An unexamined life is not worth living.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Crazy Rook Stalemate At the World Cup

One of the most dramatic moments of this year’s World Cup happened early on, in the first rapid playoff game in Felgaer – Malakhov match. The Russian grandmaster is known as an endgame expert, but and here he found a miraculous defensive resource in what kept looking like a hopeless endgame.

image Black to move. His position looks completely hopeless, but since the king is stalemated, he can try to play for a draw with 116. ... Rb5+!? Of course White does not accept the sacrifice, which would have lead to immediate draw.
117. Kc7 Rd5!
image  White to move
118. Rh7 ?? One move before victory, Felgaer crumbles under immense pressure. The rook is unprotected on ‘h7’ and this makes all the difference. Correct was 118. Re7! Rd7+ 119. Kb6!, and White wins.
118... Rd7+ !
image White is forced to take the rook, since otherwise his own rook on h7 falls. But now this is stalemate.
119. Kxd7 1/2-1/2

image Malakhov just played Re7+, and you can see that GM Alekseev is the first one of the spectators to react with a grin, all others are still trying to figure out what’s going on for another couple of seconds.

A few seconds later – Felgaer can’t believe that 120 moves into this game, victory just escaped!image 
The shock of this draw had an interesting effect on the two players, as in the second game Malakhov lost quickly as White and was eliminated.


  1. Nice post.

    Would appreciate if you could have a look at my blog -

    It's an attempt at improving. All comments and criticisms on my games are welcome.


  2. Could you please explain the white win in the 'crazy rook stalemate' post? I understand until you have explained. But what happens after Kb6?? Black to play.

    Thanks, Am a novice, beginner chess player, got into the game hook, line and sinker because of my 6 yr old son playing chess.

    wonderful posts by the way.

  3. Thanks for the comments :)

    Roopa, do you suggest Kb6 instead of Rxd7 ?

    Then Black takes rook on h7, he will not lose ...


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