GOTM;  (Game # 17)   February, 2005.   

Welcome to my  "Game of The Month"  feature!  (For February, 2005.)  (Games considered, file.)  

This is a game, that is annotated in a  <light-to-medium>  fashion. (Actually this month, I went into a little more detail than I should have ... realistically speaking.) Hopefully it is done in a way that is both entertaining and also informative. The main purpose {and thrust} of this column is to try and educate the general chess public. 

I have deeply annotated this game on my hard drive, you are welcome to contact me if you would like to try and obtain a {printed} copy. (I no longer wish to try and put in the effort to be able to offer a deeply annotated game here.)  [ Read why. ]  

This is a feature where I will try to pick a game that was recently played at the GM level. Then I will annotate it and try to basically explain what happened.  ---> This column is aimed primarily at lower-rated players.  (Say 1600 USCF ...  and below.) 

I hope that you enjoy this game ... feedback is both encouraged and welcome. (Please respect my copyright. You may make one printed copy for your own personal, private study.)  

NOTE: If you like and enjoy this column, you (probably) also will enjoy the "Game of The Month" in the U.S. chess magazine. ('Chess Life.')  This is an interesting, relevant and recent game done very well by GM M. Rohde. Rohde's notes are precise, informative, accurate and even {often} humorous. While not as deeply annotated as my games, Rohde's piece is always a feature I enjoy tremendously. HIGHLY recommended! 

(This month is E. Perelshteyn - J. Benjamin; and features the topical {early} ...a6 in the Semi-Slav.) 

(Disclaimer)  No one paid me to say this. While I am a {passing} friend of Rohde's, he did NOT ask me to do this. I simply do this as a public service for my readers. If you are not already a member of  U.S.C.F.  and would like to be, check them out on the web, or call 1-800-388-KING. They will hook you up. Support U.S. Chess! Do it now!!  

    Click  HERE  to see an explanation of the symbols I commonly use - when annotating a chess game.     

     Click  HERE   to go to another server  ...  and see this game  ...  in a "re-playable" format.   

GM Vishy Anand (2786) - GM Petar Leko (2749) 
  ICT / Corus "A" (Super-GM) / Round # 02  
 Wijk aan Zee, NED / 16,01,2005. 


  This CB Medal for this wild game. (gotm_feb-05-medal.gif, 02 KB)

  "GAME OF THE MONTH," February, 2005.  


Undoubtedly an important game - it {eventually} decided the winner of this year's big CORUS tournament.  
(From the  LCC / TWIC # 532.)  (GM Nigel Short looks at this game.) 

 1.e4 c5;  2.Nf3 Nc6;  3.d4 cxd4;  4.Nxd4 Nf6;  5.Nc3 e5;  ('!?' ...  Maybe - '!')   {Diagram?}    
The wild, unconventional ... and very complex  "Sveshnikov Sicilian."  (Or ... the Lasker/Pelikan/et al.) 
(Right now this line is all the rage at the highest levels of GM chess. The tournament at Linares, 2004;  
 featured this opening in six different games!)  

Leko has been playing this line since Leon, 1996 - a  loss  to GM Veselin Topalov.  

I would bet that Leko had to study this system a lot in his preparations for his World Championship Match   
with Kramnik in 2004. (He probably did not want to let all that hard work go to waste!)  

I would also remind the reader that it was a loss in this opening as White, (vs. GM V. Kramnik); that basically  
cost Leko first place in Linares, 2004. {History repeating itself?}  

The latest book on this very complex system would have to be:  "The Complete Sveshnikov Sicilian,"  
by GM Yuri Yakovich. D.O.I. (c) 2003. Published by Gambit Books, London. (UK) / ISBN: # 1-901983-71-4   

     [ The move,  5...d6 leads to a fairly standard Sicilian. ]  


 6.Ndb5 d6;  7.Bg5 a6;  8.Na3 b5!;  9.Bxf6!,   
The modern way of playing this line ... three different books award this an exclam! 
(I played this way once in a tournament in the early 1970's ... a master told me that this was a bad move. 
 This shows just how much opening theory has changed!!!)  

     [ For MANY (!!) years, the most popular line - and the one that many books said was 
        best for White - was:  9.Nd5!? Be710.Bxf6 Bxf611.c3 0-012.Nc2 Rb8!? 
        Played with ...a5 and ...b4 in mind. 

