(1) Kosteniuk,Alexandra (2490) - Onischuk,Alexander (2652) [C65]
Grandmaster tournament, group B, cat 13 Wijk aan Zee (Holland) (1), 15.01.2005
[Kosteniuk Alexandra]

Let me begin my commenting from the very first game of the Corus 2005 Grandmaster tournament group B, It was a category 13 event (average rating of all 14 players - 2564). I was quite happy after the drawing because I chose number 5 which meant that I was going to play 7 games with White and 6 with Black. In such a strong torunament that means a lot. My first game was against GM Onischuk who played on the first board of the US-team at the recent Olympiad in Calvia. I played with White and hoped for a good start.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5
I expected that some kind of Ruy Lopez would appear in our game, but not this exact variation that I didn't study at all before the game. However, I was familiar with these kind of positions because I played them earlier.

5.c3 0-0 6.d4 Bb6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 d6 9.Qd3
[9.a4 is more popular here]

[In my game against Sekulovska, V in Bled, 2002 Black chose another line 9...Qe7 10.Nbd2 Nb8 ]

10.Nbd2 a6 11.Bc4 exd4 12.cxd4 g5

I didn't know this position even though some very interesting games were played such as Topalov - Leko, Dortmund and Frankfurt, 1999 and Svidler - Leko, Linares 1999 [13.Bg3! seems to be the best move in this position. Svidler Peter - Leko Peter, 1999 Linares 75/302; 13.Nxg5?! hxg5 14.Bxg5 Kg7! 15.Nb3 this move was seen twice in the games of the same opponents - Topalov - Leko in 1999 and Balck won both games (15.Qg3 Nh5-/+ ; 15.e5 dxe5 16.Ne4 Bf5 ! 17.dxe5 Nxe4 ! 18.Bxd8 Raxd8 19.Qf3 Bg6-/+ ; 15.Nf3 ) 15...Ne7! 16.Rae1? (16.Bxf6+ Kxf6 17.f4 Be6!! Black is slightly better, Topalov - Leko, Dortmund, 1999) 16...Nh7 17.Bh4 f6 Black is better, Topalov - Leko, Frankfurt, 1999]

A serious mistake, during the game I considered [13...d5 as the strongest move, it's actually true. Unfortunately after the game my opponent and I were too tired to analyze the game and I wasn't able to ask him why he didn't like this continuation 14.Nxg5 I was planning to play this move during the game though I didn't understand very well what was going to happen (14.Bb3 was also possible but I didn't consider it as the alternative because I didn't like my positionafter 14...gxh4 15.exf6 Qxf6 16.Bxd5 Rad8 and Black is better) 14...dxc4 15.Nxc4 hxg5 16.Bxg5 I hoped that my attack would be strong enough to compensate 2 pieces that I just sacrificed, in the reality the most likely result would have been a draw after 16...Nb4 (16...Bg4? 17.Bxf6 Qxd4 18.Qg3 Qe4 19.Qh4 white's winning; 16...Be6? 17.Nd6 Nb4 18.Qd2 with decisive attack; 16...Bc8! the best move in this position but almost impossible to find during the game 17.Nxb6 cxb6 18.Bxf6 (18.Rfd1 Nxe5 ) 18...Qxd4 19.Qg3+ Qg4 20.Qe3 Kh7 21.f4 Rg8 22.Rf2 b5 23.Bg5 with compensation) 17.Qa3 (17.Qb3 Be6 18.Rad1 Bxc4 19.Qxc4 Qd5 20.Qxb4 with compensation) 17...Nc2 18.Qd3 Nb4= ]

14.Qg6+ Kh8 15.Qxh6+ Nh7

the strongest, White's idea is to go with the f3 knight to g5, to take on h7 and then to go with the e4 knight on f6 with the threat of checkmate [After 16.Bd3 f5 17.exf6 Rf7 18.Ng5 Qxf6 White didn't get a lot from the attack]

