13 May 2014

Transition to Philidor

The position below arose in Bologan -- Erdos, Sibenik 2011. The opening and early middle game appears in Chess Informant 113/113 stopping at a point where White, a pawn ahead, has only one move to avoid checkmate. Informant gives the evaluation that Black has compensation for the material.

Black to move

My analysis engine favors 40...exd5, which my eye likes because the White king appears cut off from the passed d-pawn. Even so, White's pawn majority should lure the Black rook to the a- or b-file.

Stockfish DD offers: 40...exd5 41.Kg3 Kxf6 42.b4 d4 43.a4 h5 44.Rb1 Ke5 45.b5

Black to move
Analysis Diagram
45...axb5 leads to a drawn queen ending. The engine favors 45...d3. That, too, leads to a draw although it is less elementary.

In the game, Viktor Erdos opted for 40...Rxd5.

The game continued 41.Re4 Kxf6 42.Ra4 a5 43.b4 axb4 44.Rxb4 Rd2+ 45.Kg3 Rxa2

White to move

White has only one move that holds the draw.


Can the Black king find shelter from the checks? Erdos sought refuge on e8, but h8 was also possible. Best play appears to lead to a draw in either case.

46...Kg6 47.Rg4+ Kf7 48.Rf4+ Ke8

White to move

49.Rf6! Ra3+ 50.Kg2 Ke7 51.Rh6 Kd6 52.Rxh7 Kd5 53.Kf2 e5

White to move

White has achieved a Philidor Position with the Black pieces one rank further back.

54.Rh4 e4 55.Rh8 1/2-1/2

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