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Mikhail Botvinnik vs Georgy Borisenko
USSR Championship (1955), Moscow URS, rd 16, Mar-09
King's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Karlsbad Variation (E62)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-21-12  vinidivici: vinidivici: In the Endgame book, Dvorets gave the full notions of this particular endgame. 45...Kg5? seems a natural good move to bring the black king to help his passed pawn but apparently it's a wrong move. Its a complicated mistake that involves the white kings struggles to help create the passed pawn itself in the king side in the later stage.

So the correct move is 45...Kg7!

Dvo gave the possible line after 45...Kg7
46.Kg2 Kf7 47.Kf3 Ke6 48.h4 f5 49.Kf4 Kd5 50.Kg5 Ra6 51.f3 Kc5 52.g4 fg 53.fg hg 54.Kxg4 Kb5 55.Ra1 a4 (0-1)

Other replies:
46.f3 Kf7 g4 h4 (0-1)

and 46.h4 (0-1)

all bring same conclusions,

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: This game demonstrates how the weaker side can implement the active plan of gaining kingside counterplay by creating an imbalance on the kingside. One does this by the creation of a passed pawn or weakening the opponent's position and attacking the resulting pawn weaknesses.

Part 1

D. 1
White to move. Last: 44...Ra7

click for larger view

<"This position has been considered by the theory as lost for White because the defending rook is in a passive position whereas his opponent has the optimal position behind his pawn. „White's position is just as lost as it looks and Botvinnik had to seek practical chances rather than finding an accurate path to a draw“ (Marin). In fact, as I will try to prove, the position is drawn but it requires a very accurate defense.">

Marin refers to Mihail Marin, a Romanian chess Grandmaster.

Quote by the great endgame specialist, Poghosyan, who analyzed the above position years earlier and had come to a different conclusion from others...

See the following link as a reference:

White blocks the pawn immediately; otherwise he would have had no chances at all if he allows Black to play a5-a4.

<"The further the pawn can be kept from its queening square, the greater chances of organizing counterplay."> (Levenfish, Smyslov)

See how <"Alekhine won a similar ending from Capablanca in the last, 34th, game of their match for the World Championship in 1927: it can be found in almost every book on endgames."> (Dvoretsky) Alekhine vs Capablanca, 1927

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: D. 1.1
Black to move. Last: 45.Ra4

click for larger view

Here we have a divergence of opinions:

I. 45...Kg5?
<"An instructive error. The king heads for the queenside, but a safer road was via g7."> <"The position of the king in front of the pawns contributes, as we shall see, to the adversary's counterplay."> (Dvoretsky)

By Black going by this route Kg7, Kf7, Ke6, Kd5 <"which would avoid an exchange of pawns on the K-side and would have retained good winning chances."> (Levenfish, Smyslov)

I. 45...Kg5
<"This move was condemned by everyone, but it does not seem to be inferior to 45...Kg7."> (Poghosyan)

White to move. Last: 45...Kg5

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<"Very strong move made by Botvinnik. White should organize without delay counterplay in the kingside."> (Poghosyan)

B) 46...f5! <"looked better"> (Levenfish, Smyslov) 47 Kf2 Kf6
48 Ke3 Ke5 49 h4 Kd5 50 g4 fxg 51 fxg Kc5 52 gxh gxh

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However now 53 Ra1 or Kd2 or Kd3 is a draw according to FinalGen

A) 46...Kf5
D. 1.2

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47.g4+! <"White immediately takes advantage of the chance to reduce the pawn material and split up the connected Black pawns."> (Levenfish, Smyslov)

1) 47...hxg4?

<"This move has been considered by many analysts as a decisive mistake throwing away the win. „Black's desire to avoid a weakness on h5 is perfectly understandable, but with this exchange he forfeits any winning chances“ (Marin). White’s defense is after the exchange of pawns much easier than in case of 47...Ke6 (2)."> (Poghosyan)

48.fxg4+ Ke5

<„This allows White to create a dangerous passed pawn on the h-file, ensuring a draw by just one tempo“> (Marin).

