Position after 46.Kxd4

Mamedyarov, Shaktyar (2728) – Sokolov, Ivan (2670) [D12]
10th Essent Hoogeveen NED 10-28-2006[IM Kenneth W. Regan ]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nc3 e6 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Ngf6 8.0-0 Be7 9.e4 0-0 10.cxd5 exd5 11.exd5 cxd5 12.Ne5 Bd6 13.Re1 Re8 14.Bf4 Bb4 15.Re2 Qa5 16.Nd1 Nf8 17.Ne3 Ng6 18.Nxg6 hxg6 19.a3 Rac8 20.Be5 Nd7 21.Qb3 Qa6 22.Rc2 Rxc2 23.Nxc2 Bf8 24.Bg3 Qb6 25.Qc3 Nf6 26.f3 Re6 27.Ne3 Rc6 28.Qd2 Qb3 29.Rc1 Rxc1+ 30.Qxc1 Qd3 31.Be5 Nd7 32.Qc3 Nxe5 33.dxe5 Qxc3 34.bxc3 Bc5 35.Kf2 d4 36.cxd4 Bxd4 37.f4 b5 38.Ke2 Bc5 39.Nc2 Kf8 40.Kd3 a5 41.Ke4 Bg1 42.h3 Ke7 43.Kd5 Kd7 44.g4 Bf2 45.Nd4 Bxd4 46.Kxd4

A King-and-Pawn ending in which the most natural and clearly intended move is the only one that loses!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Note: I don’t always follow rigorously the convention in endgame studies that “!” is only for a unique winning or drawing move, though my “!!” has that implication. “Box” is for only-moves that don’t merit “!”. Analysis copyright (c) Kenneth W. Regan 10/30/06, with cited acknowledgments to Ular Lauk and Frederic Friedel, permission granted for general not-for-profit reproduction.

46…Kc6? Black expects to penetrate through d5 to e4, but not just one but two surprises await—as the h-pawn has the potential of crashing through two Black pawns to queen! One is the note to 49 f5! which Mamedyarov missed, but ironically Black’s only salvation is to *force* the second surprise with 51 g5! which Mamedyarov played! One has to see why the actual game situation at Move 53 was a draw in order to understand the logic here. I believe all three variations hold in the same way, and since they are the only other “reasonable moves”, my ironic header about Black finding the only loss is valid. [46…b4 47.axb4[] axb4[] 48.h4 (Or 48.Kc4 which seems a mere transpose here, unlike the actual game at move 49!; 48.f5 gxf5 49.gxf5 g6 50.e6+ (??) 50…Ke7! as I gave sans-machine in the Playchess chat not only holds for Black, it wins!) 48…Ke6 (or first 48…b3 ) 49.Kc4 b3 (49…f6? 50.exf6 gxf6 51.Kxb4 f5 52.g5 Kd6 (52…Kd5 53.Kb5! Ke4 54.h5!+-) 53.Kc4 Black loses because he cannot keep the opposition because of 53…Kc6 54 h5! 53…Ke6 (53…Kc6 54.h5!+-) 54.Kc5 Ke7 55.Kd5 Kd7 56.Ke5 Ke7 57.h5!+-) 50.Kxb3 Kd5[] The point is to force the g5 move, after having forced the h4 move. 51.g5 Ke6[] 52.Kc4 transposing to the actual game (52.Kb4 f6=) ; 46…Ke7 47.Kc5 (Or first 47.h4 ) 47…b4[] 48.axb4[] axb4[] 49.Kxb4[] Ke6[] Black must force first h4 and then g5. Now 50 h4 is forced because White’s King is not close enough to stop 50…g5! 