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Jonathan Speelman vs David Howell
Staunton Memorial (2006), Crowthorne ENG, rd 9, Aug-23
Indian Game: London System (A48)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-24-06  luzhin: Speelman is the author of a brilliant book on Rook and Pawn endings. Even so,it's incredible that he was allowed to win the position he got himself into after 51 moves of this game.
Aug-24-06  SnoopDogg: Very impressive.
Aug-24-06  Kingdom NL: why didn't black play 45..Rc5? Isn't that the winning move :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mateo: A very exciting Rook and pawn ending. At the beginning it was slightly better for White, but Speelman overestimated his position and misjudged the position. He went with his King on the Kingside instead of going to the Queen side. This gave the advantage to Howell and even a winning position. After great play, he blundered awfully, throwing away the win and then the draw.

35. Kxg2 gxf4 36. Rxf4 Re1 37. Kf3 Ra1 38. Kg4?! <Better seems 38. Ke4 Rxa4 39. Kd5 Rb4! . In this way White can defend his c pawn, free his Rook and make more difficult the advance of any passed pawn on the Queen side. But White cannot play 40. Kc6? a4 41. Kxc7 a3 42. Re4 (42. Rf3? Rxc4+ 43. Kxd6 Ra4 44. Re3 a2 45. Re1 a1Q 46. Rxa1 Rxa1 47. Kc6 Kf7 48. Kxb6 Ke6, Black wins) d5! 43. Re8+ Kf7 44. Ra8 dxc4 45. Kxb6 Rb3 46. Kc5 c3 47. Kc4 c2 48. Kxb3 c1Q 49. Rxa3 Qc5 with double attack over b5 and f2, Black has winning prospects.> Rxa4 39. Kh5?! <39. Kf5 d5! 40. Rd4 (40. cxd5? Rxf4 41. Kxf4 a4 wins for Black) Rxc4 (40... dxc4 41. Kf6) 41. Rxd5 c6, Black has at least an equal game.> d5 40. Rg4+ <40. Kxh6 Rxc4 , Black has two passed pawns already advanced, meanwhile White 3 passed pawns are still in their starting blocks.> Kh7 41. Rg6?! <41. Rf4 Kg7 42. Rg4+ and now to avoid the draw Black has to go anyway to f8 with his King.> Rxc4 42. f4 d4 43. f5 d3 44. Rxh6+ <44. Re6 Kg7! 45. Re7+ Kf6 46. Rd7 Rc3 47. g4 a4 48. Kxh6 a3 49. g5+ Kxf5 50. g6 (50. Rf7+ Ke5 51. Re7+ Kd6 52. Re1 d2 53. Rd1 Rxh3+ 54. Kg7 Rd3 55. Kf7 a2 56. g6 a1Q 57. Rxa1 d1Q 58. Rxd1 Rxd1, Black wins) a2 51. g7 d2! 52. h4 Rg3 53. Rf7+ Ke4 54. Rf1 Kd3 55. Ra1 Rg4! (55... Kc3? 56. Rxa2! d1Q 57. Ra3+ Kb4 58. Rxg3 Qd6+, draw), Black wins.> Kg7 45. Kg5 <45. f6+ Kf7 46. Rh7+ Kxf6 47. Rd7 Rc3 48. g4 (48. h4 a4 49. g4 a3 50. g5+ Ke6, Black wins) Ke6 49. Rd8 Rc5+ 50. Kg6 Rd5 51. Re8+ Kd6 52. Re1 d2 53. Rd1 Ke5, Black wins.> d2 46. f6+ Kf7 47. Rh7+ Ke6 48. Re7+ Kd6 49. Re8 Kd7 50. f7 Rc5+ 51. Kf6 d1=Q 52. Re7+ <53. f8Q Qf3+ with a mating net.> Kd6 53. Re6+ Kd5 54. Ke7 <54. f8Q Qf3+ 55. Kg7 Qxf8+ 56. Kxf8 Kxe6, Black wins.> Qf1 55. g4 <55. Rf6 Qxf6+ 56. Kxf6 Rc2!(or c3 or c1), Black wins.> Kd4? <A blunder. 55... Rc3! wins. If 56. Rf6 Re3+. If 56. f8Q Qxf8+ 57. Kxf8 Kxe6. If 56. g5 Rf3 57. Rf6 Rxf6 58. gxf6 Qe1+ 59. Kd8 Qb4.> 56. f8=Q Qxf8+ 57. Kxf8 a4 58. Re1 Rc3? <It seems that this loses and that 58... Rxb5 holds the draw. For instance, 59. h4 a3 60. h5 Rb2 61. h6 Rf2+ 62. Kg7 Rg2 63. Rh1 Rxg4+ 64. Kf7 Rf4+ 65. Ke7 Re4+ 66. Kd7 Rf4, draw.> 59. h4! <This should win for White.> Rg3 60. Ra1 a3 61. g5 Rh3 62. g6 Rxh4 63. Rxa3 Kc5 64. Rc3+ Kxb5 65. Rxc7 Rf4+ 66. Ke7 Kb4 67. Rc6 Kb5 68. Rc8 Rg4 69. Kf6 Kb4 70. g7 b5 71. g8=Q Rxg8 72. Rxg8 Kc3 73. Rc8+ Kd4 74. Rb8 Kc4 75. Ke5 b4 76. Ke4 Kc3 77. Ke3 b3 78. Rc8+ Kb2 79. Kd2 Ka2 80. Kc3 b2 81. Ra8+ Kb1 82. Kb3 Kc1 83. Rc8+ Kb1 84. Rc7 Ka1 85. Ra7+ 1-0

Sep-21-07  Judah: These endgames are tricky. The fatal mistake for Howell was 66...Kb4. Howell failed to look far enough ahead. As the game demonstrates, he could not stop Speelman's far-advanced g-pawn from queening first. He would have to sacrifice his Rook for the pawn/Queen, as he did in the game. His only hope was to counter with his own pawn rush, taking advantage of the fact that the White King is on the other side of the board. In this situation, blocking his pawn with Kb4 was a horrible strategic oversite. For want of a tempo the battle is lost: the White King can now get to the scene in time.

Howell could have held the draw with <Ka4> instead of Kb4. If 67.Rc6, as in the game, b5 would then be an adequate response.

From 66....Kb4 and on, Speelman played the endgame perfectly (until the very end, when he just fiddled with his pieces instead of capturing the pawn. Presumably he meant to hint to his opponent that it was time to resign).

Jul-31-09  computer chess guy: 66. .. ♖g4 also draws, according to tablebases.
Jun-18-18  Omnipotent00001: 65. g7 is a draw

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