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KIIT R07: All rook endgames are drawn!

by Sagar Shah - 31/05/2017

"All rook endgames are drawn!", said Tarrasch. 18-year-old Sidhant Mohapatra learnt it the hard way in the seventh round of the KIIT International 2017 against GM Adam Tukhaev. Being two pawns up, the game ended in a draw. We analyze this endgame in great depth, showing you some brilliant resources. We have five leaders now on 6.0/7 - S.Nitin, Niranjan Navalgund, Vikramjit Singh, Ziaur Rahman and Nguyen Duc Hoa. Sagar Shah bring you analysis, pictures, anecdotes and videos from Bhubaneshwar. 

Everyone agrees to the fact that Indian players are under-rated. Many foreign players also call India as a rating grave, where it is extremely risky to go with a high Elo. However, if you look at the statistics you realize that most of the times it is the International grandmasters who end up in the top ten positions of the Indian tournaments like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai etc. Maybe it is their experience, or maybe it is their will to finish well, that sees them through right until the very end.

However, things seem to be different this year at the 10th KIIT International Open 2017. Seven rounds have been played and a look at the standings reveals that out of five leaders on 6.0/7, three are Indians! Furthermore, in the top ten positions we have seven Indian players. Will an Indian become a champion at the KIIT Open 2017? Three rounds is a lot of chess left to be played! But things surely look bright on that front!

A walk from the hostel that I am staying at, to the tournament hall is a great experience. Especially in the evening when the sun has gone down!
The top board clash between Ziaur Rahman and Debashis Das ended in a quick draw. Ziaur, who was in the sole lead, might have not wanted to try too hard with white and Debashis is a very solid theoretician. A draw was a pretty fair result.

Board two, however, had all the makings of an exciting upset. Sidhant Mohapatra, the local boy, had managed to get a winning rook endgame against Adam Tukhaev.

Pardon me if the next part of the report is too much for you to handle. I was looking at the rook endgame and was so carried away by analyzing the rook vs rook + 'a' and 'c' pawns that you can find tonnes on lines down there. This was not my intention. I always like to keep things simple. However, the problem with such endgames is that you cannot explain them without variations and if you don't indulge in them you can never improve. Hence, my suggestion would be to go over them carefully, maybe you can use the download button on top of the PGN viewer (not available on mobile phones) and have a look at the lines on your local ChessBase program. Mind you, there can be lot of errors in my analysis, but I have tried to give you a general idea of how the attacking and defending side should play in such endgames.

