This strange move, which appears totally to contradict the principles of rook endings - 'the rook belongs on an open file, in order to penetrate into the enemy position' - is not in fact so bad. In the given position Black is mainly afraid of an eventual breakthrough (d4-d5 or a5-a6), and does his utmost to prevent it. In other words: the move is quite well in accordance with Nimzowitsch's theory of prophylaxis.

Black had at his disposal three other moves with his rook: to gl, g3 or g5. We will examine them in order - from the worst to the best.

Perhaps the worst of all the possible rook moves. The point of the strange move 49 was to lure Black into checking at g3. After 50 ^b4 the possible variations are:

51 a6 bxa6 52 d5 cxd5 O 53 c6 Sh4+ 54 &c5 2c4+ 55 &xd5 @ flcl © 56 &d6 fldl+ 0 57 <4>c7 b4 58 3?b7 a5 59 c7 Scl 60 cSW lxc8 61 <i>xc8 b3 62 &d7 a4 63 Se7+ &f8 64 Se8+ 3?f7 65 Sb8 h5 66 Sb4 and wins.

O 52...Hh4+!? 53 <i?a5 cxd5 54 lc2, and after 54...<^e7 55 c6 56 <^b6 A;c8 57 Sg2, as well as in all other cases, the c-pawn will be promoted. However, after 54...d4! 55 c6 d3 56 c7 dxc2 57 c8# flc4 58 #e6+ <&>f8 59 #xf6+ 3?e8 60 #e6+ 3?d8 61 #d6+ <¿»08 62 #xa6+ <&c7 63 #b6+ &c8 64 #e6+ <&>d8 65 <4>xb5 c\W 66 #xc4 #b2+ there is evidently no win for White. So the move 49... flg3+ is not as bad as it looks!

@ In the event of 55 «¿>d6 a5 56 c7 b4 the black pawns will become a menacing force - White has only a draw.

© 55...a5 56 Hb2 ficl 57 2xb5 2dl+ 58 <^?c5 Hcl+ 59 ¿>b6 <^?e7

60 2d5 a4 61 2d7+ 4»e8 62 2a7 and Black's position is lost.

55...h5 56 2a2 h4 57 2xa6 h3 58 2a7+ ^g8 59 2a2 &f7 60 2e2 Scl 61 «¿>d6 and White wins.

51 a6! © bxa6 52 <&>a5 2xd4 53 ^xa6 b4 54 <i?b6 b3 55 &xc6 @ 2c4 56 ^>d6 2d4+ © 57 <^c7 2c4 58 c6 2c2 59 2e3 b2 60 2b3 &e7 61 h4 h5 62 Sb7! © <&eS 63 ^d6 Sd2+ 64 <i>e6 ^d8 65 4>xf6 2c2 66 &g7 2xc6 67 Sxb2 2c4 68 f6 2g4+ 69 «¿>f7 Sxh4 70 2d2+ 3?c7 71 ^>g6 and White wins.

© 51 He4?! fldl 52 <i>c3 2al and White cannot win. Or 52 a6 bxa6 53 &a5 2al+ 54 ^»b6 b4 and Black's passed pawns counter-balance the white central pawns.

@ 55...2b4 56 Sb2 h5 57 £>c7 h4 58 c6 it?e7 59 ^»c8 4>d6 60 c7 2c4 (after 60...4?e7 61 2e2+ ^>f7 62 ^>d7 2d4+ 63 &c6 Sc4+ 64 <4>d6 Black runs out of sensible moves, while if 60...<¿^6, then apart from 61 "¿>d8 Sd4+ 62 &e7 <^>xc7 63 Sxb3, also good is 61 2d2!? - 61... 2b7 62 Hd7 with the irresistible threat of 63 <4>d8!) 61 Sd2+ <i>c6 62 "i-dS •¿»b7 63 2d7 and wins, or 61...^>e7 62 Se2+ <4>f7 63 2b2 2b4 64 <&d7 and Black is helpless. As we see, White's passed pawn, supported by his king, turns out to be much stronger than the opponent's passed pawn, supported by the rook.

© Black is in zugzwang, and must allow the white king into the centre.

B. 49...2gl 50 2e6 Hcl+ © 51 <i?b2 2dl @ 52 2d6 3?e7 53 a6 bxa6 54 <i?c2 2fl 55 2xc6 2xf5 © 56 2xa6 2f3 57 2b6©

57...Bxh3 58 Bxb5 © Bg3 © 59 d5 Bg5 60 d6+ 3?e6 © 61 ^>c3 h5 © 62 <i?b4 Bg8 63 Bb7 h4 64 &b5 it?d5 © 65 ¿>b6 Bh8 66 d7 h3 67 Ba7 h2 68 Hal and wins.

