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George Schelto Fontein vs Max Euwe
Amsterdam/Hilversum (1939), Amsterdam NED, rd 2, May-07
Tarrasch Defense: Symmetrical Variation (D32)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-27-12  ruzon: <sevenseaman: Every second poster and the one in between (including myself) has dabbled with 1...Qxf1. What is it about this move. Is it intuitive or we are too much used to taking a punt?>

The first moves to consider in any position are checks, and Qxf1 is the only check available.

Mar-27-12  SuperPatzer77: After 25. h4 (best instead of 25. h3), Black moves and wins - see diagram below:

click for larger view

25...Qxf1+, 26. Kh2 Qh1+, 27. Kg3 Rc3+, 28. f3! (best) Qe1+, 29. Kh3 (only move - 29. Kg4? Qxh4#) Be5! (forcing mate or White loses his own queen - if 30. Rg4 Qh1#)


Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <ChessStalker> You are right in stating that after 1...Ra2+ 2. Kg3 Rg1+ 3. Kf4 is another try, but just because I didn't see 3. Kf4 doesn't mean that the winning variant should be considered more complex: especially because Black will pick up both the g-pawn and the N via an easily recognizible pattern.

In all fairness to you though, you are right in calling out the fact that I didn't type it and therefore you did well in typing it yourself.


PS. I would like to add that as soon as I saw your 1...Ra2+ 2. Kg3 Rg1+ 3. Kf4 line, I looked at the diagram to see if I had actually missed 3. Kf4, noticed that I did and stayed on the diagram to solve the rest instantly.

Mar-27-12  sevenseaman: <scormus> <something akin to a moth and a flame>.

Ha ha, lemming complex eh?

Mar-27-12  BadKnight: Theme: back rank. I checked about a min to make sure Qxf1 does not work. My next candidTe move is Rc1, and it at least wins a rook on the spot.
Mar-27-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<sevenseasman>

There's nothing wrong in thinking 1...Qxf1 if one's thought was: the major pieces have gone, his back rank is thereby weakened - maybe a bank rank mate there?

Of course, the king slips out to e2. It doesn't work. However, with the correct identification of a weak back rank, we can start looking for a way to create a winning combination.


click for larger view

Probably everyone would immediately play 1...Qd1 here. Doesn't work in the Euwe game but we can force the rook to the desired side: 1...Rc1 2. Rxc1 and we have our goal position.

Dan Heisman in "Novice Nook" on has written useful articles on combinational vision, e.g. <the Seeds of Tactical Destruction>. He noted that players often reject a promising idea because they couldn't make it work; one block being we forget there is no touch move when we move the pieces about in our mind's eye. So we can try out moves, even seemingly silly sacrifices, because we are doing this in our head and haven't touched the piece/made that move! (I'm sure he puts it better than I do.)

Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <SimonWebbsTiger> That's a cool note you wrote regarding Dan Heisman's comment on Ultimately meaning that it is important to be fearless when one is calculating variations and let one's imagination become unbounded. Sunday's puzzle of 22. Nb6 Ne2 23. Qf8+!! is a case in point of just loosening oneself up and giving the imagination free reign.

On Sunday, I went with 22. a3 which was ok, but clearly not best - as while calculating 22. Nb6 Ne2 I wasn't letting myself loosen up and just have fun.

I think part and parcel of letting one's imagination be free is having fun while one is solving a problem.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Why did we all look at 24...Qxf1+?

Because the position screams out for a back rank mate. If only we could get rid of that Rf1, one or other of our rooks could swoop down and do the dirty on the first rank.

And how do we get rid of the Rf1? We smash it to pieces, blow it off the board, rip it shreds.

Except that doesn't work. When the rooks do their swoopy thing, the white king runs away via e2 and f3.

So then we need to look for other ways to dematerialise the Rf1. And it turns out that the queen sac isn't enough. We need to sac queen and rook.

Fun little puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Took me a long time to see the solution to this one. (I did <finally> get it.)

Wasted a lot of time trying to make the Q sac (<24. ... Qxf1+) work. Of course, it doesn't. After all, this isn't Monday (DOH!); it just feels like one.

Mar-27-12  dragon player: A puzzle of Dutch players. Nice. I guess it was a simul, since I've never heard of a player called Fontein (which means fountain by the way). White's back rank is weak, so I was looking for mate with 24...Qxf1+. This didn't work so I started looking for other moves. Then I found this one:


Now Q/Rxf1# is the threat.


I don't another defence.

26.Rxd1 Rxd1#

And mate.
Time to check.


It wasn't a simul, but Dutch competition.
But my solution was right, and that what it's about.


Mar-27-12  sevenseaman: <SimmonWebbsTiger> That was a lot of fun. You gone considerable lengths explaining.

You come in a tad rarely but I like the way you do. Thanks.

<LoveThatJoker> You have used the word <fearless>. Its the <key>, and much more significant than we realize. No matter how much we remind ourselves to guard against fear, it generally (or even invariably ) is our main shackle.

Imagination is something you have and train for to enlarge and enhance, but fear is much, much more innate.

Fear of failure; how ironic! Who ever succeeded without risking failure!

Yes; while calculating and analyzing we must coast; drop our shackles and let go. Eeeeeyah!

Mar-27-12  sevenseaman: <ruzon> <The first moves to consider in any position are checks, and Qxf1 is the only check available>.

You make a very fair point. In chess it is an aphorism but your reminder throws a fresh light on it. We instinctively jump for any checks available but at times forget them too.