             (The 'book' move here today - in the current position - would be for      
               Black to play 12...Bg5.)  

        13.Be2 Bg514.0-0 Be6!?15.Qd3 Qd7!?{Diagram?}     
        Several pundits praised this move.  

            ( Maybe  >/=  15...f5!;  was a little better. )      

        16.Qg3!, ("+/=")  {space}  {Diagram?}   
        White has a solid edge ... and went on to win a nice game in 55 moves.   

        GM A. Karpov - GM S. DolmatovIBM (super) Masters Tournament   
        Amsterdam, Netherlands; 1980 (White won a nice game, 1-0, in 55 total moves.) ]   


 9...gxf6;  10.Nd5 f5;  (hmmm)  ('!?' maybe - '!')   {Diagram?}   
For quite some time, this move has been considered the main line for Black. However, many young 
players today (Radjabov) enjoy the extremely complex positions that arise from the move of 10...Bg7.  

     [ Black can also play ...Bg7 here. 

       For example:  10...Bg7!? {Diagram?}   
       Some books refer to this game as  ...  "The Novobirsk Variation."   
       (Is this really a good line ... or is this just the latest fad in opening theory?)  

        11.Bd3 Ne712.Nxe7 Qxe713.0-0 f5! {Diagram?}  
         led to an extremely complex game - that was eventually drawn.  

        GM P. Leko - GM T. Radjabov ICT / Super-GM Event  
        Linares, ESP (Spain)  2004 

        [ See also MCO-14, page # 337; columns # 05 & # 06,   
          and all the notes that accompany these two columns. ]   

          ***  There are whole books that are completely dedicated to the examination 
          of this one variation. ]   


 11.c3!?,  (square-control)   
A very normal move in this particular position. (White keeps a BN off the d4-square and prepares to bring   
the Knight on a3 back into the game via the c2-square. Additionally, White has a Q-side majority ... this move   
makes it easier to get in a later break ... like a2-a4 ... to utilize this asset.)  

According to several opening books, the main line here is Bd3, "+/="  However, some players do not like this move,   
probably believing that it is one-dimensional and somewhat limits White's choices. 

     [ Maybe better was:  (>/=)  11.Bd3!? Be612.Qh5!? {Diagram?}   
       Several newer books recommend that White play castles in this position.  

                         *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***    

           ( GM Yuri Yakovich  recommends the following continuation for both sides    
             from the above position:  12.0-0 Bxd5; {Diagram?}     
             This was not mandatory here, the second player could also play the Bishop      
             to the g7-square here.     

             13.exd5 Ne7;  14.c3! Bg7;  15.Qh5 e4;  16.Bc2 Qc8!;  {Diagram?}      
             Black has good play in this position, white must proceed very carefully and accurately.   

             Searching several different databases, I found close to 300 games with this particular position.  

             Maybe the most recent game that I could find ... that was well played involved masters, was the contest:   
             GM Andrei Sokolov (2587) - GM Luke McShane (2546)TT / Bundesliga / GER; 2002 
             {A long game that was drawn.}  

      ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **    

             GM Yuri Yakovich  gives the following games from the above position:     

             # 1.)  Nijboer - KrasenkowWijk aan Zee, NED; 2002.    

             # 2.)  Bologan - FillipovNational Tournament Championship / Tomsk, RUS; 2001.     

             # 3.)  Konguvel - HarikrishnaNational (adult) Championships / Nagpur, India; 2002.     

             # 4.)  Z. Almasi - M. KrasenkowMalmo, SWE; 1995. (Or 1994?)      

             You should study all of these contests - carefullyto get a real feel  for the current state      
              of theory; at least as concerns this line. )     

                         *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***    

        *******   *******   *******   *******   *******   *******   *******   *******   

       (Returning here to the main line of the analysis of this opening.)  
        12...Bg713.0-0 f414.c4 bxc4 {Diagram?}  
         This is considered to be forced.  

             ( Black probably should  not  play his Pawn to b4:     

                </= 14...b4?!;  15.Nc2 a5;  16.Rfd1 0-0;  17.b3,  "+/="  {D?}    
                When White gets around to playing a2-a3, the first player will     
                 enjoy a significant edge. (analysis) )     


        15.Bxc4 0-016.Rac1 Kh817.Rfd1 Rb8 {Diagram?}   
         The end of the column here.  

