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Alexander Ivanov vs Larry Christiansen
United States Championship (1996), Parsippany, NJ USA, rd 11, Jul-25
Spanish Game: Closed. Averbakh Variation (C87)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-06-08  luzhin: Black's 40th looked clever, but 40...Qg3 would not have allowed Ivanov's devastating combination starting with 41.f6!! In the final position, if 48...Kb6 then 49.Bd4+ Kc7 50.Rf7+ or if 48...Kd5 then 49.Qb5+ Ke6 50.Re1+ Kf7 51.Qe8++. Actually, after the game's 47.Qd8+ the toughest line was: 47...Ke6 48.Re1+ Kf5 49.Qd7+ Kg6 50.Qe8+ Kf5 51.Qe6+ Kg6 52.Be7+ Kg7 53.Qf6+ Kg8 54.Qf8++ -- but Ivanov would not have needed to see this exactly before playing 41.f6!! Still, worth a puzzle.
Oct-18-14  PhilFeeley: Nice queen sac. I wonder if black saw any of this when he put the bishop en prise.
Oct-18-14  Rookiepawn: I thought about

41. Bxd5+ Kf8
42. f6 Bxg4
43. fxg7+ Ke7
44. Rf7+ ...

And in my ignorant opinion White wins. Can anybody help a patzer here?

Oct-18-14  dfcx: 41.? white to move. The white queen is under attack. If white takes the h5 bishop black can play 41...Qg3. Instead white can play 41.f6!
A. 41...Bxg4 42. Bxd5+

click for larger view

42...Be6 (Qf8? 43. fxg7+ and mates soon) 43. Bxe6+ Kf8 44. fxg7+ Ke7 45. Bf6+ Kxe6 46. g8=Q+

click for larger view

and the king hunts start. I think white should win from here

B. If black refuses the queen I do not think it has any good alternatives. 41...Rxg2+ 42. Qxg2.
41...gxf6 42. Bxd5+ etc

Oct-18-14  dfcx: <Bookiepawn: I thought about 41. Bxd5+ Kf8
42. f6 Bxg4
43. fxg7+ Ke7
44. Rf7+ ... >

Black can play 42...Bh2+ and white loses

Oct-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Material is dead even. White's queen is hanging, and can't safely undefend g3 in light of the mate threat starting with ... Rxg2+

White's only check is Bxd5+, which doesn't seem to accomplish much. However, he can bring other pieces into play via 41 f6, the first point of which is:

41 f6 Bxg4
42 Bxd5+ Kf8
43 fg++ Ke7
44 Rf7+

and mate quickly follows.

42 ... Kh8 allows the pretty 43 fg#. Also to be considered is the interposition ... Be6, as in

41 f6 Bxg4
42 Bxd5+ Be6
43 Bxe6+ Kf8
44 fg++ Ke7
45 Bf6+ Kxe6
46 g8(Q)+

White is up a pawn; he has excellent chances for perpetual check; he has reasonable chances for mate. Over the board, I'd be happy to stop calculating there.

Black's alternatives at Move 41 don't look bad for White. ... Kf8/Kh8 allow fg+. Luft with ... h6 doesn't do much, since Bxd5+ undefends e4. The passive ... Bf7 will require further passivity after fg threatening Qc8+.

Oct-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: OK, why did Black resign?

48 ... Kc7
49 Bd8+ Kb8/Kc8
50 Bb6#


48 ... Kb6
49 Bd4+

and destruction quickly follows.

But on 48 ... Kd5, I haven't found the mate yet, given the Black queen's strong defensive presence.

Oct-18-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: Even so, I'm still claiming a rare Friday/Saturday double success. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Rookiepawn: I thought about 41. Bxd5+>. That was my move too.

If 41...Kh8 42. f6 g6 (42...Bxg4 43. fxg7#; 42...gxf6 43. Bxf6#), then 43. f7+ Qxd4+ 44. Qxd4#.

But after 42...Bh2+ 43. Kh1 Qxf1+ 44. Bg1 Bxg4, white is busted. Better is 42. Bxg7+ Kxg7 43. f6+ Kg6 44. Be4+ Kf7 45. Qd7+ or 45. Qxh5+, followed by 46. Bxd3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Cheapo by the Dozen: OK, why did Black resign? But on 48 ... Kd5, I haven't found the mate yet, given the Black queen's strong defensive presence.>

49. Qb5+ Ke4 (49...Ke6 50. Re1+ Kf7 Qe8#) 50. Qf5+ Ke3 51. Rf3+ Ke2 52. Rxd3+ cxd3 54. Qf2+ Kc1 55. Qxa2 d2 56. Qa3+ Kc2 57. Qa4+ Kc1 58. g6! d1=Q+ (58...axg6 59. Bg5) 59. Qxd1+ Kxd1 60. gxh7.

