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Michael Adams vs Viswanathan Anand
GRENKE Chess Classic (2015), Baden-Baden GER, rd 7, Feb-09
Catalan Opening: Closed Variation (E06)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Position after 55.Rb6:


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Why couldn't Black just keep his rook on the second rank?

Feb-09-15  bennyvsfischer: thats a good win for MA
Feb-09-15  Ulhumbrus: One alternative to 21...Qb5 is 21...Nxe3+ 22 fxe3 Rac8 followed by 23...c5
Feb-09-15  Marmot PFL: Think it's a draw up until 84...Ke5? forgetting all about the passed pawn.
Feb-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Why couldn't Black just keep his rook on the second rank?> He could and he would have drawn the game. The only thing I can think off was that Black jumped at the opportunity to trade the Q-side pawns, not realizing that his h-pawn also falls.
Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < Think it's a draw up until 84...Ke5? forgetting all about the passed pawn.>

I think Black is already lost by this time. Here are some plausible variations to show main themes:

(i) <84...Ra2+> 85.Ke3 Ra3 86.Kd4 <Rxf3(?)> 86.h6... and White h-pawn queens


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(ii) ... <86...Ra4> 87.Kc5 Ra7 88.h6 <Kg6?> 89.h7 Rxh7 90.Rxh7 Kxh7 91.Kd6... and the pawn endgame is trivially lost for Black


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(iii) ....<88...Rh7> 89.Kd6 Kf7 90.Ke5 Ke7 91.f4 gxf4 92.g5 Kf7 93.Kxf4 Kg6 94.Kg4... and Black can not cope with the connected passed pawns of White


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Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: During the live transmission of the game, Stockfish had white with a 2.25 advantage from move 60 to move 85, but was unable to figure out a way forward in its analysis, merely shuffling rooks around ad infinitum without any fundamental change in the position. Only after 85 h6 did the computer "see" the winning method. It seems that Stockfish's evaluation of endings could use some tinkering.
Feb-10-15  fgh: <<84...Ra2+> 85.Ke3 Ra3 86.Kd4 <Rxf3(?)>>

Rxf3 is not forced at all. I still think 84. ... Ke5 was the losing move.

Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: < fgh: <<84...Ra2+> 85.Ke3 Ra3 86.Kd4 <Rxf3(?)>>

Rxf3 is not forced at all. I still think 84. ... Ke5 was the losing move.>

Right, <83...Rxf3> is not forced. In fact, Black has no time to take that pawn; that is exactly the point I tried to show in the given branch.

<I still think 84. ... Ke5 was the losing move.> Then you see a defense for Black that I am missing. :-)

Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Gregor Samsa Mendel: During the live transmission of the game, Stockfish had white with a 2.25 advantage from move 60 to move 85, but was unable to figure out a way forward in its analysis, merely shuffling rooks around ad infinitum without any fundamental change in the position. Only after 85 h6 did the computer "see" the winning method. It seems that Stockfish's evaluation of endings could use some tinkering.>

That is interesting! One can argue, that while the Stockfish evaluation was actually 'correct', that in itself was not sufficient to guide its algorithm to find a winning method.

Feb-10-15  luzhin: At the human level 84...Ke5?? was definitely the losing move. After the game Adams said that until then he saw no clear way to win, but that 84...Ke5 was "terrible".
Feb-10-15  Nf8: <Gypsy: <Think it's a draw up until 84...Ke5? forgetting all about the passed pawn.>

I think Black is already lost by this time. Here are some plausible variations to show main themes [...]

(ii) ... <[84...Ra2+ 85.Ke3 Ra3 86.Kd4]...Ra4> 87.Kc5 Ra7 88.h6 <Kg6?> 89.h7 Rxh7 90.Rxh7 Kxh7 91.Kd6... and the pawn endgame is trivially lost for Black>

87...Ra7? seems to be the real culprit here - if the king goes back to g7 instead, I don't see how White makes progress.

