs Topalov, 2008

White to play (30.?) "Insane"

This appears to be a mating attack for White, perhaps forcing Black to give up a rook to stop it. My first candidate moves were Kg5 and g5, maybe preceded by a rook check on the 8th rank. My idea was to get both rooks on the 8th and threaten mate after getting in a timely g4-g5, but this doesn't work too well. For example, 30. g5? Rxh4+ 31. Kg3 Rh5 32. Rc8+ Kg7 33. f4 Rh8 and Black is a little better. Also, 30. Kg5 Re2 and Black is ready for 31. Kf6 Re6+. The key is to get in g4-g5, after closing down the h-file for the h7 rook.

30. h5!! gxh5

Forced, since White threatened 31. hxg6.

31. g5 Rg2

To stop g5-g6. If instead 31...Rg7 32. Rc8+ Kh7 33. Rbb8 f6 34. Rh8+ Kg6 35. Rxf6+ Ke7 36. Rb7+ wins a rook.

32. Kf5 Rg7

There isn't anything better, e.g. 33. 32...Rh8 33. Rxf7 is hopeless as mate will come shortly.

33. Rb8+ (Rc8+) Kh7 34. f4 and Black can throw in the towel, for example 34...h4 35. Rcc8 and Black must give up both rooks just to delay mate! The finish could go 35...R7xg5+ 36. fxg5 Rxg5+ 37. Kxg5 Kg7 38. Rg8+ Kh7 39. Rh8+ Kg7 40. Rbg8#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <CHESSTTCAMPS> <Another position of interest is the defense 30... g5+ 31.Kxg5 Re2. White has a winning endgame, but perhaps someone can find something crisper than 32.Kf5.>

How about 32 h6, putting a tighter hold on black’s h rook and king.

<CHESSTTCAMPS> <Yes, I looked at 32.h6 before I opted for 32.Kf5 in the post, concerned about 32... Re5+ or 32... Re6. After reexamining the position from your diagram, I think that 32... Re6 33.Rxf7+ Rxf7 34.h7 looks good for white:>

First of all, I trust the camp you ran last week was very successful. Ping pong and chess together, who'd have thunk it?

Secondly, <gofer>’s post with 32 Rc8+ looks right on the money; it's simpler and more forcing than 32 h6. In addition to his line, 32 Ra7 looks winning as well.

But, with your line ending with 34…h7, it looks like white gets too cute and traps himself. Black has 37…Re5+ with a perpetual it appears.

click for larger view

Aug-22-10  peristilo: Is this a puzzle? Looks like an ending variant only. Are all moves forced?
Aug-22-10  patzer2: For today's difficult endgame Sunday puzzle, Shirov's 30. h5! offers up the h-pawn as a sham clearance sacrifice, clearing the way for the decisive advance of the g-pawn.

In addition to a clearance maneuver, the combination also employs the pinning, double attack (i.e. pawn fork), mate threat and skewer tactics (i.e. the threat of 38. Rh7 in the final position forces Topalov's resignation).

Aug-22-10  M.Hassan: I started with 30.Kg5 and after 1.5 hrs. of work, did not get anywhere. No use in posting the work.
Aug-23-10  LIFE Master AJ: <Aug-22-10 Patriot: <LIFE Master AJ> Your conclusion, 30.Kg3 was similar to mine but my idea was to play 31.g5 next followed by 32.Rb8+ and 33.Rc8. I wasn't sure what black's response would be, but 30...Re2 looks ok.>


Aug-23-10  LIFE Master AJ: I left out the most important part.

<<Aug-22-10> <Patriot: <LIFE Master AJ>> If it means anything, your approach was honorable.>

Well, "all things work togther."

A few have e-mailed me and accused me of using a computer ... OR looking at the solution. Now when this happens, I can point to this problem. It will serve as a MONUMENT to my inability --- as carbon-based lifeform --- to always find the best move ... every single time!

BTW, if you check my analysis with Fritz, its full of holes. WAY TOO MANY ... for a R+P ending!

Aug-23-10  Marmot PFL: I remember seeing this game played, and that Shirov won beautifully, and still had trouble recalling how.
Aug-23-10  tacticalmonster: 1) Black has weak back rank

2) White should control the potential escape squares (f6 and h6)

3) White king should be active, marching to g5-f6 perhap?

4) White king must prevent counterplay by sheltering checks

5) White has a pin on the f7 pawn along the 7th rank

Candidate: 1 Kg5, h5 and g5

a) 1 Kg5 f6+ 2 Kxf6 Rxc7 3 Rxc7 Ke8 4 Kxg6 Rd2 5 Ra7 Rxd3 6 Rxa5 Rxf3 7 Rxd5 d3 8 h5

b) 1 Kg5 Rf2! 2 f4 f6+! 3 Kxg6 (3 Kxf6 Rxf4+ 4 Kg5 Rxc7 5 Rxc7 Rf7! 6 Rc5 Kg7! 7 Rxa5 (7 Rxd5? Ra7 8 Rxd4 a4 9 Re4 a3 10 Re1 a2 11 Ra1=) Rd7 ) 3...Rxc7 4 Rxc7 Rxf4 5 g5 fxg5 6 hxg5 Rg4! 7 Rc8+ Ke7 8 Kh6 Kf7=

c) 1 h5 gxh5 2 g5! Rg2 3 Kf5 Re2 4 Rc8+ Re8 5 Rxe8+ Kxe8 6 Kf6 h4 7 g6 Rh6 8 Rxf7 Rh8 9 Re7+ Kd8 10 g7 Rg8 (10...Rh6+ 11 Kf7 Rh7 12 Rf8+ Kd7 13 Rh8 ) 11 Ra8

Aug-24-10  LIFE Master AJ: Shirov's winning method (in my opinion) is VERY brilliant!!!!!

Down one pawn already ... in a key R+P endgame ... he proceeds to sacrifice a second one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <LMAJ> I agree, concerning the ingenuity of the winning method. I'd just add that - in general - most players are alert to the idea of sacrificing pawns in an ending. The obvious examples being, say, those pawn endings where a couple of sacs allow the last pawn to promote, the enemy king being out of reach.

And there are hundreds of other similar motifs, with varying degrees of complexity. Some very famous games - wins by Capablanca and Karpov come to mind - hinged on pawn sacs, or avoidance of an 'obvious' recapture.

The beauty and difficulty here is seeing that we're in one of *those* positions.

This, I think, is also the answer to those who ask "is this a puzzle?". It's a position from a game: practically any game position can be considered as a puzzle. The eternal and recurring puzzle: <What do I do next?>

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