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Anatoly Karpov vs Piskunov
Zlatoust (1962)
Alekhine Defense: Exchange Variation (B03)  ·  1-0



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Given 59 times; par: 62 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-09-08  Stelling: @ <al wazir>: after 38...Kh8 39. Ne5 Qc8 white can play 40. Nf7+ Kg8 (40. ... Kg7? 41. Nd6+ grabs the queen immediately) 40. Nd6 followed by Re8. The problematic line is 38. ... Kh8 39. Ne5 Qb8 instead.
Apr-09-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <znprdx: This is ridiculous- Qd6 takes about 15 seconds to find - and it wins a piece - <MAJ> does any other line lead to a quick mate?>

Yes, gxh4 does. Why don't we start two continuations of the game against each other. You play black against gxh4, and I will play black against Qd6. See who wins faster. By CG rules, this should be done on my forum, not here.

MAJ, off to work, back in 11 hours.

Apr-09-08  zb2cr: Oh well. I went for 35. Ne5, which as <al wazir> and <MostlyAverageJoe> demonstrate, is also winning, but much longer and trickier than the simple 35. Qd6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Winning the Black Knight is, of course, decisive. But I was after a bigger prize, so I found Nf4. I really couldn't see how Black could answer that. Can't move the King, the Queen, or the Rook, can't play the Pawn to g5--what's he gonna do?
Apr-09-08  Samagonka: Good instructive puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: I found ♘f4 and stopped looking. Still, I think the immediate ♕d6 is a better move even though it wins less material. ♕d6 led to an immediate resignation, ♘f4 would have likely delayed the handshake and post-match beverage by a move.
Apr-09-08  The Rocket: Its too easy!!,
Wow I really overanalyzed this puzzle, I thought of Nf4, or Ne5. A queen "exchange" is not really the first thing you think about when you have an attacking position. damn it!
Apr-09-08  xrt999: If you play through the 2 choices, Qd6 is better than Nf4 because after the exchanges from Qd6, white's knight is behind the pawn wall, and white has a full knight to black's pawn, or about 2 points. Black has no play to speak of.

After Nf4 and the ensuing exchanges in which black also has to give up the knight, both sides have a rook, but in this position, white's rook is locked IN FRONT of the pawn wall behind black's position, yet black's rook is outside the pawn wall, and black's king is safe on h6. Black has play! So in this position, white is up a full piece (the knight), but there are nuances which cant be calculated by computers or explained in numbers. For example, 35.Nh4 hxg3 36.hxg3 a5 37.Kg2 axb4 38.axb4 and black must give up the knight for any type of play. (CM says blacks best move is 38...Rb8)39.Qxe7+ Qxe7 40.Rxe7+ Kh6

Incidentally, after all of this stemming from Nh4, white can STILL play Qd6! after any rook move other than Rd8, which is winning as well. For example 38...Rd8 39.Qd6! Qxd6 40.cxd6 and white will queen the pawn.

Karpov cuts through all of this and finds the best winning move, Qd6!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: My try was Ne5,but the text is brilliant! Whether of not black exchange queens, black will lose his trusty steed.

35...♕xd6 36 cxd6 wins the pinned knight---or

35...♕d8 36 ♕xd8 ♖xd8 37 ♖xe7,look what I found...

Apr-09-08  xrt999: You can always bet on the the text being brilliant when it is composed by a world champion.

Ahh, I almost mispoke. Karpov would not be world champion for another 15 years.

Apr-09-08  YouRang: I still like Qd6 best. It puts the point directly in black's face: "You're gonna lose your knight".

In the unlikely event that black decides to play on, it should simplify to an elementary K+pawns+N vs. K+pawns white win.

Apr-09-08  eblunt: I too prefer Qd6. OTB I'd definately play it in preference to the other stronger (according to silicon) moves. It's just that you can see that within 2 or 3 moves you're down to an absolutely regulation King and Pawn finish where I have an extra piece and even I would manage to avoid mucking up.
Apr-09-08  johnlspouge: <<eblunt> wrote: I too prefer Qd6. [snip] even I would manage to avoid mucking up.>

The final statement is of course the point. Humans are fallible. (Fear anyone who claims otherwise.) Let's model human play as computer play with an occasional random suboptimal move, with suboptimality increasing with positional complexity. Who would deliberately risk being struck by a random lightning bolt after 35.Nf4 or 35.Ne5 when 35.Qd6 is available?

I examined the two N candidates, but when I saw 35.Qd6, I settled back, figuratively, beer in hand.

Apr-09-08  ounos: <MAJ>, listing these variations and the respective "plus" scores is pointless. These scores are inferred due to the key variations, which a human must see. For example, "gxh4 Rb8" is by no means a key variation that proves that gxh4 is good (or you would play gxh4 anticipating Rb8??). Black can't twart the Qd6 threat even after gxh4. For example Kf8 Qf6+ and Qd6. The +7 score of gxh4 is still due to the Qd6 resource, which is the point of this puzzle. So, I declare the puzzle valid and good. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: A lot of people are saying Qd6 is in some way better than Nf4. I would have to argue the threats of Nf4 are much stronger than Qd6.

