While I was analysing the end of the Gupta-Venkatesh game for this month's 1 d4 d5 update I came to the following position:
At first I thought that the game's 27...Bd3 was a mistake, as after $5 28. Rd1 e5 29. a5
bxa5 30. bxa5 e4 31. Bxe4 won a pawn, 31...Rxe4 32. Rxd3 Ra4 33. Rd5:Diagram A
The game continued 33...Kf7 34. Rb5 g6 35. g4 Ke6 36. Kg2 f5 $6 37. g5 $1 Ra3 38. f3 f4 39. h4 (this is winning now) 39...Kd6 40. Rb6+ Ke5 41. a6 Kd4 42. Re6 Kd5 43. Re7 Rxa6 44. Kh3 Ra1 45. Kg4 Rh1 46. Rxh7 Ke5 47. Re7+ Kd5 48. Re4 1-0
Black's play was pretty abysmal, as White didn't have to formulate a plan to win, still increments might have been the cause of this.
Instead, Bescos Anzano,M (2516)-Munoz Moreno,F (2525) ICCF email 2010, went 27... Rd2 28. Ra1 Kf7 29. Bf1 Bxf1 30. Kxf1 Ke7 31. a5 bxa5 32. bxa5Diagram B
32...Rd7 33. Ke2 Ra7 34. Kd3 Kd6 35. Kc4 Rc7+ 36. Kd4 Rd7 37. a6 Kc7+ 38. Kc5 Rd5+ 39. Kc4 Kb8 40. Re1 Rf5 41. Rxe6 h5 42. Rb6+ Ka7 43. Rb5 Rxf2 44. Rxh5 Kxa6 45. Kd5 1-0
So, in Diagram A Black is a pawn down, but has his rook placed actively behind the a-pawn, while in Diagram B material is equal but the black rook ends up on the passive a7-square with the white rook behind his own a-pawn. Which is better?
I looked in all my (fairly old) books but couldn't find these position types, and couldn't work out how to search for them using ChessBase, so I was wondering if any Forum members knew whether they were drawing or losing?
For what it's worth, I think in Diagram A Black should play (after 33...Kf7 34. Rb5) 34... g5 planning ...Kg6, ... h5, and keeping the white king hemmed in by ...Ra3, ...Ra1, etc. It might be necessary to play ...h4 at some point and capture the h3-pawn to get counterplay. However, I could be wrong!
In the second case (Diagram B) I would prefer to play 37... Kc6+ 38. Kc4 Ra7 39. Kb4 Kb6, but most of all I would want to play 33... Kd8, keeping the white king cut-off from the queenside. If 34. a6 (I'm assuming 34. Rd1 Rxd1 35. Kxd1 Kc7 is a draw, 36. Kc2 Kc6 37. Kd3 Kb5 38. Kd4 Kxa5 39. Kc5 e5) 34... Ra7 35. Kd3 Kc7 36. Kc4 Kb6 37. f4, say, then 37...Rc7+ 38. Kb4 e5 39. fxe5 fxe5 looks drawn.