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Boris Gelfand vs Peter Leko
"Gelfandom" (game of the day Feb-01-2010)
FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix (2009), Jermuk ARM, rd 13, Aug-23
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation (E15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-24-09  FHBradley: <SimonWebbsTiger:> Never trust a Pandolfini!
Aug-24-09  yevlev: Probably, Gelfand's best game in 2009. It should be included in his Notable Games.
Aug-24-09  MarvinTsai: Gelfand's immortal game? He won a game against world defending champion by sacrificing two pawns. A drawn game was expected, but Gelfand won with his own style.
Aug-24-09  zarg: <Peligroso Patzer: The position after 64. hxg4 contains seven (7) total units and, therefore, is not covered by any current tablebase of which I am aware.>

Right, I could not locate a program to generate kbppkbp TB either. It appears I need to write a generator on my own...

Aug-24-09  percyblakeney: <The Black position was almost certainly already lost by move 64, so I do not think there was anything wrong with 64. ... g5>

Yes, I just tried various alternative lines instead of 64. ... g5 with Shredder and none of them drew. Doesn't have to mean much but Leko had a few minutes for several moves while I failed with Shredder and numerous takebacks in half an hour, so at least it wasn't easy to draw by then.

Aug-25-09  kurtrichards: <kurtrichards: 54. ... g5 Better for the pawn to stay at g6 (white square).>

Should be 64. ...g5

Another K+B+Ps ending where Boris Gelfand won was Kasimdzhanov vs. Gelfand FIDE Jermuk GP 2009

Aug-25-09  Albertan: I have analyzed this game in great detail and posted it on the first page of my blog using the program ChessViewer Deluxe .I hope some of you come by and enjoy playing through the game, and the variations I have provided. Please go to


Aug-25-09  percyblakeney: <Albertan> I tried the line with 64. ... Bh4 but couldn't make it work after 65. Bd2. The black king will have to choose pawn to go for, and white can play g5 while black sooner or later will be forced to sacrifice the bishop for the a-pawn. I think :-)
Aug-25-09  Albertan: <percyblakeney: <Albertan> I tried the line with 64. ... Bh4 but couldn't make it work after 65. Bd2. The black king will have to choose pawn to go for, and white can play g5 while black sooner or later will be forced to sacrifice the bishop for the a-pawn. I think :-)>

Hi Percy what about this continuation?

If 64...Bh4 65.Bd2 Bd8 66.Ka4 Ke4 67.Ba5 Bh4 68.Kb5 Kf3 69.a4 Kxg4 70.Kc6 g5 71.Bb4 Kf3 72.a5 g4 73.a6 Bf2 74.Bc5 g3 75.a7 g2 76.Kb5 g1(Q) 77.a8(Q)+ =

Percy I am now a follower of your blog :)

Aug-25-09  percyblakeney: <If 64...Bh4 65.Bd2 Bd8 66.Ka4 Ke4>

66. Kb4 is better, but for example Ke4 67. Kb5 g5 68. Kc6 Kf3 69. Kd7 Bb6 70. Bxg5 Kxg4 does seem to lead to a draw, must have missed something there last time I looked (or now) but amazing that an endgame with so few pieces can contain so much headache :-) So maybe 64. ... g5 was indeed a losing mistake, at least until someone finds a better winning line...

Aug-25-09  zarg: <pb: I just tried various alternative lines instead of 64. ... g5 with Shredder and none of them drew.>

click for larger view

This was a very interesting position, so I've spent time analysing it as well. I think Leko was lost too, the Rybka line goes

64. ... Bb6 65.Be7 Bc7 66.Kb4 Kc6 67.a4 Kb6 68.Bg5 Ka6 69.Bf6 Kb6 70.Kc4 Ka5 71.Kb3 Kb6 72.Bd4+ Kb7 73.Kc4 Ka6 74.Bc3 Bf4 75.Kd3 Bg3 76.Bd2 Kb6 77.Kc4 Kc6 78.a5 Bf2 79.Bc3 Be3 80.Bd4 Bf4

click for larger view

Now, the a-pawn can advance down to a7, which force black king to stay on b7 or a8. Then the white king can penetrate and provoke g5:

click for larger view

After g5, white win via e.g. Kg6 and Bxg5, ref. online 6-men EGTB. I have also checked a couple of books on endgame theory, without finding a clue to how Leko could draw this on move 64.

Aug-25-09  percyblakeney: Chessbase didn't have any analysis of the game, while GM Zagrebelny at Chesspro seems to mean that it was lost at move 64 regardless what Leko played, but he conveniently avoids giving any lines at that stage :-)

Aug-26-09  zarg: GM Zagrebelny comments did not help clarifying the problem, but his instinct should be better than ours.

However, I have seen some B+P vs B+2P endgame's that was (to my surprise) a draw, so the answer isn't given just like that though.

Aug-28-09  Knight13: 64...g5?? I do NOT understand this move at ALL.
Feb-01-10  ChessKnightsOfLondon: 5. Bb7... I could never play such a move which just seems to waste loads of time. Is this normal!
Feb-01-10  Garech: Nice display of the strength of the bishops - great game Gelfand!
Feb-01-10  tivrfoa: great game indeed.
Feb-01-10  AccDrag: <ChessKnightsOfLondon> Yes, in the Queen's Indian, you will often see Black playing ...Ba6-b7 and/or ...Bb4+ - e7.

In the game, the Black's idea is that after Qc2, he can drop the B back to its natural h1-a8 diagonal, having goaded White into slightly misplacing his Q. On c2, the Q does not defend the P/d4, which can be attacked by ...c5, nor does the Q/c2 help with the thematic d4-d5 push as it would from d1.

And if White does move the Q again, as he likely will, Black gets back his "lost" tempo. Of course White will try to prove that the Q is OK on c2. And the battle of chess ideas continues. :-) The QID is full of such subtleties.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: After the bishop moves away,white seals it out for good with Bb6-and the pawn cannot be stopped.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: 33...Qe1+ looks like a patzer move to me.

Nf7 would have been useful for driving off the bishop and repositioning the knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Looking around for commentary, I found some at It looks like 33...Qe1+ was a dubious move and that Nf7 was preferable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Albertan,

I just went to your blog, it is really impressive! Your analysis is thorough but not overly complex.

Great job!

Feb-01-10  WhiteRook48: 78...Bc5 and Bb6 shuts the bishop out
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Gelfand on the position after <19.Qc2>:

click for larger view

"Now I had got the position I wanted to play. White is a pawn down, but ♘a5, ♘h5 and ♗c7 are poorly placed and thus White has full compensation for the pawn. I was aware that engines do not see a big danger for Black and this gave me extra confidence and motiva¬≠tion. I was convinced that my assess¬≠ment of the position was correct and was eager to prove that a human's view on a position can sometimes be more precise than a computer's one (a very unpopular opinion nowadays)."

Nov-07-16  Smothered Mate: This analysis is not affected by the
​50-move rule, since each relevant mate is less than 50 ​
after the most recent [pawn move or capture]
​that was _not before_ the relevant move.

According to the Lomonosov tablebases:

The position just after ​ 64. hxg4 ​ is a draw. ​

64. ... g5 ​ loses; Bh4! was the only drawing move.

65. a4 ​ and ​ 66. Be7 ​ and ​ 67. Bxg5 ​
(all played) were all only-winning-moves.

According to standard tablebases:

67. Bxg5 ​ (played) wins

69. Kb5 ​ (played) was the only winning move.

White kept the win the whole way after ​ ​ ​ 67. Bxg5 ​ .

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