One of my favorite chess tournaments, if not the most, is the World Chess Cup. You have there plenty of interesting games, all kind of Grand Masters, classical, rapid and blitz games… what more can we ask for? But have you seen the hot drama between Kramnik and Bruzon? That was something.

The main cons are that you cannot watch all the games at the same time and also that you can waste lot of time because its addictive component…

I would like to show you one of the most interesting positions to me.


This happened in Kramnik-Bruzón, on their first game from the second round. After using the known as “second file defense”, in which you use the stalemate idea for pushing away the King every time White wants to give checkmate, Bruzón was holding, till on this position he blundered with 113…Kb7? allowing 114.Ra1 after what the computer says it is mate in 16 moves.

After 113…Rb3 it is a draw, because if 114.Kc6 Black has the above mentioned stalemate idea with 114…Rb6+!

Looking at the chess engine or the analysis of this game in any web or magazine can be deceptive. This ending looks easy to defend but many Grand Masters, of course with the help of the time pressure and tiredness after a long game, manage to lose it. So I always wonder why having three different kinds of defenses they choose this one instead of the most classical one:


White simply pins the bishop and it is impossible to make any progress, when the King goes to one side, you move your own King towards the other side:

Rakhmanov,Aleksandr (2620) - Domínguez Pérez,Leinier (2736)

TCh-ESP Div Honor 2015 Linares ESP (4.1), 18.08.2015

63.¦e7 ¢d4 64.¢f1 ¥f4 65.¦e2 ¦h8 66.¦e7 ¢d3 67.¢g2 ¦f8 68.¦e6 ¥e3 69.¢g3 ¢d4 70.¦d6+ ¢e5 71.¦a6 ¥d4 72.¢g4 ¦f1 73.¦a5+ ¢e4 74.¦a4 ¦g1+ 75.¢h4 ¢e5 76.¢h3 ¦g8 77.¦b4 ¥e3 78.¦g4 ¦a8 79.¦b4 ¢f5 80.¢g2 ¦a3 81.¦c4 ¥f4 82.¢f2 ¦e3 83.¦c8 ¦d3 84.¦f8+ ¢g4 85.¦g8+ ¥g5 86.¦e8 ¦d6 87.¦e4+ ¥f4 88.¦e8 ¦d2+ 89.¦e2 ¦xe2+ 90.¢xe2 ½–½


Of course I am not trying to give any advice to such a strong player like Bruzón is, but if we check on the Opening Master database we will find many examples where the Rook side is losing after using the second file defense, whereas I do not know any game where they lost using the classical defense. By the way, usually the rook side loses after missing some checkmate in one move. The one who is writing these lines had a strange experience about this, I will punish myself showing it to you:


Serrano Salvador,Eduardo (2327) - Candela Pérez,José (2402)

Madrid Team Championship (6), 25.01.2009

[Black is just four moves away from reaching the 50 moves without captures or moving a pawn and the position is a draw after 99...Rc1 Realizing about it and being very tired after a long and tense game, I was already thinking on other kind of things but chess. What happened now is just stunning:]

99...¢c8?? 100.¦c7+?? [After my move, I could see some of my team mates looking at me like if I had a huge snake on my neck. Of course, 100.¦g8#] 100...¢b8 101.¦d7 ¢c8 102.¦e7 And we have reached the 50 moves ½–½


A great tool from any chess database software like Chessbase or Chess Assistant with powerful chess database like Opening Master OM OTB with 7.7 million games is that you can search games with this (or some other) ending with much ease. Then you can see how far away are those times where the masters thought it was a lack of respect trying to win this kind of ending against them, unless you check the correspondence chess database (OM CORR), of course. Nowadays, you should be prepared for facing and defending it, but I would not recommend it with chess analysis using chess database but studying it with any endings books and then playing both sides with any friend of similar level.

--Eduardo Serrano Salvador--
FIDE 2351



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