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Francisco Vallejo Pons vs Magnus Carlsen
"Vallejo of Tears" (game of the day Jan-24-2022)
GRENKE Chess Classic (2019), Karlsruhe GER, rd 2, Apr-21
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Neo-Archangelsk Variation (C78)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 10 OF 10 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-21-19  Kaspablanca: I mean Kg2
Apr-21-19  parmetd: Carlsen said in the press conference the whole time he knew the opp bishop position was winnable. He didn't know exactly how.
Apr-21-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  devere: <frogbert: The losing move was 48. Bc6?, because the endgame after 48. Rxg3! Bxg3 49. Kxg3 is in fact a draw when black has R+N (instead of R+B) against B+N >

I believe that you are correct. Giving up a piece instead of the exchange with 48.Bc6 g2 49.Ne3 Ra3 50.Kxg2 Rxe3 is also a tablebase loss. This endgame is a post-graduate course in chess.

Apr-22-19  Fanques Fair: Why not on earth 33- Nxb7 or Bxb7 ? Actually I didn´t like Black's opening, even if the computer show equality, and White , having aimed 2 of his pieces at the b7 pawn, could have really considered taking it. It seems that the psychological burden of playing against the World Champion is too much for so many grandmasters.
Apr-22-19  MrMelad: <GM Maybe: @#$%*!& Magnus! Some guys are obviously trying to make a deity out of him. Aren't you overreacting with that???>

I don't think so but let me know what you think.

Apr-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: >>frogbert<< & >>devere<< Endings like this one are exceptionally rare and general principles have to be used to assess them since tablebase accuracy is beyond human capability.


click for larger view

I agree that 48 Rxg3 was the best practical chance. The reason resides in the fact that R+B vs B+N is 'very difficult' to hold with opposite coloured Bishops. In comparison, R+N vs B+N is 'just difficult' to hold, ie the percentage winning chances are appreciably lower for the attacker but the defender still runs significant risks.

Apr-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  woldsmandriffield: It should be added that the poor positioning of White's King (already boxed into a corner) is another nail in his coffin.
Apr-22-19  Monocle: <Morphy simply was 75 to 100 years ahead of his time in chess understanding>

He was at most 30 years ahead of his time.

Paul Morphy is like classic movies from the 1940s. Put on a pedestal in their time, when there wasn't anything better, and then mindlessly venerated ever since.

Apr-22-19  ChessHigherCat: <Monocle: <Morphy simply was 75 to 100 years ahead of his time in chess understanding>

He was at most 30 years ahead of his time.

Paul Morphy is like classic movies from the 1940s. Put on a pedestal in their time, when there wasn't anything better, and then mindlessly venerated ever since.>

A more binocular view of Morphy's games is that they're consistently highly entertaining. If you mean that computers have pointed out some weaknesses in his play, personally I don't really care about that, it doesn't take away from the entertainment value for an amateur so long as he doesn't make obvious blunders. The (regrettable) days of flawless computer-only chess will come soon enough.

Apr-22-19  Eyal: <frogbert: The losing move was 48. Bc6?, because the endgame after 48. Rxg3! Bxg3 49. Kxg3 is in fact a draw when black has R+N (instead of R+B) against B+N - unless the inferior side loses material immediately, of course.

Did I know before this game? Obviously not.>

It's worth noting that in this saving line for White, 49.Kxg3! also deserves an exclamation mark, because the other capture - 49.Nxg3? - is actually shown by TB to be losing quite quickly after 49...Kg5!... which illustrates the potential dangers of the RN v BN as well. (Though these endgames indeed tend to be both theoretically & practically preferable for the defender to RB v BN with bishops of opposite color.)

Apr-22-19  Olavi: P Nikolic vs Korchnoi, 1987 is the best known example. At the time there was of course no certainty about the general outcome.
Apr-22-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I had read that R+B v. opposite-colored B+N was a win (to my great surprise - so much for Fine's dictum that in pawnless endgames one usually has to be a rook up to win), but it could take up to 223 moves or some such. Amazing that Carlsen was able to achieve a win OTB within the requisite 50 moves.
Apr-22-19  Olavi: With this material some extremely articial positions can take close to a hundred moves to win. Those over 200-move monsters are seven piece endings. You can study them here https://lichess.org/blog/W3WeMyQAAC...

