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Mikhail Tal vs Alexander V Cherepkov
USSR Championship (1968/69), Alma-Ata (Almaty) URS, rd 6, Jan-08
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Chigorin Defense (C98)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-26-07  ounos: Saw Nf5, Qxg8 in approximately ...3 seconds :-/ must be too typical a pattern
Jul-26-07  Marmot PFL: By Tal standards this was way too easy.
Jul-26-07  goodevans: Well that seemed a bit easy for a Thursday. Having been away from the internet for the last couple of days I thought I was looking at a Tuesday puzzle! Seems <MAJ>'s silicon-based analysis agrees.
Jul-26-07  willyfly: material is even - medium difficulty - the first thing I see is the interesting position of the White ♕ and then the White ♘ has a couple of good moves

31 ♘f5 forking Black's ♗ and ♖
31 ♘h5 Δ 32 ♕xg7+ 33 ♔e8 ♕xg8+
31 ♕h8 perhaps interesting to consider
31 ♖a1 Δ ♖a7 or ♖a8
there are a lot of interesting lines arising from these moves but I'm just going to look now and see if I was anywhere near being on the right track

Only got the first move - but Wow! When the dust settles (if Black doesn't resign) White is up two full pieces in the endgame. Great work by the great Tal

Premium Chessgames Member
  Edmemphis: Found this one to be a bit easy.
Jul-26-07  PAWNTOEFOUR: well i got this one in a nano-second too......unfortunately a nano-second for me is about 55 minutes
Jul-26-07  mravikiran: Hey noTALent! If you could find a single decent response to Nf5, then this won't qualify to be a puzzle!
Jul-26-07  TopaLove: Medium difficulty. White to move. Material even. I wonder if the black knight has ever left its home square. Well, the first thing I have to ask is, what happens if I play 31 Nf5? And quickly we find that the answer is, 31...Rg6, which takes the rook out of harm's way and defends g7 (as well as threatens mate on g2).

But! That's OK! After 31 Nf5 Rg6 32 Qxg8+! resigns (I'm guessing "resigns", but after 32...Kxg8 33 Nxe7+ Kf8 34 Nxd5 it's all over but the shouting).

The only reason I found this line is that white didn't seem to have any other "forcing" first moves, so I looked into the position even after black seemed to have an excellent rejoinder.

This is the kind of combination you always want to get off in your own games. And, look, Tal is white. I should have known.

Jul-26-07  zb2cr: Like others, I found this one much more quickly than yesterday's. Perhaps 30 seconds.

<MostlyAverageJoe>, I'm not sure just how strong that attack is in the alternate line 31. ... Bf6; 32. Nxd6, Qxd6; 33. Ra1, Qc6; 34. Bxc5+, Qxc5; 35. Ra8+, Ke7. Obviously White wins his piece back by 36. Qxg8 and now Black has to do something about the skewer check threat to his Queen.

a. 36. ... Qc7 doesn't look good. 37. Qe8+, Kd6; 38. Ra6+ and two variations:

a1. 38. ... Kd5; 39. Qxb5+, Ke4 (39. ... Qc5 costs Black the Queen after 40. Qd3+); 40. Qe2+, Kd5 (other King moves are met by 41. Qg4#.); 41. Qd3+, Kc5; 42. b4+.

a2. 38. ... Kc5; 39. b4+, Kc4; 40. Rc6+ wins the Black Queen for a Rook.

b. 36. ... Qc6 doesn't look like anything too horrible happens. 37. Rc7+, Ke6; 38. Qxf7+, Kd6; 39. Qf8+, Ke6; 40. Qf7+, Kd6. Black's down the exchange and 2 Pawns, but it looks like he survives for a while.

c. 36. ... Ke6; 37. Ra6+, Ke7; 38. Qb8, Kd7; 39. Qb7+, Qc7; 40. Qd5+, Ke8; 41. Qxb5+ and again White is the exchange and 2 Pawns up with a won game, but Black can survive for at least another few moves.

What am I missing? This analysis is all carbon-based, not silicon-based, so I may have left a few holes.

Jul-26-07  YouRang: Usually, I worry when I see that the puzzle involves a move by Tal, since he's famous for incomprehensible moves.

But today was pretty tame for Tal -- 31. Nf5 carries 3 threats:

(1) Nxd6 (winning the rook),
(2) Qxg7+ (winning a pawn & knight)
(3) more subtly, Nxe7 (forcing the king to be overworked & setting up knight fork)

Black's reply 31...Rg6 stops the first two (most obvious) threats, but it triggers the third. (Had black seen the third threat, he'd have played 31...Bf6, losing "just" the exchange -- or more likely he'd resign one move sooner.)

I've got nothing on Tal though. He probably saw this coming several moves ago. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Right out of the beginners' chess manual...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: An easy problem to look at backwards:♕xg8+ is almost mate and diverts the king to g8. A knight placed at e7 could attack both g8 and the black queen. Also,♘f5 gains a tempo and sets up the move to e7.
Jul-26-07  pastpawn: <tarek1: I saw 31.Nf5, and also that if 31...Rg6 32.Qxg8+! wins. But after 31...Bf6, white has nothing better that flatly taking the rook.>

How about 31 ... ♗f6 32 ♗xc5 ? That seems to win a rook, at least, rather than just the exchange.

Jul-26-07  YouRang: <pastpawn: <tarek1: I saw 31.Nf5, and also that if 31...Rg6 32.Qxg8+! wins. But after 31...Bf6, white has nothing better that flatly taking the rook.> How about 31 ... f6 32 xc5 ? That seems to win a rook, at least, rather than just the exchange.>

If 31. Nf5 Bf6 32. Bxc5, what's stopping 32...Qxc5?

