Bishop, Knight and Pawn versus Rook and Pawn

The 7-man endgame arose at move 55 where White has just captured f3xe4 to maintain a passed pawn and will hope to squeeze Black and win his pawn eventually or else support the advance of his e-pawn. Nevertheless Black should hold the draw and the situation is not yet critical.

The first defensive error came at move 64 although the reason why the move was inferior is far from obvious.

White now had a winning position but slipped up at move 72, and only won because a further defensive error at move 74 gave him a second chance.

Black never wants to play ...g5 because then three pieces could attack it and only two could defend it. Eventually he tried to push the pawn in desperation but it failed.

P. Harikrishna - C. V. Aravindh
Tradewise Gibraltar Masters 2016

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.d4 0-0 6.Qc2 dxc4 7.Qxc4 a6 8.Qc2 c5 9.dxc5 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qxc5 11.Qxc5 Bxc5 12.Ne5 Nbd7 13.Nd3 Bd4 14.Bb4 Re8 15.Nd2 Ne5 16.Nxe5 Bxb2 17.Nd3 Bxa1 18.Nb3 a5 19.Bd2 e5 20.Nxa1 e4 21.Nc5 a4 22.Bg5 Ra5 23.Bxf6 Rxc5 24.Bd4 Rc4 25.e3 Bh3 26.0-0 Bf5 27.h3 Rec8 28.g4 Bg6 29.a3 b5 30.Kh2 b4 31.axb4 Rxb4 32.Rd1 h5 33.Kg3 hxg4 34.hxg4 a3 35.Rd2 f6 36.Kf4 Rc1 37.Ra2 Ra4 38.Nc2 Rg1 39.Bxe4 Bxe4 40.Kxe4 Rxg4+ 41.Kf3 f5 42.Rxa3 Rxa3 43.Nxa3 Kf7 44.Nb5 g6 45.Nc3 Rg1 46.Ne2 Rb1 47.Ng3 Rg1 48.Be5 Ke6 49.Bg7 Kf7 50.Bh6 Kf6 51.Kf4 Rg2 52.f3 Rb2 53.e4 fxe4 54.Bg5+ Ke6 55.fxe4 55...Rf2+ 56.Ke3 Rg2 57.Kf3 Rg1 58.Be3 Rb1 59.Bf4 The kingside is stablised. 59...Rb3+ 60.Kg4 Kf6 Black can only wait. 60...Rb1 and 60...Rb4 also hold. 61.Nh1 White wants to transfer the knight to g5. 61...Rb2 62.Bg3 Rb4 63.Nf2 Ra4 64.Bf4 64...Ra3? The first mistake; he could have played [64...Ra2 65.Nh3 Rg2+ 66.Kf3 Ra2 67.Ng5 Rc2 It is far from obvious why the game move loses. The continuation, though, shows that White was now able to force the defending king away from its pawn.] 65.Nh3! White mates in 93 says the tablebase. 65...Ra1 66.Bg3 Ra3 [66...Rf1 only holds up White's regrouping briefly. After 67.Ng5 Ra1 68.Nf3 there is no stopping Kf4 and Bh4+ and the knight may even go to d4 eventually.] 67.Kf4 Ra1 68.Bh4+ Ke6 69.Ng5+ Kd6 70.Bg3 Rf1+ 71.Ke3+ Ke7 Until here Harikrishna's technique was impressive but now he lost patience. 72.e5? The optimal line from the tablebase shows White's plan should have been quite different, involving a king infiltration: [72.Nf3! Some other moves also retain the win. 72...Ra1 73.Kf4 Kf7 74.Ne5+ Kf6 75.Bh4+ Kg7 76.Nc4 Rc1 77.Nd6 Rf1+ 78.Ke5 Kh6 79.Bd8 White is now ready to support the advance of his pawn and if Black tries 79...g5 he concedes an important fulcrum square: 80.Nf5+ Kg6 81.Ne3 Rb1 82.Be7 Kh5 83.Bc5 g4 84.Kf4 Rg1 85.Bd4 g3 86.Nf5 winning the g-pawn and eventually the game.] 72...Ra1! 72...Rg1 also holds. 73.Bf2 Ra4 74.Kd3 Rf4? Black spoils his reprieve, losing a fatal tempo. The R was on its optimal square and Black should have improved his king position: [74...Kd7 Admittedly a hard move to find as it takes the K away from his pawn. Then if 75.Bd4 (75.e6+?! Ke7 (not the only safe move) and the White K cannot support the pawn.) 75...Kc6 (75...Ra2 transposes.) 76.Ke4 Ra2[] it appears that White cannot make progress against correct defence.] 75.Be3! The only move to put White back on the winning track (mate in 50), but not hard to find. 75...Rg4 76.Bc5+ Ke8 77.Ne6!? Not bad but 77 Nf3 is five moves faster. 77...Rh4 78.Nd4 g5 A human try; some rook moves resist a little longer. 79.e6 Rh6 80.Ke4 White's moves are becoming easy to find. 80...g4 Kd8 holds out longest but Black wants to make his opponent calculate some critical moves, especially as they may have been short of time. 81.Ke5 g3 82.Nf5! Rg6 83.Nd6+ Kd8 84.Kf5 84 Ne4 is more precise says trhe tablebase. 84...Rg8 85.Ne4 g2 86.e7+ Kc7 87.Nf6 Kc6 88.Bg1 Ra8 89.e8Q+ Rxe8 90.Nxe8 and White efficiently mated with bishop and knight after collecting the black pawn. 90...Kd5 91.Nf6+ Kc4 92.Ke4 Kc3 93.Kf3 Kd3 94.Kxg2 Ke2 95.Ne4 Kd3 96.Nd6 Kc3 97.Kf3 Kd3 98.Be3 Kc3 99.Ke2 Kb4 100.Bb6 Kc3 101.Ke3 Kc2 102.Ba5 Kb3 103.Kd3 Ka4 104.Bc3 Kb3 105.Ne4 Ka4 106.Kc4 Ka3 107.Nc5 Ka2 108.Kd3 Kb1 109.Kd2 Ka2 110.Kc2 Ka3 111.Bd2 Ka2 112.Bc1 Ka1 113.Nd3 Ka2 114.Nb4+ Ka1 115.Bb2# 1-0

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