[Event "10th KiiT Festival 2017"]
[Site "Bhubaneshwar"]
[Date "2017.05.30"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Sidhant, Mohapatra"]
[Black "Tukhaev, Adam"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B84"]
[WhiteElo "2393"]
[BlackElo "2557"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2r5/8/p7/6k1/4R3/8/PKP5/8 b - - 0 42"]
[PlyCount "112"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]
{Well let's check the game from this point onwards. Is it winning for White or
a draw? Well, personally for me this is not for debate. Black king is cut off.
White king is going to slowly move up the board with his pawns. It is a
completely lost position for Black.} 42... Kf5 (42... Rb8+ $1 43. Ka3) 43. Re2
$1 {Cutting the king off.} Rb8+ 44. Kc3 $2 (44. Ka3 $1 $18 {I am personally at
a loss as to why Sidhant didn't play this simple move. The idea is to just jog
the king down the board and pick up the a6 pawn. How can Black prevent that?}
Rc8 (44... Kf4 45. c4 Kf3 46. Re6 $18) 45. Kb4 $18) 44... Kf4 $2 (44... a5 $1
$16 {is a better defense.} 45. Rh2 {Allows the black king to join the defense.}
(45. a3 a4 $11) (45. Kc4 a4 46. a3 Rb2 {And it is impossible to win this.})
45... Ke6 46. Rh6+ Kd7 $11) 45. Re6 (45. a4 $1 $18 {Fixing the pawn and later
winning it would have been better.} a5 $2 46. Kd4 $1 Rb4+ 47. c4 Rxa4 48. Kd5
Ra1 49. c5 Rd1+ 50. Kc6 a4 51. Ra2 $1 Rd4 52. Kb5 Ke5 53. Rxa4 Rd1 54. Kb6 $18
{was not a simple variation, but the win did exist.}) 45... Rc8+ 46. Kd2 (46.
Kb3 Rb8+ 47. Ka3 Rc8 48. Re2 Kf3 $11 {somehow White is unable to get in his
stable formation.}) 46... Kf5 $2 (46... Rd8+ $1 47. Kc3 (47. Ke2 Rc8 48. Kd3
Rd8+ 49. Kc4 Rc8+ 50. Kb3 Rb8+ 51. Ka4 (51. Ka3 Rc8 $11) 51... Rb2 $11) 47...
Rc8+ {The idea is to keep checking and it is not easy for White to do
something about it.} 48. Kb2 Rb8+ 49. Kc1 a5 50. Ra6 Ke5 $1 51. Rxa5+ Kd4 {
is a theoretical draw!}) 47. Rxa6 {Theoretically this is a draw because the
black king can join in now. But practically it is so difficult to defend.} (47.
Re2 $3 {This was the winning move. The idea is the same. c2 pawn is defended.
Get your king moving up the board.} Kf4 48. Kd3 Rd8+ 49. Kc4 Rc8+ 50. Kd4 Kf3
51. Re6 $1 Rxc2 52. Rxa6 Rd2+ 53. Kc3 Rd8 54. Ra4 $3 {Only this rank cut off
works!} Ke3 55. Rc4 Rd3+ 56. Kb4 Rd8 57. a4 Kd3 58. Rc5 Kd4 59. a5 Rb8+ 60. Rb5
Ra8 61. Rb6 Kd5 62. a6 (62. Kb5 Rc8 $11) 62... Ra7 63. Kb5 Rc7 64. Rh6 $18 {
And it's game over.}) 47... Ke5 48. Ra3 $1 Rb8 49. Rd3 Ra8 50. a3 Ke4 $2 (50...
Rc8 51. Kc1 Rb8 $11) (50... Ke6 {was called for.} 51. Kc1 Rb8 $11) 51. Kc1 $1
Rb8 52. Rb3 {This move doesn't throw away the win, but I am always
apprehensive about giving away the king cut off.} ({A beautiful win would have
been} 52. a4 $1 $18 Ra8 53. Kb2 $3 {That's the point. The idea is to deflect
the rook and activate the king!} Rxa4 54. Rd8 $3 {The only move to win. White
doesn't let the black rook take maximum distance from his king.} Ra7 55. c4 $1
Rb7+ 56. Kc3 Rc7 57. Kb4 Rb7+ 58. Ka5 Rc7 59. Kb5 Rb7+ 60. Kc6 $18) 52... Ra8
53. Rb4+ (53. Rd3 $1 {was the only way to win.} Rb8 54. a4 $1 $18 {check the
previous variation.}) 53... Kd5 54. Kb2 Kc6 55. Kb3 Rh8 56. Rg4 Rh1 {Now we
have a normal rook + a and c pawns versus a lone rook. Theoretically a draw.
Adam Tukhaev knows his endgames. He puts his rook in the corner where it can
be activated both on the files and the ranks.} 57. Kc4 Ra1 58. Rg6+ Kb7 59. Kb4
Rh1 60. c4 Rh5 61. a4 Rf5 (61... Rh1 {keeping the rook in the corner was
simpler.} 62. a5 Rb1+ 63. Kc5 Ra1 64. a6+ Ka7 65. Kb5 Rb1+ 66. Kc5 Ra1 67. Kd5
Rd1+ 68. Kc6 Kxa6 69. c5 (69. Rg7 Rd4 70. c5 Rd1 71. Kc7 Rc1 72. c6 Rf1 73. Rg2
Rf7+ $11 {is a draw.}) 69... Ka7 $11) 62. Rh6 Rg5 63. a5 Rg1 64. Rb6+ Kc7 (
64... Ka7 {also draws.}) 65. Kb5 Rb1+ 66. Ka6 (66. Kc5 Ra1 67. Rb5 Ra2 $11)
66... Rc1 67. Rb4 Ra1 {[#]} 68. Rb5 ({White has to play White must play} 68.
Kb5 Kb7 $1 69. Rb3 (69. c5) 69... Rh1 $11) 68... Ra4 $2 {The decisive mistake.
Well, but how to know it is a mistake. The point is that in such endgames it
is very important that the defender's king is not pushed to the last rank.
When that happens it is a recipe for disaster.} (68... Kc6 $1 $11) 69. Rc5+ $1
Kb8 {[#]} (69... Kd6 70. Kb6 $18) 70. Rc6 Ra1 71. Rh6 Kc7 72. Rh5 {Not
throwing away the win but complicating it!} (72. Kb5 $1 Rb1+ 73. Kc5 Ra1 74.
Rh7+ Kb8 75. Kc6 Rb1 (75... Rxa5 76. Kb6 $18) 76. c5 $18) 72... Kc6 73. Rh6+ {
important to give this check.} Kc7 (73... Kc5 74. Kb7 $1 {is the trick that
helps White win.}) 74. Kb5 Rb1+ 75. Kc5 Ra1 76. Rh7+ Kb8 77. Kc6 $1 {Now
Sidhant is well on his way to victory.} Rb1 78. c5 Ra1 79. Rb7+ (79. Rh8+ {
The most human way to win.} Ka7 80. Kc7 $1 Rg1 81. c6 Rg7+ 82. Kc8 $18 {
wins easily because black king doesn't have the b6 square.}) 79... Ka8 80. Rb5
Ka7 81. Kc7 $2 ({Better is} 81. Rb3 $1 $18 Rxa5 (81... Rf1 82. Rd3 $18) (81...
Rc1 82. Kd6 $18) 82. Kd6 Ra1 83. Kc7 Ra2 84. c6 Ra1 85. Rd3 Ra2 86. Kc8 Rh2 87.
c7 Rh8+ 88. Rd8 Rh7 89. Re8 Kb6 90. Re6+ Ka7 91. Kd8 $18) 81... Rh1 $1 $11 {
Now this is a draw.} 82. Rb6 Rh7+ 83. Kc6 {Threatening Kb5.} Rh1 84. Rb2 Ka6
85. Rd2 {Now comes the moment of truth for Tukhaev. Can he find the way to
draw?} Rh6+ $2 {[#]} (85... Rh7 $1 $11 {would have ensured the draw. The point
is subtle.} 86. Rd7 Rh1 {Luring the rook ahead.} 87. Kc7 Kxa5 88. c6 Ka6 89.
Kc8 Kb6 90. c7 Kc6 $11) (85... Rh5 $11 {is also a draw.}) 86. Rd6 $2 (86. Kc7
$1 $18 {wins!} Rh7+ (86... Kxa5 87. c6 Rh7+ 88. Rd7 $1 (88. Kc8 $2 Kb6 $11)
88... Rh8 89. Kb7 $18) 87. Rd7 Rh4 (87... Rh8 88. c6 Kxa5 89. Kb7 $18) 88. c6
Rh6 89. Rd6 Rh8 90. Kd7 Rh7+ 91. Kc8 $18) 86... Rh7 $1 $11 87. Rd7 Rh6+ 88. Kc7
Kb5 (88... Kxa5 {also draws now.} 89. c6 Ka6 $1 $11 {Stopping Kb7.}) 89. Kb7
Kxc5 90. a6 Rb6+ 91. Ka7 Rb1 92. Rb7 Ra1 93. Rh7 Kc6 94. Rh2 Rb1 95. Rc2+ Kd7
96. Ka8 Rb3 97. Rh2 Kc8 98. Rc2+ {What a rook endgame. So many things to learn
from! One thing is clear Tukhaev must have slept well at night, the same can't
be said about Sidhant.} 1/2-1/2