I do so many puzzles everyday and I should be candid enough to admit that this is one aspect I keep forgetting.

In fact I have a placard right in front on top of my desk.

"No 1. Check for any checks. Also check various possible checks with the same piece.

But who reads. Its when I have paid the dear price that I wipe the placard with a cleaning swab.


Mar-27-12  SimonWebbsTiger: @<LTJ> and <sevenseaman>

cheers for the kind words!

Just putting a dot on the i, if you change the position slightly in the puzzle position by the inclusion of a white pawn on e3 and a black pawn on g4


click for larger view

then 1...Qxf1 does work. 2. Kxf1 Rc1 3. Ke2 Rc2 4. Ke1 Bc3 5. Kf1 Rd1

That illustrates another important idea in combinational vision.

If an idea is in the position and our "silly sacrifice" in our thoughts doesn't work, a slight change in the position could make it work. So, what didn't work right away could work next move if we alter the situation. The key is to seeing the idea is in the position.

Which is probably why Dan Heisman often repeats it is important to constantly do sets of tactics and then go back and do the same sets again until they become as ingrained as talking our mother tongue!

Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman: Imagination is something you have and train for to enlarge and enhance, but fear is much, much more innate.>

Aside from the statement you wrote which is highlighted here, I am in total agreement with you!

What I disagree with regarding the highlighted statement is that I think a fully powered and indescribably brilliant imagination is also innate. I think fear is something which has the potential to become a more formidable hurdle for an individual if it is consistently allowed to shackle him/her.

To go on an aside here, even though fear is a hurdle, I think one of life's more important challenges is to know when such a hurdle needs to be respected and allowed to exist, and when such a hurdle needs to be overcome.

As for why we train as chess players, my truth is that we train so as to develop an awareness of the winning procedures that are available within the confines of the rules of the game; and therefore have easier access to them/familiarity with them whenever they need to be employed.

With this line of reasoning then, the role I give imagination in Chess is - to use the analogy of an easily visible field - in being the brilliant background in which the knowledge and familiarity of the winning procedures reside; and therefore to be successful at the game, it is important to study these winning procedures so as to have more of them be both at our disposal and illuminated.


Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> In my original note to SimonWebbsTiger I wrote "I think part and parcel of letting one's imagination be free is having fun while one is solving a problem."

I would like to say that I see now that imagination is free: it's just allowing ourselves access to its loveliness and brilliance by keeping a cheerful/light-hearted disposition (as Lasker would say) and a positive outlook.


Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <SimonWebbsTiger: If an idea is in the position and our "silly sacrifice" in our thoughts doesn't work, a slight change in the position could make it work. So, what didn't work right away could work next move if we alter the situation.>

Thanks for adding this: I am in agreement.


Mar-27-12  ajile: I also looked at 24.Qxf1+ briefly but realized the king could probably escape via the e2 square.

Then I saw that the simple 24.Rc1 wins easily.

Mar-27-12  Crispy Seagull: Ach... totally missed it, and it seemed so simple after the fact! Of course, it didn't help that I spent the first five minutes looking at white...
Mar-27-12  BlackSheep: How can you not examine Qxf1 theres no mystery to it your brain will always search for the easiest conclusion before it turns to more elaborate reasoning but the weakness that you knew in your initial thoughts was the root of the issue that eventually brings you to Rc1 .
Mar-27-12  1stboard: Nice move Dr. Euwe,

I was thinking white could play 25 Rb1 as a defense ( instead of 25 Rxc1 ) , but that fails to black playing 25 Qxf1+

White must lose a rook after playing 25 h3 if he wants to play on .....

Another case of a back rank mate issue with no flight square for the king .....

Mar-27-12  sevenseaman: Thanks <LoveThatJoker> I do share your thoughts. I wasn't explicitly emphatic but <Imagination is something you have>=innate, built-in, but you work on it to <enlarge and enhance>.

So, I would say 'symbiosis'.

<SimmonWebbsTiger> I am in agreement with your line of thought on positional nuances. Thanks.

Mar-27-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> Symbiosis is a fantastic thing! I see now that where we differ is that you think that imagination requires work so as to be developed/enhanced.

I think that imagination already comes fully developed/enhanced and the work we put in as individuals, into the things we like to work at, gives the fruit of those labours an easier accesibility and clearer visibility whenever we need of them - thanks to the light provided by imagination.


Mar-28-12  TheaN: Tuesday 27 March 2012 (on 28 March)


Material: Black ♗ vs ♘

Candidates: Qxf1†, <[Rc1]>

Though the expected move, Qxf1† has too few firepower, for the sole reason Black leaves e2 unguarded, going down a Queen for Rook in the end. Instead, Black should abuse the White back rank and well placed Black Queen.

<24....Rc1!> is destructive. It threatens both Rxf1‡ and Qxf1‡.

<25.Rxc1 Qd1† 26.Rxd1 Rxd1‡ 0-1> is the backrank abusal.

<25.h3 Rxf1† > is White's only option to not be mated as g3 (Qxf1), Rc1 (Qxf1) and Qxa6 (despite Qxa6, Rxf1) all lead to mate in one as well. This rook down middlegame is however, completely lost.

Apr-19-12  LIFE Master AJ: Who says Euwe could not do tactics?
Jan-03-19  Dr Winston OBoogie: Just saw this on some facebook page I follow, they called it move of the day - you can't deny that even a 1500 would have seen Rc1, I even got it from blacks perspective and a chess board is starting to look alien to me from the black side of the board.
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