Thursday, September 24, 2009



Who said that pawn endings are simple? Not me or GM Wesley So. GM So missed a chance to nail his 1st win in the ongoing SPICE Cup by failing to solve a problem-like pawn ending in his 3rdd round game against GM Akobian of the USA.

Below is the game with analysis by NM Glenn Bordonada with some notes/kibitz by GM Wesley So himself. ( First posted at GM So's page at chessgames. com ).

GM Wesley So: Hello everyone,thanks for keeping track and studying my games.In my game today,I actually had good winning chances (probably win) if 32.Ke3 was played(instead of 32.h4?).Anyway,I would like to ask a favor if you can study my games and tell me what is my weakness or what I need to improve etc.Thank you very much to everyone :)

NM Glenn Bordonada: The endgame which, as Wesley pointed out earlier, he could have won is indeed very instructive. I expanded some of his lines to make it easier to understand below.

[Event "SPICE Cup 2009"]
[Site "Lubbock"]
[Date "2009.09.21"]
[Round "3"]
[White "So, Wesley"]
[Black "Akobian, Varuzhan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[BlackElo "2636"]
[BlackTitle "GM"]
[ECO "C10"]
[Source "MonRoi"]
[TimeControl "5 min/game"]
[WhiteElo "2644"]
[WhiteTitle "GM"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Bd3 c5 7. O-O Nxe4 8. Bxe4 Nf6 9. Bg5 cxd4 10. Nxd4 Be7 11. Bf3 O-O 12. c3 Qc7 13. Bh4 Bd6 14. g3 Bd7 15. Qb3 Rab8 16. Nb5 Bxb5 17. Qxb5 h6 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Rad1 Rfd8 20. Rd3 a6 21. Qa4 Bc5 22. Rfd1 Rxd3 23. Rxd3 Rd8 24. Qg4+ Kf8 25. Qf4 Qb6 26. Rxd8+ Qxd8 27. Bxb7 Qb6 28. Be4

Possibly stronger is 28. b4 Bxf2+ 29. Qxf2 Qxb7 30. Qxf6 and White is a clean pawn up and has a potential passed pawn pair in the Queenside.

28... f5?

Best is 28... Qxb2 29. Qxf6 Kg8 and Black has sufficient counterplay.

29. b4 Bxf2+ 30. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 31. Kxf2 fxe4

32. h4?!

GM Wesley So: Btw,if anyone would like to look ay my fascinating king and pawn endgame today against Akobian,here is the computer's analysis: 32.Ke3 (instead of 32.h4?)32...f5 33.g4! Ke7 34.a4 Kd6 35.c4 Kc6 (35...Ke5 36.b5! f4 37.Ke2 Kd4 38.b6 f3 39.Ke1 ) 36.a5 Kd6 37.b5 Kc7 38.b6 Kc6 39.Kf4 Kb7 40.h3 Kc6 41.Kg3!!(31.h4 e3! 42.Kxe3 fxg4 allows Black to draw) 41...Kb7 42.h4 followed by g4-g5. This was all given by Rybka 3 and I missed the very instructive Ke3-f4-g3 manoever over the board.

NM GLenn Bordonada: The advance of the h-pawn throws away the win. After the game, Wesley found he could have won with:

(Start of long analysis of the winning process)

32. Ke3! f5 33. g4!

An important move as will be seen later.

33... Ke7 34. a4 Kd6 35. c4 Ke5 36. b5 axb5 37. cxb5

The more distant the passed pawn, the better for White.

37... Kd5

There are two alternatives, both of which lose:

a) 37... f4+ 38. Ke2 Kd4 (38... Kd5 39. h4 Kc5 40. g5 and one of the White pawns will queen.) 39. b6 f3+ 40. Ke1 e3 41. b7 Kd3 42. b8=Q f2+ 43. Kf1

White's King and Queen can stop the pawns from further advancing.

b) 37... fxg4 38. b6 Kd6 39. Kxe4 h5 40. Kf4! It is crucial for White's King to prevent Black from pushing his h-pawn. (For example, 40. a5? h4! 41. a6 Kc6 42. a7 Kb7 43. Kf4 g3 44. hxg3 h3 45. Kf3 e5 and it is Black who wins!) 40... e5+ (If 40... Kc6 41. a5 Kb7 42. Kg5 and White wins by harvesting Black's pawns starting with the h-pawn.) 41. Kf5

Black is in zugzwang and must part with his pawns. Back to the main variation after 37... Kd5.

38. a5 Kc5 39. a6

White tries to create passed pawns which are as far apart from each other.

39... Kb6

Black will try to draw by shuffling his King on the squares a7-b6 and wait for White to make progress. White will try to win by creating a second passed pawn.

40. Kf4!

Necessary as will soon be evident.

40... Ka7 41. Kg3!

An important move without which the win is not possible. The immediate h-pawn advance throws away the win: 41. h4? e3! 42. Kxe3 fxg4 43. Kf4 h5=.

41... Kb6 42. h4

Threatening to create a second passed pawn which will decide the game.

42... e3 43. g5

Not 43. gxf5? exf5 44. Kf3 f4! and the game is a draw as both Kings are checked by the pawn pairs.

The endgame is winning for White. The Black King cannot stop one of the pawns from queening. On the other hand, White can hold Black's three pawns in the center. Black's King has no time to help the pawns.

(End of long analysis)

Back to the game:

32... f5 33. h5 Ke7 34. Ke3 e5 35. c4 Kd6 36. a3 Kc6 37. Kd2 Kb6 38. Kc3 a5 39. Kd2 axb4 40. axb4 Kc6 41. Ke3 1/2-1/2

Sep-22-09 fab11mt: Thank you Master Glenn!!

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