        18.b3 Qd719.Qh4 f5?! 
        REPEATED computer analysis has led me to believe that this move is probably {highly} 
        inaccurate - and quite possibly a mistake ('?') in this position for Black.  

             ( Better would be:  >/= 19...Bxd5[];  20.Bxd5, "+/="  20...Nd4!; "~"      
                Black has a reasonable position.  

               {White keeps a slight edge in this opening, it almost does no matter      
                  what line the second party uses. If this bothers you ... then you       
                  should not play this system of the Sicilian!} )      

        Now White finds a way to exploit the fact that all of Black's pieces are not     
        really adequately protected.   
        20.Nxf4! exf421.Bxe6 Qxe622.Rxc6 fxe4?  {Diagram?}    
        A somewhat obvious mistake, Black definite should play the QR to the    
        d-file to protect the Queen's Pawn.   

             ( The move 22...Rbd8[]; {D?} was practically forced in this position. )       

        23.Rcxd6 Qe8(inferior?)  {Diagram?}    
        ...Qf5 was probably a little better.  

        24.Qg4(hmmm)  {Diagram?}   
        This leads to a solid edge for White, but ...     

             ( >/= 24.Nc4!, ' '  is clearly better. )       

        This might not be the best move in this position for Black.    

             ( The tricky >/= 24...Rg8!;  "<=>"  {Diagram?}      
                was a little better than the move actually played      
                in the game here. )      

        Now the (seemingly) obvious Re6 begs to be played here.   
        25.Qf3!?,  "+/="   (Probably "+/")  {Diagram?}     
        ... "leaves Black little compensation for the Pawn." - GM Nick de Firmian   

        GM T. Ernst - NM H. Holmsgaard;  /  Peer Gynt International    
        Gausdal, Norway; 1993.   (White won, 1-0, in 51 moves.)   

        [ See MCO-14, page # 337; column # 01, and note # (f.). ] ]   

--->     NOTE:  Many friends, fans, and students have asked me to go back and take a look at this continuation.   

I gave a lecture on one big server one night. (NOT ICC.)  It was very well received, and I received many e-mails as a consequence.  
I felt  (and said)  that many of these moves were somewhat questionable, many hours of computer analysis now back this up.  

Both sides continue to develop in a fairly normal manner.  
 11...Bg7;   12.exf5!?,   
After this capture, Black gets a position that is fairly easy to play.  

      [ Maybe  (>/=) 12.Bd3 instead?   

         [ See Chapter 10 of the book:  "The Complete Sveshnikov Sicilian,"   
           by GM Yuri Yakovich. (Page # 146.)]   


As advertised. (See the note to White's 11th move in this game.)   

     [ 13.Bd3!? e414.Bc2 0-015.0-0, "~" (Maybe "=")  ]   


 13...0-0;  14.Nce3 Be6;  15.Bd3 f5;  ("=")    {Diagram?}   
I think it is no exaggeration to say that Black has equalized - the second player has traded off    
the doubled Pawn on the f-file, nearly completed the development of most of his pieces, and     
even mobilized his Pawn duo.   


 16.0-0,  (hmmm)    {Diagram?}   
Is this one of those rare moments when castling is incorrect?   
(GM Y. Yakovich recommends that White play  Qh5!  in this position.   
  See Chapter 12, page # 189.)  

     [ Instead of this, maybe Anand should think about playing:  (>/=) 16.Bc2!?,  
        with the idea of  f4 (!?)  on his next turn? ]   


Now ...f5-f4?! ('?') is rather risky, and even dubious, especially in the face of the reply of Qh5! by White. 

Black to move ... what would you pick as the best move for Black in this particular position? 

 16...Ra7!!;  (Yes, but why?)   {Diagram?}  
A nice Rook luft, this piece heads over to the King-side in a hurry.   
(This idea also involves a Pawn sacrifice by Leko.)  

I received several e-mails ... persons who thought that this move might be new to opening theory.   
However, a search of the database quickly reveals that this has been played almost 150 times ...   
prior to this encounter!  (There are dozens of interesting games in this particular variation.)  

(For example,  see the contest:  GM Vassily Ivanchuk - GM Vladimir Kramnik;  
  ICT / PCA / Intel Grand Prix / London, England (GB/UK); 1994.)  


     [ If  16...e4!?;  then simply  17.Nf4!,  "~"  (unclear)   {D?}  


       The quiet move of   16...Kh8!?;  "~"  (Maybe - '!')  {Diagram?}   
        also led to victory for Black. 

