From "Modern Endgame Manual" by Mikhalchishin, the following position is analysed and determine to be a winning position for White.

Is Mikhalchishin's analysis correct or does the defensive capabilities of modern engines make this a position a draw?

[Event "Russian Championship Higher League"]
[Date "2013.06.23"]
[White "Boris Grachev"]
[Black "Daniil Dubov"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D47"]
[WhiteElo "2683"]
[BlackElo "2638"]
[FEN "1b4k1/p4p1p/5p2/2P1pB2/8/8/P4PPP/5K2 w - - 0 33"]
[EventDate "2013.06.19"]
  • Sorry the black pawn was in a7 , not a6
    – Stefano
    Nov 25, 2020 at 22:14
  • You can edit your question by clicking on "edit" on the line below the tag.
    – bof
    Nov 25, 2020 at 22:32

2 Answers 2


The analysis of this position seems quite reasonable based off an immediate glance of the board. Grachev has the advantageous position as he is first to move in this position which is essential for this end game play out. The c5 pawn is key to Grachevs success and without playing out the whole game immediately moving to defend it with the King is the most route to success. Dubov is incapable of promoting on the King side of the board and the double pawns do provide somewhat of a hinderance to Dubovs position.

This is effectively how the game rolled out to my understanding of it, Grachevs king charged at the c5 pawn, Dubovs and Grachevs Bishops began gobbling up pawns and White ultimately used the king to progress the queen side pawns on the A and C file to the point Dubov resigned.

In regards to the definitively analysing with modern engines. Using Komodo Dragon against itself for 10 games, in all 10 games White won. In this position, white is better in all key lines ranking from +3.53 (in the best line for White) to +1.4 in the worst line.

  • It seems a winning position for White for me too. I analyzed the position for three quarter of a hour with Houdini6.02 at depth 47/82 and is returning +1.90. However, I tried to analyze the resulting position starting from a pawn exchange a few moves before the end of the line, and Houdini indicates White as completely winning (depth 37 +11 for White). Thanks.
    – Stefano
    Nov 26, 2020 at 11:55

Being played by good players, it sure looks like a win for white but it will take some work.

In real life anything can happen especially depending on the clock situation. And it depends on how hard white wants to work to get that extra half point.

And in positions like this there could often be a hidden gotcha that is not obvious until more moves are played so it could be a draw.

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