Shakmaty Bereolos - The Official Chess Site of Peter Bereolos

12/25/19 - BCE-324b, Bolland-Euwe, Weston 1924

As we head into the new year, I'm going to change things up a little for my BCE posts. I still have a large backlog of corrections, but I'm going to abandon the format of 3-week series of related positions. It is getting harder to find those triplicates, so I'll pick positions more randomly, but try to tie them to related posts from my own games or recent tournament games.

Today's position didn't even rate its own number in BCE, Fine just tacked on a one move comment at the end of position 324b. The R+P vs. R positions where the defending king is not in front of the pawn can be very tricky. Sometimes small differences in the position can change the evaluation. The defender needs to check with his rook from the side, but the attacker can place his rook in various places to try to enduce a mistake.

History is filled with examples of mistakes in these types of positions and they form the subject of the first chapter in Dvoretsky's book Tragicomedy in the Endgame. Dvortesky actually discusses the topic of today's BCE position with an example from a game that occurred prior to the publication of BCE.

The tournament at Weston in 1924 did feature future World Champion Max Euwe, but the major stars of the day were taking part in the supertournament in New York at the time. Euwe won the tournament +6 =3 half a point ahead of Geroge Thomas. His opponent in this game, Percivale David Bolland, finished 8th in the 10-player field. The rook ending after 59...cxd6

is balanced despite White's extra pawn and Black's king being cut off on the back rank. The far advanced h-pawn is the great equalizer as it ties down the White king, which can't abandon his shelter on c4 because Black would check with his rook and queen his pawn. 60.f5 60.e5 trying to free c5 for the White king doesn't lead to anything after 60...Rf1 61.Rxh2 Rxf4+! 62.Kd5 dxe5! and the Black king is already in front of the White passed pawn. 60...Kd8 61.f6 Ke8 62.Re7+! 62.Rh3? Kf7! 63.Rh6 Ke6 puts White in zugzwang. 62...Kf8 63.Rh7! Kg8?! This gives White some additional chances. Black should just be content to force White to repeat the position with 63...Ke8 64.Re7+! Kf8 65.Rh7! 64.Rg7+! Kf8! 64...Kh8? 65.Rg2! and it is Black who is in zugzwang 65.Rg2 Correctly playing for the win since he is not forced to repeat with 65.Rh7 65...Kf7 66.Rf2 Ke8 67.Rd2 Chessbase has this move erroneously entered as 67.Re2 67...Kf7 68.Kd5 Rc1 if the White rook was on e2 as per ChessBase, Black wins trivially with Rd1+ followed by h1Q 69.Rxh2! Rxc3? Black should have first defended his pawn with 69...Rd1+! 70.Kc6 Kxf6! 71.Rh5 Rd3 72.Rd5 Rxc3+! 73.Kxd6 Ra3 and Black draws 70.Kxd6! Kxf6 71.e5+! Kg7 This is the position Dvoretsky starts from. 72.Kd7? 72.Ra2! Rb3 73.Ra7+ Kg6 74.Ke7 Rb8 75.e6 Kg7 would reach the position discussed at the end of BCE-324b 72...Ra3 the Black rook that has reached the a-file, which gives him enough maneuvering room. 73.Rc2 Ra5 74.e6 Ra7+ 75.Rc7 Ra8! 76.Rc1 Ra7+ 77.Kd8 Kf6 78.e7 Ra8+! 1/2-1/2

12/18/19 - BCE-77, Reshevsky-Fine, Nottingham 1936

This week we compete the lastest series of positions from Fine's games with another complicated pawn ending. This one didn't actually occur on the board, only as a variation. At the famous Nottingham 1936 tournament, Fine's great American rival Sammy Reshevsky was trying to convert an extra pawn after 33...Bb2

34.Rc2 In the tournament book, Alekhine suggests 34.Rc4 as a better winning try34...g6? 34...Bxd4? 35.Nb3 takes advantage of Black's weak back rank, so Fine makes luft. However, he could avoid the possibility that follows by playing 34...h6 instead. 35.Rxb2! Rxb2 36.Qxb2! Qxa5 37.Qb8+ Kg7 Now, Reshevsky could have reached BCE-77 with 38.Qe5+! Qxe5 39.dxe5! Instead, he went for 38.Kf2? and Fine managed to draw the queen ending. I won't look at the rest of the game here as the position after 38.Kf2 is BCE-577, which will be a future topic

