November 30, 2010

Remco Heite - Final Round

The winner in the Remco Heite Tournament, Wolvega, was decided just in the very last moment, in the critical final round. There were 3 players with the same number of points: Anish Giri, Erwin l'Ami and Luke McShane. Since Erwin and Anish drew in their last encounter, McShane would be clear first, in case of a win against Loek van Wely. Playing with Black, McShane got a slight edge in the middlegame, which resulted in a clear better endgame. Van Wely, however, continued to defend stubbornly, and in the diagrammed position, he has a clear way to defend (In Loek's defence, he hardly had any time on the clock and after 66.Kf3 Rxf2+ 67.Rxf2 exf2 68.gxf5+ Kxf5 69.Kxf2 Kf4, he resigned). How can White's play be improved? 

White to play and draw


  1. The only chance I found was to keep the rooks and give up this second pawn with 1.gxf5+ Kxf5 2.Ra1 (because everything else simply loses, I thought..) For example 2.-exf2 3.Ra5+ Kg6 4.Ra4 and I see no progress... But what about 2.-Rxf2+ .. I am not sure this is a draw.. 3.Kg3 and I guess there will always be annoying checks for Black when he tries to do something.. Maybe Black wins somehow anyway.. This was the best I could do!

  2. My idea was to play 1.gxf5+ Kxf5 2.Kg3, and then after 2..Rxf2 3.Ra1. I think it should be draw.

  3. That is the same but with a different move order, right? And after 2.-exf2 you go back, 3.Kg2? Or can you play 3.Ra1 even there, 3.-Re1 4.Ra5+ Re5 5.Ra1...

  4. So, time to share the solution! Indeed White is forced to go for 1.gxf5 Kxf5 2.Ra1 (2.Kg3 Rxf2 3.Ra1 transposes) 2...Rxf2+ (2...exf2 leads nowhere) 3.Kg3 which turns out to be a draw. For example:
    a) 3...Rf4 4.Ra5+ Ke4 5.Ra4+ Kd5 (5...Kd3 6.Ra3+ Kd2 7.Ra2+ etc.) 6.Ra5+ Kc4 and now easiest is 7.Ra3!? because 7...Re4 8.Kf3! draws.
    b) 3...Rd2 4.Kf3! e2 5.Ra5+ Kg6 (5...Ke6 6.Kf2=) 6.Re5 Kh5 7.Kg3 and Black can't make progress.

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