Sidhant's handling of the rook endgame wasn't the best. But such endgames are just so difficult. The right way from here would be to analyze this endgame thoroughly, take your lessons, and become better!
Laxman drew his game against Karthik Venkatraman, and is now on 5.5/7
After his game Laxman was wandering in the room. I asked him, "Why did you take a draw yesterday?" "What do you mean?" he said. I showed him the position where he agreed to a draw against Levon Babujian.
Why didn't you just queen I said? Rd1+ is met with Rg1 and you are just winning!
Horror and panic crept on Laxman's face as he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Did I just blunder away the half point he asked me? At that very moment he realized, "Wait, the white king was on g1! There was an error in transmission!" That's when Laxman started to breathe normally again! Of course, it would be silly to assume that a player of Laxman's calibre would miss a move like a8=Q. But it is always nice to know what exactly had transpired. 
Laxman speaks about his tournament and the reason why his chess career is always filled with periods of great results followed by major rating losses.
With a performance rating of nearly 2500 Niranjan Navalgund might well be on track for his second GM norm. In the seventh round he beat GM Reefat Bin Sattar and is now one of the leaders with 6.0/7.

What I found really impressive in Niranjan's games are the moves he makes when there are no concrete ideas in the position. He improves his position with moves like h4! which is very Karpovian. Something for all of us to learn.