50.h4[] Kd5[] 51.g5[] Ke6[] Now White has 52 Kc5 as an option as well (not to mention 53 Kc3!?), but this too is covered in the Move-53 analysis.; 46…Ke6 with the idea g5 47.h4[] b4[] (47…f6 48.exf6 gxf6 49.Kc5+- for reasons given in the 46…b4 line’s note to 49…f6?) 48.axb4[] axb4[] 49.Kc4[] With BK on e6, White must do this now, or lose! (49.Kd3 Kd5 50.g5 Ke6-+) 49…b3[] 50.Kxb3 (50.Kc3 seems to have no point 50…Kd5 51.g5 Ke6 52.Kxb3 f6= as WK cannot contact e5) 50…Kd5[] 51.g5[] Ke6 again transposes into the game] 47.h4 Now White is winning. 47…b4 48.axb4 axb4 49.Kc4? [49.f5! b3 (49…gxf5 50.gxf5 b3 transposes) 50.Kc3 gxf5 (Worse is 50…Kd5 51.e6 (51.f6 gxf6 52.h5 also wins) 51…fxe6 52.f6 (Or 52.fxg6 Ke5 53.h5 Kf6 54.Kxb3+-) 52…gxf6 53.h5 gxh5 54.gxh5 Ke5 55.h6+-) 51.gxf5 Kd5 And now we see a combination that has appeared in books in various forms… 52.e6! Kd6 (52…fxe6 53.f6 gxf6 54.h5 Ke5 55.h6+-) 53.f6!! …except that this most-beautiful point doesn’t operate *uniquely* in all forms of this combination! (or does it?) (53.h5? Ke7!=) 53…gxf6 54.h5[] Ke7 55.h6[] Kf8 56.e7+ and the survivor of the central mayhem delivers the final blow! (Or first 56.h7 ) ] 49…b3[] 50.Kxb3[] Kd5[] 51.g5! In human terms, a surprise that evidently had a major effect on Black, though it doesn’t win. 51…Ke6[] [51…Ke4 and now there are actually two independent wins: the “jailbreak” as I called it beforehand in the Playchess chat, and 52 Kc4! too! 52.h5! (52.Kc4! This move is actually much more relevant for the analysis of the game at Move 53. 52…Kxf4 53.Kd5 and now: 53…Kg4 (53…Kf5 54.Kd6 Kf4 55.Ke7[] Kxe5 56.Kxf7[] Kf5 57.Kxg7+-) 54.Kd6[] Kxh4 55.Ke7[] Kxg5 56.Kxf7[]+- and the e-pawn queens!) 52…gxh5 53.g6[] fxg6 54.e6+-] 52.Kc4 Ke7 Diagram # The key position. White has three tries of independent significance besides the game continuation. The one that is in-my-humble-opinion most testing is 53 Kd4(!), but after 53 Kb5!? White always had the option of coming back to it later. 53.Kb5 [53.Kd4 Before playing further, think of how to defend the position as Black after 53 Kd4! The three most natural-looking moves are the ones that lose, the last to a gorgeous shot pointed out to me via e-mail by Frederic Friedel. 53…Ke8! Not unique—53…Kf8 holds too. But this “looks better”. Retreating to the first rank looks hopeless at first—combined with being a pawn down and a worse pawn structure to boot. However, Black is ready to bounce right back up to the 2nd rank after a White King move, and so the only independent tries here are: a) 53…f6? 