Rapport’s endgame technique

Rapport's endgame technique

While watching yesterday's tiebreaks of the World Cup, my attention got caught by an endgame played between Richard Rapport and Wei Yi. With impressive ease, Rapport showed an exciting winning plan in a typical scenario "Rook vs Bishop". I consulted my (admittedly rarely used) copy of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual and look at this: Rapport's plan was already shown in a game, coincidentally played in Tbilisi, 46 years ago! | Photo: Georgios Souleidis

Echoes of a Dvoretsky endgame example

Richard Rapport vs Wei Yi  announced itself as one of the most interesting pairings of the 2nd round of the World Cup 2017. Both players are known for their aggressive style and some sharp games were expected. The two youngsters have played a couple of games against each other.  Last december, they played a four-round mini-match in China. It ended with a draw. However, in the decisive Armageddon Blitz, Rapport won the match. (Right) Richard Rapport | Photo: Amruta Mokal In Tbilisi, after two draws in the games with regular time control, again the match was decided in the tiebreak. In the first game, Rapport showed great endgame technique. With just some minutes on the clock, the young Hungarian proved that he is capable of more than crazy games.
[Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.08"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2748"] [Annotator "Marco Baldauf"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2R3k1/5p2/6pp/1r1pb3/p2p3P/6P1/P4P2/3R2K1 b - - 0 32"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [Source "GM Rep 1 - 1.d4"] [SourceDate "2011.01.01"] {[#]} {We start our analysis of the game after Rapport succeeded in pushing his c-pawn to the 8th rank. Wei Yi had to give up the exchange and is trying to hang on in this endgame. Rapport plays the technical part of the game very precisely. One has to remember that this is a rapid game, where both players have just some minutes on the clock and live by the increment of 30 seconds per move.} 32... Kg7 33. Ra8 $1 {An important move after which White immediately wins one of the two pawns.} Rb4 34. Ra5 {[%csl Ga5][%cal Ga5a4,Ga5d5] the perfect square for the rook: from here, it attacks a4 and d5. Wei Yi decides to exchange the last white pawn on the queenside.} Bc7 (34... Bf6 35. Rd2 $1 { [%csl Ga2] and here Black should not have any chances to survive.}) 35. Rxd5 Rb2 36. R5xd4 Rxa2 37. R4d2 $1 {a very precise move which prevents any counterplay} (37. R1d2 Ra1+ 38. Kg2 a3 {[%csl Ga3]} 39. R2d3 Bb6 40. Rd7 $2 ( 40. Rc4 $16 {[%csl Gc4][%cal Gc4c5,Rb6c5]}) 40... Bc5 $1 $14 41. Rf3 $140 a2 42. Rfxf7+ Kg8 43. Rg7+ Kh8 44. Rh7+ Kg8 $11) 37... Ra3 (37... Rxd2 38. Rxd2 $18 {[%csl Rc7,Gd2][%cal Gd2d6,Gd2a2]} a3 39. Rd3 $1) 38. Rd3 Rxd3 (38... Ra2 39. Rf3 $1 {[%csl Gf3][%cal Gf3f7]} Be5 40. Rd7 Bf6 41. Ra7 Ra1+ 42. Kg2 h5 43. Rf4 a3 44. Rf3 a2 45. Rfa3 $18) 39. Rxd3 {[%csl Ra4,Gd3][%cal Rc7d6,Gd3a3]} h5 40. Ra3 Bd6 41. Rxa4 {This position is theoretically won. But white has to know the only winning plan, starting with 56.Rc7! Dvoretsky dedicates a small chapter to these kinds of positions (Rook vs Bishop, 3 vs 3 on the same side). He concludes that Black can only hope to establish a fortress if the white pawn structure is damaged. In cases like this, the position is theoretically won.