Alex Baburin Annotates Endgames from the Bulgarian Finals

The interest towards the Bulgarian Finals around the world grew after the famous GM Alexander Baburin annotated the most interesting of them in his “Endgame Kaleidoscope” section in the online paper Chess Today. Alex now lives in Ireland, and was the first one to start an online chess paper. I received his special permission to use a couple of his analyses here. Chess Today is highly useful for all chess players (from amateurs to professionals) and I strongly recommend it to all of you. More about the paper here: http://www.chesstoday.net/

Radulski,Julian (2511) - Petkov,Vladimir (2434) [C66]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv, Bulgaria (7.5), 19.03.2008
[Alex Baburin (http://www.chesstoday.net/)]

White's active pieces should compensate for a one-pawn deficit. 59.Ke6 [One way to proceed was to play 59.Be5! Bxe5 (59...Rf2+? 60.Ke6 Re2 61.Rxb5) 60.Kxe5 b4

61.Rb8! b3 62.Ke4 Rb1 63.Kf3 g5 (or 63...b2 64.Kg2 g5 65.hxg6+ Kxg6=) 64.hxg6+ (White can also draw after 64.Ke4 b2 65.Kd3 Rg1 66.Rb7+ Kg8 67.Rxb2 Rxg4 68.Rb6) 64...Kxg6 65.Rb6+ Kf7 66.Kg2] 59...Bc3 60.Kf5 b4 61.Ke4 b3 62.Kd3 Bf6

63.Kc4? [63.Be7 Bxe7 (63...Be5 64.Ke4 Bc3 65.Kd3) 64.Rxe7 Rg2 65.Re4 b2 66.Rb4 Rxg4 67.Rxb2 Rg5 68.Rh2 Kg8 69.Ke4 Kf7 70.Rh1 and I don't see how Black can win.] 63...Rc2+ 64.Kd3 Rc3+ 65.Ke4 Rc4+ 66.Kf5 b2 67.Ba3 Rc2 68.Ke4 Kg8 69.Kf5 Kh7 70.Ke4 Rd2 71.Kf5 Rd1 72.Bxb2 Rb1 73.Bxf6 Rxb7 74.Be5

Black has made a lot of progress, but he still can't win! White's plan is simple: to target the g7-pawn with his bishop. Sooner or later Black will have to play ...g6 - and any reduction in pawn material helps the defender. 74...Rf7+ 75.Ke4 Rf1 76.Bf4 Kg8 77.Be5 Kf7 78.Bd4 Rb1 79.Kf5 Rb4 80.Bc3 Rb5+ 81.Be5 Ra5 82.Kf4 g6 83.hxg6+ Kxg6

According on 6-piece tablebase (one place to find it is http://www.shredderchess.com/online-chess/online-databases/endgame-database.html) this position is a draw, though some caution is required. White should try to get his bishop to f4 or e3, from where it will target the h6-pawn. 84.Bc7! [There were only two other moves keeping the balance 84.Bd4! ; and 84.Bd6! ] 84...Rd5 85.Kg3?? This is where White made the main mistake! He had to get his bishop either to f4 or e3. That could be done with [85.Kf3; 85.Ke4; 85.Ke3; or 85.Bb6 ] 85...Rd3+! 86.Kf4 Rd4+! 87.Kf3 Kg5 Now White loses the pawn. 88.Bb6 Rf4+ 89.Kg3 Rxg4+ 90.Kh3

Black's win isn't trivial here - he must not advance his pawn too eagerly. Putting the pawn to h4 too soon could be a huge mistake, as the black king may need that square. 90...Rb4 91.Be3+ Kh5 92.Kg3 Rb3 93.Kf2 Ra3 94.Bf4 Kg6 95.Kg2 Ra6 96.Kg3 Kf5 97.Bc1 Rg6+ 98.Kh3 Rg1 99.Be3 Re1 100.Bf2 Rb1 101.Kg3 Rb3+

102.Kh4?! From a practical point of view it would be better to keep the king in the corner, forcing Black to show some technique. We already analysed such positions in Chess Today. [102.Kg2 Kg4 103.Bc5 Rb2+ 104.Kh1 Kh3 (104...h5 105.Bd6 h4?? 106.Bc7 Kh3 107.Kg1!=) 105.Kg1 Rg2+ 106.Kh1 h5 107.Bb6 h4 108.Bc7 Rc2 109.Bf4 Rc4 110.Be3 Kg3 111.Ba7 Rc1+ 112.Bg1 Kg4 113.Kg2 h3+ 114.Kh1 Rd1 115.Kh2 Rd2+ 116.Kh1 Kg3 117.Bb6 h2 118.Bc7+ Kh3–+] 102...Kf4 103.Be1 Rd3 104.Ba5 Rd1 105.Bc7+ Kf3 106.Kh5 Rh1+ 107.Kg6 Kg4 0–1

Iotov,Valentin (2485) - Nikolov,Momchil (2500) [E15]
72nd Men Championship Plovdiv, Bulgaria (10.6), 21.03.2008
[Alex Baburin (http://www.chesstoday.net/)]

53.f6! It makes sense to undouble pawns while you can. Remember, reducing pawn material always helps the defender! [White could also play 53.Rb7 Ke8 54.Kf3! Kd8 55.Ke3 Kc8 56.Rb4 Rc2 57.f3 Black Black would maintain better chances, for example: 57...Kc7 58.Kd3 Rh2 59.Kc3 Kd6 60.Rb5 h5 61.Kd3 Kc6! 62.Rb8 Kd5 63.Rb5+ Kd6! 64.Kc3 Rf2 65.f4 Ke7] 53...gxf6 54.Rxf6+ [54.Kg3 Ke7 55.f3 Kd7 56.Kf4 Kc7 57.Rb3 Kc6–+] 54...Ke7 55.Rb6 Kd7

56.Kg3?? White's f-pawn will not have a chance. [He had to play 56.Kf3! Kc7 57.Rb4 Kc6 58.Ke3 Rc2 59.Kd3 Rxf2 60.Kc3 Kd5 61.Rxb2] 56...Kc7 57.Rb4 Kc6 58.f4 Kc5 59.Rb8 Kc4 60.Rc8+ Kd3 61.Rb8 Kc2 62.Rc8+ Kd1 63.Rb8 Kc1 64.Kg4 b1Q 65.Rxb1+ Kxb1 66.f5 Rd6 67.Kf4 Rd4+ 0–1

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