54.gxf6+[] gxf6 55.Kd5+- (Not 55.exf6+? when it is instructive to note that even the demented-looking 55…Kd6!? is still a draw! 55…Kd6 56.Ke4 Ke6 57.Kf3 Kxf6 58.Kg4 Kg7 Even dementedly conceding an advanced opposition doesn’t lose 59.Kg5 Kf7! 60.Kh6 Kf6[] 61.Kh7 Kf7!=) ; b) 53…Kd7? 54.f5! gxf5 55.h5[] Ke7 56.h6[] gxh6 57.gxh6[] Kf8 58.Ke3[] and Black’s basic problem is that the King takes too long to get to h6 58…Kg8 59.Kf4[] Kh7 60.Kxf5[] Kxh6 61.Kf6[]+-; c) 53…Ke6 Armed from the previous line, can you find the shot? 54.f5+!! gxf5 (54…Kxf5 55.Kd5[] transposes into the “relevant 51…Ke4 52 Kc4!” line above, which continues: 55…Kg4 (55…Kf4 56.Kd6[] Ke4 57.Ke7 Kxe5 58.Kxf7+-) 56.Kd6[] Kxh4 57.Ke7[] Kxg5 58.Kxf7[]+-) 55.h5! Ke7 (55…f6 56.exf6! gxf6 57.g6+-) 56.h6[] gxh6 57.gxh6[] Kf8 58.Ke3[] Kg8 59.Kf4[] Kh7 60.Kxf5[] Kxh6 61.Kf6[]+-; 54.Kd5 To prove now that Black’s King is really OK on the first rank, we will even play carelessly and manage not to lose! a) 54.e6 fxe6 55.Ke4 Ke7 56.Ke5 Kd7[]= and there are no breaks to fear.; b) 54.f5!? gxf5[] 55.h5 Kf8 Black has saved a vital tempo 56.Ke3 b1) 56.h6 gxh6 (or first 56…Kg8 ) 57.gxh6[] Kg8[] 58.Ke3[] Kh7[] 59.Kf4[] Kxh6[] (59…Kg6 is fine too) 60.Kxf5[] Kg7= (or 60…Kh7= ) ; b2) 56.Kd5 g6 The most trenchant way to demonstrate a draw, with the protected passer on f5 “keeping White honest”. 57.h6 Kg8=; 56…g6 (Or 56…Kg8 57.Kf4 when 57…g6 is forced, and 58.h6 Kh7 leaves White unable to even attempt to penetrate, with Kd6 losing to …f4!) ; 54…Kd8?! and now: 55.Kd6 (55.Kc6 Ke7 56.Kc7 f6 57.Kc8 fxe5[] 58.fxe5 Ke8! (noted by Lauk at http://vaatleja.blog-city.com 59.e6 Ke7 60.Kc7 Ke8?! Huh? I said we’d play to lose, not draw easily by: (60…Kxe6 61.Kd8 Kf5 62.Ke7 Kg4[] 63.Kf7[] Kxh4[] 64.Kxg6[] Kg4[]=) 61.Kd6 Kd8 62.Kd5 Ke7 63.Ke5 Ke8= and since the extra pair of Pawns at h4 and g7—contrasted with the “famous triangulation win” without them—denies White entry into f6, there is nothing to triangulate into.) 55…Ke8[] 56.e6 fxe6[] 57.Kxe6 Kf8[] and now: 58.Ke5 (58.f5 gxf5[] 59.Kxf5 Kf7[]= since it is only a passed Rook’s pawn. Black must only avoid these two traps: 60.Ke4 (60.Kf4 Kg6? 61.Kg4 and now Black is caught in a literal crossfire! 61…Kf7 (61…Kh7 62.Kf5! The point of the cross is to penetrate after 62…g6+! 62…Kh8 (62…Kg8 63.Kg6+- as in the other branch) 63.Kg6 Kg8 64.h5[]+-) 62.Kh5! Kg8 (62…Kf8 63.Kg6[] Kg8 64.h5[] Kh8 (64…Kf8 65.Kh7+-) 65.Kf7 Kh7 66.h6+-) 63.Kg6[] Kh8 64.h5 Kg8 65.h6 gxh6 66.Kxh6! Kh8 67.g6 Kg8 68.g7+-) 60…g6? 61.Kd5!+- with diagonal opposition, and) 58…Ke7 59.Ke4 Ke6 60.Kf3 (60.Ke3 Ke7 (Not 60…Kf5 61.Kf3 Ke6 62.Kg4+- when Black’s King needs to move to e6, not be there! 