17 May 2014

Playing it Out

Alexei Shirov resigned as Black in this position. His opponent was Alexander Grischuk, The game was played in the European Cup in 2011.

Black to move

It was not instantly clear to me how White would win, so I played the position against the computer. I took Black.

51...Re6 52.Rh7+ Kg3 53.Kb7 Rf6

Stockfish prefers 53...Re4, but after several top engine choices, the game reaches a position almost identical to one reached in my effort against the box. 54.b5 axb5 55.a6 Re8 (see digram below).

54.b5 axb5 55.a6 Rf8

White to move

56.a7 b4 57.Rh5 Kf4 58.h4

Black to move

I was now confident that I could win if I had the White pieces, but I tried a few different moves for Black in any case.

a) 58...Kg4 leaves White only one winning move, but it is easy to find. 59.Rxg5+ Kxh4 60.Rc5. Black's remaing pawn is stopped and the Black rook must give itself up after a8Q.

b) 58...Rf7+ 59.Ka6 Rf8 60.Rxg5 b3 61.Rb5 as above.

c) 58...g4 59.Rb5 g3 60.Rxb4+ Kf5 61.a8Q Rxa8 62.Kxa8 g2 63.Rb1 Kg4 64.Rg1 Kg3

White to move

65.h5 Kf2 66.Rxg2 Kxg2 67.h6 1-0

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