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The seventh round of the Amber rapid tournament in Monte Carlo produced two very interesting endgames. The first diagram position occurred after 48 moves in Ivanchuk-Topalov. White has an extra b-pawn, but has problems forcing its advance while also keeping his king sheltered from checks by the black queen. Play continued 1.Qc4 Bd6 2.b6 Qe7 3.Kd3 Bc5 4.Qg8+ Kh5 and now White had to decide whether to capture the last black pawn. 5.Nxf5 Qd7+ 6.Ke4 Qc6+ 7.Kf4 (or 7.Ke5 Qxf3) Bd6+ leaves Black still in the fight, but 5.Nxf5 Qd7+ 6.Kc4 looks very promising since 6...Qxf5 loses to 7.Qg4+! So should White take on f5? The answer is no. After 5.Nxf5 Qd7+ 6.Kc4, Black plays 6...Qa4+! 7.Kxc5 Qb4+! forcing a draw by stalemate. Instead Ivanchuk won the game with 5.Qh8+ Kg6 6.Nd5 Qf7 7.Nf4+ Kg5 8.Qd8+! Kh6 (Kxf4 loses to Qc7+) 9.Nd5 Qg7 10.Qh4+ Kg3 11.Qg3+ and Black resigned. After the exchange of queens, the b-pawn costs him his bishop.

The second diagram was a missed chance for Shirov (Black, to play) against Kramnik. Avoiding 1...Rg3+ 2.Kf4 Rxc3?? 3.e7, he played 1...Kg7 when 2.c5 gave White enough play for a draw. Instead, 1...Rg3+ 2.Kf4 Kg7! would have won for Black after 3.Rxg3 hxg3 4.Kxg3 Kf6 5.Kg4 b5! (but not 5...a6 6.Kh5 b6 7.Kh6 a5 8.e7! Kxe7 9.Kg7) 6.cxb5 d5 and the d-pawn or h-pawn gets through.

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