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Judit Polgar vs Nigel Short
Melody Amber Blind 2nd (1993) (blindfold), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 6, Apr-01
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Worrall Attack Castling line (C86)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-17-07  greensfield: In this position I wanted to play <63.Rd8> threatening the advance of the h pawn, but Black has <63...Re5+> forcing the White King back thus isolating White’s h-pawn which is now threatened by <64...Kg6.> However, if as a precursor to <RD8>, White advances the g-pawn, <63.g5> Black must capture, <63...fxg5> as further advancement of the g-pawn would be untenable for Black. Now White can play <64. Rd8> for a winning game.
Oct-17-07  MindCtrol9: What I see is 32.Qxb8+ Qxb8 33.Ra8 Qxa8 34.Bxa8 fallow by 35.f3 and 36.Bd5 depending black's moves.This final is not so difficult to win.
Oct-17-07  ConstantImprovement: Several possibilities, the most straight-forward is

I. 63. h7 Kg7 (only move: 63. ... Re8 64. Rd7+ Kf8 65. h8Q#) 64. h8Q Kh8:

1. 65. Kf6: (Is this elementary enough for a Wednesday? Let us try.) a. 65. ... Rg7 66. g5 and probably winning
b. 65. ... A move along the e-file 66. Kg6, followed by g6 and a win c. 65. ... A move along the seventh rank 66. Rd6, followed by g5-g6, winning d. 65. ... Re8 66. Kf7! Threatening mate and so winning the rook. 2. 65. Kg6

II. 63. Rd6 Re5+ (only move) 64. Kf4
(Now it is interesting: White can play 65. h7 and black has to find Re8 (65. ... Kg7? 66. Rf6:! Ra5 [somewhere along the fifth rank] 67. Rh6! and now either 67. ... Ra8 68. h8Q! Rh8: 69. Rh8: Kh8: 70. Kf6! winning or 67. ... Kh8 68. g5-g6-g7+ etc...) 64. ... Kg6 seems to refute the line

III. 63. Rd8 Re5+ 64. Kg6 Rf8! But 65. Ra5 or something similar defends.

IV. 63. g5 g5: 64. Rd6 (64. Kg5: Re6) g4 65. Kg4: Kg8-h7, building a fortress.

White should win after 63. h7 Kg7 64. h8Q Kh8: 65. Kf6:, and for example Re8 66. Kf7, even though the whole line does not feel Wednesday enough.

I might have overlooked a trivial solution.

Oct-17-07  Marmot PFL: Short thought 61...Re7? was playable because Re5+ ties down white's rook, but polgar's g5! removes the f6 pawn that supports the rook. If the rook had stayed on the queenside where it belonged this would not work but it was a blindfold game at fast time controls.
Oct-17-07  King mega: Hooray for me!
Oct-17-07  think: About six people have asked about 63. h7. This was a popular choice for the puzzle because it seems right: it is forcing (all of White's moves are 'only' moves), and it looks like it wins. Can someone please put us to rest and show us how Black draws?
Oct-17-07  ColonelCrockett: 63. h7? Kg7 64.h8=Q Kxh8 65.Kxf6 Rg7 (and the Black king is kept out of f7 and the White pawn is attacked ... White must play correctly but the ending is simply drawn). White has only Rh5+, Rd8+, Rg5, Rd4, and Kf5 to play ... the Checks simply transpose to the other lines and Rg5 is an obvious draw ... leaving only a rook defense of the pawn and allowing Black's king to get closer to the wayward White pawn. To put it bluntly ... although h7 looks forcing ... it can immediately be dismissed as drawish and the g5 plan is far better (in fact it's the only winning line in the position).
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution 63. g5! gives
White a winning endgame combination, yielding a double passed pawn if the sacrifice is declined or preparing 64. Rd8 as in the game continuation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <think: Question: Is the game a draw after 63. h7 Kg7 64. h8=Q+ Kxh8 65. Kxf6, or does this alternative line also win for White?>

The line you give brings about the following position with Black to move after 65. Kxf6:

click for larger view

Black draws easily with 65. … Re8 setting up a “Back-Rank Defense”. This is a simple and reliable defense in Rook and Pawn versus Rook endings PROVIDED the pawn is on the a-, b-, g-, or h-file. The essential elements of the defense are to get the King to the promotion square and to place the Rook on the back rank (and also, of course, for the passed pawn to be on one of the two outer files on either wing of the board). With the passed pawn (as in this specific case) on the g-file, White can actually blunder into a loss if he tries to get his Rook to the 8th rank. Here is how such a horror story (for White; Black's perspective would be different) could proceed from the above diagram: 65. ... Re8 66.Rd7 Ra8 67.g5 Rb8 68.g6 Ra8 69.Rh7+ Kg8 70.Kg5 Rb8 71.Kh6 Ra8 72.g7?? (intending 73. Rh8+, but ...) 72...Ra6+ and BLACK WINS!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Here BTW is a brief illustration why the Back-Rank Defense does NOT work if the pawn is on one of the four central files. From the following position:

