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An interesting rook endgame

January 12, 2014

Yesterday's victory by Sergey Karjakin against Loek van Wely intrigued me. Was the endgame a draw, as I suspect, and if so where did Loek go wrong; or, was it always a win, further evidence of the fact that I have never done what I should have, namely never studied rook endgames (or that matter, endgames).

My excuses are (i) never having had a trainer (ii) being born in England, and thus a product of the English school of chess, which mainly comprises the Grand Prix attack, the Trompovsky, and 1…a6 or 1…b5; create a mess, and hope to win, and if you are losing, aim for a swindle, and if you lose, put it down to a rubbish opening. So who needs to study endgames?


Black to play


I am blogging this now, before having made much of an attempt to understand the position, because otherwise I won't have much chance. My day had been planned out: we came home early from a night out so that I could have an early start, taking my son back to Oxford University, for the start of term. Perfect: I could be back, after a six hour or so round trip, during daylight, and more importantly, to watch the last hour or so of action on Playchess from Wijk aan zee. But, alas, said son stayed out far later than he had planned with his mates, and woke up post planned departure time, announcing he'd rather go after lunch.

This is one of those moments where parents must bite their lips, and count the positives: at least he will be home with us for a few more hours.

Back to the game, and whilst I haven't got much understanding, since I lack a basic understanding of the endgames (would rook+a+b vs rook be a win- hunch, probably, because of where white's king is) I have used the excellent web publishing facility of Chessbase12, which I recently acquired, to publish my present analysis. Readers of this blog might wish to try to answer for themselves some of the questions I have set myself to attempt to answer.


Back to son now: just time to bake him a Swiss roll, and hide it in his luggage, before our travels. In reality, I am glad he is with us a few more hours.


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