Tag Archives: rook and pawn endgames

Blindfolded Brilliance and Other Views from the Peanut Gallery

The Melody Amber rapid/blindfold tournament is underway in Monaco, and it’s a pretty stacked field: 11 of the top 15 in the world, plus Anish Giri (no scrub himself), are playing. So far Aronian has proved to be the most slippery player, escaping from worse/lost positions in all 4 of his games to score 3.5 points!

As I tuned into the event yesterday, I saw Kramnik played 38…Bf5 to reach the position in the diagram below:

(FEN: 4rnk1/pp2r1p1/q4p1p/P2p1b2/2pPP3/2P2PB1/2B2QPP/RR5K w - - 0 39)

The move made some sense – Black has to do something about White’s slowly advancing center, and …Bf5 forces a decision with the e-pawn. I didn’t have much time to think about what was going on when Grischuk played 39.exf5!!.

But wait, didn’t Kramnik stop that with the threat of …Re2?

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A Teachable Moment

The World Blitz Championship finished up a couple days ago and GM Levon Aronian took clear first with 24.5/38 (it was a 20-player, double round-robin). Radjabov finished half a point back, followed by Carlsen a further half-point back.

I didn’t look at all the games, but there was one that caught my eye between Aronian and Caruana in round 17.

(FEN: 8/6pk/4R3/5KPP/8/8/8/7r w - - 0 1)

Black has just played 56…Rh1 and Aronian, noticing there’s no actual way to force a win here, played the tricky 57.Re8. I have no idea how much time Caruana had here (I’m sure that even with 30 seconds, he’d have seen the trap), but he blundered with 57…Rxh5?, which falls for the trap that White set.

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