https://syzygy-tables.info/endgames

Apr-24-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Oh, man! If 48.NxP, 48...N-g5+ 49.K-h4,R-h2#. What an endgame virtuoso.
Apr-26-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: RB v BN is usually a win if the bishops are on opposite colours. I put it on an online endgame tablebase http://www.k4it.de/?topic=egtb&lang..., and as soon as that configuration was reached, it was a win. Although with best play, the base said it was 54 moves, but a White piece was captured on move 24 so no 50-move rule save. It's a pity that this tablebase doesn't give the depth to conversion instead of only depth to mate. Both these players mostly played optimal moves from the start position, so credit to both of these great players.
Apr-30-19  Damenlaeuferbauer: Remembering the fact, that 15 moves according to the 50-moves rule have been already played, GM Francisco Vallejo Pons could have continued his heroic fight for a draw with 66.Kg2!!,Rf2+ 67.Kh1!,Rxe2 68.Bd3+!,Kxd3 and stalemate. Even for an elite GM very, very difficult to see in the heat of the fight and the fear to lose the game. You need a head like a calculator, a body like a refrigerator and nerves of steel.
Apr-30-19  Eyal: <Damenlaeuferbauer: Remembering the fact, that 15 moves according to the 50-moves rule have been already played, GM Francisco Vallejo Pons could have continued his heroic fight for a draw with 66.Kg2!!,Rf2+ 67.Kh1!,Rxe2 68.Bd3+!,Kxd3 and stalemate. Even for an elite GM very, very difficult to see in the heat of the fight and the fear to lose the game. You need a head like a calculator, a body like a refrigerator and nerves of steel.>

It's true that 66.Kg2 would have been a much better defensive try than what Vallejo actually did (Ke1) because of this stalemate trap, but it still wouldn't guarantee a draw - Black doesn't have to take the piece. Tablebase says 40 moves to mate at that point, but it's only 25 moves to a piece capture with best play, so Black can certainly still make it within the 50-move rule, though it would have been considerably more difficult than in the game.

<Jonathan Sarfati: RB v BN is usually a win if the bishops are on opposite colours. I put it on an online endgame tablebase http://www.k4it.de/?topic=egtb&lang..., and as soon as that configuration was reached, it was a win. Although with best play, the base said it was 54 moves, but a White piece was captured on move 24 so no 50-move rule save. It's a pity that this tablebase doesn't give the depth to conversion instead of only depth to mate. Both these players mostly played optimal moves from the start position, so credit to both of these great players.>

There's a more sophisticated tablebase on the lichess website - https://syzygy-tables.info - which does show what you call "depth to conversion," as DTZ (distance to zeroing - of the 50-move rule, that is).

With regard to the quality of play according to the tablebase, this RB v BN endgame can be divided into 3 phases: <1> moves 51-56: perfect play by Carlsen; <2> moves 57-64: Carlsen kind of lost his way with the king walk and didn't make progress; <3> the rest: Vallejo collapsed on moves 65-66, first with Kf1 (instead of Ng3! as recommended by the TB) and then with Ke1, missing the stalemate trap mentioned above, Carlsen figured out the win and converted quickly.

May-01-19
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: <Eyal:> Thank you for that better tablebase, which goes up to 7 rather than 6, and has the helpful "DTZ" which is most relevant to human players.
Jan-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Off to study my R+B vs N+opp B endgames..not.
Jan-24-22
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I like 37...f4. If 38. Nf1 (38. gxf4+ Nxf4+), then 38...fxg3 39. Nxg3, then 39...Nf4+.
Jan-24-22  nalinw: Good pun .....
Jan-24-22  Brenin: It makes me feel inadequate, not to have known (before this game) that R+B vs N+opp B is a win. I shall bear it in mind for future use. Whether I would be capable of enforcing the win is a different matter.
Jan-24-22  Ironmanth: It's taken me awhile to admit to Magnus being the greatest ever; comes about from being an old patzer. Sorry, Garry. Games like this where he relentlessly grinds down an opponent in my favorite part of the game really inspire and make clear the distinction. Y'all be well out there today.
Jan-24-22  JohnBoy: I�m w <Fanques>. After black�s 14th I feel that b�s game is disorganized and pawns are loose, although w has a developmental lag. Maybe the point is that w can�t get it together to access any targets� or the targets are illusory.
Jan-27-22  Albion 1959: Incredible will to win from Carlsen ! The only other player who have taken this ending to it's limits was Fischer (circa 1970/71). I knew that in order to win, Carlsen would have to drive the king into the corner on dark square, but I could not fathom just exactly he would achieve this. Which is why I am only a club player and not the World Champion !
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