       GM J. Polgar - GM M IllesacasICT  /  Dos Hermanos, ESP; 1999. 
       {The game went over 60 moves, but Black eventually won a very   
         tough, hard-fought game.}]   


 17.a4! Ne7!;  18.Nxe7+ Rxe7;  19.axb5 axb5;  20.Bxb5 d5;   {See the diagram ... just below.}    
Black has some compensation for the Pawn here ... but is it enough?
(Leko has a big center, lots of open lines for the attack, and the two Bishops. Anand has an extra button.)  



  gotm_02-2005_pos1.gif, 09 KB



The critical point of the game has arrived. In such positions, I tell my students it is extremely important    
to have a clearly defined plan!  

 21.Ra6 f4!?;  (hmmm)    
Is Leko making a thoughtful gamble here?  ... ... ... 
This seems to allow Anand a huge opportunity to sack on e6 on the very next move.  

     [  (Maybe >/=)  21...Kh8;  "~"   (Box?)  {Diagram?}   
        was both thematic for this whole line ... and probably a heck of a lot safer.  
        (The move of 21...Kh8; is also the first choice of several strong computer   
          programs as well.) ]    


 22.Nc2!?,  (dubious?)  (TN?)      
Either Anand missed the sacrifice on the e6-square, or he decided against playing it,  
(for reasons that I do not fully comprehend).   

I don't believe - AFTER missing this one tactical idea - that White ever again has a real   
chance at gaining the advantage in this struggle.  

This was the first use of this move that I found in MASTER level chess!  
(There are a couple of games in the db with this move, however, they involve lower-rated   
 or untitled players.)   

     [ White could have played sharply:   >/=  22.Rxe6!{Diagram?}     
        This is NOT even a new idea here ... there are about a dozen games   
        in the database with this move. 
        [ See: H. Staudler - K. Hohm; World Champ. (Corres. 19 - q04); 1999. ]   

        22...Rxe6 {Diagram?}   
        This is completely forced.  

             ( </= 22...fxe3?23.Rxe7 exf2+24.Rxf2 Qxe7{Diagram?}     
                Completely forced, if Black plays ...RxR/f2??; White calmly responds     
                with RxB/g7+, winning a piece.    

                25.Qxd5+ Kh826.Rxf8+ Bxf827.g3,  "+/-"  {Diagram?}     
                White's two-pawn advantage should be more than enough     
                 to win from this position. )      

        23.Qxd5 Qxd524.Nxd5 f3!?25.b4!,  "~("+/")  {Diagram?}    
        Three different programs rate this position as nearly winning for White. ]   


Now White has a slight edge ... but Black keeps good play. 
(Which is typical of the types of positions that both sides reach - when using this particular opening system.   
 And after Leko plays ...Bc8; - - - - - we are finally out of book!)   
 22...Bc8;  ('!' TN?)   23.Ra8 Qd6;  24.Nb4 Bb7;  25.Ra7!? d4!;   
Black increases the energy of his pieces with this move.   


 26.Ba6?!,  (Maybe even - '?')  {See the diagram given, just below.}    
White's game goes sadly downhill after this very inappropriate move.  
 (Of course, hindsight is 20-20!)  



  gotm_02-2005_pos2.gif, 09 KB



Now Leko finds a very attractive combination, however, there is no way a player of Anand's caliber   
should miss an idea like this. (Of course, this should make the average chess-player feel better  ...   
even the world's best players are only human sometimes!)  

     [ White seemingly had to play:  >/=  26.Qb3+ Kh827.Bc6 Bxc628.Rxe7 Qxe7  
        29.Nxc6 Qd730.Qb5 f3!?(Maybe - '!')   {Diagram?}   
        Black steps up the pressure.  

        ( ...dxc3; is a viable alternative for Black - but would reduce the second party    
          to playing only for a draw. )   

               ( Not (</=) 30...Rc8?;  31.Nxd4!,  ''  and White wins a Pawn. )    

        31.Nxd4!! Qg4!32.Nxf3! Rxf3[];  {Diagram?}   
        What now?   

        33.Qe2! e434.Re1! h5!? {Diagram?}   
        It is difficult to find a good move here.   

