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Akiba Rubinstein vs Oldrich Duras
18th DSB Congress, Breslau (1912), Breslau GER, rd 7, Jul-22
Tarrasch Defense: Rubinstein System (D33)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: During the last week of the Breslau 1912 tournament, Duras scored 5.5/6 and won this adjourned end-game, to catch Rubinstein for the shared first place: 1-2 Duras and Rubinstein, 3 Teichmann, 4-5 Schlecher and Tarrasch, 6 Marshall, 7 Spielmann, 8-11 Baracz, Breyer, Mieses, Przepiorka, 12 Burn, ...

To this day, Rubinstein is still considered as being the all-time greatest master of rook endgames. In turn, Duras composed several endgame studies, many with rook motives. And here, the two clash in a very instructive rook ending.

Here is a synopsis of the game:

Rubinstein wins the opening duel and collects black IQP, <21.g5 hxg5 ... 24...Kg7! 25.e3!>. Rubinstein presses on, but Duras nifty knight tactics <37...Na6! 38.Rd6 Nc5+ 39.Kf4 Nd3+! 40.Ke4 Nc5+ 41.Kd4 Nxb3 42.axb3> save the game.

Even without the pawn exchange <43.e6 fxe6 44.Rxe6> White does not seem to have a way to press on his extra pawn to victory. However, Rubinstein pushes on for another 35 moves. Rubinstein should have called it quits (draw) after <75.Rg5 Kg4>. He would have finished sole first in the tournament. But he overplayed his hand with an unequal pawn swap <76.Ra7? Rxh4 77.Rxa6>.

Suddenly White is loosing the game. It takes all of Duras endgame skils to show that, however. On his 76-th move, Rubinstein clearly failed to notice, or fully appreciate, the following maneuver <77...Re4! 78.Rc6 Re5 79.Rc5 Kf4! 80.Kb2 Rxg4>.

The rest is a delicate, study-like 'tempo' play. Black pushes his g-pawn and decoys White king to the K-side, <81.Kc3 Rf5! ... 88.Kf2!>. Then the play switches to the Q-side <88...Rd5! 89.Rf8 Ke4 90.Rg8 Kd3!>. White pawns of the Q-side fall <92...Kxb3> and the remaining b-pawn wins the game. But, at all times, Black has to mind that he needs to be able win also the pawn ending (critical squares control), should White exchange the rooks <93...Kc3! 94.Ke1 Rh5! 95.Kd1 Rh1+ 96.Ke2 Rb1 97.Rd3+ Kc2!> and if 98.Rg4!? then 98...Rb3! 99.Rh4 Kc3 100.Kd1!? Rb1+! 101.Ke2 Rxb4 102.Rxb4 Kxb4 103.Kd1 Kb3 etc. The rook ending is routinely won; <106.Kc3 Ra7> and if 107.Rxb3 then 107...Rc7+ wins the rook on b3.

Oct-30-06  Whitehat1963: The master of the rook and pawn ending loses a very long rook and pawn ending.
Dec-09-07  Karpova: Rubinstein had a very strong will to win and sometimes even went for more than doubtful continuations in drawish positions.

Another example is this game Salwe vs Rubinstein, 1912 but Rubinstein won that encounter.

Apr-11-08  InspiredByMorphy: Very patient play by Duras. He seems to have no problem with walking the king back and forth in the middlegame, implying that a draw is just fine. This of course annoys Rubinstein enough to play for a win and eventually lose. When playing this game on guess the move, I found black being so content on drawing to be annoying. I can understand why White wouldn't be content with such a boring outcome.
Apr-24-09  whiteshark: <81.Rc6!> is still a draw.

click for larger view

Nov-18-18  Retireborn: I (or rather Houdini) agree with <whiteshark>'s assessment that 81.Rc6 would hold the draw.

Furthermore one can use Tablebase to confirm that Black is winning after 92...Kxb3, and that Duras subsequently played very exactly.

Feb-24-21  RickAlexander: the master of the endgame getting soundly grinded and defeated by the guy whose namesake in chess is 1. e4 f5?. I love it.
Feb-13-22  iron john: why not 98 rg4 ?how black win then ?
Feb-13-22  whiteshark: <iron john> check gypsy's post or try to find out for yourself with

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