[16...Rg8 17.Nf6 Bf5 18.Nxh4 Bc2 19.Rfc1 (19.Rac1 dxe5 20.Nxg8 Qxg8 21.Rxc2 Nxd4 22.Rc3 ) 19...dxe5 20.Nxg8 Qxg8 21.Rxc2 Nxd4 22.Rc3 White's better; 16...Ne7 17.Nf6 Bf5 18.Nxh7 Ng8 19.Qxf8! during the game I was very happy when I saw this move; 16...f6 17.Nxh4 winning]

17.Nfg5 Qe7 18.Nf6 Qg7 19.Qxh7+ Qxh7 20.Ngxh7 Rfd8 21.Ng5 dxe5
[21...Be8 22.exd6 cxd6 23.Nxe8 Rxe8 24.Nf7+ Kg7 25.Nxd6 with the decisive advantage in the endgame]

22.Nf7+ Kg7 23.dxe5! Nxe5 24.Nh5+ Kg6 25.Nxe5+ Kxh5 26.Be2+! Kg5 27.Nf7+ Kf6 28.Nxd8 Rxd8 29.Rad1 Re8

[30.Bxa6! was the easiest way to a win 30...Ba4 31.b3 bxa6 32.bxa4 Re2 33.a3 Ra2 (33...Rc2 34.a5 Bxa5 35.Rd4 Kg5 36.Ra4 ) 34.Rd3 Kg5 35.h3 with the idea of g3]

30...Bc8 31.Rfe1 Rg8 32.Bd5 Rh8 33.Bb3 Bc5 34.Rd3
maybe a better plan would be to double my rooks on the e-file. Generally speaking the main idea of White here is to change as many pieces as possible and avoid if possible exchanging pawns. That's why it was so important to play 30. Ba6, that could have helped me to exchange a pair of bishops. Here Black has 2 bishops and it's quite difficult to get through their defensive barrier. [34.Re2 Bd6 35.Rde1 Bd7 36.Bd5 b6 37.a3 a5 (37...f4 38.h3 Rh5 39.Be6 Bb5 40.Rc2 Rg5 41.Bg4 Be5 42.b4 Ba4 43.Rd2 ) 38.g3 h3 39.Rc1 f4 40.Bc6 Bf5 41.Rce1 Rg8 42.Re8 Rg7 43.Kh1 ]

34...Bd6 35.Bd5 b6 36.g3 Bd7 37.Rf3
[37.Rd4 looks interesting 37...hxg3 38.hxg3 Be5 39.Rh4 Rxh4 40.gxh4 Bxb2 41.h5 Kg5 42.Re7 Bb5 43.Rxc7 Kxh5 44.Bc6 Bd3 45.a4 Kg5 46.Rb7 b5 47.axb5 axb5 48.Bxb5 Be4 (48...Bxb5 49.Rxb5 this endgame is winning for White) 49.Bc6 ]

37...Rh5 38.Re4 hxg3 39.hxg3 f4 40.Rfxf4+
I thought that the endgame with two passed pawns should be easily winning. In fact it took some time:) [40.Bb7 Rc5 (40...a5 41.gxf4 ) 41.Rfxf4+ (41.Rc3 Rxc3 42.bxc3 fxg3 43.fxg3 Bxg3 44.Bxa6 ) 41...Bxf4 42.Rxf4+ Kg5 43.Rd4 Be6 44.Bxa6 Rc2 45.f4+ Kf6 46.b4 Rxa2 47.Bc4 Bxc4 48.Rxc4 Rb2 49.g4 b5 50.Re4 Rc2 ]

40...Bxf4 41.Rxf4+ Ke7 42.Rd4 c5 43.Rd2 b5 44.f4
[44.f3 looks stronger in this case White pawns can go further without letting Black's pieces go into White's camp 44...c4 45.g4 Rg5 (45...Rh8 46.Kg2 Rd8 47.Be4 Rg8 48.Kg3 a5 49.Kf4 Rf8+ 50.Ke5 Rg8 51.Bf5 ) 46.Kf2 a5 47.Kg3 Rg6 48.Kf4 Rf6+ (48...Rh6 49.g5 Rh1 50.Rg2 here my pawns are more passed than they were in the game) 49.Ke5 White piece s are perfectly centralized and it shouldn't be difficult to win with such pieces and an extra pawn]

