[Event "FIDE Women's World Chess Championship"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2015.03.27"]
[Round "4.2"]
[White "Dronavalli Harika"]
[Black "Meri Arabidze"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D03"]
[WhiteElo "2492"]
[BlackElo "2374"]
[PlyCount "189"]
[EventDate "2015.03.17"]
[FEN ""]
[StartPly "46"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. e3 d5 5. Nbd2 Be7 6. c3 Nbd7 7. Bd3 b6 8. O-O
Bb7 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. f4 O-O 13. Qh5 f5 14. exf6 Nxf6
15. Qg5 Rae8 16. Nf3 Nd7 17. Bb5 Qxg5 18. Nxg5 Bc8 19. Rad1 Re7 20. Bxd7 Bxd7
21. Nf3 Be8 22. Ne5 Bg6 23. Nxg6 hxg6 24. g3 Rd8 25. Rd2 e5 26. Rfd1 exf4 27.
exf4 Red7 28. Kf2 Kf7 29. Kf3 Kf6 30. h4 Rd6 31. Rd3 R8d7 32. Kg4 Rd8 33. Re1
d4 34. cxd4 cxd4 35. Kf3 Kf7 36. Re5 Rc8 37. Re4 Rcd8 38. b3 R8d7 39. a4 Rd5
40. b4 a6 41. g4 Rd8 42. Re5 R5d6 43. Ke4 R8d7 44. f5 gxf5+ 45. Rxf5+ Kg8 46.
h5 Kh7 47. Rg5 Kh6 48. Kf4 Kh7 49. Re5 g6 50. Ke4 Kg7 51. Rg5 Re7+ 52. Kf4 a5
53. bxa5 bxa5 54. Rxg6+ Rxg6 55. hxg6 Rd7 56. Ke5 Kxg6 57. Rxd4 Rb7 58. Kd5 Kg5
59. Kc5 Kh4 60. Rc4 Rb8 61. Kd5 Rb7 62. Rc5 Rb4 63. Rc4 Rb8 64. Ke5 Kg5 65. Rc5
Rb4 66. Rxa5 Rxg4 67. Ra6 Kh5 68. a5 Rg5+ 69. Kd4 Rg4+ 70. Kc5 Rg5+ 71. Kb6
Rg6+ 72. Kb7 Rg7+ 73. Kc8 Rg5 74. Kd7 Rg7+ 75. Ke8 Rg5 76. Kf7 Rc5 77. Kg7 Rc7+
78. Kf6 Rc5 79. Ra8 Kh4 80. a6 Rc6+ 81. Kf5 Rc5+ 82. Kf4 Rc4+ 83. Ke3 Rc7 84.
Rb8 Kg5 85. Rb7 Rc4 86. Kd3 Ra4 87. Rb6 Kf5 88. Kc3 Ke5 89. Kb3 Ra1 90. Kc4 Ra2
91. Rh6 Ra1 92. Kc5 Ra2 93. Kb6 Rb2+ 94. Kc7 Ra2 95. Kb7 1-0

62...Kg4 was not enough to draw and white could win with 63.Ra5. After 66.Ra5, the position was theoretically drawn. Black slipped with 73 ...Rg5 ? and White slipped with 74.Kd7 ? (Correct moves were 73...Rg8 and 74.Ra8) . Finally, black slipped with 77...Rc7 and white did not allow a drawn position anymore.

Beginning with the double-rook ending, could black hold the position, or where did Black make the decisive error?

  • 3
    It's hard to answer that question conclusively without deep analysis. The double-rook endgame beginning on move 23 is almost certainly a draw with accurate play, but because of the pawn structure White can still try to push for a win. And as it happens, Black made some inaccuracies and mistakes (as an engine will tell you): on move 34, I think Black would have been better of capturing with a rook on d4 instead of a pawn - as happened in the game, the passed d-pawn later became weak (it's easy to be wise afterwards!). [continued]
    – Sid
    Mar 29, 2015 at 20:58
  • 3
    The resulting position was still a draw but harder to play. On move 52, Black had to play accurately to keep a level position; 52...a5 appears to have been a mistake. Instead kicking off the White king with 52...Rf6+ and 53...Rd7 would have been better because now Rxg6 will not be as effective. Nevertheless, the position on move 55 may still be a draw, I would suggest looking at the position in-depth with an engine.
    – Sid
    Mar 29, 2015 at 21:06
  • According to a tablebase, Black made a decisive mistake on move 77. Of course it had to be exploited as checkmate was then 35 moves away! After move 77, there many many times White could have lost the win by making a reasonable-looking move. Both players played well from that point on but the damage was done.
    – Tony Ennis
    Nov 26, 2015 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


Black's 34 ...cxd4 is probably a bad choice. Taking with the rook seems good if also they could have exchanged a pair of rooks, because the pawn is blocked by the white rook. Also Black's doubled pawns on the g-file from move 24 to 43 gives an advantage to white. So i think black couldn't have saved the game unless White blundered.


On my analysis, with Stockfish 6, yes the losing misstep was failing to use the forcing move 52...Rf6+ to keep the white king back. Active kings are decisive in otherwise equal endgames. Once that white king got to e5, the game was (technically) decided, and 52...Rf6+ was the best chance to prevent that. The only other way was to try 55...Kxg6 56.Rxd4, which just barely possibly might be a technical draw; my opinion is not, but we'll have to wait for 7-piece tablebases to prove it one way or the other.

Up until 52...a5 black was completely holding the draw.

  • Dont trust engines in endgames. And 7-men tablebases are already out there.
    – ferit
    Jan 26, 2016 at 4:40

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