Oct-18-14  morfishine: Ouch, <41.f6> was the second candidate I looked at, which I dismissed as "doesn't work"

Having led myself down the garden path, I figured <41.Bxd5+> was the only move mainly because White Queen has no safe square

41.Bxd5+ Bf7 42.Bxf7+ Kxf7 43.Qh5+ Kf8

<44.Bxg7+> This was the move I was counting on, but alas Black had 41...Kh8 all along


Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For my Saturday solution, got as far as 41. f6! Bxg4 42. Bxd5+ Be6 43. Bxe6+ Kf8 44. fxg7+ Ke7 45. Bf6+ Kxe6 46. g8=Q+ Kd7 47. Qd8+ Kc6 in the game continuation.

However, I did not see 48. Qe8+! when Black resigns in lieu of 48...Kb6

(48... Kd5 49. Qb5+ Ke6 50. Re1+ Re2 51. Rxe2+ Qxe2 52. Qe8+ Kd5 53. Qxe2;

48... Kc7 49. Bd8+ Kb8
50. Bb6#)

49. Bd4+ Ka6 50. b5+! Ka5 51. Qa8+ Kxb5 52. Qxb7+ Ka5 53. Qa7+ Kb5 54. Qd7+ Ka5 55. Qxd6! (diagram below)

click for larger view

The threat 56. Qc5+ Ka6 (56...Ka4 57. Qb4#) 57. Qb6# is decisive.

Oct-18-14  goodevans: <dfcx: 41.? white to move. The white queen is under attack. If white takes the h5 bishop black can play 41...Qg3...>

Actually, the reason why White can't play 41.Qxh5 is the reply <41...Rxg2! 42.Kxg2 Qg3+ 43.Kh1 Qh2#>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

Black threatens 41... Bxg4.

The obvious 41.Qxh5 loses to 41... Rxg2+ and mate in two.

Black's back rank is very weak, the pawn on d5 can be captured with check, the dsb aims at the black castke and the f-pawn could be used as a battering ram. These details invite to play 41.f6:

A) 41... Bxg4 42.Bxd5+

A.1) 42... Kh8 43.fxg7#.

A.2) 42... Kf8 43.fxg7+

A.2.a) 43... Ke7 44.Rf7+ and mate in two.

A.2.b) 43... Ke8 44.g8=Q+ and mate soon. For example, 44... Kd7 45.Rf7+ Be7 46.Rxe7+ Kxe7 (46... Kd6 47.Qd8+ Bd7 48.Rxd7#) 47.Bc5+ Kd7 48.Qf7+ Kc8 (48... Kd8 49.Bb6+ Kc8 50.Qc7#) 49.Bxb7+ Kb8 50.Bd6+ Ka7 51.Bc6+ and mate in two.

A.3) 42... Be6 43.Bxe6+ Kf8 44.fxg7+ Ke7 (44... Ke8 45.g8=Q+ and mate in two) 45.Bf6+ Kxe6 46.g8=Q+ Kd7 47.Qe8+

A.3.a) 47... Kc6 48.Qe8+ Kb6 (48... Kc7 49.Bd8+ Kb(c)8 50.Bb6#) 49.Bd4+ Ka6 (49... Kc7 50.Rf7+ and mate in two; 49... Bc5 50.Bxc5+ Ka6 51.Rf6+ and mate in three) 50.Qa8+ Nb5 51.Qxa2 and White emerges one rook ahead (51... Qg3+ 52.Qg2).

A.3.b) 47... Ke6 48.Re1+ Re2 (48... Kf7 49.Qe8#; 48... Be5 49.Rxe5+ Kf7 50.Qe8#) 49.Qe8+ Kd5 50.Qxe2, again one rook ahead.

B) 41... Rxg2+ 42.Qxg2 and Black doesn't seem to have compensation for the exchange.