<Gregor Samsa Mendel: Only after 85 h6 did the computer "see" the winning method. It seems that Stockfish's evaluation of endings could use some tinkering.>

In this case I think it's mainly Anand's way of playing the endgame that could use some tinkering... The winning method used by Adams didn't really exist before 84...Ke5??, because Black could have responded to h6 with ...Kg6

Feb-10-15  Ulhumbrus: Short said that Dvoretsky or some Soviet trainer had said that Anand was relatively weak or shaky or uncertain inrook and pawn endings. If so, Capablanca may have indicated why. Capablanca has said more than once that they are <of the most difficult nature>, <are enormously intricate> and that <few have mastered them thoroughly>. This suggests that their content is greater than many may suspect and that many rook and pawn endings which many may be led to think are basic are actually not basic at all.
Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <Nf8>--Actually, I am pretty much in agreement with you, I think. But it seems that Stockfish sees some endings as "won" but is unable to analyze these positions to a forced win; this is because the endings are actually drawn. I believe such was the case with this ending until Anand erred with 84..Ke5.
Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <luzhin: At the human level 84...Ke5?? was definitely the losing move. After the game Adams said that until then he saw no clear way to win, but that 84...Ke5 was "terrible".>

Yes, the <84...Ke5?> turns a hard-defense into no-defense, the same way as the <56...Rd5?> has turned an easy-defense into a defensive nail-biter.

Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Nf8: <Gypsy: <Think it's a draw up until 84...Ke5? forgetting all about the passed pawn.>

I think Black is already lost by this time. Here are some plausible variations to show main themes [...]

(ii) ... <[84...Ra2+ 85.Ke3 Ra3 86.Kd4]...Ra4> 87.Kc5 Ra7 88.h6 <Kg6?> 89.h7 Rxh7 90.Rxh7 Kxh7 91.Kd6... and the pawn endgame is trivially lost for Black>

87...Ra7? seems to be the real culprit here - if the king goes back to g7 instead, I don't see how White makes progress. ...>

Then, we find ourselves at this juncture:


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The defensive drawback I see when Black ♔ is used for the h-pawn blockade is that Pe6 and the squares around it lose coverage. Therefore, I have been thinking about something like this:

(vi) <87...Kg7> 88.h6 Kh7 89.Kd6...


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The defensive task here looks desperate. Distant checks like 89...Ra6+ can not shore it all, so Black seems to have to play his last clever card:

<89...Rf4> 90.Rh3 Rf6 91.Ke5 Rg6 92.Rh1...


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Black is essentially in a zugzwang here and either has to give up a second pawn, or trade rooks into a clearly lost pawn and kings endgame.

(The defense may be stiffer, if Black plays the Kg7 one move earlier; I have not examined it in this much detail.)

Feb-10-15  Nf8: <Gypsy> First, on move 91 Black should probably keep his rook on the f-file - I don't know if White can break through after, e.g., 91...Rf8 92.Kxe6 Rf4. But there's no need even to reach this situation - in your second diagram position Black can play 89...Ra3 and he seems ok (e.g., 90.Rh3 - the only way to hang on to both f & h pawns - 90...Re3).
Feb-10-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <...in your second diagram position Black can play 89...Ra3 and he seems ok (e.g., 90.Rh3 - the only way to hang on to both f & h pawns - 90...Re3).>

Oh, this idea of yours is fun -- a 'study', regardless of the final outcome. At first, I see this:

<89...Ra3 90.Rh3 Re3> 91.Ke7 e5(!) 92.Kf6 e4 93.Kxg5...

Here the variation forks:

(a) <93...exf3> 94.Rh1 f2 95.Rf1... and if 95...Re5+ 96.Kf6..., White still seems to prevail, as Black K faces mating perils. (E.g., 96...Re2 97.g5 Ra2 98.g6+ Kxh6? 99.Rh1#.)

But also

(b) <93...Rxf3> ... may or may not draw.

(Sorry, but I need to go for now.)

Feb-10-15  Nf8: <Gypsy> Yeah, this line is study-like - and it does seem to be a draw. After 98.g6+ Black should of course play 98...Kh8!:


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And now:

- 99.g7+ Kh7 100.Kf7 Ra7+ and White won't be able to avoid the checks without losing his pawns.

- 99.h7 Ra6+ seems basically the same, with Black also having possibilities to sac the rook for stalemate.

- And what's really nice is that if the white rook tries to join the attack, Black can block it; e.g., 99.Rb1 Rb2! since after 100.Rxb2 the f-pawn queens with check.

Feb-12-15  Ulhumbrus: An alternative to 12..h6 is 12...Be7 unpinning the Nf6. Then on 13 Bf4 Bd6 14 Bg5 Be7 proposes a repetition

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