TCEC Season 17 League Q Game 49 – Gogobello-FabChess

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Game Season 17, Qualification League, Game 49
Result 1-0
ECO C02
Links TCEC archive
Lichess




Game overview

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Position after 11. Na3


1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6

End of book.

5. Nf3 Bd7 6. Be2 Nge7 7. O-O Rc8 8. dxc5 Ng6 9. Be3 Ncxe5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Na3(N)[1] (diagram)

Novelty in the Lichess master's database. Although a thematic knight rerouting maneuver in this opening, this move might have been a small inaccuracy as it puts the knight in front of the queenside pawns. Indeed, b4 here is the top move by Leela (T42810), Stockfish (2019-12-25) and the human masters. Leela would follow with a4 and only then consider Na3.

Note that black is ill-advised to pick up the pawn on c5 here, as 11... Bxc5 12. Bxc5 Rxc5 13. Qd4 Qc7 14. f4 Ng6 15. Qxg7 Qb6 16. Bh5 makes black's king-side situation somewhat difficult (the threat is Bxg6 then Qxh8+). Note that although an exposure check 16... Rxc3+ here may be tempting, simple 17. Kh1 side-steps the check and black has then the rook on c3 hanging and the Bxg6 threat to deal with. White gets a strong attack with a continuation such as 17... Qxb2 18. Nc4 dxc4 19. Rab1 Qa3 20. Bxg6 Rf8 21. Be4.


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Position after 20... Rc7


11... a6 12. f4 Nc6 13. Nc2 g6 14. Nb4 Nxb4 15. cxb4 Bg7 16. Bd4 O-O 17. Qd2 Qh4 18. a4 Qe7 19. Rfe1 Bxd4+ 20. Qxd4 Rc7 (diagram) 21. a5

The positional validity of locking up the queenside pawn structure can be argued, as it essentially gives up white's options to take advantage of the pawn majority on the a/b/c files without a reason. It also gives black's light-square bishop access to additional squares. Leela preferred here a more natural plan: prepare for the b5 break by playing b3 and doubling up the rooks on the c-file to protect the c5 pawn.


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Position after 29... h5


21... Qh4 22. g3 Qh6 23. Bf3 Qg7 24. Re5 Bb5 25. Rae1 Rd8 26. g4 Re7 27. g5 h6 28. Kg2 Ree8 29. h4

White needed to allow black to decide what to do with the kingside. 29. gxh6 Qxh6 would have relinquished the control of the f6/h6 squares, and black would have gained access to the h-file for counterplay.

29... h5 (diagram)

Now white has basically only a single pawn break available, and it is up to the 50-move rule to force it to be played.


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Position after 74. Kf3


30. Bd1 Rf8 31. Bc2 Bc6 32. Kg3 Kh7 33. Rd1 Rde8 34. Kh2 Bd7 35. Qe3 Rd8 36. Qg3 Bc6 37. Qf3 Kg8 38. Qe3 Kh7 39. Qf2 Kg8 40. Qd4 Bb5 41. Kg2 Ra8 42. Kg3 Rfd8 43. Bb1 Bc6 44. Rde1 Rf8 45. Bd3 Rfd8 46. Kh2 Kh7 47. Kh1 Kg8 48. Kg1 Kh7 49. Bb1 Kg8 50. Kg2 Kh8 51. R1e2 Ra7 52. Bc2 Raa8 53. Rd2 Bb5 54. Kg3 Bc6 55. Kh2 Kh7 56. Rf2 Kg8 57. Kg3 Rac8 58. Bb1 Rb8 59. Kh2 Kh8 60. Rd2 Rf8 61. Rc2 Rfc8 62. Qg1 Rd8 63. Rd2 Qf8 64. Qd4 Qg7 65. Bc2 Kh7 66. Kg2 Kg8 67. Kf2 Rf8 68. Ke2 Bb5+ 69. Ke3 Rfe8 70. Rg2 Rbd8 71. Rg1 Kh7 72. Rd1 Kg8 73. Bd3 Bc6 74. Kf3 (diagram)

All this time white has prevented black from playing f6 to break or f5 to close the structure. For much of the time, either pawns on e6 or h5 would have been hanging after the f-pawn push and capture by gxf6, the h5 hanging by the bishop pinning the king on h7. In this position, the reason is a bit more subtle: 74... f5 75. gxf6 Qxf6 76. Rg1 Kf7 77. Rxg6. White penetrates black's defenses with a forced mate in 14. Example line: 77... Qh8 78. f5 Rf8 79. Qf4 Rde8 80. f6 d4+ 81. Kf2 Rg8 82. Rg7+ Qxg7 83. fxg7+ Ke7 84. Rxe6+ Kxe6 85. Bg6 Kd7 86. Qd6+ Kc8 87. Bf5+ Re6 88. Bxe6+ Bd7 89. Bxd7+ Kd8 90. Bf5+ Ke8 91. Qd7#


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Position after 95... Bc6


74... Ba4 75. Rg1 Qf8 76. Kg3 Re7 77. Ra1 Qe8 78. Kg2 Qd7 79. f5 gxf5

Black had to take, although this makes the h5 pawn permanently weak. The alternatives:

  • Taking with the e-pawn loses a piece to a simple tactic: 79... exf5 80. Rxe7 Qxe7 81. Rxa4
  • Allowing white to take on g6 is not promising: 79... Rf8 80. fxg6 fxg6 81. Bxg6 Ref7. Black's best option is here to give up the exchange to prevent white from getting the connected passed pawns. The exchange offer has to be accepted, as 82. Bxh5 Rf4 would give black enough counterplay to likely obtain equality.
  • The f-pawn push to complicate matters does not work. For example: 79... f6 80. gxf6 Ree8 81. fxg6 and black is facing unparryable threats and mate in 10.