62…Ke7 (62…Kf7 63.h5! gxh5+ 64.Kxh5 Kf8 65.Kg6 Kg8 66.f5 Kf8 67.Kh7+-) 63.h5! gxh5+ 64.Kxh5 Kf7 65.f5[] g6+ This trick works only on the 4th rank or higher. 66.Kh6! gxf5 67.Kh7[]+-) ) 60…Kf7 a) 60…Kf5? 61.Kg3! Ke6 (61…Ke4 62.Kg4+-) 62.Kg4 wins as in the note to 60 Ke3.; b) 60…Ke7 61.Kg4 Ke6! is again an only-move; 61.Kg4 Ke6! 62.h5 gxh5+[] 63.Kxh5 Kf5[] is the point of Black’s ultimate survival! Thus even with some careless play, we see that the kind of Queenside penetration embarked on by 53 Kb5!? in the game cannot ultimately go anywhere. But I must say this is surprising, because with a Pawn to the good, a “ruined” Black pawn structure, and White’s King on the *6th* rank, surely seeing that 10 moves ahead in a game one would think it was hopeless…!; 53.Kc5 Ke6 54.Kd4 (54.f5+?? Kxe5 wins for Black!) 54…Ke7 This is actually the “un-triangle”, less danger for Black than 53 Kd4! But here it is worth pointing out that White can triangulate as far as gatting to the 53 Kd4 position: 55.Ke3 Ke6 (or retreat to the 1st rank already, but not 55…Kd7? 56 f5! 56.Ke4 Ke7[] 57.Kd4 and now 57…Ke8/f8 is forced—but fine!; 53.Kd5 Kd7 54.Kd4 (54.e6+ fxe6+ 55.Ke5 Ke7=; 54.f5 gxf5[] 55.h5 Ke7 56.h6 else …g6! 56…gxh6[] 57.gxh6 Kf8[] 58.Kd4[] Kg8 59.Ke3 Kh7 60.Kf4 Kxh6 61.Kxf5 Kg7= as before) 54…Ke7! Or 54…Ke8 as in the note to 53 Kf4, but not 54… Kd8? 55 f5!+- Now play heads into the lines of 53…Ke6 below. The instructional effect of my grouping the lines this way is to make this note before 53 Kb5 say that White has no way of forcing a win by *triangulation in the center*. The remaining lines are where White tries to win by exchanging a pair of pawns at f5 or h5.] 53…f6?? [53…Ke6! forces white’s reply, leading to the second main diagram. Note that important lines from 53 Kd4 Ke8! are picked up here as well. 54.Kc5[] (54.Kc6 f6! 54…Ke7 doesn’t lose, but now is the proper time for the defense Sokolov intended! 55.Kc7 fxe5 (55…Ke7 It is worth noting that Black can also hold by 56.Kc8 fxe5) ) 54…Ke7 (54…Kd7 is safe here too) 55.Kd4 Now we have merged with 53 Kd4 and its note. (55.Kc6 Ke6 56.Kc7 Ke7[] holds the opposition) 55…Ke8 56.Ke4 (56.Ke3 Ke7 transposes (or 56…Kf8 ; but not 56…Kd7 57.f5!) ) 56…Ke7[] Diagram # (56…Kd7? 57.f5 gxf5+ 58.Kxf5 Ke7 (58…g6+ 59.Kf6 Ke8 60.e6+-) 59.g6+- the passed e-pawn this creates is decisive) 57.Kf3 (57.f5 gxf5+[] 58.Kxf5 g6+[] BK covers f6 59.Kf4 (59.Kg4 Ke6 60.Kf4 Kd5=) 59…Ke6 60.Ke4 Ke7 (60…Kd7 looks careless giving White the opposition after an instructive pawn sacrifice, but a timely pawn sacrifice in return gets the opposition back for Black. 