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After 55...Rb2, we got the following position in Karjakin - Anand (Candidates 2014, round 13). Well, how about Nxg5, does it work?

[White "Karjakin"]
[Black "Anand"]
[FEN "8/8/6k1/4p1p1/4P1Pp/5P1N/1r1BK3/8 w - - 0 1"]

1.Nxg5 Rxd2+ 2.Kxd2 Kxg5 3.Ke3 h3 4.Kf2 Kf4 5.Kg1 Kg5 6.Kh1

Seems better (winning?) for white. Am I missing something?

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Karjakin also thought h3 was forced and only calculated that line. He missed Kf6 and Kh6. Kg6 loses. –  Wes Mar 30 at 14:22
    
What amazes me is that a world class grandmaster like Karjakin failed to correctly evaluate this endgame. It should have been "elementary" for him. –  Wes Apr 1 at 17:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

3...h3 is wrong. The key is 3...Kf6!

[FEN "8/8/5k2/4p3/4P1Pp/4KP2/8/8 w - - 2 4"]

Note that:

  • White's king has to stay in the h-pawn's square, so it can't try to walk around the pawns.

  • Once white's king gets to h3, black should always be able to answer ...Kg5. If he does, then white's king can only retreat, unless he tries f4 there:

[FEN "8/8/8/4p1k1/4P1Pp/5P1K/8/8 w - - 8 7"]

1.f4 exf4

If anyone is better off here, it's black, but it's still a draw.

  • Or white can play 4.f4 immediately.
[FEN "8/8/5k2/4p3/4P1Pp/4KP2/8/8 w - - 2 4"]

4.f4 h3! 5.fxe5+ {What else?} Kxe5 6.Kf3 h2 7.Kg2 h1=Q+ 8.Kxh1 Kxe4 =

So the pawn endgame is a draw.

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You suggested 3... Kf6, I suggested 3... Kh6. Both moves work equally fine, what black should avoid is 3... Kg6? because of 3... Kg6? 4. f4 h3 5. f5+. –  Dag Oskar Madsen Mar 30 at 14:26

The pawn endgame is a draw. Black doesn't play h3 until white plays f4, for instance

[White "Karjakin"]
[Black "Anand"]
[FEN "8/8/8/4p1k1/4P1Pp/5P2/3K4/8 w - - 0 1"]

3.Ke3 Kh6 4. f4 h3! 5. Kf3 exf4

If white doesn't play f4, then black only needs to be ready to answer Kh3 with Kg5, but that is never going to be a problem.

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