Black is now fighting for a draw with a very slim margin at best. The key is to prevent white breaking through. White's best plan to force the matters is arguably to exploit the weak h5 pawn with a bishop sacrifice. This requires a somewhat lengthy preparation to move the king to the queenside for safety, and to position the pieces properly (see variation starting with 96. Bd1 below.) Black has to prevent the sacrifice to work.

80. Rae1 Rde8 81. Bb1 Qc7 82. Kg3 Bc6 83. Bc2 Kh7 84. Kf2 Bb5

  • Just to point out, it is not exactly trivial for black to maneuver the heavy pieces, since white is threatening Bxf5+. For example: 84... Rg8 85. Bxf5+ exf5 86. Rxe7 would win the game quickly for white.
  • Black's best defense against the breaks might be something like this: 84... Qd8 85. Bd1 Rg8 86. Ke3 Bd7 87. Kd2 Qf8 88. Qe3 Qg7. Voluntarily offering the pawn on h5 would allow black to get some counterplay by opening the d-file. 89. Bxh5 d4 90. Qf4 d3 91. Kxd3. However, the position still remains unclear, favoring white.
    • However, white also needs to proceed with caution, as black is not simply waiting for white's moves. An inaccurate execution pf the plan by white and black is able to break himself to relieve some pressure. 85. R1e3 Bd7 86. Ke1 f6 87. gxf6 Rf7. The idea for the 85. R1e3 move would be to allow the white king to move to the queenside while white never relieves the pressure by the rooks on the e-file.

85. R1e3 Bc4 86. Ke1 Bb5 87. Bd1 Kg6 88. Kd2 Bf1 89. Ba4 Bb5 90. Bc2 Kh7 91. Re1 Bc6 92. Kc3 Bb5 93. Kb3 Qd8 94. R5e3 Rc7 95. Ka3 Bc6 (diagram)

White had already here a winning breakthrough available: 96. Bd1 Kg6 97. Bxh5+ Kxh5 98. Rg1 Rg8 99. Qd1+. The key move to unleash the kingside pawns. 99... Kg6 100. h5+ Kh7 101. g6+ fxg6 102. hxg6+ Kg7. 103. Rxe6 Rh8 104. Qd4+ Kg8. The tactics after this start to become complicated, but eventually, white is able to transpose into a winning endgame. For example: 105. Qe5 Rh3+ 106. b3 d4 107. Rd1 d3 108. Qxf5 Rf3 109. Qg4 Qd5 110. Rd6 Qe5 111. Rxc6 Rf4 112. Qe6+ Qxe6 113. Rxe6 and the rook endgame is convincing for white.


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Position after 112. Rfxf5


96. Rg1 Bb5 97. Ka2 Rg8 98. Bd1 Kg6 99. Rf3 Rh8 100. Rg2 Re8 101. Re3 Rh8 102. Bc2 Rg8 103. Rf2 Rg7 104. Bd1 Rh7 105. Re5 Bd7 106. Bc2 Rg7 107. Re1 Bb5

This is a blunder, since the bishop needed to guard the pawn on f5. However, white did not yet find the winning breakthrough 108. Rxf5 exf5 109. Bxf5+. To illustrate black's mistake, this this would not have worked if the bishop was still on d7 due to the simple Bxf5. The continuation for the breakthrough will put black's king running on white's territory. For example: 109... Kxf5 110. Qxg7 f6 111. Qh6 Rd7 112. b3 Bd3 113. Qxh5 Be4 114. Rf1+ Ke6 115. Rxf6+ Ke5 116. Qg4 Qe7 117. Qf4+ Kd4 118. Qf2+ Ke5 119. Qh2+ Kd4 120. Qb2+ Ke3 121. Rf1 Bh7 122. Qf2+ Kd3 123. Rd1+ Ke4. White can now finally win the queen with Re1+, but g6 is stronger with a forced mate in 9.

108. Rg2 Rc8 109. Ka3 Rh7 110. Re5 Rg7 111. Rf2 Kh7 112. Rfxf5 (diagram)

Finally, the breakthrough was found. Black cannot capture the rook, as 112... exf5 113. Bxf5+ Rg6. (Trying to keep the material was worse: 113... Kg8 114. Rxd5 Qc7 115. Bxc8 Qxc8 116. Rd8+.) 114. Rxd5 Qg8 115. Bxc8 Qxc8 116. Rd8 threatening the Qh8 mate. 116... Qh3+ 117. b3 f6 118. Qd5 Qxh4 119. Qf7+ Rg7 120. g6+ Kh6 121. Rh8+ Kg5 122. Qxg7. Exchange and pawn up with the safer king and an advanced passer, easy victory for white at this level. 122... Qh1 123. Qh6+ Kf5 124. Qxh5+ Qxh5 125. Rxh5+ Kxg6.


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Position after 121... Bxf7


112... Kg8 113. Rf6 Bc6 114. Rh6 Be8 115. b3 Rc6 116. Qd1 Kf8 117. Qxh5 Rg8 118. Rh7 Qc7 119. Qh6+ Ke7 120. Qf6+ Kd7 121. Rxf7+ Bxf7 1-0. (diagram)

White wins by the TCEC win rule. An example continuation: 122. Qxf7+ Kc8 123. Qxg8+ Kd7 124. Qh8 Qd8 125. Qxd8+ Kxd8 126. h5 d4 127. h6 Ke7 128. h7 Rc8 129. Bf5 Kf7 130. Rxe6 Rh8 131. Rb6 Rb8 132. c6 Ke7 133. c7 Ra8 134. c8=Q Rxc8 135. Bxc8 d3 136. h8=Q d2 137. g6 d1=Q 138. Re6#

References