} Bc5 42. Kg2 Bb6 43. Ra2 Bd4 44. Kf3 f5 45. Rd2 Be5 46. Rd5 Kf6 47. Ra5 Ke6 48. Ra6+ Kf7 49. Ke3 Bc3 50. f4 Bf6 51. Kd3 Bb2 52. Kc4 Bf6 53. Rc6 $1 { the rook takes control over c3. Now you do not have to watch out for counterplay connected with Bc3 and Be1.} Bb2 54. Kd5 {[%csl Gc3,Gc6][%cal Gc6c3,Rc3e1,Rb2c3]} Kg7 55. Ke6 Bd4 56. Rc7+ $1 Kg8 57. Rd7 Bc3 {[%csl Rf6,Rf7] [%cal Gg8f7,Gc3f6] The white king is on its perfect square but cannot make any progress. Black has established a temporary fortress as the black bishop stays on the long diagonale and covers the f6 square while the black king keeps an eye on f7. In order to win, White has to break through with g4!} 58. Rd3 Bb2 59. g4 $3 {[#] Rapport has studied Endgame Manual! Dvoretsky analyses exactly this position from the game Radev-Prybil. Ironically, the encounter took place in Tbilisi as well, 46 years ago.} hxg4 $6 {According to Dvoretsky not the most stubborn defence. Better was 59...fxg4} (59... fxg4 $5 60. f5 gxf5 61. Kxf5 {[%cal Gf5g6]} Kf7 62. Kg5 Be5 63. Kxh5 g3 {Black gets some counterplay but the white rooks easily stops the pawn} 64. Rd2 Kf6 65. Kg4 Kg6 66. Re2 Bb8 {it is important that the black bishop has the wrong colour. If it were lightsquared, black would have an all important defensive idea: stalemate.} 67. h5+ Kh6 68. Re6+ Kh7 69. Rg6 $1 {The perfect square for the rook. It controls the g pawn and the white king can move forward.} Bc7 70. Kf5 Bb8 71. Rb6 $1 $18 {[%csl Gb6,Rb8,Rc7,Rd6,Re5,Rf4,Gf5][%cal Gf5f4,Gf5e5,Gb6d6,Gb6b8,Gb6b7] The black bishop is trapped as there are not enough sqaures on the diagonal.}) 60. h5 Kg7 61. Rd7+ Kh6 62. hxg6 Kxg6 63. Rf7 Bc1 (63... Kh5 {is a last idea, but White wins anyway.} 64. Kxf5 Kh4 65. Rb7 Bd4 66. Rd7 Bb2 67. Rd6 $1 {[%csl Gg6, Gh6]} Bc1 68. Rh6+ Kg3 69. Rg6 $18) 64. Rxf5 Kh6 (64... Bxf4 {was Pribyl's try, but the white king is too close to g1.} 65. Rxf4 Kg5 66. Ke5 g3 67. Ke4 g2 68. Rf8 Kh4 69. Rg8 {1-0 (61) Radev,N-Pribyl,J Tbilisi 1971}) 1-0


It is said, that every ambitious chess player should at least once read Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual. That may be true. However, a much easier way to become acquainted with such theoretical positions is to watch the DVD by the endgame expert Karsten Mueller. In his series, he dedicates a whole DVD on the topic "Rook vs Bishop".
[Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.09"] [Round "3.1"] [White "Li, Chao b"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E41"] [WhiteElo "2745"] [BlackElo "2675"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "108"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [Source "hunonchess"] [TimeControl "300+3"] 1. d4 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. c4 {0} e6 {0} 3. Nc3 {0} Bb4 {0} 4. e3 {0} c5 {0} 5. Bd3 { 0} Nc6 {0} 6. Nf3 {0} Bxc3+ {0} 7. bxc3 {0} d6 {0} 8. e4 {0} e5 {0} 9. d5 {0} Ne7 {0} 10. Nd2 {0} Ng6 {0} 11. h4 {0} Bd7 {0} 12. g3 {0} Qa5 {0} 13. Qb3 {0} Ba4 {0} 14. Qxb7 {0} O-O {0} 15. Qb2 {0} Rfb8 {0} 16. Qa3 {0} Rb6 {0} 17. O-O { 0} Nf8 {0} 18. Nf3 {0} N8d7 {0} 19. Bg5 {0} h6 {0} 20. Bxf6 {0} Nxf6 {0} 21. Rfb1 {0} Ra6 {0} 22. Nd2 {0} Bd7 {0} 23. Qxa5 {0} Rxa5 {0} 24. Rb3 {0} Kf8 {0} 25. Kf1 {0} Ke7 {0} 26. Ke2 {0} Kd8 {0} 27. Rb2 {0} Ra3 {0} 28. Rc1 {0} Kc7 {0} 29. Rcc2 {0} Bg4+ {0} 30. f3 {0} Bd7 {0} 31. Rb3 {0} Ra6 {0} 32. Rcb2 {0} Rb6 { 0} 33. Rb1 {0} Ra6 {0} 34. Rb7+ {0} Kc8 {0} 35. R7b2 {0} Ra3 {0} 36. Rc2 {0} Ba4 {0} 37. Nb3 {0} Kc7 {0} 38. Rcb2 {0} Bd7 {0} 39. g4 {242} Rb8 {18} 40. Na1 {0} Rb6 {0} 41. Nc2 {0} Ra4 {0} 42. Ne3 {0} Ra3 {0} 43. Kd2 {0} Ng8 {0} 44. Bc2 {0} Rxb2 {0} 45. Rxb2 {0} Ne7 {0} 46. h5 {0} Ng8 {0} 47. Bb3 {0} Nf6 {0} 48. Kd3 {0} Nh7 {0} 49. Rb1 {0} Ng5 {0} 50. Nc2 {0} Ra6 {0} 51. Ke3 {0} Nh3 {0} 52. Ne1 {0} Nf4 {0} 53. Nd3 {0} Nxd3 {0} 54. Kxd3 {0} f6 {0} 1/2-1/2 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.08"] [Round "2.4"] [White "Wei, Yi"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B12"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2675"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "132"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [Source "hunonchess"] [TimeControl "1500+10"] 1. e4 {0} c6 {3} 2. d4 {0} d5 {3} 3. e5 {2} Bf5 {2} 4. Nd2 {13} e6 {8} 5. Nb3 { 1} Nd7 {12} 6. Nf3 {15} c5 {20} 7. dxc5 {24} Bxc5 {11} 8. Nxc5 {11} Nxc5 {15} 9. Bb5+ {28} Nd7 {4} 10. Nd4 {64} Ne7 {6} 11. Bg5 {22} O-O {105} 12. Qe2 {301} Bg6 {122} 13. h4 {121} h6 {39} 14. h5 {9} Bh7 {15} 15. Bxe7 {47} Qxe7 {2} 16. Bxd7 {6} Qxd7 {4} 17. Rh3 {4} Qa4 {146} 18. c3 {96} Qc4 {68} 19. Qd2 {48} Be4 { 185} 20. f3 {135} Bh7 {22} 21. Kf2 {1} Qd3 {19} 22. Qe1 {14} Rae8 {74} 23. Rd1 {87} Qa6 {8} 24. a3 {9} Qb6 {38} 25. Rd2 {8} f6 {10} 26. Rg3 {32} Be4 {66} 27. exf6 {226} Rxf6 {17} 28. Qe3 {57} e5 {316} 29. Ne2 {1} Bf5 {6} 30. Rxd5 {157} Qxb2 {45} 31. Qxa7 {94} Qb6+ {209} 32. Qxb6 {1} Rxb6 {1} 33. Rc5 {43} Re7 {12} 34. f4 {43} exf4 {6} 35. Nxf4 {1} Rf7 {36} 36. Re3 {22} Kh7 {58} 37. Kg3 {2} Ra6 {39} 38. Re8 {6} Ra4 {93} 39. Rd8 {62} g5 {1} 40. hxg6+ {24} Bxg6 {1} 41. Ne6 {31} Bf5 {21} 42. Nd4 {4} Rg7+ {8} 43. Kf4 {26} Bg4 {23} 44. Re5 {18} Rxa3 {25} 45. Ree8 {1} h5 {1} 46. Rh8+ {21} Kg6 {0} 47. Rd6+ {13} Kf7 {1} 48. Nb5 { 17} Ra4+ {12} 49. Ke3 {8} Ra6 {30} 50. Rb8 {12} Rxd6 {19} 51. Nxd6+ {3} Ke6 {6} 52. Nxb7 {8} Rc7 {9} 53. Kd4 {7} Rd7+ {3} 54. Ke3 {9} Rc7 {1} 55. Kd4 {6} Rd7+ {0} 56. Kc4 {27} Rd2 {6} 57. Nc5+ {1} Kf7 {5} 58. g3 {11} Be2+ {12} 59. Kb3 {2} Bd1+ {1} 60. Kc4 {17} Be2+ {1} 61. Kb3 {3} Bd1+ {1} 62. Ka3 {2} Rg2 {14} 63. Rb7+ {21} Kg6 {8} 64. Rb8 {18} Kf7 {40} 65. Rd8 {8} Rxg3 {18} 66. Rxd1 {9} Rxc3+ {1} 1/2-1/2 