Aveskulov (2526)
Moiseenko (2676)

Turkish league (2)
Antalia, 2009

White has no compensation for being a pawn down.

52... Ba4 Transfers to a rook and pawn ending. But 52... Bc6 53. Rb2 f5 was much easier. White is hopeless. 53. Rxa4 Rxc2+ 54. Kf3 Rb2 55. Ra7+ Kf6 56. Rb7 All forced. 56... Rb3+ Black could also push his "h" pawn forward at once: 56... h4 Where White has two ways to defend: 57. b5 White awaits Black's actions.(57. Kg4 Rxg2+ 58. Kxh4 leads to the same position as occured in the game, except that Black has an extra tempo.) 57... e5 58. b6 Ke6 59. Rb8 Kf5 60. b7 Rb3+ 61. Kf2 Kf4 62. Rh8 Rb2+ 63. Kf1 Rxb7 64. Rxh4+ Kg3 65. Rh3+ Kg4 66. Re3 f6 This seems absolutely hopeless for White. 56...Rb3 and 57...h4 is even stronger. 57. Kf4 57. Kf2 h4 reaches the same position discussed in the comment to 56...Rb3. 57... h4 Now 58...Rg3 threatens. 58. Kg4 Forced. 58... Rg3+ 59. Kxh4 Rxg2 60. Kh3 Rb2 61. Kg4 Kg6 62. Kf4 f6? The first mistake. Time is important; Black has to push his pawns faster 62... f5! 63. Rb8 ( Activating the White king doesn't hold 63. Ke5 Re2+ 64. Kd6? f4! and the pawn is unstoppable 65. Rb8 f3 66. Rf8 f2 67. b5 Kg7! Rook is being pushed to f4 or f3 where it will be attacked by the "e" pawn 68. Rf3 e5 69. b6 e4 70. Rf4 e3 71. b7 Rb2 72. Kc7 e2 73. Rxf2 e1=Q 74. Rxb2 Qc3+) 63... Kf6! Black needs to bring his king closer to the "b" pawn(63... Re2 is too slow 64. Kf3 Re4 65. b5 Kf6 66. b6 Ke5 67. b7 Rb4 68. Kg3 The key position. Black can't win with pawns on e6 and f5 68... Rb3+ 69. Kf2 f4 70. Kg2 Ke4 71. Re8 Rb2+ 72. Kg1 Rxb7 73. Rxe6+ Kf3 74. Ra6= with a theroretical draw.) 64. b5 (An alternative is 64. Rf8+ Ke7 65. Rb8 Re2 now this maneouver wins as the Black king is able to help his own rook in stopping the "b" pawn 66. Kf3 Re4 67. b5 Kd6 68. b6 Kc6! Winning time for pushing the pawns forward 69. Kf2 e5 70. Kf3 Rb4 71. Re8 Rb3+ 72. Ke2 Kd5 73. Rb8 f4 74. b7 Ke4 pawns are one rank up and Black creates more threats to White king: 75. Kd1 f3 76. Kc2 Rb5 77. Kd2 Rb6! zugzwang forces the White king away from the e3 square 78. Kd1 Ke3 79. Re8 f2!) 64... e5+ 65. Ke3 Rb3+ 66. Kd2 e4 67. Kc2 Rg3! the rook is transferred to the 7th rank(67... Rh3? 68. b6 Rh7 69. b7 and the only move is 69... Rf7 70. Kd2 f4 71. Ke2 Kf5 72. Kf2 Black can't improve his position - draw) 68. b6 Rg7 69. b7 Kg5 Here the diffe rence between Rg7 and Rh7 is that the Black king can go to the g-file 70. Kd2 f4 71. Re8 e3+ 72. Ke2 Rxb7 Black is winning according to the Nalimov endgame tablebase: 73. Kf3 Rb1 74. Rg8+ Kf5 75. Rf8+ Ke5 76. Re8+ Kd4 77. Kxf4 Rf1+ 78. Kg3 Kd3 White has no time to start flank checks 79. Rd8+ Ke2 80. Kg2 Rf7 and then Rg7 63. Rb8 e5+? This is a grave mistake. Surprisingly 63... f5! still allows Black to realize the power of his extra pawn: 64. Ke5 (64. b5 Kf6 65. b6 Rb3!? threatening e6-e5 checkmate!(65... Rb4+ 66. Kf3 Ke5 67. b7 Rb3+ 68. Kf2 f4 69. Kg2= we have already seen this draw) 66. Rf8+ Ke7 67. Rb8 Kd6 68. b7 Rb4+! Pushing the White king back(68... Rb6? 69. Rd8+ Kc7 70. Re8 Kxb7 71. Ke5= Nalimov's endgame tablebase says that Black can't win this; the White pieces are too active.) 