12/11/19 - BCE-63, Bogoljubow-Fine, Zandvoort 1936

The tournament in the Dutch town of Zandvoort in 1936 predated the start of the tournament series now known as Tata Steel by a couple of years. However, the makeup of the tournament is similar to what we have seen throughout the years in Wijk aan Zee. Several of the leading players of the day battlied with some of the top Dutch players. Fine scored a big victory, undefeated a full point clear of Euwe. However, in this week's BCE example, he was fortunate to escape with a draw against Efim Bogoljubow in a tricky pawn endgame. After 37.Rxc4

I suspect Fine assessed the coming pawn ending as drawn, so he immediately went after White's kingside pawns with 37...Rb1+ Instead of putting the rook behind the pawn with 37...Ra2 38.Kf2 Rb2+ 39.Kf1 Rb1+ 40.Ke2 Rb2+ 41.Kd3 The only serious winning attempt 41...Rxg2 42.Rc2 Rxc2? Fine didn't want to play the rook ending with the White rook behind the pawn after 42...Rg1 43.Ra2, but Black's mobile kingside majority should still give hime drawing chances. Instead, the pawn ending should be winning for White, but it is extremely difficult 43.Kxc2! The starting position of BCE-62 43...Kf7 44.Kd3 Ke6 45.Ke4? White wins with a pendulum of his king, dekeing at the queenside then swinging back to the kingside once Black makes a weakness there beginning with 45.Kc4! as shown in the correction link 45...g6 46.Kd4 Kd6! 47.Kc4 h6? The second correction is for Black to keep the opposition with 47...Kc6!48.Kd4 Kc6 49.Ke4? For the second time, Ke4 changes the assessment from a White win to a draw As the correction link shows, 49.h3! as Black will not have g4 as he does on the last move of the game 49...Kb5! 50.Kd5 50.f5 g5! 51.Kd5! h5! 52.Ke6 h4! (52...g4? 53.Kd5! h4 54.Ke4! Ka4 55.Kf4! g3 56.hxg3! hxg3 57.Kxg3! Kxa3 58.Kg4) 53.Kxf6 g4! 54.Ke5 g3! and both sides get queens 50...g5! 51.fxg5 51.f5 h5! transposes to the previous variation 51...fxg5! 52.Ke5 Ka4! 53.Kf5 Kxa3! 54.Kg6 Kb4! 55.Kxh6 g4! 1/2-1/2 Black gets back in time with 56.Kg5 Kc5! 57.Kxg4 Kd6! 58.Kg5 Ke7! 59.Kg6 Kf8! I think this game would be a good addition if Joel Benjamin writes a third edition of Liquidation on the Chessboard.

12/8/19 - Zapata-Bereolos, 2019 Georgia Senior Chess Championship

My most recent experience with the RP+BP rook ending was in last month's Georgia Senior. This was a painful loss to GM Alonso Zapata in the tournament's decisive game. This was a fairly decent game, but as my clocked ticked down I started making small inaccuacies, and finally a blunder. However, he didn't capitalize on this and I was holding the ending. Somehow, even with a 10-second delay on the clock, I froze at the end and lost on time in a drawn position. However, the move I tried playing right before my flag fell was another blunder, so I would have lost anyway.

12/7/19 - Swiercz-Mulyar, 2019 US Masters

There was almost a second instance of R+f+h vs. R at this years US Masters. In the 8th round, the top seed, Dariusz Swiercz, had White in the following rook ending against Michael Mulyar. After 53...Rxc3

With the Black king cut off on the back rank, White has winning chances. 54.f4 Rc5+ 55.Kf6 Rc1 56.Kxf5 Ra1 57.Kg6 Rg1+! 58.Kf6 Ra1! White is already too far advanced for Black to try the f+h ending 58...a4? 59.Rxa4 Kh7 60.f5 Rb1 61.Ra7+ Kh6 62.Ke7! Kxh5 63.f6! Kg6 64.f7! Re1+ 65.Kf8! Kh7 66.Ra2; Or 58...Rb1? 59.Rxa5 Rb6+ 60.Kg5 Rb7 61.f5 Kg7 62.f6+ Kf7 63.h6 59.f5 a4! Black's only chance is counterplay with the a-pawn 60.Kg6 Rg1+! 61.Kf6 Ra1! 62.Ra8+ Kh7 63.Ke7 a3! 64.f6 a2! 65.Kf7 65.f7 Re1+! 66.Kd6 a1Q Black has other ways to draw, but this is a neat trickk 67.Rxa1 Rxa1! 68.f8Q Rd1+! and White can't escape the checks because of stalemate. 65...Kh6 66.Rh8+ Kg5 67.Rg8+ Kxh5 68.Rg2