[Event "10th KiiT International Chess Festival -"]
[Site "KiiT University, Patia, Bhuban"]
[Date "2017.05.30"]
[Round "7.5"]
[White "Navalgund, Niranjan"]
[Black "Reefat, Bin-Sattar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E01"]
[WhiteElo "2351"]
[BlackElo "2437"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2017.05.26"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. d4 e6 2. c4 d5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Bd6 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. Qc2
Nbd7 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bxf6 Qxf6 11. Nc3 Qd8 12. e4 dxc4 13. e5 Be7 14. Nd2 Nb6 15.
Ne2 a5 16. Nxc4 Nd5 17. Nc3 Nb4 18. Qd2 b5 19. Ne3 Qb6 20. a3 Nd5 21. Ncxd5
cxd5 22. f4 f5 23. exf6 Bxf6 24. Rad1 Bb7 25. Ng4 b4 26. Nxf6+ Rxf6 27. axb4
axb4 28. Ra1 Rc8 29. Rfc1 Rff8 30. Qe3 Rfe8 {White has maximised his position.
Now he must find a way to make use of his advantage. And usually this is the
tricky part in a game of chess. Niranjan does this very well in general and
also in this game.} 31. Rc5 $1 {Planning to double the rooks on the c-file.}
Rxc5 32. dxc5 Qb5 33. h4 $1 {Here is another example of what I was talking
about. A move which improves the position as a whole, but is so difficult to
make. h4 gives the king some shelter on h2, also gains space and always has
the threat of h5 fixing the black pawns. But was it necessary to play it now?
I think so. And this is the reason why Niranjan is doing so well these days.
He senses these moments when he can improve his position with moves like h4.}
Kh8 34. Bf1 Qc6 35. Qd4 Rc8 36. Rc1 Rb8 37. Ra1 Rc8 38. Ra7 $1 {Of course not
agreeing to a draw.} b3 $2 (38... Ra8 $16 {would have kept the game going.})
39. Qb4 $1 {The bishop is trapped!} Rb8 (39... Ba8 40. Bb5 {The queen is
trapped!} Qxc5+ 41. Qxc5 Rxc5 42. Rxa8+ $18) 40. Ba6 {A piece is lost! A great
game by Navalgund.} 1-0


S. Nitin played a fine game against Levon Babujian. He was able to overcome his opponent in a complex Najdorf. With this win, he joins the leaders with 6.0/7.

S. Nitin tells us about his win and his future plans in chess

The surprise joint leader of the tournament is S.Vikramjit Singh, who beat Saravana Krishnan in the seventh round.

In one of the recent articles that we published on our newspage, "Players of 1981-83 era of Indian chess", author Vikramaditya Kulkarni spoke about Vikramjit Singh. He wrote, "Vikramjit Singh from Manipur was the surprising winner of the National under-14. He would travel 4 days or so just to reach the city where the tournament would take place. With sheer merit he had surpassed all the big names to win that national title. Later for some practical issues back home his chess suffered and now he hasn't yet shown his real spark." Well Vikram, we think that the spark is back now and the man from Manipur is really on fire here! Let's have a look at his game against Saravana Krishnan.

[Event "10th KiiT International Chess Festival -"]
[Site "KiiT University, Patia, Bhuban"]
[Date "2017.05.30"]
[Round "7.7"]
[White "Singh, S. Vikramjit"]
[Black "Saravana, Krishnan P"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E15"]
[WhiteElo "2213"]
[BlackElo "2345"]
[Annotator "Sagar Shah"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventDate "2017.05.26"]
[EventRounds "10"]
[EventCountry "IND"]
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. Qc2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bg5
h6 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. O-O O-O 11. Nbd2 d5 12. Rac1 Nd7 13. Rfd1 Rc8 14. e4 Be7
15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Qa4 Nb8 (16... Bb7 $1 17. Qxa7 Bc6 {And the queen is
trapped! A nice idea to remember.} 18. Rxc6 Rxc6 19. exd5 exd5 20. Qa4 $13) 17.
exd5 Qxd5 18. Ne5 Qd6 (18... Qb5 $11) 19. Nc6 Be2 $5 (19... Nxc6 20. Qxa6 Qd7
21. Qa4 $14) 20. Nxe7+ Qxe7 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Re1 Ba6 23. d5 $1 {White has a
small initiative here. Nothing special, but just that little spark that allows
him to hope for something.} Qd8 $6 (23... Qd7 $1 24. Qxd7 Nxd7 25. dxe6 fxe6
26. Bh3 Nf8 $11) 24. Nf1 $1 exd5 25. Ne3 Qe8 (25... d4 26. Nd5 $16) 26. Qd1 Qd7
27. Bxd5 {Great play by Vikramjit. In a symmetrical position he has activity
and that is always very difficult to play against.} Re8 28. Qf3 Bd3 $6 29. Rd1
$1 Bg6 30. h4 h5 31. Ng2 $1 {Very nicely manoeuvring his pieces.} Bc2 32. Rd4
Bg6 33. Nf4 Nc6 $2 (33... Qf5 34. Nxg6 Qxf3 35. Bxf3 fxg6 36. Rd6 $16) 34. Nxg6
$1 Re1+ 35. Kh2 Nxd4 36. Qxh5 {There is no way to avoid mate.} Nf3+ 37. Qxf3 {
Queen is coming back to h5! Black can safely resign.} 1-0