C) 41... Bf7 42.Qc8+ Bf8 43.fxg7 Rxg2+ (what else?) 44.Kxg2 Qe2+ (44... Qe4+ 45.Rf3 Qe2+ 46.Bf2 wins) 45.Rf2 Qe4+ 46.Rf3 Qe2+ 47.Bf2 wins.

D) 41... g6 42.Bxd5+ and mate in two.

E) 41... gxf6 42.Qe6+ Bf7 (else mate soon) 43.Qxd6 + - [B vs P]. White can use the meneuver in C in the case of 43... Rxg2+.

F) 41... Bh2+ 42.Kxh2 Bxg4 43.f7+ Kf8 44.Bxg7+

F.1) 44... Kxg7 45.f8=Q+ Kg6 46.Qf6+ Kh5 47.Qh6#.

F.2) 44... Ke8 45.f8=Q+

F.2.a) 45... Kd7 46.Rf7+ Kc6 (46... Ke6 47.Qe7#) 47.Qc5#.

F.2.b) 45... Ke6 46.Rf6+ Kd7 (46... Ke5 47.Qe7+ Be6 48.Qxe6#) 47.Rd6+ Kc7 48.Qd8#.

G) 41... Ra8 42.Bxd5+ Bf7 (else mate soon) 43.Bxf7+ Kxf7 44.Qd7+ and mate soon.

Oct-18-14  dakgootje: I <thought> 41. Bxd5 Kf8/Kh8 42. Bxc4 would work nicely. Only 42. ..Qd2/Qc2 was a bit irritating, but hold on - we could just take the rook 43. Bxa2, so no worries, that's absolutely fine.

..Thereby completely blundering into 43. ..Qh2#. That would've been a bit embarrassing in a real game ^^

So actually, the best line there is probably: 41. Bxd5 Kf8 42. Bxc4 Qd2 43. Bxg7 Kxg7 44. Qd4+ Qxd4 45. cxd4 and black is utterly fine and most probably goes on to win. Shame about that.

Assuredly that solution would've been too easy for a Saturday - but I try not to let that knowledge influence my Solvation :)

Oct-18-14  abuzic: Very interesting,
after missing the winning 38.Bf3, white later sacs his Q temporarily with 41.f6, and after 41...Bxg4 white wins but is forced to give checks (including Q promotion with check) pushing the king to a mating net, or else white can get mated, win or lose:

41.f6 Bxg4 42.Bxd5+ Be6 43.Bxe6+ Kf1 44.fxg7+ Ke7 45.Bf6+ <45.Rf7+? loses>

45...Kxe6 46.g8Q+ Kd7 47.Qf7+
<47.Qd8+ leads to same variation; while 47.Qg7+? loses>

47...Kc6 48.Qe8+
<48.b5+? Kb6 49.Bd4+ Ka5 white is out of effective checks, and should settele for a draw>

48...Kb6 49.Bd4+
<or 49.Qd8+; but not 49.Bd8+? Ka7 white cannot get away from mate>

49...Ka6 50.b5+ Ka5 51.Qa8+ Kxb5 the net is complete now with many ways to finish off.

Oct-18-14  gofer: Now this is a VERY nice POTD. 1) the balance is very fine between winning and losing, but also there is a Queen Sac on offer on a Saturday!!! So lets grab it with BOTH hands and see if we can hold on...

<41 f6! ...>

The queen is very dangerous to capture, but what about black's other replies to our handsome <GOOT!>.

41 ... Qxf1+?
42 Kxf1 Bxg4
43 Bxd5+ Kf8
44 fxg7+ Ke7
45 hxg4

41 ...gxf6?
42 Bxd5+ mating

41 ... Rxg2+
42 Qxg2 Bf7 (gxf6 43 Qxd5 )
43 gxf7 Qg3
44 Qxg3 Bxg3
45 Kg2

So accepting the sacrifice seems the only sensible way to go!

<41 ... Bxg4?>
<42 Bxd5+ ...>

42 ... Kf8
43 fxg7+ Ke7
44 Rf7+ Ke8/Kd8
45 g8=Q+ mating

<42 ... Be6!>
<43 Bxe6 Kf8>
<44 fxg7+ Ke7>
<45 Bf6+!! Kxe6>
<46 g8=Q+ Kd7>
<47 Qd8+ >

click for larger view

From here it looks like black can go for an escape to h4! and lose just a pawn and its bishop or it can try to escape via f5 and risk getting mated losing Ph7 and exchanging queens into a lost middle game...


So all correct, but I wonder whether there is an escape???