             ( Or 34...h6;  35.Kf1 Rf4;  36.Qxg4 Rxg4;  37.g3 Kh7;       
                38.h3 Rg5;  39.Rxe4, "~" )     

        35.Kf1! Rd3!?36.Qxg4 hxg437.Rxe4 Rd238.Rxg4 Rxb2  
        39.Rc4!? Rc240.h4,  "+/="   (Unclear?)   {Diagram?}    
        It is impossible for me to imagine White losing from this position.   
        (In fact, Black will have to work pretty hard to secure the draw.)   
         Analysis by - LM A.J. Goldsby I   


       ChessMaster, 10th Edition  prefers the move, Qd3 in this position.   

       For example:  (>/=)  26.Qd3!? f327.Bc6 fxg228.Re1 Bxc6 
       29.Rxe7 Qxe730.Qc4+ Kh831.Qxc6, "~"  {Diagram?}    
       This position is roughly equal.  
       {This continuation is also a big improvement over the course   
         of the actual game.} ]    


 26...Bxg2!!;  (boom!!)   {Diagram?}   
What?!?!? You could not have possibly expected Leko to play something very mundane ...   
 like "...Rook-to-b8;" or did you?  

While Leko did not play these moves in an extremely rapid manner, one suspects that this idea could have  
been prepared in advance - and almost certainly with the help of the best computer programs. (Of course,   
it is entirely possible that Leko found all of this over the board, after all ...  
he is one of the best players in the whole world!!!)  

     [ </= 26...Be4?!27.Rxe7 Qxe728.Re1,  "+/="  (Maybe - '') ]   


 27.Bc4+,  (forced?)   
By now, Anand probably realized that he had been duped. However, there is nothing that the great Indian   
super-star can do. He can only try to wiggle a lot, play for tricks ... and pray for a miracle!  

     [ Not   </=  27.Rxe7?,  as after:  27...Qg6!!{Diagram?}  
        and White might win a ton of material, but eventually get mated!  ("-/+")  
        {Note that Bc4+?? is met by ...Bd5+!; with a rapid mate to follow.}   

             ( For example: 27...Qg6!!;  28.Rxg7+!? Kxg7!;  29.f3 Bxf3+;    
               30.Kf2 Qg2+;  31.Ke1 Bxd1;  32.Kxd1 Qxb2;  {Diagram?}    
               Black wins ("+/-") ... and rather easily so from this position. )  ]   


 27...Kh8;  28.Ra6,   
White rescues his Rook ... AND prevents the deadly threat of ...Qg6 by Black.  

     [ Not  </=  28.Re1?,  as  28...Qg6!;  ("-/+")  wins easily for Black. ]  


This is good, as was playing the Black Queen to the c7-square.  

 29.Kxg2 f3+;   {Diagram?}   
This is quite playable, and perhaps even good. But Leko could have also waited (a little) on   
this move here.  {See the variation just below.}  

     [ Leko could have tried:  
       (>/=)  29...Qxc4!?30.Rc6 Qb531.Qd3!? {Diag?}   
       The first choice of Fritz 8.0.  

            ( Or 31.f3!? e4!; "/+" )    

       31...f3+32.Kh1 Qxd3!33.Nxd3 e4{Diagram?}  
       Black has a "Pawn roller"  ...  that is just crushing.  

       34.Nc5 e335.cxd4 e236.Re1 Bxd4; ("-/+") ]   


It is fairly obvious that White can't capture the f-Pawn here, so Anand's next move is relatively forced.  
(The King moves into the corner, where it should be safe ... at least for the next 2-3 moves.)  
 30.Kh1 Qxc4;  31.Rc6 Qb5;  32.Rd6 e4!;  33.Rxd4[]  
White feels compelled to try and break down Black's huge phalanx of infantry in the middle of the board.   
 (If 33.Rg1? then 33...e3; is immediately decisive, the lowly pawns - triumph.)  

The strong computer program, ... Fritz 8.0,  ... ... ...  
confirms that the capture on d4 was completely forced for Anand.  

     [ Not  </=  33.Nc6?,  as then the Queen fork with  33...Qc5{Diag?}   
        wins  ("-/+")  on the spot for Black. (White loses at least a piece here.)   


       Also less than best (for White) was the continuation of:   
       </=  33.Rd5?! Qc434.Rg1 dxc335.bxc3 e3!;  ("-/+")  {Diag?}    
       and Black wins without any real problems from this position. ]    


Now Anand is probably lost. 
(White is down an exchange. Anand had to take on d4, Black was threatening all kind of nasties,  
  to include ...e4-e3; when Black has a winning pawn duo ... the infantry is on the sixth rank, and   
  only two squares from a glorious and triumphant promotion.)  

