Very Unusual Endgame

Round eight of the Tbilisi Grand Prix witnessed a highly unusual endgame. Three light pieces were fighting a rook. According to my Megabase, there are only eight predecessors of this endgame!The tournament leader Evgeny Tomashevsky extended his lead after a demonstration of an excellent technique.
A game that I liked (ChessBase 13)

[Event "FIDE Grand Prix - Tbilisi"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2015.02.23"]
[Round "8.4"]
[White "Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime"]
[Black "Tomashevsky, Evgeny"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2775"]
[BlackElo "2716"]
[Annotator "Bojkov, Dejan"]
[PlyCount "182"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[WhiteClock "0:33:16"]
[BlackClock "0:03:19"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O {
Evgeny Tomashevsky is a very solid player who solves the opening problems in a
somewhat unusual way. His white color remains true to his styyle, while with
the black pieces he prefers to go for sharp opening lines where the situation
is clarified as soon as possible. The Marshall line in the Ruy Lopez have
served him well for many years.} 8. a4 {Vachier does not want to test his
opponent in the main lines.} Bb7 9. d3 d6 ({The immediate} 9... b4 {can be met
with} 10. Nbd2 {when the knight enjoys the c4 square.}) 10. Bd2 {A modern move.
White has a wide choice in the position.} (10. Nbd2 Na5 11. Ba2 c5 12. Nf1 bxa4
{is Caruana,F (2844)-Tomashevsky,E (2701) Baku 2014}) (10. Nc3 {used to be the
main line, but Black scored well. One example-} Na5 11. Ba2 b4 12. Ne2 c5 13.
Bd2 Rb8 14. Ng3 Bc8 $1 15. h3 Ne8 16. Nh2 Bg5 17. Nf3 Bf6 18. Nh2 g6 19. Ng4
Bg5 {with very nice play for Black in Caruana,F (2492)-Adams,M (2735)
Gibraltar 2007}) 10... b4 {Now that the bishop had occupied the d2 square for
the knight this is strong.} 11. c3 Rb8 {A common temporary pawn sacrifice.} ({
Another plan is} 11... a5 12. d4 exd4 13. cxd4 d5 14. e5 Ne4 {as in Ducarmon,Q
(2487)-Fedoseev,V (2661) Pune 2014}) 12. cxb4 Bc8 $146 {Evgeny comes well
prepared for the game. The bishop is moving to a better position.} ({
Previously only} 12... Ba8 {was seen, but the bishop is not as effective as on
the other diagonal} 13. b5 axb5 14. a5 (14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Nc3 Rb8) 14... Nd4
15. Nxd4 exd4 16. Bf4 {Rogulj,B (2427)-Rogic,D (2505) Austria 2000}) 13. b5
axb5 14. axb5 Rxb5 15. Ra8 ({White can hardly hope for an advantage after} 15.
Nc3 Rb8 16. h3) 15... Rb8 16. Rxb8 Nxb8 17. d4 $1 {[%csl Rd4,Rd5,Re4,Re5]
Diagram [#] Maxime occupies some central squares with his knights.} exd4 18.
Nxd4 c5 $1 {Tomashevsky replies in adequate way. Next he wants to carry out
the freeing d6-d5 advance which will level the game completely.} 19. Nf3 ({Or}
19. Nb5 Qb6 20. N1c3 Nc6 21. Bf4 Nd4 22. Nxd4 (22. Bc4 Bd7 23. Nxd6 Bxd6 24.
Bxd6 Qxd6 25. e5 Qb6 26. exf6 Qxf6 $11) 22... cxd4 23. Nd5 Nxd5 $11) 19... Nc6
20. Bc3 ({In case of} 20. Nc3 Bg4 $1 {creates the nasty Nc6-d4 threat.}) 20...
Be6 21. Nbd2 {This allows the central break, but the French GM obviously had
the intresting complications on his mind.} ({More precise is} 21. Na3 {at
least for a moment stopping} d5 $2 22. Bxf6 Bxf6 23. exd5) 21... d5 $1 22. Ng5
Bg4 $1 23. Qc2 {[%csl Yh7][%cal Re4e5] Consequent and...wrong. Vachier missed
some detail in his calculations.} ({Black has plenty of play for the pawn after
} 23. f3 d4 24. fxg4 dxc3 25. bxc3 Ne5 26. h3 {but this was preferrable to
what happened in the game.}) 23... c4 $1 {Very strong! The bishop is becoming
too vulnerable.} ({Most likely Maxime spent most of his time calculating the
consequences of the sharp continuation} 23... d4 24. e5) 24. Nxc4 ({The bishop
is vulnerable after} 24. Ba2 h6 25. exd5 Nb4 26. Bxb4 Bxb4 27. Ngf3 Bxf3 28.
gxf3 Qa5) ({Or} 24. Ba4 Nb4 25. Bxb4 Bxb4 26. e5 Ne4 $1 27. Ndxe4 dxe4 {when