44...c4 45.Kf2
[45.Bf3 Rc5 46.g4 b4 with counterplay]

45...a5 46.Ke3 Rh3 47.Rg2 Rh1 48.a4
[48.g4 Rd1 49.Bb7 (49.Be4? Re1+ 50.Re2 (50.Kd4?? Rxe4+ 51.Kxe4 Bc6+ winning) 50...Rxe2+ 51.Kxe2 Bxg4+= ; 49.Bf3? Rd3+ 50.Ke2 Rxf3 51.Kxf3 Bc6+ 52.Kg3 Bxg2 53.Kxg2 b4 54.Kf3 a4 55.Ke2 c3 56.b3 (56.bxc3?? b3! winning) 56...axb3 57.axb3 Ke6= ) ]

48...b4 49.Bxc4 Bxa4 50.g4 Bc6 51.Rg3
I can't reme mber why I decided to keep my rook on the g-file. Probably because of the very well known fact that the best place for a rook in the endings is behind passed pawns. But here, it seems to be better to keep my rook on the second row, where it's helping my pawns to go further and at the same time it doesn't let the opponent's pawns to go on. [51.Re2 Kf8 52.f5 a4 53.f6 a3 54.bxa3 bxa3 55.Kf4 Be8 56.Rd2 Rc1 57.Ba2 Rf1+ 58.Kg5 Rh1 59.Rd3 ]

51...Re1+ 52.Kd2 Rb1 53.b3 a4 54.Re3+ Kf8 55.bxa4 Bxa4 56.Bd3?!
Now, analyzing with the computer it seems quite easy. All I need here is to win the Black's b-pawn. Fot that I need to activate my rook. But during the game being in the second zeitnot it wasn't clear at all [56.Re6! b3 57.Rf6+ Ke7 (57...Kg7 58.Rf7+ Kh8 59.Rf8+ Kg7 60.Rg8+ ) 58.Rb6 b2 59.Be2 Bd7 60.f5 and after Kc3 winning the b2-pawn and the game]

56...Rb2+ 57.Kc1 Rg2?
[During the game I was more afraid of 57...Rb3 it was indeed more stubborn and Black has some chances to make a draw 58.g5 Bb5 59.Kc2 Ra3 60.Rh3 Rc3+ (60...Bc4 61.Rh8+ Kg7 62.Rh7+ Kg8 63.Rd7 Rc3+ (63...b3+ 64.Kb1 Ra4 65.Bh7+ Kh8 66.Bf5 Kg8 67.Rd4 winning) 64.Kd2 Bxd3 65.Rxd3 Rc8 66.Rd4! (66.Ke3 Rb8 67.Rb3 Kg7 68.Kd4 Kg6 69.Kc4 Rc8+ 70.Kxb4 Kf5 71.Rf3 Rc1! with the idea of Ke4-e3) 66...Rb8 67.Kc2 b3+! otherwise White plays Kb3 and this position is winning. Notice, that if, for example we have following position - White - Kc5, Rc4 pawns f5,e4, Black - Ke5, Rd8 it's a 68.Kb2 Kf7 (68...Kg7 69.f5 Rb7 70.Rd3 Rb5 71.Rf3 Kf7 72.g6+ Kf6 73.Rg3 Rb8 74.Rxb3 Rc8 ) 69.f5 (69.Rd3 Rb4 70.f5 Rf4 71.f6 Rg4 72.Rd5 Rg3 73.Rf5 Kf8 74.f7 Rg1 75.Kxb3 Rb1+ 76.Kc4 Rb6 77.Kd4 Rg6 78.Ke5 Rg7 79.Ke6 Rxg5= ) 69...Rb5 70.g6+ Kf6 71.Rg4 Rb8 72.Rf4 Rb6 73.Rf3 Rb7 74.Rxb3 winning) 61.Kd2 Bxd3 62.Rxd3 Rc4 (62...Rc8 63.Rd4 (63.Rd5 Rb8 (63...Kf7 64.Rb5 ) 64.Kc2 b3+ 65.Kb2 Rb4 66.f5 Rg4 67.g6 Rg3 68.Rd7 Kg8 ) 63...Rb8 64.Kc2 b3+ 65.Kb2 Kf7 66.f5 see above) 63.Ke3 Rc8 64.Rb3! (64.Rd4 Rb8 65.Kd2 b3 66.Kc1 b2+ 67.Kb1 Rb3 (67...Rb5 68.Rd2 ) 68.f5 Rf3 69.f6 Rg3= ; 64.Kd4 Kg7 65.f5 (65.Rb3 Rf8 66.Ke5 Rb8 67.f5 Kf7 68.Kd4 Rb5 69.Ke4 Kg7 70.Kf4 Rb8= ) 65...Rc1 66.Rg3 (66.Rf3 Kf7 67.g6+ Kf6 ) 66...Rf1 67.f6+ Kg6 68.Kc4 Rf4+ 69.Kb3 Rh4 70.Ka4 Re4= ) 64...Rc4 65.Kf3 Kf7 66.Kg4 Kg7 67.Rd3 Rc7 68.f5 Rb7 69.Rh3 Rb6 70.f6+ So after some analysis it seems that the plan for White is to go with his King to help his pawns and the rook should protect the opponent's pawn. As soon as the White's king is together with his pawns the rook can enter the game to convert the decisive advantage into a win]