GM Nguyen Duc Hoa beat Ravi Teja in a complex game and is on 6.0/7
Back to his winning ways is top seed Farrukh Amonatov who beat Mitrabha Guha. Amonatov is on 5.5/7.
Diptayan Ghosh is back in the reckoning with a fine win over GM Rashit Ziatdinov
10-year-old Aditya Mittal lost to CRG Krishna after his excellent win over GM Niaz Murshed in round six
Something that must be mentioned here is the sportsmanship of Bangladeshi GM Niaz Murshed. After the game on a Facebook post Niaz mentioned, "Aditya has a bright future ahead of him. I would like to see him emerge as a very strong GM sometime soon." He further added, "Komodo took 21 levels to find the idea. For Stockfish it was 25 [ed- In case you have missed the game check it out here.] Aditya let me off the hook later before I blundered. But the calculating ability at this age is very very good. The array of Indian young talents are increasing both in numbers and quality."
Usually when a GM loses to a young boy there is bad taste left in his mouth. But not in the case of GM Niaz Murshed. He congratulated the boy which shows his excellent sportsmanship.

Rank after Round 7

Rk. SNo     Name sex FED Rtg Club/City Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 14   IM Nitin S.   IND 2426 TN 6,0 0,0 28,0 31,0
2 55     Singh S. Vikramjit   IND 2213 MANP 6,0 0,0 27,5 30,5
3 29     Navalgund Niranjan   IND 2351 TN 6,0 0,0 27,0 30,5
4 4   GM Rahman Ziaur   BAN 2526 BAN 6,0 0,0 27,0 30,0
5 7   GM Nguyen Duc Hoa   VIE 2481 VIE 6,0 0,0 25,5 28,5
6 23   IM Krishna C R G   IND 2392 AP 5,5 0,0 29,5 32,5
7 21     Sidhant Mohapatra   IND 2393 ODI 5,5 0,0 28,0 32,0
8 2   GM Ghosh Diptayan   IND 2569 WB 5,5 0,0 28,0 31,5
9 16   GM Laxman R.R.   IND 2417 TN 5,5 0,0 28,0 30,5
10 1   GM Amonatov Farrukh   TJK 2632 TJK 5,5 0,0 27,5 31,5
11 35   FM Karthik Venkataraman   IND 2317 TN 5,5 0,0 27,0 29,5
12 77     Wagh Suyog   IND 2138 MAH 5,5 0,0 26,5 27,5
13 13   IM Khusenkhojaev Muhammad   TJK 2433 TJK 5,5 0,0 25,5 29,0
14 3   GM Tukhaev Adam   UKR 2557 UKR 5,5 0,0 25,5 28,5
15 6   GM Deviatkin Andrei   RUS 2481 RUS 5,5 0,0 25,0 28,5
16 5   GM Debashis Das   IND 2496 ODI 5,5 0,0 24,0 26,0

Complete rankings after round 7

Round 8 on 2017/05/31 at 15:00 hrs

Bo. No.     Name Rtg Pts. Result Pts.   Name Rtg   No.
1 7   GM Nguyen Duc Hoa 2481 6   6 GM Rahman Ziaur 2526   4
2 14   IM Nitin S. 2426 6   6   Singh S. Vikramjit 2213   55
3 29     Navalgund Niranjan 2351 6   GM Amonatov Farrukh 2632   1
4 16   GM Laxman R.R. 2417   GM Ghosh Diptayan 2569   2
5 3   GM Tukhaev Adam 2557   FM Karthik Venkataraman 2317   35
6 5   GM Debashis Das 2496     Sidhant Mohapatra 2393   21
7 23   IM Krishna C R G 2392   GM Deviatkin Andrei 2481   6
8 77     Wagh Suyog 2138   IM Khusenkhojaev Muhammad 2433   13
9 28   FM Rathanvel V S 2361 5   5 GM Grover Sahaj 2478   8
10 9   IM Shyaamnikhil P 2457 5   5 IM Ravi Teja S. 2369   27

Pairings for round 8


Watch the games live on the ChessBase India website at 15.00 hours (also you can download games analyzed by tactical analysis feature of ChessBase 14)


Previous reports on KIIT International 2017:

10th KIIT International about to begin

01: Chandreyee Hajra stuns Padmini Rout

02+03: Ten players on perfect score

04: CRG Krishna shows his class; beats the top seed

05+06: The story of two brilliant combinations