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Alexander Grischuk vs Gata Kamsky
Istanbul Olympiad (2012), Istanbul TUR, rd 9, Sep-06
Alekhine Defense: Modern. Larsen Variation Miles Line (B04)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-06-12  LoveThatJoker: I enjoyed watching this game live on Chess TV.

Stockfish says that GM Grischuk could have held the game had he opted for <61. Rf8+> or <61. Rd8>, as opposed to the actually played 61. Re7.

61. Rf8+ (61. Rd8 leads to the same) 61...Ke4 62. Rb8 Bd4 63. Ke1 Bf2+ 64. Kd1 Kd3 65. Rb3+ Kc4 66. Rf3 Bd4 67. Rh3 Rb2 68. Ke1 and a draw is on the cards.

LTJ

Sep-06-12  BUNA: <LoveThatJoker> It's probably difficult to hold such a position playing on increments.

Earlier this position arose:


click for larger view

Grischuk could have played
44.Rb6 Rxb6
45.Bxb6 Kd5
46.Ke3 Lg5+
47.Kf2


click for larger view

I wonder if that was the better solution.

Anyway. After Grischuk's (decisive) error 47.Ke2? (Kc4!) Kamsky showed his class.

Sep-06-12  Marmot PFL: 3 moves draw here: 61 Rf8+, 61 Rd8 (stops Rd2+) and 61 Rh8 with the idea 61...Rd2+ 62 Ke1 Rd7 and either 63 Rh3+ or Rh2 to stop Bf2+
Sep-06-12  LoveThatJoker: <BUNA> I appreciate you mentioning my name and kudos on you for saying stuff about practical Chess - I too am a huge proponent of that - but I was just making a small note on Stockfish's preferred 61st move for purely didactic reasons.

Furthermore, it should be clear from my note that my respect for GM Grischuk's playing ability is extremely high.

LTJ

Sep-06-12  nasher: Does anyone know why Grischuck took so long to make his 14th move Ne2 ? If I am not mistaken, I think it took over 45 minutes.
Sep-06-12  fetonzio: it's awesome when it comes down to a position philidor solved 300 years ago!
Sep-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Nice win by GM Kamsky over GM Grischuk! Go USA!
Sep-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <BUNA: After Grischuk's (decisive) error 47.Ke2? (Kc4!) Kamsky showed his class.>

Well, considering the way in which the game developed I wouldn’t call it the decisive error, since until move 61 Grischuk had a draw in hand, as was already pointed out. 47.Ke2 does seem to lead to a forced win by Black if he plays "simply" 48...Rxh2 (instead of Kd5) – e.g. 49.Kg1 Rh3 50.Rh6 (50.Rb7 Bd4+ 51.Kg2 h4) 50...Kf7 (threatening Kg7 & Be5) 51.Rh7+ Kg6 52.Rb7 h4 53.Rb6 Rxg3+ 54.Bxg3 hxg3; I wonder what made Kamsky reject this move.

Sep-06-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I wonder if Kamsky still wins if he plays 48...RxP, the pawn on h7? That would give him a 3-1 pawn edge, same color Bishops.

However, he found the ending of R + B against R, and knew it was a forced win.

Sep-07-12  zealouspawn: With this win and Nakamura's win over Kramnik, the Americans hand team Russia their first loss in the Olympiads! Go USA!
Sep-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <HeMateMe: However, he [Kamsky] found the ending of R + B against R, and knew it was a forced win.>

It's not a forced win, as was already pointed out here - Grischuk blundered on move 61. Btw, even the R+B vs. R ending itself isn't forced. An alternative way for White to draw is 55.Ke1, and now 55...Bf2+ 56.Kd1 Bxg3 57.Bxg3 Kg4 can lead either to R vs. B with 58.Rxf5 Kxf5, or to a drawn rook endgame with 58.Rh8 R/Kxg3 59.Ke1.

Sep-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: Since Kamsky spent a lot of time on his 50th move, after 50.h3, it's possible that he when he played 48...Kd5(?) he had the false impression that it's forcing a mating net, and then realized that it doesn't. And/or he may have rejected 48...Rxh2 because of 49.Kg1 Rh3 50.Kg2 h4 51.Rh6! Kf7 52.Rh5! which apparently leads only to a draw, missing 50...Be5! (or simply didn't like his rook being "trapped" on h3 on principle).
Sep-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Does anyone know why Grischuck took so long to make his 14th move Ne2 ? If I am not mistaken, I think it took over 45 minutes.>

Grischuk so often spends an inordinate amount of time on certain moves early in the game, that the answer to this question probably belongs more to psychology than to chess proper...

Sep-07-12  BUNA: <Eyal> I considered 47.Ke2 to be the "decisive" error because it allows both Kamsky's king march (Kd5-Ke4-Kf3) and the variation beginning with 48...Rxh2, which you cited. To be honest I didn't pay enough attention to the latter though.

Still I'd think that this version of R+B vs R is very difficult to defend. Black can't rely anymore on the usual defensive schemes, i.e. Cochrane defense or second-rank defense. When Grischuk played 61.Re7 he arguably wanted to prevent black's king from moving to d3. Not a bad idea but it didn't work.

(I still remember this super-GM game L Dominguez vs Judit Polgar, 2011 where Dominguez put up a tougher resistance but also eventually collapsed.)

Sep-07-12  BUNA: <nasher: Does anyone know why Grischuck took so long to make his 14th move Ne2 ? If I am not mistaken, I think it took over 45 minutes.>

I'd think he realised that black had completely equalized and was about to take over the initiative.

Gata played simply an excellent game! He employed some maneuvers of his beloved Grunfeld (Qc8-Qe6; f5!) and easily solved all problems.

Sep-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Eyal: <Still I'd think that this version of R+B vs R is very difficult to defend. Black can't rely anymore on the usual defensive schemes, i.e. Cochrane defense or second-rank defense.>

That's true, though - as I mentioned in another post - White isn't really forced to go into this endgame. From a practical viewpoint, instead of 55.Be3 it was probably better to play 55.Ke1 (which also defends against the mating threat on g1), and then in case of 55...Bf2+ & Bxg3 White can choose between entering R vs B or a defensible rook endgame.

Sep-07-12  solskytz: 55. Ke1 Bf2+ 56. Kd1 Bxg3 57. Bxg3 Rxg3 58. Rxf5+ gives quite a defensible rook ending indeed
Sep-07-12  BUNA: You're right <Eyal>. Thanks for the input.
Sep-07-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Isn't R + B v. R a table base win, with correct play from the stronger side? I thought this was proven in computer play, but the stronger side can't err from the necessary process.
Sep-07-12  achk: It's usually a draw and it was a draw also this time, but Grischuk collapsed at some moment.
Sep-07-12  micartouse: Reminds me of when whiskeyrebel said he relates to Kamsky's scrappy style. Kamsky plays streetfighter chess.

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