68...Kh6? Mulyar finally falters after a heroic defense. The White rook is in a perfect position, building a bridge on the g-file and hitting a2. Black had to disturb it with 68...Kh4! 69.Kg7 Kh3! with a draw 70.Rg5 Rf1 71.Ra5 a1Q 69.Rh2+! Kg5 70.Kg7! Kf5 71.Rg2! Ke6 72.f7 Rf1 73.Re2+! 1-0

12/6/19 - Bereolos-Durham, 1985 Clark County Chess Championship

My first experience with the R+BP+RP vs. R endgame was in 1985 in the final round of a tournament in Las Vegas against Dan Durham. Back when the 6-piece tablebases came out, I analyzed the endgame in detail. How I landed there is worth looking at since it illustrates that although positions may be objectively drawn, there are sometimes better ways to play from a human perspective. After 45...Bxe5

46.Bxf7+ Perhaps the first inaccuracy. It was simpler to play 46.Rxf7 Rd4 47.Be6 Rd6 48.Bc4 46...Ke7 47.Re6+ Kxf7! 48.Rxe5! The rook ending is more comfortable for Black because of the split White pawns 48...Rf4 49.Re3 The engines will show that White can also play actively with 49.Rc5!? Rxf3+ 50.Kb4 Rh3 51.Rc7+ Ke6 52.Rxa7 Rxh2 53.b6 and the advanced passer gives counterplay. Calculating and evaluating such a variation isn't difficult, but there is a tendency to want to hold on to your material. However, here White is so uncoordinated and his pawns so weak that it is difficult to avoid shedding one of them 49...Kf6 50.Kc3 h5 51.Kd2 Rb4 52.Ra3 Rxb5 53.Rxa7 Rb2+ 54.Ke3 Rxh2 55.Ra6+ Kg7 56.f4 56.Kf4 Rg2 is still a draw, but the White king will eventually have to come back 56...Rh3+ 57.Ke4?! This complicates White's task a bit. There is no reason for White to let his king get cut off from the Black pawns. After 57.Kf2 Black doesn't have a good way to make progress as his king can't advance via h6 because White has f5. Black could bring his rook to the fifth to prevent this, but 57...Rb3 58.Kg2 Rb5 59.Kg3 Kh6 60.Ra7 is not making progress either 57...Rb3

58.f5?! White should wait for Black to advance ...h4 before making this sacrifice as then he can blockade the connected pawns. 58.Rc6 h4 59.f5 (59.Ra6? h3! and Black wins) 59...Rb4+ 60.Ke5 (White can still play the f+h ending with 60.Kf3 but the text is much simpler) 60...Rb5+ 61.Kf4! Rxf5+ 62.Kg4 Rh5 63.Rc7+ Kh6 64.Rc8 = 58...Rb4+ 59.Kf3 59.Ke5? Rb5+ and White doesn't get the blockade, and the connected passers slowly win. 59...gxf5 reaching the position I analyzed in 2003.

The primary lesson from this ending is that not all drawn endings are the same. From the defensive viewpoint, you should look for the simplest solutions so that you don't find yourself in a position where you need to make a series of only moves to save the game.

12/4/19 - BCE-454a, Fine-Appel, Lodz 1935

The 1935 tournament in Lodz is not considered one of the major historical international tournaments. The most prominent players were Tartakower, who won, and Fine, who tied for second. Fine had a close shave in the second round against the Polish player Isaak Appel, who finished near the bottom. After 48...Be2

49.b7! Rxb7 50.Kxb7! Bxc4 the bishop is immune because of the fork on d6. The White d-pawn is weak and Black manages to round it up as well. The B+N+P vs. R ending is generally winning as we saw in the game Jakovenko-Dragun . Somehow here the minor pieces can't get coordinated and White saves the game. 51.Rc7+! Kg6 52.Kc6! Nf6 53.Re7 Kf5 54.Kd6 e4 55.Kc5! Bxd5 The starting position of BCE-454a 56.Kd4! Kf4 57.Re5! Bb3 58.Rb5 Bc2 59.Rb2 Bd1 60.Rb7 The correction link deals with the variation 60.Rb1? 60...Bh5 61.Re7! Bg6 62.Re6! Kg5 63.Ke5 Ng4+ 64.Kd4! Nf2 65.Rxg6+ 1/2-1/2