69. Kf3 Kd7! A brilliant waiting move! Black forces the White king to leave f3, a perfect square 70. Kg3 (70. Ke3? Kc7 71. Re8 Re4+! winning the b7 pawn with no problems) (70. Kf2 from here White king can't get to the e5 square 70... Rb6 71. Kf3 Kc7 72. Re8 Kxb7 73. Kf4 Kc7 Black is able to break White's saving setup 74. Ke5 Kd7 75. Rh8 Rb5+ 76. Kf6 f4!) 70... e5 71. Rf8 f4+ here the disadvantage of g3 square is 72. Kf3 Rxb7 73. Ke4 Ke6) 64... Re2+ 65. Kd6 f4! 66. Rf8 Kg5 67. b5 Rb2 68. Kc6 e5 Black's rook will be sacrificed for the "b" pawn while Black's king will be supporting his pawns. Black is winning. 64. Ke4 Rd2 There is no other way to advance the pawns. But this is also too slow White just repeats after 64... Rb1 65. Rg8+ Kf7 66. Rb8 and after 64... Re2+ 65. Kd3 Rh2 66. Ke4 and Black can't make progress without the Rd2-d4 maneouver 65. b5 White push es the pawn to b7 and Black is not able to adjust his own pawn structure properly 65... Rd4+ 66. Ke3 Kf5 67. b6 Rb4 68. b7 We already saw a similar position. The only difference is that pawns are on e5, f6 here (instead of e6, f5). But the assessment is the same. Black can't win this endgame without help from the opponent. 68... Rb3+ 69. Kd2 e4 70. Ke2 Kf4 No other way. 71. Rf8 Rb2+ 72. Kf1 Rxb7 73. Rxf6+ Ke3 This position is drawn by many methods. Unfortunately in February 2009, I lacked knowledge about this specific type of endgame. 74. Ra6?! The first inaccuracy. 74. Re6! Makes a draw much easier. The defending idea is to stop Black pawn on e4 74... Rb1+ 75. Kg2 Kd3 76. Kf2! the key position: rook is behind the pawn and the king controls the e3 square. 76... Rb2+ 77. Ke1 now Black should go back 77... Ke3 (77... e3 78. Rd6+ Ke4 79. Rd8=) 78. Kf1= the same. 74... Rb1+ 75. Kg2 Rd1 76. Ra3+?! A similar inaccuracy. After 76. Re6! draw is still easier. 76... Ke2 77. Ra2+ Rd2 78. Ra8? The fatal mistake. White had 2 drawing moves: 78. Ra1! not allowing Ke1+ and 78. Ra3! not allowing e4-e3 after Ke1+ 78... e3? My opponent also overlooks that the simple 78... Ke1+! was winning: 79. Kg3 Rd3+! the key move!(79... e3? is too early: 80. Kf3 e2 81. Ke3! Kf1 82. Rf8+= this is only plan I remembered during the game) 80. Kf4 (80. Kg2 e3 81. Ra1+ Rd1 control of the 1st rank is crucial in these positions) 80... e3 threatening e3-e2 81. Ke4 Rb3 82. Kf3 e2+ 83. Kg2 Kd2 84. Ra2+ Ke3 85. Ra1 Rd3 and Rd1. I stronly recommend that everyone memorize this plan - Ke2-e1+ and Rd3+. 79. Ra7 79. Ra3? Vera Menchik lost to Jose Raul Capablanca in Hastings, 1929 in a position similar to this, 79... Ke1+! 80. Kf3 e2 81. Ke3 (81. Ra1+ Rd1 82. Ra8 (82. Ra2 Rd3+) 82... Kf1) 81... Kf1! and White has no check on the f-file. That's why 79.Ra3 is a mistake! 79... Rc2 80. Ra1 Kd2 81. Ra8?? And this is how I lost to Alexander Moiseenko in Turkey, 2009... The correct defensive plan here is: rook on 1st rank and the king near the f2 square in order to play Kf2 after e3-e2 (the only possible trick is the exchange of rooks on d1). Black can't make any progress. 81. Kf3 Rb2 82. Kg3 Rc2 83. Kg2= 81. Rb1? also loses 81... Ra2! now the White rook hasn't enough lines for side checks (as a rule, three files between pawn and rook are enough to draw) 82. Kg3 Ra8 83. Rb2+ Kc3 84. Rb1 Kc2 85. Rb7 Re8 86. Rc7+ Kd2 87. Rd7+ Ke1 81... e2 Black is winning. 82. Rd8+ Ke1 83. Rd7 Rc8 84. Ra7 Rg8+ 85. Kh2 Rg5 85... Rg5 "building a bridge". White resigned because of 86. Ra8 Kf2 87. Rf8+ Ke3 88. Re8+ Kf3 89. Rf8+ Ke4 90. Re8+ Re5 0-1 [Aveskulov]



