Rook and two split pawns versus Rook and Pawn

The 7-man ending begins after White's 61st move. The tablebase shows that Black can win but at Wijk aan Zee, the former Women's World Champion was unable to do it in practice against one of the world's top men.

For a while the Chinese grandmaster played correctly and kept the win in hand despite some inccuracies. The critical moment came at move 70 where two winning methods were available but she found neither.

Giri's accurate defence in the final phase, finding numerous "only" moves to save the game, was impressive.

Anish Giri - Hou Yifan
Tata Steel Masters, Wijk aan Zee 2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bf4 d5 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nbd2 Bd6 7.Ne5 Qc7 8.Ndf3 0-0 9.Bd3 b6 10.Nxc6 Qxc6 11.Ne5 Qc7 12.Qf3 Ne4 13.Nc4 Bxf4 14.Qxf4 Qxf4 15.exf4 Ba6 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17.Nd2 cxd4 18.Nxe4 f5 19.Ng5 dxc3 20.0-0-0 Bc4 21.b3 Bd5 22.Rhe1 Rfe8 23.Re3 Rac8 24.Rdd3 Bxg2 25.Rd7 Red8 26.Rxd8+ Rxd8 27.Nxe6 Rd6 28.Ng5 Bc6 29.Rxc3 h6 30.Nh3 Bb5 31.Re3 Bf1 32.Ng1 Rd4 33.Re1 Bg2 34.Ne2 Re4 35.Kd2 Bf3 36.Ng3 Rxf4 37.Re8+ Kf7 38.Ke3 g5 39.Rh8 Kg7 40.Rc8 Bg4 41.Rc7+ Kf6 42.h3 Rf3+ 43.Kd4 Bxh3 44.Rc6+ Ke7 45.Rxh6 Bg4 46.Rg6 Rxf2 47.Rxg5 Kf7 48.b4 Rf3 49.Ne2 Rh3 50.Nc3 Rh8 51.Nd5 Re8 52.a3 Re4+ 53.Kd3 Be2+ 54.Kd2 Rd4+ 55.Kxe2 Rxd5 56.Rh5 Kg6 57.Rh8 Rd7 58.a4 Kf6 59.a5 Ke5 60.Rc8 bxa5 61.bxa5

61...Rd5 62.a6 Ra5 63.Rc6 Kd5 Natural, and all reasonable moves should win, but Probe shows the best is [63...Kf4 preparing to support the advance of the f-pawn.] 64.Rf6 Ke4 [64...Ke5 65.Rc6 Kf4 is best.] 65.Re6+ Kf4 On the right track. 66.Kd3 Ra4?! This doesn't spoil the win but much better is [66...Kf3 67.Rf6 f4 68.Kc3 Kg4 69.Kd3 Ra2 70.Rg6+ Kf3 71.Kc3 Rg2 ] 67.Rg6?! [67.Kc3 is objectively best, postponing mate to 48 moves; after the text it should only take 33. 67...Kg5 68.Kd3 Kg4 69.Ke3 f4+ 70.Kf2 Ra2+ 71.Kg1 Kf3 72.Rf6 Ra3 73.Rc6 Ra1+ 74.Kh2 Ke2 75.Rc2+ Kf1 76.Rc3 Rxa6 77.Rf3+ Ke2 78.Rxf4 Rh6+ 79.Kg3 Rg6+ 80.Kh4 a5 and although the last pawn is a rook's pawn the White king is too badly placed to save the game.] 67...Kf3 68.Kc3 f4 69.Kb3 Ra1 70.Kb4

70...Ke3? This leaves the king stranded in midstream, and spoils the win which could have been accomplished in either of two ways: [70...Ke4 for if 71.Kb5 (71.Rf6 f3 ) 71...f3 72.Re6+ Kd5 or even ...Kf5.; 70...Ra2 71.Kb5 Rg2 72.Rf6 Rg7 73.Kc4 Kg3 74.Kd4 f3 75.Ke3 Re7+ 76.Kd3 Kg2 ] 71.Kb5 f3 72.Re6+! Kd4 73.Rf6! Rb1+ 74.Ka4! Once let off the hook, Giri continues to defend with great precision. 74...Rf1 75.Kb3! Ke3 76.Re6+! Kd2 77.Rd6+ Ke3 78.Re6+! Kd4 79.Rf6! Ke4 80.Rf7! Ra1 81.Re7+! [Not 81.Rxa7?? f2! when Black wins.] 81...Kd4 82.Rf7 Ke3 83.Re7+ Kd2 84.Rd7+ Ke1 85.Re7+ Kf1 The last try. 86.Rxa7! A drawn ending of pawn versus rook will arise. 86...f2 87.Kc4 Ke2 88.Re7+! Kd2 89.Rf7 f1Q+ 90.Rxf1 Rxf1 91.Kb5 Kc3 92.a7 Rf8 93.Kc6 Kb4 94.Kb7 Rf7+ 95.Kb6 Rxa7 1/2-1/2

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