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Miguel Najdorf vs Alexander Kotov
Saltsjobaden Interzonal (1948), Stockholm SWE, rd 4, Jul-20
Neo-Grünfeld Defense: Delayed Exchange Variation (D74)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-22-05  aragorn69: 51.g5?? appears to be one of the worst mistakes made by a top-grandmaster in a basic ending.
Jan-27-06  Addicted73: Candidate in front. f4,g4 followed by f5 simply win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Gideon Ståhlberg's tournament book has this ending (after 70...Ke7):

71.Ke5 Kf7 72.h5 h6 73.g6+ Kg8 Remis.

May-09-14  kereru: 51.g5 wasn't the best but the real blunder was 55.Ke4?? Giving away the 5th rank and the opposition is incomprehensible.

White could still have won after 51.g5, e.g. 52.f4 Kf7 53.Kd6 Ke8 54.Ke6 Kf8 55.Kf6 Kg8 56.Ke7 Kg7 57.h4 Kg8 58.h5! etc.

Jul-08-14  kereru: I take that back, the game was still winnable after 55.Ke4?, which still deserves a question mark.

After this the win depended on using the tempo correctly with the h-pawn. 65.h3?? was the move which finally gave the win away, 65.h4 still works.

Jul-08-14  Poulsen: <kereru><65.h3?? was the move which finally gave the win away, 65.h4 still works.>

All can be checked in endgame databases. I have not checked, but you might be right.

Never the less I think that <Addicted73> is right about <Candidate in front>. It's a simple rule - easy to remember - even under timepressure - and it works in most cases in pure pawn endgames.

However here it will properly require some precision. If both g-pawns are gone, white must off course not give his f-pawn to win the black h-pawn, if black can control h8 or gain sideopposition.

Jul-10-14  kereru: Would need the 7-man tablebases on the supercomputer at Lomonosov University for that...

But anyway they had it all worked out before engines and tablebases. Page 42 of Euwe & Hopper's "Guide to Chess Endings":

Oct-03-17  erony: I agree with kereru (also Euwe & Hopper !) except on one point : 51 g5 is not inferior to 51 f4, it would even be the only plan if the white Rook-pawn had already moved !
Oct-04-17  Straclonoor: First of all - after 7-pieces position appears (48.Kxd4) on the board white win.

Here is variation from Lomonosov TB7

48... Kf8 49. Ke5 Kf7 50. f3 h6 51. f4 h5 52. h4 Ke7 53. f5 gxf5 54. Kxf5 Kd7 55. Kg5 Ke7 56. Kxh5 Kf7 57. g4 Ke7 58. g5 Kf7 59. g6+ Kf6 60. Kh6 Ke6 61. g7 Kd6 62. g8=Q Kc6 63. Qg5 Kb6 64. h5 Ka6 65. Qc5 Kb7 66. Kg6 Kb8 67. Qe7 Ka8 68. h6 Kb8 69. h7 Ka8 70. h8=Q#

Second - <65.h3?? was the move which finally gave the win away, 65.h4 still works.>

Yes, but not 65.h4 only wins (in 28 moves) - Kd4, d3, e3, f3 also wins in 30-32 moves.

Oct-05-17  erony: In pratical terms, ...h6 is very bad. The only chance is to keep this pawn in h7, like "every russian school-boy knows" and what Kotov did.

The other moves than 65 h4! are only waste of time and have no interest at all. What is crucial is the reciprocal zugzwang Ke4, Pf4,g5,h4 / Kd6, Pg6,h7.

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