Jul-26-07  bakuazer: beautiful combination but easy puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: After the middle game skirmishes Tal gets the upper hand & 31.Nf5 seals the fate of his opponent as White atleast wins the exchange but the text loses a piece with simple fork trick.
Jul-26-07  tdubb43: It seems like black could've played a better move than 30...Rd6
Jul-26-07  bogo78: The epiphany is finally here. My first candidate move was the very natural 31 Nf5. Then the sole fact that 31...Rg6 threatens mate made me discard that move. After several other tries I have finally realized the point. 32 Qxg8 Kxg8 33. Nxe7+ followed by Nxd5, winning both the ♗ and the ♘.
Jul-26-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <zb2cr: <MostlyAverageJoe>, I'm not sure just how strong that attack is in the alternate line 31. ... Bf6; 32. Nxd6, Qxd6; 33. Ra1, Qc6; 34. Bxc5+, Qxc5; 35. Ra8+, Ke7. Obviously White wins his piece back by 36. Qxg8 and now Black has to do something about the skewer check threat to his Queen.>

As you noted, 36 ... Qc7 is bad for the black - you already demonstrated a loss in your variant <a1. 38. ... Kd5> In variant <a2>, there is a quiet move 38. ... Kc5; 39. Qa8! threatening Qe4 followed by b4, and black will lose very quickly trying to prevent it.

<b. 36. ... Qc6 doesn't look like anything too horrible happens> but it does: 37. Ra7+, Ke6 38. Rxf7 (instead of Qxf7+) threatens a discovered check, and the black queen will fall soon. 38 ... Be7 will lose another pawn, then 39. Rxg7+ Kd7 (forced because of K-Q skewer if Kd6) 40. Qf8, exchange Q+R for Q+B, white pawns win easily.

The above was carbon based, then I realized I am spending too much time, hence the rest is from Hiarcs, which confirmed the ideas above and added this as a best play for both sides after 34. ... Qxc5

35. Ra8+ Ke7 36. Qxg8 Qc6 37. Ra7+ Kd6 38. Rxf7 b4 39. Qb8+ Kd5 40. Rc7 bxc3 41. Qb3+ Kd6 42. Rxc6+ Kxc6 43. Qxc3+

This was done on my computer with little RAM, so may be inaccurate.

Jul-26-07  YouRang: <tdubb43> Yes, 30...Rd6 was the "fate sealer".

Not even a "faith healer" could help him after that.

Soon, he'll feel what it's like to be mated (yes, he'll be a "mate feeler").

Sorry -- don't know what got into me just now. Anyway, you're right 30...Rd6 gave 31. Nd5 carry three threats instead of just two, which was (at least) one too many.

Jul-26-07  zb2cr: <MostlyAverageJoe>, Thanks for the follow-up. In your comment to my variation (b), the threat of a discovered attack on the Black Queen can also be met with 38. ... Qe4. This does not help, though: 39. Rxg7+ and now 2 variations:

39. ... Kf5; 40. Qc8+!, Kf4; 41. Rg4#.

39. ... Kd5; 40. Qf8+ and Black loses his Bishop--his only try to keep it, 40. ... Ke6, fails vs. 41. Qf7+, Kd6 ( 41. ... Kf5 leads to a mate similar to the previous variation); 42. Qxf6+ and within a few checks, Black will inevitably lose.

<YouRang>: LOL.

Jul-26-07  Creg: I saw blacks' response 31...Bf6 also, but why should white rush and take the rook at d6? Isn't 32.Bg5 far more interesting?

A) 32.Bg5 Bxg5? 33.Qxg7+ and you can see that white will win a piece by force. So the bishop at g5 is immune to capture.

B) 32.Bg5 Nh6 33.Bxf6 Nxf5?? 34. Qh8 mate

C) 32.Bg5 Nh6 33.Bxf6 and if pawn takes then the knight at h6 hangs or if rook recaptures at f6 white once again wins a piece with Qg7+.

D) 32.Bg5 Ne7 33.Bxf6 gxf6 34.Qh8+! Ng8 (forced) 35. Qg7+ and once again white wins a piece. 33...Rxg6 is worse after 34.Qg7+


E) 32.Bg5 g6 33.Bxf6 Nxf6 34.Qh8+ Ng8 (forced) 35.Qg7+ Ke8 36.Qxg8+ followed by 37.Nxd6

F) 32.Bg5 g6 33.Bxf6 gxf5 34.Qg7+ and again white wins a piece.

G) 32.Bg5 g6 33.Bxf6 Rxf6 and we return to the puzzle variation of 34.Qxg8+ followed by 35.Ne7+

The threat of Bxf6 appears to win a piece one way or the other for white.

I could be wrong, but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents into the ring and see what happens..:)

Jul-26-07  bogo78: <Creg> I believe your move 32 Bg5 will also win. You did not analyze though 32...Qe6 which seems to me the most straightforward reply and leads to white being up the exchange in a couple of moves after the mutual captures on f6. I believe that your move is interesting since it forces the trade of pieces on f6, a good idea most of the time when ahead in material.
Jul-26-07  lilfoohk: Gotta!

I forsaw that Qxg8 is winning.Forky

Jul-27-07  Creg: <bogo78> Thank you for pointing out 32...Qe6. I figured I'd miss something, but as you mention it is still a win for white...

33.Bxf6 Qxf6 and now 34.Nxd6 Qxd6 35.Qe4 f6 36.f4! and white is not only up the exchange but he is about to win a pawn as well.

It appears to me that 32.Bg5 in response to blacks' best defense of 31...Bf6 creates more opportunities than the straight forward 32.Nxd6. It also plays in the style of the great Tal, of whom I do not even pretend to be in the same league.

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