click for larger view

White wins as follows: 1.Kg6 Rc8 2.Rh7 (threatening 3. Rh8+) 2...Kg8 3.f7+ (With the pawn on the f-file, White can force its advance to the 7th rank WITH CHECK.) 3...Kf8 4.Rh8+ and WHITE WINS.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Just took another look at the position arising after <think>'s proposed line and noticed there is actually a forced mate (beginning with 66. Kf7) if Black tries immediately (after 65. Kxf6) to set up a back-rank defense with 65. ... Re8, so Black does need to go 65. ... Rg7. Nevertheless, in the long run, Black should be able to set up such a back-rank defense, and it is generally a reliable way to defend against a pawn on the outer files in a R+P vs. R ending.
Oct-17-07  PawnCouple: h7 is a dead draw.This allows the enemy king to control the square in front of the queening pawn. The defending rook just moves along the 7th and keeps checking to ensure a mating net is not 63. h7? Kg7 64.h8=Q Kxh8 65.Kxf6 Rc7 66.g5 Rc6+ (66.Kg6 Rg7+ or Rc6+)... with a drawn position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Here is an example of how Black (playing with a little more care and attention than I put into my first post, above) can get into a back-rank defense that would hold after <think>'s proposed line going <63. h7 Kg7 64. h8=Q+ Kxh8 65. Kxf6>: 65...Rg7 66.g5 Rg8 67.Rd1 Ra8 68.Rd7 Kg8 and White cannot make progress.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Yelena Dembo: Nice game especially for blindfold chess!!
Oct-17-07  Alphastar: <Peligroso Patzer: The line you give brings about the following position with Black to move after 65. Kxf6:

Black draws easily with 65. … Re8 setting up a “Back-Rank Defense”.>

65..Re8?? 66. Kf7! and black must drop the rook to prevent mate.

Oct-17-07  YouRang: Excellent Wednesday puzzle! Even though there are only a few moves to consider, it took me a few iterations to find it.

Ultimately, I asked myself: "What do I WANT to do?". My answer was: "Move my rook to d8 where I threaten to support h7 and h8=Q". Unfortunately, I can't do that or else black will play ...Re5+.

But notice that ...Re5+ is only possible because of the f6 pawn. This immediately suggests undermining that pawn with 63. g5!. Black cannot afford to take it due to 64. Rd8, but then again, he can't afford to NOT take it either: .

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I missed this one-I saw the possibility of ♖e8 and ♙g5-but I didn't put them together to prevent ...♖e5+.

A deft finish-the pawn is undefended,but will be when it advances to become a queen.

Oct-17-07  LivBlockade: 52...f5 seems to draw immediately.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Alphastar: <Peligroso Patzer: The line you give brings about the following position with Black to move after 65. Kxf6:

click for larger view

Black draws easily with 65. … Re8 setting up a “Back-Rank Defense”.>

65..Re8?? 66. Kf7! and black must drop the rook to prevent mate.>

You are absolutely right.

I noticed this belatedly and posted a correction (which appears four items above your comment). I did not delete my original, erroneous comment because

(1) it does include some generally useful observations re: the back-rank defense; and

(2) I like to keep a few egregiously flawed comments in the record as evidence to prove I do not use computers for my analysis; against any such accusation, I could offer in refutation, "Take a look at my first comment on the Judit Polgar vs Short, 1993 page from October 17, 2007; how could any one using Fritz ever post such a bone-headed comment? Q. E. D." ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Here’s a nice little alternative variation of the winning line I found using my trusty Chessmaster 3000.

63 g5 Kg8? 64 Rd8+ Kh7 65 g6+ Kxh6 66 Rh8+ Kg7 67 Rh7+ Kf8 68 Kxf6 Rxh7 69 gxh7 Ke8 70 h8=Q+ Kd7

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: To play a Blindfold, one needs a very special talent. Of course, there are many chances where would likely to miss. But here, Judit brings out a clear winning line with 63.g5! & the drama is over.
Oct-17-07  soberknight: It's a pretty puzzle. I didn't manage to solve it. The pawn exchange is necessary in order to give the White king a flight square on the g-file, which he wouldn't have after Rd8 and then Black plays Re5 check.
Oct-17-07  aazqua: Nice puzzle, but of course I got it. Then again, I didn't get it blindfolded.
Dec-06-07  neurome: not this game :(
Sep-13-12  vinidivici: 61.Re7 ???????? is a decisive error.

61.Rb7 would be enough for a draw.

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