both the rook and the knight are hanging} 28. Qxe4 Qxg5) ({Alas, there is no
time for} 24. e5 $2 cxb3) 24... dxc4 25. Bxc4 Nd7 26. Nxf7 $1 {The best
practical chance!} ({The retreat is absolutely hopeless} 26. Nf3 Bxf3 27. gxf3
Nde5) 26... Rxf7 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Qxc6 {[%csl Yb2,Gd7,Ye1,Ye4,
Ge7,Yf2,Yg2,Gg4] Diagram [#] After the forces moves the game reached a highly
unusual distribution of forces. White has a rook and four pawns versus three
light pieces. I have never seen anything like that before. How can we asses
the situation? Well, obviously the pawns can become dangerous in an endgame if
there is time to advance them. If not, they will be targets. The three light
pieces can easily unite their efforts attacking any of the pawns and it will
be lost as the rook cannot separate itself into pieces. The general rule is
that the smaller parts should be better than the major piece as long as they
are united. This is the case here, the pieces are clearly better. One more
thing that helps is that two of them are bishops!} Ne5 30. Qc3 Bf6 31. Qg3 h5
32. h3 ({Or} 32. f4 h4 33. Qe3 Nd3 {[%cal Rf6d4] with the threat Bf6-d4.})
32... h4 33. Qe3 Be6 {Black consolidated his forces and starts attacking the
pawns.} 34. b4 Qd3 {True to his solid style, Evgeny removes the queen from the
board as well as the possibility of a perpetual.} 35. Kh2 ({Or} 35. Qf4 Qd4) ({
Similar to the game is} 35. f4 Qxe3+ 36. Rxe3 Nc6 37. Kh2 (37. e5 Be7 38. g3
Bxb4 39. Rd3) 37... Nxb4 38. g3) 35... Be7 36. f4 Qxe3 37. Rxe3 Nc4 38. Re2 {
Diagram [#] At a glance it seems as White should be OK, but the reality is
that he is about to lose all his pawns one by one...} ({One of the pawns is
lost anyway} 38. Rb3 Nd2) ({But} 38. Rd3 Bxb4 39. g3 {seems more accurate.})
38... Bxb4 {One down, more to go.} 39. g3 ({The passive defense would not help.
After} 39. Rf2 Nd2 40. e5 Kg6 {Black will bring the king on f5, the bishop on
e3 and chop the pawns off.}) 39... Nd2 40. gxh4 {Trades the last black pawn,
but there are too many pieces!} ({Naturally, White wants to keep his pawns
together, but after} 40. g4 Bd6 41. e5 Bb4 42. f5 Bc4 43. Rf2 Bd5 {Black can
suddenly create mating threats with his pieces.}) 40... Bc4 41. Rg2+ Kh6 42.
Kg3 {The king leaves the danger zone} (42. e5 Nf1+ 43. Kg1 Bc5+ 44. Kh1 Bd5 $19
) 42... Bf1 ({Also good is} 42... Nxe4+ 43. Kf3 Bd5) 43. Rh2 Bd3 44. Kg4 (44.
e5 $2 Nf1+) 44... Nxe4 {Two down.} 45. Kf5 ({Nothing changes} 45. Kf3 Kh5)
45... Bd6 46. Rg2 Kh5 47. Rg8 Ng5+ 48. Kf6 Nh7+ 49. Kg7 Bxf4 {Three.} 50. Ra8 (
50. Rh8 Be5+ {loses on the spot.}) 50... Be5+ 51. Kf7 Kxh4 {Four.} 52. Ra4+ Kh5
(52... Kxh3 53. Ra3) 53. h4 Bb2 54. Rf4 Bc3 55. Ke6 Be1 56. Rf3 Bg6 57. Rf1 Bb4
(57... Bxh4 {was OK as well.}) 58. Rf4 Nf8+ 59. Kd5 Be7 60. Rf1 Bc2 61. Rg1
Bb3+ 62. Ke4 Ng6 63. Kf5 Bd8 (63... Nxh4+) 64. Ke4 Be6 65. Rd1 Be7 66. Ra1 Bc8
67. Ra5+ Kxh4 {Diagram [#] Five! Evgeny swiped all the pawns off. This is a
theoretically won position.} 68. Ra1 Kg5 69. Rg1+ Bg4 70. Rg2 Bc5 71. Rg3 Nf4
72. Ke5 Bf2 73. Ra3 Bh3 74. Ra5 Bg2 {[%cal Gf2a7,Gg2a8] The bishops are
cutting the king along the diagonals an dthe knight assists them to push it
towards the back rank.} 75. Ra3 Ne2 76. Ra5 ({Or} 76. Ra2 Bg3+ 77. Ke6 Nd4+ 78.
Ke7 Bh3) 76... Bg3+ 77. Ke6+ Kg6 78. Ra6 Nd4+ 79. Ke7+ Kg7 80. Ra1 Bh3 81. Rh1
({If} 81. Rg1 Nf5+ 82. Ke6 Ne3+ 83. Ke7 Ng2 84. Rh1 Nf4 85. Rg1 Ng6+ {the king
will be forced on the eight rank anyway.}) 81... Bg4 82. Rg1 Ne2 83. Rf1 Bf4
84. Rd1 Nc3 85. Rd3 Ne4 86. Kd8 Nc5 87. Rd5 Ne4 88. Rd3 Ng5 89. Ke7 Nf7 90. Rd4
Bg5+ 91. Ke8 Ne5 {Picturesque domination. The threat Bg4-h5 can be stopped
only at the expense of the rook. Black resigned and Tomashevsky is getting
very close to the overall tournament victory!} 0-1


1 comment:

Nitin Vasava said...