     [ Or  33...Qh534.Rd5 Be5; "/+"  which is also good for Black. ]   


 34.Qxd4+ Qe5;  35.Qxe5+ Rxe5;  36.Nc2 Rb8;  37.Ne3 Rc5;  38.h3!?,  (hmmm)   
This is virtually an admission of defeat for Anand, once the Q-side falls apart, its over.  

     [ >/=  38.Nd1[]38...Ra5;  "/+" or "-/+" ]    


 38...Rxb2;  39.c4 Rg5;  40.Kh2 Kg8;   
The King is a powerful piece and should always be gainfully employed in the endgame.  

     [ Maybe  40...h5!?;  first? ]  


The next portion of the game is not that interesting to me, one would hope that a player rated   
over 2700 has pretty good endgame technique!   
 41.h4 Rg6;  42.Kh3 Kf7;  43.Nf5 Rc2;  44.Ne3 Rd2;  45.c5!? Ke6;     
 46.c6 Rg8; 
47.c7!?,  (hmmm)   {Diagram?}    
This is not pretty, but with the King nailed to the edge of the board and the White Rook stuck   
on f1, (to guard the f-pawn); White is running out of ideas ... and moves.  

     [ The alternative would have been for White to play:  47.h5!?{Diag?}   
        but this weakens the defenses of the position of the White King. ]   


In the next phase of the game, Leko neutralizes Anand's c-Pawn, and continues   
to try and improve his overall position.  
 47...Rc8;  48.Kg3 Rxc7;  49.Kf4 Rd4;  50.Ra1 Rf7+;  51.Kg3 Rd8;  52.Ra6+ Ke5;   
 53.Ng4+ Kd5;  54.Nf6+!?,  {See the diagram - just below here.}   
With the benefit of analysis, maybe Anand should not have played this move in this position. 
[As long as the material stays on the board, especially the tricky Knight, White has a chance   
  to defend ... however small.]    



  gotm_02-2005_pos3.gif, 08 KB




Now the game has turned into a chess problem:   "Black to move and win."  


     [ After the moves: >/= 54.Ra5+!? Kd6; "/+" or "-/+"  {Diagram?}  
        Leko still has a won game. (Yet the second player still has to demonstrate  
         exactly how he will get out of all the checks here - & there are still many  
         Knight forks that Black must avoid!)  

         There is a common, well-known principle about defense. "When you are behind   
         in material, exchange Pawns  ...  NOT PIECES!!!"  This is because every swap makes   
         it easier for the player who is ahead - on the material count - to reach a winning endgame. 
         By trading infantry at every opportunity, you will increase - statistically - the likelihood of   
         a draw. (It has also been my experience that most players in a tournament game are NOT   
         prepared to meet a tough, active defense. Very often a player facing "stiff resistance," will    
         wear down mentally ... and they will eventually commit some type of error.) ]  


Black has a won ending ... as Capa showed in his games, you should not hesitate to return material   
to reach an easier ending. (Simplify!)  

 55.Rxf6 Ke5;  56.Rh6, ('?')  {Diagram?}   
Its hard to call anything a real mistake when you have such a lost game, but Fritz shows that Anand  
might have had a slightly better defense. (It also did not {really} matter, nothing was going to save  
Anand as White. However, it is my duty as a commentator to let you know when one player makes   
a move that adversely affects the computer's evaluation of the position by several points!)  

Anand - IF he wished to continue the struggle - had to stay on the key line in this position. 
(I show and explain win in a complex and detailed variation ... given just below.)  

  A mini-rook-endgame course.  

     [ Possibly  (>/=)  56.Rf7!?,  instead?  
        (This is much better than Rh6, because the Rook stays behind the potentially passed f-Pawn!)  


       --->  Black still wins by playing the following continuation:  

       >/=  56.Rf7 Rg8+57.Kh3 Rg258.Re7+ Kd559.Rd7+ Ke660.Rxh7(forced?)  {D?}   
       White may as well capture here.  

            (Or if 60.Rd4!?, then 60...Ke5; {D?} followed by ...Rxf2 wins for Black.)     

