Monday, December 30, 2013

The twelve rook and pawns of Christmas

White to play


Anonymous said...

That one is from Aronian - Morozevich in Mexico 2007, World Championship round 8. Given the result, did Aronian miss something? Not from the diagram according to annotations at the time, which suggest that Aronian should have tried not to reach the position featured.

On the Queen-side, Smyslov & Levenfish devote some space to the relative merits, with a Rook trapped on a8, of stopping the pawn at a6 against advancing it to a7.

Roger Emerson said...

I remember a very similar position being set as white to play and win by Peter Clarke's Christmas competition in the Sunday Times in the early 1980s - except that his analysis was flawed! I couldn't find a win for white. The most dangerous attempt I could find involved creating a passed pawn on the king's side to try to get the black king out of the safety zone.

John Cox said...

I vaguely thought this was winning because you go f4 and then g4 hxg4; h5 gxh5; f5. Though you have to avoid accidentally losing to the g and h pawns, I dare say. Obviously I'm too lazy to actually work it out.

As usual I have just failed to prove I'm not a robot. Not as easy as one might think - in fact it occurs to me that this question has more philosophical implications than I'd realised before. Descartes would have been proud.

John Cox said...

Oh well, apparently Kholmov proved it was a draw decades ago.

Is it important for Black to keep his king on h7 so that f6 isn't check, I wonder? Otherwise those Black guys on the kingside do seem to be a bit quick.

Jonathan B said...

John Emms tells a story in his rook endings book where he says he also initially assumed White could still win this ending because of the same plan that JC suggests