Tregubov P. (2642)
Akobian V. (2624)

World Cup (1.2)
Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, 2009

The first game of the match ended with a win by Akobian. He needed only to draw to qualify for the second stage.

66... Nxe6+! The easiest way to reach the goal. 67. Bxe6 a2 68. Bxa2 Rxa2 This endgame is completely drawn. 69. Ke5 Rd2 Black's only task so far is to place the king in front of the pawn. That's why 69... Kd8! was more precise. 70. Rc5! Ke7 70... Rh2! with the same goal 71. Rd5 otherwise the Black king goes to the d-file 71... Rh4 72. Rd4 (72. Kd6 Kd8! 73. Kc6+ Kc8 and then Rh6=) 72... Rh5+ 73. Ke4 (73. Kd6 Kd8!=) 73... Ke7 74. c4 Ke6 with a simple draw. 70... Kd7? loses 71. Rd5+ Rxd5+ 72. Kxd5 71. Rd5 Rh2 72. Kd4 72. c4? leads to a drawish pawn endgame 72... Rh5+ 73. Kd4 Rxd5+ 74. Kxd5 Kd7= 72... Ke6? The fatal mistake. Black allows Kc5 and loses. The easiest plan of defense is to place the rook on the 8th rank 72... Rh8! and White can't make real progress with a rook on d5 73. c4 Rg8 74. Kc5 ( king is cut off after 74. c5 Rg4+ 75. Kd3 Ra4=) 74... Rc8+ three lines between pawn and rook provide Black with a draw 75. Kb5 Rb8+ 76. Ka6 Ke6 77. Rb5 Rc8 78. Rb6+ Kd7 79. Kb5 Rh8= 72... Rc2 also saves the game 73. Kc4 (the familiar pawn endgame is coming in case of 73. c4? Rd2+ 74. Kc5 Rxd5+ 75. cxd5 Kd7=) 73... Ra2! going back to the 8th rank 74. Kb5 Ra8 75. c4 Rb8+= see line 72...Rh8 73. Kc5! the Black king is cut off and the rook can't play Rc8+. White is winning. 73... Rh8 74. Rd6+ Ke7 75. c4 Rc8+ 76. Rc6! Here is the difference. 76... Rb8 77. Rc7+ Kd8 78. Rh7 Rb1 79. Kc6 Rg1 If the Black king were on the queen-side (on b8 - see the next game) this endgame would be drawn. But now giving checks just misplaces the Black rook. 80. Rh8+ Ke7 81. c5 Rc1 82. Rb8 The shortest way is 82. Rc8! with idea Kb7 and c5-c6. Black rook hasn't enough space for flank checks. If the position were one file to the right, Black would have a draw with Rd1-a1. But with a pawn on the c-file 82... Ra1 doesn't save the game 83. Kb7 Rb1+ 84. Kc7 Ra1 85. c6 82... Rc2 83. Rb5 Kd8 84. Rb8+ Ke7 85. Rb1 White is winning time to find the right way. 85... Kd8 86. Rh1 Ke7? makes White's task is even easier. The second time that the American GM gets his king cut off. After the stubborn 86... Rc3 Tregubov would need to find the familiar plan: 87. Rh8+ Ke7 88. Rc8 87. Rd1! Ra2 88. Kc7 Ra7+ 89. Kb6 Black resigned because pawn c5 is unstoppable. Next day the opponents played 14 (!) more games to determine the winner. Finally Varuzhan Akobian won but who knows how much extra effort this cost him. 1-0 [Aveskulov]



Gashimov V. (2740)
Stellwagen D. (2630)

17th TCh-Eur (9)
Novi Sad SRB, 2009

A draw would bring the Russian team gold medals in the European team championship. But if White wins, the Azerbaijani team wins! Position in the diagram is drawn. But...

65... Rg4 66. Ra8+ Kh7 67. Ra7+ Winning time for thinking. 67... Kg8 68. Ra8+ Kh7 69. Kf7 69. Ke7 would be more cunning 69... Re4+ (69... Rxh4 as well draws. But now it requires more effort: 70. f6 Re4+ 71. Kf8 Kg6! 72. f7 Rf4 73. Ra6+ Kg5 74. Kg7 Rxf7+ (74... h4?? 75. Rg6+ Kh5 76. Rf6) 75. Kxf7 h4= the king behind of the passed pawn provides Black with a draw. But who can be sure of this over the board?) 70. Kf7 Rxh4 71. f6 and we reach the position that occured in the game 69... Rxh4 70. f6 The key moment. 70... Rf4?? The fatal mistake. The natural 70... Rb4! followed by checks from the b-file simply saves the game. After Rf4, Black is lost. 71. Ke6! Now the players, coaches and managers of the Azerbaijani team started whispering joyfully. Their dream is coming true! 71... h4 If the Black rook were one rank down, it still would be a draw after Re3+ but now 71... Re4+ doesn't help because of 72. Kf5 and f6-f7 72. f7 Kg6 73. f8=Q Rxf8 74. Rxf8 Kg5 75. Ke5 Black resigned and the Azerbaijani team becomes the European champion for the first time! 1-0 [Aveskulov]