Rook, Knight and Pawn versus Rook and Knight

The ending with this material balance would usually be drawn because "all" the defender has to do is to exchange his knight for the pawn, when the resulting R+N versus R position is almost invariably drawn. Sometimes it is easier said than done. White has a rook's pawn (usually problematic for a knight) and it's well advanced; even so Black should have drawn this position, which arose after White's 60th move.

Soon after Black's fatal error, another interesting situation arose when, at move 70, White failed to find the most efficient win and ended up in a Queen versus Rook ending (still winning). Probably because of the clock, Black failed to put up much resistance in that phase but he did not have an optimal defensive position to begin with.

Yuri Vovk (2632) - Yannick Gozzoli (2567)
33rd Andorra Open 26.07.2015

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 b5 4.a4 c6 5.b3 e5 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.bxc4 Nf6 8.cxb5 Bb4+ 9.Bd2 Bxf3 10.gxf3 Qxd4 11.Bxb4 Qxb4+ 12.Nd2 0-0 13.Qb3 Qa5 14.Rc1 cxb5 15.Qxb5 Qxb5 16.axb5 Nbd7 17.Rc6 Nb6 18.Rg1 Nfd7 19.Bh3 Rfc8 20.Ke2 Rxc6 21.bxc6 Nc5 22.Ke3 Kf8 23.Rc1 Ne6 24.Bxe6 fxe6 25.f4 exf4+ 26.Kxf4 Ke7 27.Ke5 Rc8 28.Nb3 Rc7 29.h4 g6 30.f3 Rc8 31.f4 Rc7 32.h5 Rc8 33.h6 Rc7 34.f5 gxf5 35.exf5 exf5 36.Nd4 Ke8 37.Rg1 Re7+ 38.Kxf5 Rf7+ 39.Ke5 Re7+ 40.Ne6 Nc4+ 41.Kf5 Rf7+ 42.Ke4 Re7 43.Kf5 Rf7+ 44.Kg5 Ke7 45.Re1 Kd6 46.Nd8 Rf2 47.Rc1 Nb6 48.Ra1 Kc7 49.Ne6+ Kxc6 50.Rxa7 Nd7 51.Nf4 Kd6 52.Ra8 Nc5 53.Kg4 Rh2 54.Nh3 Rg2+ 55.Kf5 Rh2 56.Ng5 Rf2+ 57.Kg4 Rg2+ 58.Kh4 Ke7 59.Ra7+ Nd7 60.Nxh7 60...Rh2+ 61.Kg5 Rg2+ 62.Kf5 Rf2+ 63.Kg6 Kd6 64.Ra6+ Ke7 65.Ng5 Nf8+ 66.Kg7 Rg2 67.Ra7+ 67...Nd7?? Fatal moment. Tablebase shows that only Ke8 holds the draw. Now White could win a share of 3rd prize. 68.Ra5! White should mate in 25 moves; of course he must defend the N. Also Kg6 wins (31 moves). 68...Nf8 Trying to get back to stop the pawn. 69.Re5+! Kd6 Otherwise Kxf8 is a simple win.70.Kxf8!? This wins but only after more technical difficulties. Probe shows a simpler winning process: [70.Rf5! Ne6+ 71.Kg6 Nd8 (71...Nd4 72.h7 ) 72.h7 Rh2 73.Ne4+ Kd7 74.Rh5 Rxh5 75.Kxh5 with a winning N+P versus N ending: 75...Nf7 76.Kg6 Also 76 Ng5 wins. 76...Ke7 77.Ng5 Nh8+ 78.Kg7 Ke8 Now comes the delicate touch: 79.Ne4! actually not the quickest to mate but the pretty line I saw (NOT 79.Kxh8? Kf8 with a well-known book draw; 79.Kf6 counter-intuitive but two moves quicker to mate; also Nf3 mates in 14. 79...Kf8 80.Nh3 with the point that the manoeuvre N-f4-g6 cannot be prevented.; 79.Nf3 ) 79...Ke7 (79...Nf7 80.Nd6+ Nxd6 81.h8Q+ ) 80.Nd6! ] 70...Kxe5 71.h7 Rxg5 [71...Rh2 72.Nf3+ ] 72.h8Q+ White now had 50 moves, playing on increments, to win QvR. Probe says best play is mate in 30. 72...Kf5 Mate in 27 after this; better Kd5. 73.Kf7 Kf4 74.Qd4+ Kf5 75.Qf2+ Ke4 76.Kf6 Natural to improve the K position but optimum (two moves quicker) is Qe2+ says Probe. 76...Rd5 Clearly best. 77.Qe2+ Mates in 25 says Probe. 77...Kd4 78.Ke6 Clearly best. 78...Rc5 Live transmission ended here although Chess24 gave the result as a win. Players had little time so at the time we originally created this web page, we were uncertain what happened. The actual finish can be found in ChessBase's Mega Database 2017. [78...Rc5 Probe's main line goes: 79.Qd2+ Kc4 80.Kd6 Rb5 81.Qc2+ Kb4 82.Kc6 Black is driven to the edge and has to try stalemate defence. 82...Ka3 Gozzoli didn't see this resource. He actually played 82...Ra5 and the game ended 83 Qd2+ Ka4 84 Qb2 Rh5 85 Qd4+ Ka3 86 Qe3+ Kb4 87 Qf4+ 1-0. 83.Qc1+ Several moves win but this is quickest. (83.Kxb5?? stalemate) 83...Rb2 84.Kc5 Kb3 (84...Ka4 is now met by 85.Qxb2 no stalemate) 85.Qc4+ Ka3 86.Qc3+ Ka2 87.Kc4 Kb1 The next phase is harder to understand. Now the Q makes a temporising move: 88.Qf6 is quickest 88...Kc2 89.Qg7 Ra2 (89...Kc1 loses in the same number of moves after 90.Kc3 Rc2+ 91.Kb3 ) 90.Qg2+ Kb1 91.Qe4+ Kb2 92.Kb4 The end is nigh. 92...Ka1 (92...Ra6 93.Qe2+ ; 92...Ra7 loses R to 93.Qd4+ ; 92...Ra1 93.Qe2+ Kb1 94.Kb3 ; 92...Kc1 93.Kb3 Rb2+ 94.Kc3 ) 93.Qd4+ or Qe5+ (White must avoid the last trap: 93.Qe1+ Kb2 94.Qc3+ Kb1 95.Kb3?? Ra3+ 96.Kxa3 stalemate) 93...Kb1 (93...Rb2+ 94.Ka3 ) 94.Kb3 with win of the R or mate imminent.] 1-0

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