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Shakhriyar Mamedyarov vs Boris Gelfand
FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), Tashkent UZB, rd 3, Oct-23
King's Indian Defense: Normal. King's Knight Variation (E60)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-23-14  mrbasso: White lost a tempo compared to the Benoni. I still can't believe black is worse in this line.
Oct-23-14  fgh: <Calar: <fgh> I don't know. ...d5 scores rather well for Black in some of these positions

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Those are both different positions. Here, white's centre is solid largely because of his pawn on e3. However, once you have played g3, then e3 is likely to be a weakening move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: a dagger, at the end. Looked more like a Benoni than a KID.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <parisattack....Is the Benoni really *that* bad - or is 9 ...Bg4 out of place here?>

In the old main line of the Modern Benoni, with White's pawn already on e4 at move nine, Black formerly played 9....Re8. In the face of growing practical difficulties in that variation, the focus switched to 9....Bg4 and 9....a6 10.a4 Bg4, which had far better results. The latter idea was one reason why the h3 idea for White became all the rage by the 1990s--the light-squared bishop has little to do now.

In short, I agree with <mrbasso>: this version of a Modern Benoni a tempo down can hardly offer White much, as the lost tempo in such a sharp system surely must count for something.

Oct-24-14  jphamlore: On the right day Mamedyarov is capable of a continuous sequence of fast accurate calculations that make him look like the next Kasparov. This game was one of those days. In contrast to previous games this event and some at the end of Baku, Mamedyarov did not completely blitz through the first few dozen moves but actually used most of his time. Gelfand defended fairly well almost all the game, but it's just that Mamedyarov was able to obtain a game out of the opening where Gelfand had no active counterplay and had to accurately defend for a long time until he finally cracked. But due to Gelfand's mostly accurate play, Mamedyarov had to accurately calculate the one line where Gelfand would be put in a position to have to find one move <47. .. Kd6> to save the game.

I am reminded of this game

Mamedyarov vs Judit Polgar, 2013

where one wonders just how far ahead was Mamedyarov able to calculate to see that White could stop the Black h pawn from reaching the 5th rank so that White could achieve a probable winning R + 4P versus R + 3P endgame.

Of course Mamedyarov cannot come close to playing at this peak every day which is why I argue he needs to develop a reliable drawing opening repertoire as Black, especially against 1. d4, for the days when he can see he is not at his prime.

Oct-24-14  jphamlore: Objectively the positions reached by Gelfand in the opening are by no means lost or even losing; however, I have to wonder whether psychologically the type of player who would choose a defense such as a Benoni would want to play positions with very little active counterplay with the prospect of having to defend accurately for dozens of moves just to achieve a draw.

Mikhail Tal for example played the Benoni extremely well during his career. And he played it versus Botvinnik, once, and did not lose.

Botvinnik vs Tal, 1960

Nevertheless Tal never brought back the Benoni versus Botvinnik in their world championship matches despite in their return match suffering one of the worst continuous beatings a repertoire against 1. d4 has ever suffered in world championship play, or will ever suffer:

Tal - Botvinnik World Championship Return Match (1961)

Why? Because I think Botvinnik was able to obtain positions in the one Benoni game that simply were not to Tal's taste regardless of how theoretically defensible they might have been.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I have a theory that endgame positions are simpler and therefore easier to solve than say, middlegame positions.

Anyway, my first instinct was to try to force promotion, but I don't think brute force works.

I knew this game looked familiar. I still remember this tournament. I actually looked at every game in this tournament.

Great endgame though. Usually 3 isolated pawns aren't favourable, but when they're split, and in the endgame, your opponent may end up spreading their resources too thin.

I also love the timing of Bc6.

Nov-22-15  diagonalley: impressive end-game technique by mamedyarov! ... not sure this merits "insane" though ... and hey! <diagonalley> even got the first move :-) ...hardly enough to claim a credit though!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: <diagonalley>

You like talking in 3rd person, don't you. ;)

Nov-22-15  Pinkerton: I am not in the same building with Mamedyarov. Missed twice.
Nov-22-15  scholes: The reason a7 does not win, is becasue even though white wins black rook, but his bishop is of wrong color. Black takes the white pawn and its a draw
Nov-22-15  Moonwalker: Not even close! Was convinced that I'm looking for a draw and even then couldn't find one. Then again, I only consider Sunday puzzles for a couple of minutes as they are way out of my league!
Nov-22-15  morfishine: Nice play by White but I'm not sure what the insane move was
Nov-22-15  stacase:   
I would have moved 52.Pd7 And I don't see why Black answered 52...Pg5 as it gives White a third Pawn to make a run for it.

I rarely get this far on a Sunday


Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop and a pawn for a rook.

49.a7 ties the rook to the Black's first rank but it is difficult to make progress because the rook can check the white king in case of Kb7 and the black king threatens the d-pawn. This suggests 49.Kc5 to support d6:

A) 49... Rd2 50.a7 wins.

