Strictly speaking this ending does not belong in our series because the decisive moment occurs in a 5-man ending, but Tim could not resist including it as a he was a spectator, the winner of the game having been his first round opponent at Gibraltar.Black cannot keep his queenside pawn in the long run but it draws the White king away from the g-pawn and sets up the theoretical ending of knight and g-pawn against Bishop.
The second diagram shows the critical position where, in the sixth hour of play, the defender's technique failed him.
Black cannot drive off the B and then intercept the diagonal, since for one task he needs the K on g1 and for the other it needs to be on f2. However there is an alternative winning plan which Esserman knew from a previous game. White therefore thinks he only needs to avoid N checks but he overlooked the smothering manoeuvre.
American IM Marc Esserman was rewarded for his persistence in trying to win.
Later in the tournament he beat Nigel Short and drew with Vishy Anand.
Felipe Menna Barreto - Marc Esserman
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