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Alexander Khalifman vs Jaan Ehlvest
URS-ch U26 (1985), Lvov URS, rd 2, Jan-26
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen Variation. English Attack (B80)  ·  1-0



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Given 8 times; par: 48 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-19-11  jheller1: Earlier in this game, why did not black play <16... Qxe7> ? It looks equal after that, no?
Aug-19-11  howlwolf: I saw the two deflection moves quickly and then didn't look much further, that would have required more coffee. I do take some solace in that if I got the far over the board I would have found the remaining moves since they are mostly forced. Very impressive game on both sides with sharp imaginative play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Funny bone French tickler Bf5 great show by Khalifman in particular

Aleg reunited Re6 chronic farsighted smoking black out a-master stroke it in rout

Aug-19-11  Marmot PFL: Black threatens mate and a bishop but misses a double sacrifice to divert his pieces from the back row. I missed it also, finding 30 Bf5 but missing 31 Qc7, then looked at 30 Qf2, threatening Qf8 as well as the rook on d4 and knight on b6, but black has 30...Rf4.
Aug-19-11  sevenseaman: <howlwolf> <I saw the two deflection moves quickly and then didn't look much further, that would have required more coffee.>

First two moves are major part of the puzzle today. <31. Qe6> is highly imaginative and the hardest to find but the solver is impelled by the impending mate on c2. Later<35. Re6 > is also a critical move but one is unlikely to miss the chance of a skewer.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White's great play puts him the exchange up. Nice puzzle.
Aug-19-11  gofer: Two days ago I waffled on about poor defenses and back rank mates. It seems we have a moment of Deja Vu. The only difference is that black has its own mate threat this time...

<30 Bf5 ...>

This is the start of luring black's pieces from protecting against Re8# while at the same time protecting against Qxc2#

30 ... Bxf5
31 Qc7! Rxd1+
32 Kxd1 Bxc2+
33 Kc1 Ba4+
34 Qxc3 Bxc3
35 Re3 Bb5
36 Rxb6 winning as the white king is mobile and the black king is in the hurt locker.

So what can black do to defend against the combination of 30 Bf5 and 31 Qc7?

<30 ... Rxd1>
<31 Kxd1 ...>

click for larger view

The combination is still alive and kicking and more threats are on the cards, like Qb8+. Black only knight moves to try...

<31 ... Nc4>
<32 Bxg6 hxg6>
<33 Qh3+ Kg8>
<34 Qe6+ Qxe6>
<35 Rxe6 > winning

Aug-19-11  gofer: After looking at this more closely, black hasn't got many choices. The knight moves like 31 ... Nc4/Na4 lose instantly to 32 Qb8+ mating, so perhaps black should try 31 ... h6

It not clear that there is anything good for black...

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I found the double deflection 30. Bf5 Bxf5 31. Qc7 Qxc7 32. Re8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Friday puzzle (30.?), White seems to be in a bit of a pickle. Black has a double attack underway, threatening both 30...Qxc8 and 30...Qxc2#.

Black does have a weakness on the back rank. However, with both the Black Queen and Bishop defending e8, it doesn't appear on the surface that White has an immediate mate threat.

So how does White exploit this situation? First, since the Bishop is lost anyway, he makes a sham sacrifice of it as a decoy and deflection move with <30. Bf5!!>.

The strong 30. Bf5!! serves a dual purpose. Defensively, it defends against the mate threat 30...Qxc2#. Offensively, it makes 31. Rxd4 a threat which practically forces <30...Bxf5> to remove the Bishop's guard over e8. Black does however have the alternative 30...Rxd1+ 31. Kxd1! Bxf5 32. Qc7 which transposes back into the game continuation.

After 30...Bxf5, Black revives his threat of 31...Qc2#, but now finds his Queen as the sole defender of a potential back rank mate on e8.

White exploits this situation with the surprise followup <31. Qc7!>, which now offers the Queen up as a decoy and deflection sham sacrifice to again combine offense and defense in simultaneously defending against the mate threat 31...Qc2# and undermining the now overworked Black Queen's guard over e8.

To be honest in trying to solve this I had difficulty deciding between 31. Qc7 and 31. Qb8+ Nc8 32. Qc7. My choice was wrong in picking the latter since 31. Qb8+ Nc8 32. Qc7 Rxd1+ 33. Kxd1 Qd7 34. Re5! Kg8 35. Qxd7 Bxd7 36. Rxd5 gives White a slight advantage in a difficult ending but not a clear win as in the game continuation.

After 31. Qc7!, the reply <31...Rxd1+!> is practically forced due to White's dual threat of 31. Rxd4 as well as the mate threat on e8 (e.g. 31...Qxc7?? 32. Re8#).