Qd6 is a good move (good enough for an easy win), but it is not the best move.

Although the computer indicates hxg4, this is just gravy.

Apr-09-08  wals: Static Evaluation: Material value is equal. White has more of the territory and is well advanced into Black's space so probably is up the value of a pawn for that. White's attacking potential looks more vigorous than Blacks.

Dynamic Evaluation: Checking the Black King with Qe5 removes both Queens from the board after pd4xe5. That should be enough for this puzzle.


No, I was wrong, on that line 36. ...h4xg3 gives Black a -0.03 advantage.

On the given line, 36 ...Kf7 gives White an advantage of _3.82.

Apr-09-08  johnlspouge: <<johnlspouge> wrote: Who would deliberately risk being struck by a random lightning bolt after 35.Nf4 or 35.Ne5 when 35.Qd6 is available?>

To answer my own question: not even Karpov (granted, at 11 years old). Many people posting, rightly or wrongly, are expressing greater confidence in their own chessplaying abilities than Karpov did.

"A man's gotta know his limitations." - Dirty Harry


Apr-09-08  Jason Frost: Wedensday (Med/Easy)

Nf4 and Ne5 both look like great squares for the knight to move to but niether look forcing(if white didn't have his queen on e6 then Nf4 would create the immidiate threat Ne6+, but there appears to be no way to explot this)

No rook moves look good and white has virtually no good pawn moves

The queen has one obvious good move, which also wins a piece so Qd6 1-0

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Stelling: 39. Ne5 Qb8/Qc8> 40. Qf7+ Kh6/Kh8 41. Nxg6.
Apr-09-08  patzer2: For today's Wednesday puzzle solution, 35. Qd6! wins by combining the double attack, decoy, deflection and pinning tactical motifs into a brilliant but simple winning tactical shot.

Since the attack on the Black Queen removes her critical guard of the Knight, I've put into my deflection (removing the guard) collection.

Apr-09-08  znprdx: <MostlyAverageJoe: ....Why don't we start two continuations....> Listen if you say gxh4 does it all...that is good enough for is in effect a zugszwang. If you found this right off – that is fantastic – but it is ‘in the position’. Regardless of the variation once Ne5 is played (clearly better than Nf4) it is all over.
Apr-09-08  patzer2: <MAJ> Thanks for pointing out the other winning lines. Personally, I rather enjoy positions with more than one solution. It allows for creativity and personal preference in problem solving, and sometimes I learn something new from studying different ways of winning a won a position.

Also, it may have an application to real life where there are often different ways to solve problems, which allow for the diversity, creativity and uniqueness that makes life more interesting and enjoyable.

Good supervisors and managers sometimes use a similar approach in delegating important tasks, telling subordinates what to do (assigning tasks, goals or problems to solve) without telling them exactly how to do it. The idea being to allow subordinates more creativity and freedom in solving problems and in accomplishing tasks, so as to improve morale, increase productivity and encourage innovation.

Apr-09-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <ounos: ... Black can't twart the Qd6 threat even after gxh4. For example Kf8 Qf6+ and Qd6. <<The +7 score of gxh4 is still due to the Qd6 resource, which is the point of this puzzle. >>>

The last quoted statement (where I used <<>> for extra emphasis) is incorrect.

The most forcing variants after gxh4 do not include Qd6, therefore the possibility of Qd6 is irrelevant and has no effect on the score.

Your proposed continuation <Kf8 Qf6+> (this forces black to play Kg8) <Qd6>, is slower to win than playing h5 instead of Qd6.

I posted 7 lines with higher evaluations than 35.Qd6, and only one of them (35. Nf4) includes Qd6 in the mainline.

<znprdx: <MostlyAverageJoe: ....Why don't we start two continuations....> Listen if you say gxh4 does it all...that is good enough for is in effect a zugszwang. If you found this right off – that is fantastic>

Frankly, I *am* peeved at myself that I did not look at Qd6. I just got lucky with gxh4. Looking at the game, I was ready to despair that I missed an easy move, but then Hiarcs supported me. It is not frequent that one finds a move stronger than Karpov did, even if he was 11, so there's no way I can let it go without a fight to prove my line to be superior :-)

In any case, it is kinda amusing that in B Franciskovic vs R Svaljek, 2001, when I was arguing that reducing game to K+R+pawns vs. K+ pawns is stronger than K+Q+pawns vs K+R+pawns, the majority seemed to prefer the more complicated Q/R ending. Now the majority prefers K+N+pawns ending instead of a more complicated but more forceful one. Oh, well, diversity in action, I suppose :-)

Jul-17-19  parmetd: Lol I just played guess the move with this game. So hard to play white's 35th move because so many moves win. After a long think I went with 35. Nf4 anf the gtm gave me -1 pts... Haha

According to the engine best is:
Gxh4 +7
Second best is Nf4 +6
Third best is Ne5 +5
Whopping 4yh best is Qd6 +2

Premium Chessgames Member
  ManonFire: To: @parmetd GTM must have updated their engines, as 35. Nf4 awarded me two points!
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