March 22, 2010 0:23

Weekly Endgame Study (161)

Weekly Endgame StudyEvery week we present you an endgame study - this week selected from the Amber tournament. Amazingly, Karjakin could have saved the rook ending in his blindfold game against Grischuk today. Good luck solving!

Amber (blindfold) 2010

White to play and draw

I (Peter Doggers) was filming this game in the playing hall when I suddenly saw an interesting idea in this position. After Karjakin lost, I walked to the analysis room, where GMs such as Aronian, Nunn, Caruana and Ljubojevic were watching and kibitzing via TV screens. I asked Ljubo: "Couldn't Karjakin pin the pawn somewhere and perhaps draw this?" "No," he said, "believe me, this is always lost." I decided to check this with engine + tablebase, and indeed, the position turned out to be draw. I put up the position on one of the chess boards and showed it to Ljubo and the others, and managed to surprise them - my fifteen seconds of Amber fame!? ;-) Can you find it too?

Next week the solution.

Solution last week

V. Bunka

Game viewer by ChessTempo

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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


LDJ's picture

If you want to solve this puzzle, you shouldn't read the report of this round on the official website of the Amber Chess Tournament (that will be published here too) because the solution is given there.

LDJ's picture

If you want to solve this puzzle, you shouldn't read the report of this round on the official website of the Amber Chess Tournament (that will be published here too) because the solution is given there.

JustBe's picture

For the sake of semantics: I would call a move like Rg1 blocking a pawn instead of a pin.

JustBe's picture

Nice b.t.w!!!

Didn't found it.

Laurie's picture

Something periphery to the world Chess Championship next month. Is it me ? or has Topalov missed a trick ?
Shouldn't he be participating at The Nice Amber Rapidplay tournament. Surely if Topalov has any ambition of reclaiming the world championship he should have whipped himself into shape by getting in some match practice- this is arguably his best chance of defeating Anand.Not in regular matchplay,but rapidtime limit in the event of a tie. I know it sounds ludicris, but Anand's form has deteriorated somewhat over the past 2 years or so. Losing to Ivanchuk in the Moscow Blitz World championship 2007and being beaten by the Women's World Champion Alexandria Kosteniuk - with the black pieces !
Topalov's first mistake was not participating at Wijk Ann Zee in January, to kick off the year. And most importantly, face Anand over the board in a serious game to size him up over a two week period. Anand played speculatively and rarely looked in trouble throughout the tournament; except his game against Shirov, which he could easily have lost.
Clearly; drawing 11 games and winning two games suited him down to the ground;had he pushed a bit further he could have won the tournament. Shirov lost all his momentum after winning six games in a row and Kramnik ran out of steam after a impressive run with both colours.
In stark contrast,Topalov was very fortunate to win Linares. With no Kramnik,Carlsen or Ivanchuk present - there was no bragging rights there to be had -although the field was very strong; Aronian, Grishchuk, Vallejo and Gashimov.His form was rather patchy. He could easily have lost both his games as white-with Grischuk and Vallejo in unclear positions. Next month, Topalov should not look to take such liberties with Anand's sharp opening repertoire. Two years ago,strucking fear, deep in the heart of Kramnik's tepid opening preparations. Anand will win by +2.

udayb's picture

Well done, Peter!

You have found a study-like draw for white, but I am not sure if you could present it as a "Weekly Endgame Study" because it is not a study.

BTW, the continuation given in the official website is wrong.

Congratulations on your "fifteen seconds of Amber fame", Peter, but I think it is much more than that.

Arne Moll's picture

It's interesting to see that even the strongest players are sometimes not immune to dogmatism in post-mortems. Well done, Peter, keep up the healthy skepticism!

j.muller's picture

The line given at the official site does not seem to make a draw at all.

Peter Doggers's picture

Indeed; I've mentioned that to the author of the reports this morning but he's also enjoying a well-deserved rest day at the moment. ;-)

Dude's picture

Funny, have you seen Chessbase has a diagram too there? But they don't mention the drawing line, apparently avoiding that it comes from Peter, silly rivalry!

Castro's picture


Unless you define study as something not related to an actual game, or something published as a study, with author's name and year of creation, of course it is a study. For me it is a chess study. Someone shows me a chess puzzle of "white (or black) to play and win (or draw)". It's a study.

Congratulations to Peter, and yes, Arne, it is always interesting, but two things are constantelly (lots of times everyday, in fact) happening:
1. Great players being dogmatic (otherwise they were perfect, everybody has to lean on some dogma. Progress is just dogma breaking and adoption)
2. Not so great players finding things that are escaping great players.
"Of course everyone of us is a genius when finding a new idea, or breaking a dogma. Even if it is just new for him".

Arne Moll's picture

@Castro, good points, although I am inclined to think the answer is much more prosaic: strong players become especially dogmatic in the presence of weak players, because the weakies tend to be wrong almost any they open their mouth: it just happens so rarely that a weak player spots an interesting, let alone correctly-worked out idea, that's it's simply not worth it to take it seriously - on principle! And it's very nice to see this principle being demolished for once :-)

udayb's picture


According to Wikipedia, "An endgame study, or just study, is a composed chess position — that is, one that has been made up rather than one from an actual game".

For more details, see

Great work by Peter, congratulations to him again.

Castro's picture


"strong players become especially dogmatic in the presence of weak players, because the weakies tend to be wrong almost any they open their mouth"

Very true! When I begun reading Peter's text, an image of him and Ljubo imediately formed in my mind, and Ljubo was precisely commiting that crime :-)


Yes, I thought you were supported by something, not "wrong" in all senses. But it happens I'm in chess for a long time, and I have a, say, more liberal view.
The process of recognizing a nice puzzle on some (otherwise undistiguished) position is, by itself, creation. And so, at least for me and for every people I know, that puzzle then become imediatly a study (or a problem, if it goes "mate in x moves").
But ok, maybe you're right that, formaly, the International Comission of Chess Composition (or whatever is the name, I don't remember) may have studies out of actual games forbiden, for their formal recognition.
I'd say it's strange, but as you say that, and as I'm not going to confirm now, I must admit as plausible.

Thomas's picture

Isn't it rather irrelevant if the position is an endgame study, an endgame exercise or a study-like position from an actual game? There were game continuations resembling known (previously published) studies, and even studies composed based on what had happened in a game - can anyone come up with examples I might have in mind, but don't remember? :)

The important point is: looking at and maybe solving endgame studies can help you in games played over the board - the very reason why endgame studies are the only problems that attract my attention.

And yes, congrats Peter - methree/four/five ... . Arne has a point: GMs don't take comments by weakies seriously because too many of them (us?) are very quick in commenting on and criticising their (GM) games and moves while lacking in-depth chess understanding - see also examples in this and other chess forums!? But this doesn't mean that they are ALWAYS wrong .... .

JustBe's picture

Why is the line of Amber site wrong?

I guess

1. Rg1 - Kf3 2. Ke6 Kxe4 3. Rxg2 d5+ 4. Kd7 - Rxb5

is winning for black?

Castro's picture


Just one example (of hundreds, I think).
There is a famous Lasker study, from a game of his against Capablanca.

(In my liberal notion of chess study, I myself have produced a couple of worthy studies from games, let alone others presenting me their own produtions :-) )

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