White replies <32. Kxd1> to keep the threat of 32. Re8# alive and reinforce the purpose of his en prise, undefended Queen's sham sacrifice offer. Obviously White doesn't want to play 32. Rxd1?? Qxc7 , throwing away the win and giving the game to Black.

Now Black has nothing better than <32...Bxc2+> when White's amusing <33. Kc1!> forces a won ending. White can also try the line 33. Kd2 Nc4+ 34. Kc1 Qa8 35. Kxc2 Qf8 36. Kb3! when he has a won middle game position. Matter of taste I guess as to whether to go with the won ending with 33. Kc1! or 33. Kd2 with a winning middle game. However, most Masters I suspect would prefer the won ending with fewer complications.

What follows is the forcing <33...Ba4+ 34. Qxc6 Bxc6 35. Re6 > when White has a skewer leading to a won ending. This final position reinforces the decision to play the clearly winning 31. Qc7! instead of the unclear 31. Qb8+! Nc8 32. Qc7 Rxd1+ 33. Kxd1 Qd7 34. Re5! Kg8 35. Qxd7 Bxd7 36. Rxd5 .

Aug-19-11  David2009: Khalifman vs Ehlvest, 1985 postscript: There's far more to this game than the White combination. Let's rewind to move 27:

click for larger view

Here White plays 27.Qh3. Who can blame Black for going for the win here including a Queen sacrifice that White must refuse: 27...Rf4 28.Qg3 Rxd4 to reach with White to play

click for larger view

According to Crafty End Game Trainer, both sides err here. 29.Bxc8 is less accurate than 29.Rxd4! meeting 29...Rxc2+ with 30.Kd1 and Black has not got enough. Instead, 29.Bxc8 can be met by 29...Rxd1+ 30 Kxd1 Nxc8! and Black is consolidating his material advantage. Instead came 29...Qc6 which seems to win outright but was met by the brilliant game combination.

Here are two further Crafty EGT links to explore interactively both sides of this extraordinary game: (White to play, 27?);

and (Khalifman vs Ehlvest 1985, 27...? colours reversed)

Back to the puzzle position: <sevenseasman> anticipated the Crafty EGT analysis in my earlier post Khalifman vs Ehlvest, 1985 and as a bonus correctly solved the puzzle. Congratulations!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a rook for a knight.

Black threatens 30... Qxc2# and 30... Rxd1+ followed by 31... Qxc8.

The black queen and bishop defend e8, the entry point of one of the white rooks. This suggests 30.Bf5, to divert the bishop:

A) 30... Bxf5 31.Qc7

A.1) 31... Qxc7 32.Re8#.

A.2) 31... Qa8 32.Rxd5 + -.

A.3) 31... Rc4 32.Qxc6 Rxc6 33.Re8#.

A.4) 31... Rxd1+ 32.Kxd1

A.4.a) 32... Qxc2+ 33.Qxc2 Bxc2+ 34.Rxc2 Kg8 35.Re6 + - [R vs N].

A.4.b) 32... Bxc2+ 33.Kc1 and Black looks unable to avoid further material losses.

B) 30... Rxd1+ 31.Kxd1 Bh5+ 32.Kc1 + - [R vs N].

C) 30... Rc4 31.Bxg6 h(Q)xg6 32.Rd2 + - [R vs N].

Aug-19-11  BiteByBits: black's mistake came at the 29th move to exchange pieces...Qc6? After black tried to seize attacking initiative with a bad exchange (28...Rxe4! 29 Bxc8!) shouldnt black be more agressive?

black threatens Qxc2 mate. In these cases there are 4 options 1. move the king (doesnt work)
2. defend with rook (passive and we want to grab the rook on e4!) 3. take the attacking pieces (we cant)
4. block or deflect
in potential back-rank mate situations, in this case we want to have Re8 mate, we should deflect the attacking bishop! 30. Bf5...Bxf5? loses to Qf2, and the bishop cannot be defended as protecting it requires black to not defend the e8 square. 31...Qb8+ or Qc7 are winning as well. removing the defender theme...very nice tactics by white in the game.