Ke6 isn't an escape

47 ... Ke6
48 Qe8+ Kd5
49 Qb5+ Ke6 (Ke3? 59 Qf5+ Ke3 Rf3+ )
50 Re1+ ...

50 ... Kf7 51 Qe8#

50 ... Be5 51 Rxe5 Kd6 52 Qc5+ Kd7 53 Re7+ Kd8 54 Qc7#

50 ... Re2+ 51 Rxe2+ Qxe2 52 Qe8+

But what about Kc6?

47 ... Kc6?
48 Qe8+ Kb6
49 Bd4+ Ka6
50 b5+ Ka6
51 Qa8+ Kxb5
52 Qxb7+ Ka4
53 Qa6+ Kb3
54 Qb6+ Ka4
55 Qxd6 mating

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White gives up his queen to gain a big attack and a promotion. Or, has the original queen been Voorheesed?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I found a line similar to one of <gofer>'s, that is 41 f6 Rxg2+ 42 Qxg2 Bf7 43 fxg7, but found it tough going for a while with black's response 43...Qg6.

click for larger view

One clever way white can win from here is with 44 Ra1! (threatening 45 Ra8+).

click for larger view

If black interposes with 44...Bb8, then white wins after 45 Ra8 Qd6 46 Ba7.

click for larger view

Oct-18-14  Howard: Inside Chess magazine analyzed this game rather thoroughly, as I recall.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I dance f6 up progress it honour in hope a new queen to be made miss h5 givings it hook in low g4 diane;

i like f6 as call i wag her longer bill to rights again business at hand fane h5 bad pull at he bind engage arm at g3 instead good cane fan dangle f7 a mind for give health if ive this right off a f5 up and running give spark f6 fave into motion back beat it book in dane is hi h5 streaky run it was in pick h5 bad call at he saw in maybe surf to d3 trade off or stable pick b5 go in it erm have melt h5 down it zip in zag queen back grievious a free general lyeth surely better glide focus and fetch closed iron a feint hot h5 advance queen water down tin victor bishops of lights are killers in an open board it arduous in aim ever tickle key blink away ar g4 ive at g3 a sound positional move.

Oct-18-14  Conrad93: I knew it was either 41. g6 or 41. f6. 41. f6 made the most sense in a otherwise hopeless position.

After that it's a bit obvious that white will promote.

Overall not a very difficult puzzle.

Oct-18-14  M.Hassan: "Very Difficult"
White to play 41.?
Material identical

Something tells me to let go of the Queen, instead two Bishops occupying two diagonal could be deadly:

41.f6 Bxg4
<if...Kh8 43.fxg7#>
43.fxg6+ Ke7
44.Rf7+ Kd8
45.g8=Q+ Bf8

By a Bishop manuevre, Black can change the outcome of the game (as per Chessmaster)

41.f6 Bxg4
42.Bxd5+ Be6
43.Bxe6 Kf8
44.fxg7+ Ke7
45.Bf6+ Kxe6
46.g8=Q+ Kd7
47.Qd8+ Kc6
It does not appear that a win will be in horizon.

Oct-18-14  plumbst: Very Difficult. Material is even. White's Queen is under attack.

Black's idea is 41.Qxh5? Rxg2+! mating. Black also has the idea of 41.Qh4? Bh2+! 42.Kh1 (42.Kxh2 Qxf1) Qxf1+!, and 41.Bxd5+? is wrong since it opens up Bh2+ for Black. It looks grim, but White has a good way out.

41.f6!! Now White is actually threatening Bxd5+.

41...Bxg4 42.Bxd5 Kf8 (42...Kh8 43.fxg7#) 43.fxg7+ Ke8 (43...Ke7 44.Rf7+) 44.g8=Q+ Kd7 45.Rf7+ Be7 46.Rxe7+ mates

41...Bh2+ 42.Kxh2! and Black gets mated after 42...Qxf1 43.Qe6+ or 42...Bxg4 43.f7+ Kf8 44.Bxg7+

41...Qxf1+ 42.Kxf1 Bxg4 (42...Ra1+ 43.Kf2 Ra2+ 44.Ke3 Re2+ 45.Qxe2) 43.Bxd5+ Kf8 44.fxg7+ Ke7 45.g8=Q Bxh3 46.Kg1 and Black runs out of checks soon

So 41...Rxg2+ is forced and 42.Qxg2 wins easily.

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