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Boris Gulko vs Karen Grigorian
URS-ch Young Masters (1971), Vilnius URS
Old Indian Defense: Normal Variation (A55)  ·  1-0



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Given 14 times; par: 58 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-17-04  suenteus po 147: Hey, I got this one! That's pretty neat. While 38.Rf8+ may seem obvious to most, what got me thinking of it was the need for a deflecting move to promote the pawn. The real puzzle should have been what to promote the pawn to. The knight forces mate, but it was a surprise to me when I played it through.
Mar-17-04  Dillinger: great puzzle
Mar-17-04  Whitehat1963: Brilliant! Didn't even consider under-promotion.
Mar-17-04  patzer2: I got it, but only after looking at 38. Rf8 Rxf8 39. exf8(Q)?! Kxf8 40. Qa8+ Ke7 41. Qb7+ Kd6 with a complicated position. Realizing it was not Sunday, I decided to look for a simpler solution in an earlier move, and so it was then that I found 39. Qd5+ with under-promotion to the Knight followed by 40..Kh8 and 41. Neg6#.
Mar-17-04  fatbaldguy: Very impressive combination by white, who had to see this all the way from move 35 (which at first looks like a blunder since it loses an exchange on move 37). He further had to see that underpromotion on move 40 is not only winning, but necessary, because e:f8=Q would lose to 40 ... Qg1 mate.
Mar-17-04  karlzen: Very nice and unusual. Qd5+! is a good example of "unforced" play, a concept invented by IM Jacob Aagaard. exf8=N+ came natural to me, it is after all, the only way not to loose the game (40.Qd3+?? Qxd3 41.exf8=N+ Kg8 42.Nxd3 c4!).

I think the whole game was quite an interesting, first strategic and then tactical, battle. My thoughts in terms of moves:

The reason as to why black couldn't save himself with 26...Re7 is 27.e5! I believe. (27.Rf1 is less accurate as black can simply play 27...Qd4+ 28.Qxd4 Ne2+ with equality.) 27...Rxe5 (27...Qf5 28.Re4 h6 29.Rxf4 Qxe5 30.Rff1 hxg5 31.Rae1 ) 28.Qxd7 h6 29.Nf3 (29.Ne4!? Qxh4 30.g3 Qh3 31.Qxh3 Nxh3+ 32.Kg2 Ng5 and I think black should hold that one. Black has two pawns versus one on both flanks and the extra piece is not enough I would say.) 29...Re2 30.g3 (30.Rxe2 Nxe2+ followed by Qxa1) 30...Rd8 (something must be tried or things will soon get desperate) 31.Qg4 Rxe1+ 32.Rxe1 Nd3 33.Rf1 Qxf7 34.Ng5! (white is lucky to have this move!) 34...Qd5 35.Nf7+ Kg8 36.Nxd8 Qxd8 37.a4! (37...bxa4 38.Qc4+) and black's pawns are no longer dangerous. I wonder if Gulko had really seen that far when he played 26.h4? Of course he could've played the natural and simple 26.Bxe8 immediately instead had he not seen the above variations. Or perhaps he thought that 26.Bxe8 Qxg5 27.Rf1 Nxh3+ 28.Kh1 Qxd2 was bad for him - but white has 29.Rf8#!

30...Qg4! to hit the g2-square looked like a better idea. For example: 31.Rae1 Ra3! 32.e6 Rd3! (decentralizing the white queen) 33.Qb2 Bxf3 34.Rxf3 Rxf3 35.e7 Nh3+ 36.Kh1 Nf2+ ½-½.

The e6-pawn was protected by means of 32...Nxe6 33.Ne5! Rxf1+ 34.Rxf1 Qe4 35.Re1! Qe4 36.Ng6+ Kh7 37.Qxe4 Bxe4 38.Rxe6! Bxe6 39.Nf8+.

34.Ne5! immediately looked like an even better shot. 34...Nh3+ (34...Nxg2 35.Qf2!) 35.Kh1 Rxe7 36.Ng6+ winning.

Mar-17-04  MiCrooks: I had looked at both Rf8+! and Qd5+ as first moves and didn't think of Qd5+ as the second move of the combo. Partially this is due to my noticing that Ng6 wins easily and not being sure if there was a cute combo lurking (but figuring there probably was) just jumped to the solution without giving it any more time.

One line with Ng6 could run Kh7 Rf8 Nf2+ Kh2! when Black is helpless. For instance, h5 Rxe8 Ng4+ Qxg4! hxg4 Rh8+ Kxg6 e8(Q)+ Qxe8 Rxe8 where White a rook up wins easily. Still, the forced mate is obviously a MUCH better solution :)

Mar-17-04  kevin86: What a neat finish!!

A rare cas where white destains the queen and promotes to a knight-who checkmates with his partner---Another victory for the Cavaliers!!-no,not the ones who just beat the Bulls!

Mar-17-04  kevin86: Happy St Patrick's day all! Erin go bragh!!!
Mar-17-04  PAWNTOEFOUR: i sat and looked at that for about an hour,and all i discovered is that it all started with i envy some of you guys!! lol
Mar-18-04  Creator of Time: this is too easy, i thought of Rf8+ before i even look at the puzzle, and underpromotion before considerin queen promotion.
Mar-18-04  Dillinger: i think finding the answer before looking at the puzzle is an example of luck, dishonesty, or omniscience. Unless you are the real "creator of time" (you're not) I'll assume you're just full of it.
Mar-18-04  TrueFiendish: Dillinger: I like that qualification: "you're not", just in case our interlocutor actually thought he was...
Mar-18-04  Dillinger: well with that ID he appears to think so :)
Jun-23-05  aw1988: <Sneaky> <Underpromotions>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Thanks!
Feb-03-06  trumbull0042: 38. ? is today's puzzle by Ray Keene in the International Herald Tribune. Pretty amazing mate.
Feb-03-06  RookFile: Always remember that Fischer's opinion in the 1970's was that Gulko was a stronger player than Karpov. Unfortunately for Gulko, he was essentially held hostage for years, and had to go on a hunger strike to win his freedom. This didn't stop Gulko from putting up a plus score against Kasparov.
Jan-12-11  sevenseaman: ..a joy forever!
Oct-05-12  wordfunph: "Very strangely, only twice in my whole career did I promote a pawn to a knight, once against Levan (Grigorian) and the other against Karen (his twin brother)."

- GM Boris Gulko (Lessons from a Grandmaster II)

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