© 50... Hal? 51 d5 cxd5 52 Bb6 leads, as we already know, to a bad position for Black.

© After 55...a5 56 Be6+ &f7 57 c6 Sf2+ 58 &d3 Bf3+ 59 &e4 Bc3 60 d5 or 60 "¿>d5 the black position is hopeless.

0 Of course, not 57 d5? b4 followed by ... Sc3, with a draw.

© Despite the material equality and the fact that the white king is temporarily cut off from its passed pawn, Black's position is lost.

59 d5, and the white pawns cannot be stopped. Even an energetic charge by the king into the centre does not save the position: 58...<&e6 59 Hb6+ <&>d5

60 Bd6+ £>c4 61 &d2! h5 62 c6 2d3+ 63 &e2 Bc3 64 2d7 &b5 65 d5 «¿be 66 3>d2 2c5 67 4>d3 h4 68 &d4 Bel 69 Bb7+ <i?a6 70 Bh7 and White wins.

© 60...<3?d8 61 Bb8+ 4?d7 62 Bb7+ <i?d8 63 Bc7 h5 64 £>c3 h4 65 <4c4 followed by c5-c6 is favourable for White, or 63...Bg3 64 c6 Bg5 65 <4>c3 Bd5 66 Sd7+ 3>c8 67 £>c4 Bdl

68 <£?c5 Scl+ 69 4>d5 Bdl+ 70 3?e6 Scl (70...Sel+ 71 3?xf6 Hfl + 72 <4>e7 Sel+ 73 tf?f8) 71 Sg7 Bxc6 72 Bg8+ &b7 73 <4e7.

64 Bc8 and so on.

65 Bh7.

This move is objectively the strongest in the position. Now White has two ways of playing for a win. It should be pointed out that after the cautious move 50 5 f2, Black, apart from various sharp possibilities, has the quiet reply 50...&e7, insuring himself against all unexpected events on the queenside.

So, firstly:

50 ^b4 Sxf5 51 a6bxa6 52 ^a5 Sd5 53 ^xa6 Hxd4 54 &b6 Hd3 55 h4 Hd4 56 h5 Hh4 57 &xc6 Hxh5

58 <S?b6 (58 Sc2 b4) 58...Ihl 59 c6 flcl 60 c7 h5 61 <i>b7 ^>g6 or 61 flg2 f5, and Black easily gains a draw.

And the second way:

50 He6 H xf5 51 a6 bxa6 52 2 xc6 a5 53 3?d3 O a4! © 54 <i>e4 © flfl 55 Sa6 f5+! © 56 4>e5 f4 57 fla7+ <&>g6 58 Ha5 © b4 © 59 Hxa4 b3 60 Sb4 flbl 61 «¿>xf4 b2 62 <^e5 Sel+ 63 <4>d6 bl# 64 Hxbl Sxbl 65 c6 and the passed pawns will save White.

© 53 Ba6 is objectively stronger, but after 53... HD+ 54 &d2 b4! (55 2xa5 <¿>66!) White certainly will not win, because his king is cut off from his passed pawns.

© After this move it becomes clear that the black position is at least equal. 53...2£3+ is not so strong: 54 <2be4 2xh3 55 2c7+ ^g6 56 d5 2h4+ (56...f5+!?) 57 &f3 a4 58 d6 a3 59 d7 2d4 60 c6 a2 61 2a7 2a4 62 2xa4 bxa4 63 d8W al# 64 c7 and wins. Black does not have a perpetual check -the white king will conceal himself on f8.

© More cautious is 54 2b6 with the possible variation 54...2f3+ 55 ^e4 2b3 56 ^d5 a3 57 c6 b4 58 c7 2c3

59 2c6 2xc6 60 ^xc6 a2 61 c8# al# 62 #b7+ ^g6 63 #xb4 #a8+ with a drawn ending.

© By advancing his f-pawn, Black is going to divert the white king from the centre, and then to exchange that pawn for the white d-pawn, gaining an advantage. Some other threats appear as well...

© This is already the only way for White to draw.

Therefore 49... 2 g5 would have led to a draw, although with some adventures for both sides. It is understandable that Karpov, leading 5-4 in the match, does not want either races or adventures. The move played by him 49... 2e8, which, incidentally, I had not foreseen, is hardly any weaker than 49... 2 g5.

50 2a2 leads after 50...2e3+ 51 ^b4 2xh3 52 a6 bxa6 53 2xa6 2d3 to a drawn ending. If 51...2d3!? 52 a6 2xd4+ 53 <&a5 bxa6 54 <^b6 b4 55 ^xc6 b3 56 2b2 2b4 White would encounter other problems, that are hard to solve. In other words, Black's defence is not too difficult.

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