#30: Ivanchuk - Jobava, Wijk aan Zee (1) 2015
But why ... err what, err why are you winning?
Yasser Seirawan (post game interview with Ivanchuk)
As I was saying last week, the problem with starting a regular column on king and pawn endings is the absence of fresh examples in top level chess. Elite chessers simply don’t play them these days.
Take the first round of Wijk, for example. Only three of the seven games were pawn endgames, with just one of those being played by the World Champion and ... hmmm. Hang on. Maybe this year is going to be easier than I’d thought.
May not be required in 2015 after all
So, Ivanchuk - Jobava. I’m counting it even though there’s a rook still on the board as obviously Black has to recapture. Except that Jobava didn’t bother. He jacked it in rather than complete the trade that he’d initiated on a4 when he realised the king and pawn ending was lost.
I think it’s fair to say that it is not especially obvious that it’s time for Jobava to call it a day. I wasn’t able to watch the game live, but I realised that something interesting must have happened when I saw the Telegraph’s chess correspondent tweet suggesting that Black might have resigned in a drawn position. Later I discovered that Jonathan Tisdall was "astonished" that Jobava had given up in the final position. As was Seirawan, apparently, judging by his amusingly confused question to Chucky in the post-game interview.
It seems that computers were bamboozled by the ending too. I gather Chess24’s online engine was evaluating the position as 0.0 at the point of resignation. My own machine - HIARCS running on a MacBook Air - even thinks that Black is better! You have to let it run for over two minutes before the bitcoin drops and it realises that White is winning.
SMA #30a: "It’s not so difficult for the good Grandmaster"
If you haven’t seen Chucky's reply to Yasser, you’re in for a treat. Before you go there, though, why not try and work it out for yourself. If you ignore the Bloody Iron Monsters, once you grasp the key idea the solution is definitely findable.
Talking of Ivanchuk: don’t miss this superb photograph of him by Fred Lucas from 2008.
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