12/3/19 - Gabuzyan-Azarov, 2019 US Masters

This year's US Masters featured a 9-way tie for first place. Two of the players tying were Hovanes Gabuzyan and Sergei Azarov. Their 6th round encounter was a textbook example of defense in the BP+RP rook ending by the grandmaster from Belarus. After 53.Rxd3

53...Kf6 54.Rd4 Ra5 55.Rg4 Ra1 56.h4 Rb1 57.Ra4 57.h5 is premature 57...Rb5 58.Rh4 Kg5 59.Rh1 Kh6! 60.Kg3 Ra5 61.Kg4 Rb5 62.f4 Ra5 63.f5 Ra4+ and the only way to stop the side checks is for the king to approach the rook, but when it gets close, Black just shifts his rook to the f-file and quickly picks up the two pawns 57...Kg6 58.Ra5 Rb4 59.Kg3 Rb1 throughout the initial phase, Azarov keeps his rook flexible to check from the side or from behind. 60.Kg4 Rg1+ 61.Kf4 Rb1 62.Re5 Ra1 63.f3 Ra4+ 64.Re4 Ra1 65.Re5 Ra4+ 66.Kg3 Ra1 67.Rg5+ Kh6 67...Kf6 is also possible, but I think going to the h-file is simpler conceptually as it is consistent with the future short side defense. On the f-file, White can sometimes run with the h-pawn. 68.Kg4 Rg1+ 69.Kf5 Ra1 70.f4 Ra5+ 71.Kg4 Ra1 72.Rd5 Rg1+ 73.Kf5 Rh1 74.Rd6+ Kg7 75.Rg6+ Kh7 76.Rg4 Kh6 77.Kf6 Ra1 78.Rg8 Ra6+ 79.Kf5 Ra5+ 80.Kg4 Ra1 81.Rh8+ Kg7 82.Rd8 Rg1+ 83.Kf5 Rh1 84.Rd7+ Kh6! Black should always avoid putting his king on the back rank. 85.Rd6+ Kh7 86.Kg5 Rg1+! 87.Kh5 Kg7! He abandons the h-file so the king does not get pushed to the back rank. There isn't a danger of the h-pawn running with the White king stuck in front. 88.Rd5 Rf1 89.Rg5+ Kf6 90.Rg4 Rh1 91.Rg8 91.Kh6 Kf5 92.Rg5+ Kxf4 93.h5 Ra1 94.Rg6 Kf5 95.Kh7 Ra7+ 96.Rg7 Ra8 97.Rf7+ Kg5! 98.h6 Ra6! wins the h-pawn 91...Kf7 92.Rb8 Kf6 93.Ra8 Rh2 94.Kg4 Rg2+ 95.Kf3 Rh2 96.Ra6+ Kf5 97.Ra5+ Kg6 98.h5+ Kh6 99.Ke4 Rb2 100.Rg5 Rb1 100...Rb4+ 101.Kf5 Rb5+ 102.Kg4 Rb1 101.Kf5 Ra1 102.Rg8 Ra5+ 103.Kg4 Ra1 104.Rg6+ Kh7 105.f5 the only way to make progress 105...Rg1+ 106.Kf4 Rf1+ 107.Kg5 Rg1+! 108.Kf6 Ra1 109.Rg7+ Kh6! Black should always avoid the back rank 110.Re7 Ra6+ 111.Kf7 On 111.Re6 Black should prevent the White king from advancing 111...Ra7 (111...Ra5? 112.Kf7+ Kxh5 113.f6!+-) 111...Kxh5 112.f6 the difference from the previous line is that Black is attacking the White pawn. Now, he sets up the short side defense. 112...Kh6! taking away g7 112...Kg5? 113.Re6! Ra7+ 114.Kg8 Ra8+ 115.Kg7 and White wins 113.Re6 Ra8! preventing the White king from advancing 113...Ra7+? 114.Kf8 Ra8+ 115.Re8! Ra7 116.f7 Kh7 117.Rd8 and White is ready for Ke8 114.Re8 Ra7+ 115.Re7 115.Kf8 Kg6! grabs the pawn 115...Ra8 116.Re8 Ra7+ 117.Ke6 Ra6+! 118.Kf5 Ra5+! 119.Re5 Ra8 120.Rd5 Kh7 121.Rd1 Ra5+ 122.Ke6 Kg6 123.Rg1+ Kh7 124.Rg7+ Kh6! Black must avoid the back rank 124...Kh8? 125.Rd7 Kg8 126.Rd8+! Kh7 127.f7! 125.Rd7 Kg6 126.f7 Rf5 127.Rd1 Rf6+! 128.Ke5 1/2-1/2