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.08"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D30"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2748"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "129"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [Source "hunonchess"] [TimeControl "1500+10"] 1. Nf3 {0} Nf6 {2} 2. c4 {0} e6 {3} 3. d4 {0} d5 {3} 4. Bg5 {3} h6 {47} 5. Bxf6 {8} Qxf6 {3} 6. e3 {3} c6 {27} 7. Bd3 {36} g6 {9} 8. O-O {16} Bg7 {23} 9. Nbd2 {15} O-O {8} 10. Rc1 {23} Nd7 {24} 11. Re1 {100} Qd8 {170} 12. Qb3 {58} a5 {60} 13. e4 {222} a4 {196} 14. Qa3 {20} dxe4 {151} 15. Nxe4 {4} e5 {9} 16. Nd6 {195} exd4 {8} 17. c5 {1} Nf6 {102} 18. Bc4 {19} Nd5 {35} 19. Bxd5 {79} cxd5 {2} 20. b4 {1} b6 {81} 21. Red1 {180} Bg4 {312} 22. h3 {7} Bxf3 {3} 23. Qxf3 {4} bxc5 { 19} 24. bxc5 {3} Qg5 {78} 25. g3 {7} Be5 {68} 26. h4 {50} Qf6 {22} 27. Qxf6 {48 } Bxf6 {2} 28. c6 {22} Be5 {17} 29. Nb5 {43} Ra5 {35} 30. c7 {57} Rxb5 {78} 31. c8=Q {5} Rxc8 {2} 32. Rxc8+ {2} Kg7 {2} 33. Ra8 {32} Rb4 {5} 34. Ra5 {42} Bc7 { 92} 35. Rxd5 {80} Rb2 {9} 36. R5xd4 {86} Rxa2 {4} 37. R4d2 {14} Ra3 {27} 38. Rd3 {47} Rxd3 {82} 39. Rxd3 {8} h5 {6} 40. Ra3 {4} Bd6 {6} 41. Rxa4 {1} Bc5 {1} 42. Kg2 {9} Bb6 {2} 43. Ra2 {3} Bd4 {43} 44. Kf3 {4} f5 {9} 45. Rd2 {34} Be5 { 17} 46. Rd5 {8} Kf6 {1} 47. Ra5 {9} Ke6 {5} 48. Ra6+ {2} Kf7 {1} 49. Ke3 {18} Bc3 {31} 50. f4 {6} Bf6 {8} 51. Kd3 {1} Bb2 {9} 52. Kc4 {4} Bf6 {6} 53. Rc6 {7} Bb2 {9} 54. Kd5 {1} Kg7 {31} 55. Ke6 {6} Bd4 {2} 56. Rc7+ {1} Kg8 {8} 57. Rd7 { 9} Bc3 {5} 58. Rd3 {2} Bb2 {6} 59. g4 {35} hxg4 {56} 60. h5 {18} Kg7 {15} 61. Rd7+ {3} Kh6 {2} 62. hxg6 {2} Kxg6 {4} 63. Rf7 {8} Bc1 {26} 64. Rxf5 {39} Kh6 { 2} 65. Ke5 {12} 1-0 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.07"] [Round "2.2"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Wei, Yi"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "D78"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2748"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "15"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [Source "hunonchess"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. Nf3 {0} Nf6 {52} 2. g3 {0} g6 {12} 3. d4 {14} Bg7 {52} 4. Bg2 {21} d5 {24} 5. O-O {8} O-O {30} 6. c4 {30} c6 {23} 7. Qb3 {34} a5 {134} 8. cxd5 {107} 1/2-1/2 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.06"] [Round "2.1"] [White "Wei, Yi"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "C65"] [WhiteElo "2748"] [BlackElo "2675"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [Source "hunonchess"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. e4 {0} e5 {15} 2. Nf3 {12} Nc6 {5} 3. Bb5 {48} Nf6 {14} 4. d3 {309} d6 {33} 5. O-O {15} a6 {4} 6. Bxc6+ {520} bxc6 {36} 7. Re1 {379} c5 {61} 8. c3 {26} Bg4 {37} 9. h3 {197} Bxf3 {52} 10. Qxf3 {6} Be7 {10} 11. Be3 {135} Qb8 {509} 12. b3 {767} a5 {87} 13. d4 {850} a4 {778} 14. Nd2 {373} axb3 {307} 15. axb3 {20} cxd4 {291} 16. cxd4 {9} O-O {35} 17. Rxa8 {371} Qxa8 {30} 18. dxe5 {23} dxe5 {34} 19. Rc1 {7} Qb7 {508} 20. Qf5 {193} Re8 {93} 21. Qxe5 {253} Bd6 {32} 22. Qf5 {3 } Nxe4 {19} 23. Nxe4 {2} Qxe4 {33} 24. Qxe4 {6} Rxe4 {3} 25. Bc5 1/2-1/2 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi GEO"] [Date "2017.09.04"] [Round "1.2"] [White "Cordova, Emilio"] [Black "Rapport, Richard"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D12"] [WhiteElo "2629"] [BlackElo "2675"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2017.09.03"] 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg6 7. Qb3 Qc7 8. f3 Be7 9. g3 Nbd7 10. Bd2 a6 11. Rc1 dxc4 12. Bxc4 b5 13. Be2 c5 14. Nxg6 hxg6 15. a4 b4 16. Na2 Bd6 17. f4 Ne4 18. Bf3 Nxd2 19. Kxd2 Rc8 20. Qc4 a5 21. Ke2 Qa7 22. h4 Ke7 23. b3 cxd4 24. Qxd4 Bc5 25. Qe4 Qa6+ 26. Qd3 Qxd3+ 27. Kxd3 Bb6 28. Rxc8 Rxc8 29. Rc1 Rd8 30. Ke2 Nc5 31. Rxc5 Bxc5 32. Bb7 Rd7 33. Bf3 Rc7 34. Be4 e5 35. Bd3 exf4 36. gxf4 Rc8 37. Bc4 Rh8 38. Nc1 Rxh4 39. Nd3 Bd6 40. Bd5 f5 41. Bg2 g5 42. fxg5 Rg4 43. Bf3 Rxg5 44. Nb2 Rg3 45. Nc4 Bc7 0-1 [Event "FIDE World Cup 2017"] [Site "Tbilisi"] [Date "2017.09.03"] [Round "1.1"] [White "Rapport, Richard"] [Black "Cordova, Emilio"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E01"] [WhiteElo "2675"] [BlackElo "2616"] [Annotator "hunonchess"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2017.09.03"] [EventType "k.o."] [EventCountry "GEO"] [SourceTitle "hunonchess.com"] [Source "hunonchess"] [SourceQuality "1"] [TimeControl "40/5400+30:1800+30"] 1. d4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} Nf6 {[%emt 0:00:25]} 2. c4 {[%emt 0:00:00]} e6 {[%emt 0: 00:06]} 3. g3 {[%emt 0:00:13]} d5 {[%emt 0:05:04]} 4. Bg2 {[%emt 0:00:06]} Bb4+ {[%emt 0:00:38]} 5. Bd2 {[%emt 0:00:09]} Be7 {[%emt 0:00:27]} 6. cxd5 {[%emt 0: 01:19]} exd5 {[%emt 0:00:08]} 7. Nc3 {[%emt 0:00:05]} O-O {[%emt 0:00:57]} 8. Nh3 {[%emt 0:00:05]} c6 {[%emt 0:01:56]} 9. O-O {[%emt 0:00:08]} Bf5 {[%emt 0: 03:21]} 10. Kh1 {[%emt 0:09:52]} Nbd7 {[%emt 0:13:36]} 11. f3 {[%emt 0:03:27]} Nb6 {[%emt 0:13:33]} 12. Nf4 {[%emt 0:10:56]} Nc4 {[%emt 0:17:56]} 13. Bc1 { [%emt 0:01:15]} Bb4 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 14. Qb3 {[%emt 0:06:54]} a5 {[%emt 0:21: 59]} 15. e4 {[%emt 0:02:13]} Bg6 {[%emt 0:02:22]} 16. e5 {[%emt 0:07:14]} Ne8 { [%emt 0:00:05]} 17. Nce2 {[%emt 0:03:09]} Nc7 {[%emt 0:03:41]} 18. Nxg6 { [%emt 0:01:28]} hxg6 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 19. Qd3 {[%emt 0:02:47]} a4 {[%emt 0:00: 51]} 20. Bh3 {[%emt 0:03:59]} f5 {[%emt 0:01:56]} 21. a3 {[%emt 0:07:41]} Ba5 { [%emt 0:00:59]} 22. Rg1 {[%emt 0:07:49]} Ne6 {[%emt 0:03:02]} 23. f4 {[%emt 0: 00:58]} Bb6 {[%emt 0:04:11]} 24. g4 {[%emt 0:03:12]} Qh4 {[%emt 0:00:05]} 25. gxf5 {[%emt 0:04:05]} gxf5 {[%emt 0:02:41]} 26. Bxf5 {[%emt 0:00:36]} Rae8 { [%emt 0:00:05]} 27. Bg6 {[%emt 0:13:37]} Nxd4 {[%emt 0:03:07]} 28. Nxd4 { [%emt 0:00:29]} Bxd4 {[%emt 0:00:36]} 29. Qxd4 {[%emt 0:02:52]} Rxe5 {[%emt 0: 00:04]} 30. Be4 {[%emt 0:02:32]} c5 {[%emt 0:00:58]} 31. Bxd5+ {[%emt 0:00:12]} Kh8 {[%emt 0:00:03]} 32. Qxc4 {[%emt 0:00:49]} Rh5 {[%emt 0:00:04]} 33. Qe2 { [%emt 0:00:44]} 1-0


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