58.g5 Be8 59.Re6!
The important move. At last I understood that I needed to activate my rook. And despite last seconds left on my clock I played the strongest move

59...b3 60.Rb6 Rg4 61.Rf6+ Kg7 62.Bc4 Ba4 63.Bd5 Rg3 64.Kb2 Re3 65.Rb6 Re2+ 66.Ka3
[66.Kc3 was much easier]

66...Ra2+ 67.Kb4 Rf2!

the last chance for Black. If you like solving chess studies, try to solve this one! White to play and win!

68.Rb7+ Kg6
[68...Kh8 69.g6 ; 68...Kf8 69.Kxa4 Rxf4+ 70.Kxb3 Rf5 71.Rb8+ Ke7 72.g6 ]

69.Be4+ Kh5 70.Rf7?
[70.Rh7+ Kg4 71.g6 Be8! 72.g7 Bf7 ; 70.g6!! Rxf4 71.Rh7+ Kg5 72.g7 Rxe4+ 73.Ka3 Re8 74.Rh8!! the move that I unfortunately didn't notice during the game]

70...Be8 71.Rf8 b2 72.Kc3 Bg6 73.Rh8+ Kg4 74.Bxg6 Rxf4 75.Kxb2 Kxg5 76.Bd3 Kf6 77.Re8 Kf7 78.Re3 Kf6 79.Kc3 Rh4 80.Bc4 Kf5 81.Kb4 Kf4 82.Re7 Rh5 83.Kc3 Re5 84.Rf7+ Rf5 85.Re7 Re5 86.Rh7 Re3+ 87.Bd3 Re8 88.Rh4+ Ke3 89.Rh1 Rc8+ 90.Bc4 Rd8 91.Be6 Rd3+ 92.Kc4 Rd4+ 93.Kc5 Ra4 94.Rh3+ Kf2 95.Bc4 Ra8 96.Kd4 Ra4 97.Rc3 Ra7 98.Ke4 Rh7 99.Rf3+ Kg2 100.Bd5 Rh4+ 101.Ke5 Kg1 102.Be4 Rh2 103.Rf4 Rd2 104.Kf5 Rf2 105.Bf3 Rb2 106.Rh4 Rb8 107.Kf4 Kf2 108.Rh2+ Ke1 109.Be4 Rb3 110.Bf3 Rb4+ 111.Kg3

According to the Tablebases only [111...Rb3! lets Black hold a draw]

112.Re2+ Kf1 113.Re3 Rd2 114.Ra3
Funnilly enough during this tournament Onischuk had the same ending R+B against R one more time. But that time he played with the rook and bishop, but he was not able to win it. 1-0