B) 49... Rf6 50.Bb5 followed by Bc6 and a7 or Bb7 looks winning. For example, 50... Rf7 51.Bc6 Ra7 52.Bb7 followed by d6 wins.

C) 49... Rf8 50.Bb5 with the same idea as in B. For example, 50... Ra8 51.d6 Re6 52.d7 Ke7 53.Kc6 Kd8 54.Kb7 wins.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <morfishine: Nice play by White but I'm not sure what the insane move was>

Well, "find the quite difficult winning method" would be the perfect caption. I actually appreciate it when a chess puzzle is not just about looking for the most spectacular move but the best plan.

As for this puzzle, I gave up too quickly though...

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: I saw the idea of getting the B to b5 and then to c6 as part of the plan but could not work out the sequences properly. Overlooked entirely the h4 idea to create another passer on the g file while B gets a passer on h file. A very instructive endgame, where you also have to be cognizant of the wrong colored B if you can win the R with the a pawn and then try to win on the kingside, but Black's two pawns on kingside make it easy to force the exchange of the h pawn anyway, so that never looked like a plan with a remote chance of success anyway if the a and d pawns disappear.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <paulalbert> <A very instructive endgame, where you also have to be cognizant of the wrong colored B if you can win the R with the a pawn and then try to win on the kingside>

Yes, you do not want this scenario developed out of the puzzle position, with white to move.

click for larger view

Nov-22-15  Hans Kastorp: Gelfand could have tried 57... Rxa6. If 58. g8Q? Rxc6+! with fallowing 59... a1Q and a draw. The white should be very carefull and play first 58. d8Q+! and than 59. g8Q+ to win.
Nov-22-15  biskop: In the final position, how about black tries 57... Rxa6, and if 58. g8=Q, then 58... Rxc6+ 59. Kxc6 h1=Q+, with at least some queen checks by black to follow. Or if white plays 58. Bd5, then 58... Ra5+, followed by 59... Rxd5, and 60... h1=Q. Am I missing something?
Nov-22-15  biskop: It seems <Hans Kastorp> answered my question just before I asked it. Thanks! :)
Nov-22-15  kubbybulin: Soooooo easy!!! Just kidding folks. I think my flag fell twice. An hour and a half with board and pieces; slugging coffee, rolling cheap cigarettes, and writing in my notebook is more like it. My first thoughts were of winning the rook on a8 with 49. Bb5 Kd5 50. Bc6+ and then queening the a-pawn, but then I realized that even if I win the rook I have a wrong color rook pawn on the h-file. I think the bulk of my time was spent trying to build a shelter for the a-pawn with my king and bishop. I gave up on this after concluding that there would be no way to keep the rook from reaching a8 and sacrificing on a7. I thought I was onto something when I saw 49. a7 Rf6+ 50. d6! Rd6 51. Kc7 and the rook is too close to the king to prevent 52. a8=Q. But back to square one it was after looking at 49...Rf8 instead of Rf6. Tried 49. Kc6 but now the d6 idea doesn't work for the pawn being on a6 and not a7...

49. Kc6 Rf6 50. d6 Rd6 51. Kc7 Ra6!

I even tried the asinine 49. d6 before giving up on all the direct ideas and finally, on my fifth candidate, I looked at Kc5.

Kc5 wraps white's position up in a neat little package. The king is sheltered from those annoying checks from the flank, the f-pawn is protected not once but twice, and the a-pawn is also guarded. Surely from this position white can make progress. This is not something wild sacrificial idea, but a concise winning plan. Now there is nothing black can do to stop the white advance.

49. Kc5 Rf8 50. Bb5 Ra8 51. d6 Ke6 52. d7 ++

...and this is where I stopped. I didn't work out the g and h-pawn advances as I gave them no credit for being a real threat. But that was not thorough enough of me and therefore I only take a half-point today.

Nov-22-15  WDenayer: I don't want to obnoxious - I rarely solve a Sunday puzzle - but I saw this one almost immediately. It makes sense: if I defend the pawn with the K, the B can move, so I will play the K to c5, otherwise it just stands in the way of the B. After this, the next couple of moves are obvious. h4 is necessary to make sure that a black pawn will promote on a white square. After 55.g6, there is now way for Black to save the game.
Nov-22-15  M.Hassan: I did the first move right 49.Kc5. Did not see anything "insane" about the puzzle
Nov-23-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: To play the white side of the puzzle against Crafty, visit the following link:

My idea for promoting the a-pawn ends in a draw after 1.a7 Rf8 2.Kc6 g5 3.d6 Rc8+ 4.Kb7 Rd8 5.Kc7 Ra8

The Key to Mamedyarev's winning plan is that it allows white to establish the bishop on d5 when needed.

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