D. 1.3

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49.h4 Kd5 50.h5 gxh5 51.gxh5

<"The goal is reached - White has created a passed pawn"> (Dvoretsky).

click for larger view

51...Ke6 52.h6 Kf7 53.Rg4 Kf8 54.Rf4 Ra6 55.Rg4! Ra7 56.Rf4 Kg8 57.Rxf6 a4 58.Rf2 Kh7 59.Ra2 Kxh6 60.Kf2 Kg5 61.Ke3. Draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Back to D. 1.2 after 47.g4+.

2) 47...Ke6
<"This move of Levenfish/Smyslov is a better try although with accurate defensive play White can draw."> (Poghosyan)

D. 1.5

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48.gxh5 gxh5 49.Kf2

<"Black’s kingside is now weakened and White has now sufficient counterplay."> (Poghosyan)

49...Kd6 50.Ke3

D. 1.6

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<"Otherwise the white king, in turn, would head to the f- and h-pawns."> (Poghosyan)

51.Kd3 Re5 52.Rf4

D. 1.7

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a) 52...f5

<"Levenfish/Smyslov analyzed only this weak move which leads to an easy draw."> (Poghosyan)

(53.Ra4 or Kc2 or Kd2 or h3 are definite draws according to FinalGen)

53.Rh4! Kd5 54.Rxh5 f4 55.Rh4 Re3+ 56.Kd2 Rxf3 57.Rh5 ⩲ (Levenfish/Smyslov).

b) 52…Rd5+!

<"This is the improvement of Averbakh from 1984 who tried with this move to prove a win for Black. “Black's plan is to give up a pawn at a point when the a-pawn will become dangerous”."> (Poghosyan)

D. 1.8

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b1) 53.Ke3

<"It is logical to keep the king near to the weakened kingside of Black but as we shall see later 53.Kc3 also holds.>" (Poghosyan)

D. 1.9

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<"Now Averbakh considers only 54.Rh4? which loses:"> (Poghosyan) 54...Kc5 55.Kf2 Kb5 56.Rxh5 a4 57.Rh8 a3 58.Re8 f4! 59.h4 Kb4 60.Re1 a2 61.Kg2 Ra5 62.Ra1 Kc3 63.Kh3 Kb2–+ (Averbakh).


<"The only move to draw! Before attacking the h-pawn White should first prevent the Black king’s march to the a-pawn."> (Poghosyan)


Or 54...Re5+ 55.Kf4 Rc5 56.Ra4 (or 56.Rd4 ⩲) 56...Kc6 57.Kg5 Kb5 58.Ra1 Kb4 59.Kxh5 Kb3 60.h4=.

55.Rh4 Kc5

55...Rc5 56.h3 Re5+ 57.Kf4 a4 58.Rxh5 Ra5 59.Rg5 Ke6 60.Rg2 a3 61.Ra2 Kf6 62.Kg3 Ra4 63.f4=.

56.Rxh5 Kc4

57.Kd2? (Wrong as Black plays 57...a4 58.Kc2 and now 57...Kd4 wins in 26 moves FinalGen)

57.Rh4+ Kb3 58.Rd4 a4 59.Rd3+ Kb2 60.Rd2+ Ka3 61.h4 Rb3+ 62.Kf4=.

To be continued

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Part 2

Back to D. 1.1
Black to move. Last: 45.Ra4

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I. 45...Kg5? Poghosyan showed that White can draw with accurate defense in Part 1

II. 45...Kg7! <"White is not getting on:"> (Dvoretsky)

Chess user <vinidivici> in an above post showed us some of Dvoretsky's analysis like 46.f3 Kf7 47.g4 h4! avoids exchange of pawns.