Aug-19-11  tatarch: Great game and great puzzle. Like others, I couldn't see the continuation for black after 31.Qc7 ... but agree that it feels like what we'd all play if facing that position over the board.
Aug-19-11  sevenseaman: < jheller1: Earlier in this game, why did not black play <16... Qxe7> ? It looks equal after that, no?> The position was;

click for larger view

At the time it looked a harmless little observation with a throwback from the day's puzzle. I thought Black Q takes e7 N and White Q takes b6N. Later I worked on it and got this;

<16...Qxe7 17. Qxb6 Qh4+ 18. Kd1 (Not Ke2 or d2, Rf2+)Qxg4+ 19. Kc1 Bxe4 20 Nxe4 Qxe4> hitting the R at h1 and eying mate at e1. The White Q is helpless.

click for larger view

The line has not been checked with Crafty completely but what little I tried I saw Crafty sauntering to a win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: Does anyone speak <CO> here?
Aug-19-11  SimonWebbsTiger: AJ

why would you care if anyone knows CO when you don't understand the majority view of many people over many years, expressed in plain English: SOD OFF!

Aug-19-11  Patriot: This has been an extremely busy day! About all I could figure is 30.Bf5 Bxf5 31.Qb8+ Nc8 32.Qc7. 31...Bc8 32.Qxb6 and 31...Qc8?? 32.Qxc8+ followed by 33.Re8#. I didn't consider the direct 31.Qc7!
Aug-19-11  ProjectR: Damn ! I just typed out a long post explaining why i "didn't" see the mate immediately,and my computer went wild wiping my observations of the game away ! So i wont re type but needless to say i didn't solve it strait away,but its obvious the c8 and f8 squares were the main attacking for white,whilst also defending the c2 square was vital to stop the mating threat from black.

<LIFE master AJ>
<I have gotten several emails....asking me to be honest when i "blow one"> I presume you mean "cant solve" when you use the words "blow one"? If so,i find that quite shocking for someone of master level strength,as this is a puzzle after all so you know the mate/winning line is there,just like the rest of us do! Iv actually read some of your recent posts and find you to be quite aloof,cocky,arrogant,offensive,and basically not a friendly person towards other people who post on the puzzles every day at this site,and even at your own forum! Maybe you should be more humble towards people here as it seems your disliked.

Aug-19-11  sevenseaman: White in this game and in Tal vs Hjartarson, 1987 may have used very complex and intricate procedures but I am unable to shake off the feeling that White players got away with daylight robberies.

To put it more plainly, I feel Black in both cases had very strong winning chances that they squandered.

Aug-19-11  naruto00122: I should have tried harder, thess are the kind of puzzles that really worth trying to solve (regardless of how much time it takes you)

but it is too late... I looked the ans.

there are couple of ways to forget the ans. though.... but, they put my brain and my life at risk LOL

Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <ProjectR> Prolly just a sock-puppet of someone on my ignore list ... I would wager a fair amount of money that this is correct.
Aug-20-11  TheBish: Khalifman vs Ehlvest, 1985

White to play (30.?) "Difficult"

White is up an exchange, but his bishop is hanging, and he is threatened with 30...Qxc2#. What to do? The natural move to look for is one that saves the bishop while preventing mate, so 30. Bf5 is the only move I seriously looked at (not spotting anything else). One consideration is that 30. Bf5 Bxf5 removes Black's bishop from the defense of e8, making possible a back-rank combo (possibly over-worked queen), aiming for Re1-e8 mate. After a little calculation, turns out that it works.

30. Bf5!

Now Black only has two moves to consider (as White is up an exchange), 30...Rxd1+ followed by 31...Bxf5, or 30...Bxf5.

A) 30...Rxd1+ 31. Kxd1

An obvious move; 31. Rxd1? removes a key piece from the "theater", to put it in military parlance.


Otherwise, White remains an exchange ahead. Now Black still threatens mate (32...Qxc2#), so how can White make this work?

32. Qc7! Qa8

Almost forced, as Black must guard the bank rank and save his queen; not 32...Qxc7? 33. Re8#. White's last move nicely guarded Black's mate threat and exploited Black's overworked queen. Another option is 32...Bxc2+ 33. Kc1 Ba4+ 34. Qxc6 Bxc6 35. Re6, winning the piece back.

33. Qxb6 and White should win easily, up an exchange.

B) 30...Bxf5 31. Qc7!

This same move works as in the above variation; of course, White has to stop Black's mate threat, so 31. Rxd4 is impossible. This is a great illustration of combining attack and defense.


Or 31...Qa8 32. Rxd4, leaving White up two exchanges.

32. Kxd1, transposing to (A).

White wins! Great illustration of the power of exploiting the overworked piece (often the queen), as well as combining attack and defense.

P.S. Yes, I'm posting this late (already Saturday on the West Coast), but I was looking at it around 8 PDT, and had to postpone solving this to play a long awaited Scrabble match!

Apr-06-13  EvanTheTerrible: This game is incredible.
Mar-01-14  Whitehat1963: Amazing game! Someone needs to put this one in the Guess-the-Move database.
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