       60...Rxf261.Rh8 Kf7!  
       This is not an easy move for a human to find, but the computer spots it instantly. 
       (The idea of this almost hidden retreat is to prevent the White Rook from getting   
        to the f-file, BEHIND Black's most dangerous Pawn! Black also gains a tempo 
        with this very subtle King maneuver.)   

       62.Rh7+ Kf663.Ra7{Diagram?}  
       The Rook operates best when it is far away, and cannot be attacked or harassed   
       by the Black King.   

            ( Or the continuation:  63.Rh8!? e3;  64.Kg3 Rf1; "-/+"  and Black wins. )    

       63...Rg2!(thematic)  {Diagram?}   
       What has all this maneuvering brought about?   

       A.)  White's King is nailed to the edge of the board;  
       B.)  White's Rook is unable to get behind either Pawn;  
       C.)  If White checks ... Black can 'walk' his King up to the protected harbor of the f4-square;  
       D.)  White is unable to effectively try and prevent the triumphant march of Black's passed pawns.   

    ***   ***   *** ***   ***   *** ***   ***   *** ***   ***   *** ***   ***   *** ***   ***   ***    

       The rest of this analysis should be very easy to follow.   
       Attacking the Pawns from afar.   
       (The best place for a Rook is to be BEHIND a passed Pawn, but Black has prevented that.   
        Unable to attack the infantry from the rear, White settles for the approach that is clearly second best.)   

            ( White could also try:      
               64.Ra8 Rg7!;  65.Rf8+ Rf7;  66.Rxf7+ Kxf7;  67.Kg3 Kg6;       
               The King-and-Pawn ending is easy for Black to win. ("-/+") )      

       64...Kf565.Ra8 e366.Ra3 Ke467.Ra4+ Kd368.Rf4  {Diagram?}   
       The White Rook has finally managed to achieve the ideal position, and has gotten behind   
       Black's Pawns. However, it has cost White far too much time to accomplish this!   


            ( The alternative would be:   
               68.Ra3+ Ke2;  69.Ra2+ Kf1;  70.Ra1+ Kf2;  71.Ra2+ e2;     
               and Black wins easily.    
               {The box is already seeing a checkmate in White's future!} )      


       68...Ke269.h5 Rg170.Kh2 Kf2!71.h6 {D?}  
       White may as well play this.   

                   *** *** *** *** *** ***     

            ( Even worse is:  
              </=  71.Rxf3+? Kxf3;  72.Kxg1 e2;  73.h6 e1Q+;   
              and now it is mate in two.   

              After the following moves:  71.Ra4 Rg2+;  72.Kh3 e2;    
              Black also wins easily. )    

                   *** *** *** *** *** ***     

       71...e272.Re4 Rg6!;  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}   
       Black wins easily from this position, the computer now sees a mate in only six or seven moves.    

       {This analysis was generated over a period of several days ... and was checked with about half-a-dozen   
         different, strong chess programs. I also went to great pains to explain the moves, so that even a player   
         who has a low rating or not much experience, would be able to follow and understand this line.} ]   

 56...Rg8+!;  57.Kh3 e3!;  ("-/+")  White Resigns0-1.    
(The first party will be unable to stop Black's Pawns from this position.)  



  "A nice, final, parting shot."  (gotm_02-2005_pos4.gif, 08 KB)

  The final position, after  57...e3!  in this amazing game.  



       [ If you still need to see the proof, then I present this continuation:  

         57...e3!58.Rh5+ Ke4!59.Ra5 e2!60.Ra1 Kd361.Ra3+{Diag?}  
         Any other move also loses. 
         (With White's stuck far away, completely out of play, the first party is unable   
           to offer any meaningful resistance. Please note that on move 59, Black left  
           the White f-Pawn on the board. The second player was planning ahead, this   
           gives the BK a good square to hide on ... away from lateral checks by the WR.)  

                ( 61.h5!? Kd2;  62.Ra2+ Ke1;  63.Ra5 Kxf2;  64.Ra2 Kf1, "-/+" )    

         61...Kd262.Ra2+ Ke163.Ra1+ Kxf264.Ra2 Kf1;  ("-/+")  {Diagram?}   
         It is now obvious that White will lose his Rook after Black promotes a Pawn here. 
         (The box sees the end in sight ... in less than ten moves from the current position.) ]   


A fantastic game by Leko ... but a bit of a let-down by the world's number-two rated player.  


  Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2005. All rights reserved.  


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