<"Black's plan, if he followed the well-beaten track, would be to transfer his king to the Q-side, which would also force the White king to make towards the QRP. Then, using Zugzwang, Black's king would break through to his opponent's pawns.">
(Levenfish, Smyslov)

For me the critical position therefore becomes after:
45...Kg7 46.f3 Kf7 47.Kf2 Ke6 48.Ke3 Kd5 49.Kd3 Kc5 leading to

E. 1
White to move. Last 49...Kc5

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FinalGen needs over 33.3 TB of storage to analyze hence Stockfish had to be used...

Several lines are possible: 50.Kc3 (E. 1.1) or 50.Kc2 (E. 1.2) or 50.h4 (E. 1.3)

E. 1.1
50.Kc3 Kb5 51.Re4 a4 52.Rb4+ Kc5 53.Rc4+ Kd5 54.Rd4+ Ke5 55.Re4+ Kd6 56.Rd4+ Ke7 57.Kb2 Rb7+ 58.Ka3 Rb3+ 59.Kxa4 Rxf3 60.Kb4 Ke6 61.Rd2 h4 62.gxh4 Rf4+ 63.Kc3 Rxh4 leads to

White to move. Last 63...Rxh4

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f- and g-pawns vs h-pawn
Here we have one of the most common 2 vs 1 rook endgames where the attacker has a passed pawn. White's king is far away and FinalGen says Black will win in 27 moves while a better placed White king for example on g2 would easily draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  g15713: Part 2 continued

E. 1.2
50.Kc2 Kb5 51.Rf4 Ra6 52.Kb3 Re6 53.h4 a4+ 54.Kb2 f5 55.g4 hxg4 56.fxg4 leads to

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56...Re2+!! A nice touch by Stockfish

A) 57.Ka3 Re4! (forcing the exchange of rooks) 58.Rxe4 fxe4

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This is a winning position for Black

1) 59.h5 e3 60.h6 e2 61.h7 e1=Q 62.h8=Q Qb4+ 63.Ka2 Qxg4

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White loses in 59 moves according to Shredder

2) 59.h5 e3 60.hxg6 e2 61.g7 e1=Q 62.g8=Q

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Black has a mate in three:
62...Qa1+ Ouch! 63.Qa2 Qc3+ 64.Qb3+ Qxb3 checkmate

B) 57.Kc3 a3 58.gxf5 a2 59.Rf1 gxf5

White to move. Last 59...gxf5

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FinalGen says this a win for Black in 14 moves while Stockfish gives the following analysis:

60.h5 Rh2 61.h6 Ka4 62.h7 Ka3 63.Kc4 Rxh7 64.Rf3+ Ka4 65.Rf1 Rh4+ 66.Kc3 Ka3 67.Rd1 Rh6 68.Kc4 Rh2 69.Kc3 Rh4 70.Kc2 Kb4 71.Rf1 Rh2+ 72.Kd3 f4 73.Kd4
and now Black can play 73...Kb3 which wins easily - my note

E. 1.3
50. h4 Kb5 51.Re4 a4 52.Kc2 Rc7+ 53.Kb2 f5 54.Re5+ leads to

Black to move. Last 54.Re5+

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Using a-pawn as bait, the Black forces eventually penetrate to the Kingside...

54...Rc5 55.Re7 Rc6 56.Rd7 Kc4 57.Kc2 Kb4+ 58.Kb2 Kb5 59.Kb1 Kc5 60.Kc2 Kc4 61.Rd3 Re6 62.Kd2 Rb6 63.Rc3+ Kb5 64.Ra3 Rd6+ 65.Kc1 Re6 66.f4 Kb4 67.Rd3 a3 68.Kb1 Rc6 69.Rd8 Rc3 70.Rb8+ Kc4 71.Rc8+ Kd3 72.Rg8 Rc6 73.Rg7 Ke3 74.Rd7 Kf2 75.Rd3 Ke2 76.Rxa3 Kf2 77.Ra5 Kxg3 78.Ra1 Rb6+ 79.Kc1 Kxf4

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