61.Kd5 Ke7[] 62.e6 fxe6+[] 63.Ke5 Kf7[] 64.Kd6 e5! 65.Kxe5 Ke7 Now without consulting machines or even any analysis at all, let’s try to express why Black holds: Black has the opposition, the same triangle freedoms f7,e7,e6 opposite White’s e5,e4,f4, the ability to come in via f5 if WK goes queenside, and the fact that WK-on-g4, BK-on-f7 is OK with either side to move.) 61.Kd5 Kd7[]=) 57…Ke6 or …Ke8/f8 waiting… (57…Kf8 58.Kg4 Ke7[] is necessary; 57…Kd7? 58.f5! is a win similar to when WK is on e3.) 58.Kg4 Ke7 (Also fine is 58…Kd5 59.h5 (59.Kg3 Ke6[] 60.Kf3 Kf5 61.Ke3 Ke6 achieves nothing) 59…gxh5+ 60.Kxh5 Ke6[] transposing) 59.h5 gxh5+[] 60.Kxh5[] Ke6! And the only move. Now White has: 61.Kg4 a) 61.g6 f6[] 62.exf6 Kxf6[]=; b) 61.Kh4 Kf5 (Or 61…g6 when Black can avoid the main line 61 Kg4 since 62.Kg4 Kd5 (62…Ke7 63.f5 gxf5+[] 64.Kxf5 Ke8[] 65.Kf6 Kf8= is met there too below) 63.Kf3 Kd4=) 62.Kg3 f6= since after the exchanges White’s King is not in front of his remaining pawn.; 61…g6! a) 61…Kd5? 62.Kf5+- (62.g6+- fxg6 63.Kg5[]+- is arguably even more thematic) ; b) 61…Ke7? 62.f5 g6 63.fxg6[] fxg6 64.Kf4 Kd7 65.Ke4 Ke6 66.Kd4 Kd7 67.Kd5 Ke7 68.e6 Ke8 and now an instructive basic win by triangulation: 69.Kd4! (Or first 69.Ke4 ) 69…Kd8 70.Ke4! Ke8 71.Kd5! Ke7 72.Ke5+-; 62.Kf3 Kf5 The three other King moves hold too. 63.Ke3 Ke6[] (63…Kg4? 64.Ke4 (64.e6 Or first 64…fxe6 65.Ke4 Kg3 66.Ke5 Kf3 67.Kxe6 Kxf4 68.Kf6+-) 64…Kh5 (64…Kh4 65.Kf3 Kh5 66.Kg3 is gruesome) 65.e6 fxe6 66.Ke5 Kg4 67.Kxe6 Kxf4 68.Kf6+-) 64.Ke4 (64.Kd4 Kf5 forces 65 Ke3, as 65 e6 is nothing.) 64…Ke7[] 65.f5 (65.Kd5 Kd7[] holds the opposition; 65.Kd4 Ke6 also goes nowhere) 65…gxf5+ 66.Kxf5 Ke8! 67.Kf6 (67.e6 Ke7 or 67…Kf8, but not 67…fxe6+? 68 Kxe6+- with the King in front of the pawn.) 67…Kf8= as Black’s King gets to g7 or e7 if White pushes a Pawn. This concludes the analysis—the position after both 46…anything-but-Kc6? and 49 Kc4? is a DRAW. OK, my brain is pretty fritzed and Fritz is probably fritzed as well. Can anyone find a point we both have missed here? “Che sa, lo studi!”; 53…Kd7 is given “!” by Estonian master Ular Lauk in his analysis at http://vaatleja.blog-city.com, but it is not necessary. It transposes to other lines, on noting that 54 f5!? doesn’t work since White’s King is too far away. 54.f5!? (>=54.Kc5) 54…gxf5[] 55.h5 Ke7 (or 55…Ke8 ) 56.Kc5 g6 57.h6 Kf8=] 54.gxf6+ gxf6 55.Kc5 Ke6 56.Kd4 Kd7 57.Kd5 Ke7 58.e6 Kd8 59.Kd6 Ke8 60.e7 1-0

Thanks Ken for sharing this incredible work with everyone!
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