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Guillermo Estevez Morales vs Mikhail Tal
Leningrad Interzonal (1973), Leningrad URS, rd 3, Jun-05
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0



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May-05-11  newton296: I keep missing the main line this week!

I got Ne6 threatening mate at g7 and forcing ...Rg8, but then thought about Qe3 threatening Qd4+ and mate which can only be stopped by black sacking his rook. I missed that Qf4 puts the game away on the spot.


Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: I was only thinking about winning material with 35. h3, with the idea of bringing the Queen to c1 and trapping the Bishop, and did not see the mating attack with 35. Ne6! as the solution to today's Thursday puzzle.

While 35. h3 is winning, it's a lot slower than the mate that follows after 35. Ne6! Rg8 36. Qf4! .

More often than not you expect to see Tal dishing out such pretty tactics as the mating attack with 35. Ne6!, as opposed to being on the losing side of a mating combination.

Tal got into trouble with the weak 26...Qe7?, offering to exchange Queens. Instead, 26...Ree8 = keeps a solid but level position.

May-05-11  estrick: Not that easy for me. Spent several minutes on the 36. Nf8 line before finally backing up and looking for another way to crack the nut.

People are always saying 'I only found the solution because I knew there was one; I probably wouldn't have found it OTB w/t a prompt telling me it was there.'

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of doing these puzzles lies in the increased willingness one may acquire to persist in looking for the best move. If one arrives at a position such as what we have in today's POTD, there ought to be a feeling that "there must be something here." Then, if I do arrive at a similar position OTB, I will be willing to spend 3-5-7 minutes or possibly more searching for the knock out punch, because I have encountered similar situations and I believe it must be there. And since the POTD is always from a real game and not some fantastical composition, hopefully I will also gain more ideas for the kinds of positions toward which I should be steering my OTB games.

I appreciate the difficulty rating, as it is a useful (though not perfect) guide for knowing how long I need to persist before I decide that it's beyond my capability. I'm glad to know that I will not have to deal with any "insanely difficult" puzzles when I don't have time for them. I'd rather spend any time I have available on the weekend doing other kinds of chess study appropriate for my level than spend hours getting frustrated on something I'm not ready for.

May-05-11  Patriot: <BOSTER> You're absolutely correct about the level of difficulty being subjective. I don't think anyone would disagree. If you're suggesting changing the format, many would disagree because this is what's expected of the site. However I do share some of your concern about solving puzzles based on difficulty. To me it seems silly to solve a puzzle based on "Queen-sac Monday" because how does this help anyone become a better player?? I stay away from that logic and try to solve the problem based on the position.

A good way to make use of the level of difficulty is to relate it to time-management. For example on "Very easy" Monday's you could act as if you are short of time to decide...let's say no more than 30 seconds to decide on the best move. On "Insane" Sunday's you would get the most benefit by pretending you are playing a long time control and have, let's say 20 minutes to decide. This kind of time-based decision making translates more accurately to how you might think OTB. Plus it can expose ideas you missed and make you more aware of the weaker areas in your game. And if it takes 20 minutes to solve a Monday puzzle then there is either something wrong with the level of difficulty or there may be some basic tactics you need to study.

If there is any improvement to be made, it rests mostly with the kibitzer's. I've wondered why some will just say essentially "I solved it" which doesn't provide anything useful, other than expressing their success. It would be nice if master's would provide general information that helped them solve a puzzle. Essentially I want to see more information from anyone that might help everyone improve. For example, "What general principles did you follow?" or "Why did you choose an inferior line?" or "Why did you avoid an inferior line?" or "What candidates did you choose and how did you rule some out?", etc.

May-05-11  cyclon: 35.Ne6 Rg8 ( -Rxe6 36.Qf8X) 36.Qf4, cufflinks, because slightly oddly Black cannot prevent mate, f.e. -Rg7 37.Qe5 pinwins.
May-05-11  Ghuzultyy: Puzzle Position;

click for larger view

Using the threat 36.Qf8#.

Only defence against 36.Qg7# except checks.

click for larger view


Here, I had two similar candidates:
Preparing a deadly check.

Black's move doesn't really matter, it is mate by force. 36...Nf2+ 37.Kg1 could be played for a longer game.

<37.Qe5+ Rg7> <36.Qxg7#>

Another try for the same combination from e3. The difference is white queen now can't attack f line.

Another good move is 36...Rf8!

According to the plan.


click for larger view

Of course it doesn't lead to a win or draw for black but (!) means these moves are the key moves to see that <36.Qe3> is not the answer to the puzzle.

<38.Qxf6+ Kh7> and white has a long way before mate.

May-05-11  Shamot: Easy puzzle!! even I got it in 2 minutes. The knight and queen combination attack has no defence at all.
May-05-11  YouRang: Kinda easy: Mostly, one has to notice that the rook is anchored to the back rank to prevent Qf8#. Because of this, the e-file squares that are apparently "guarded" by this rook, aren't.

Hence, <35.Ne6!> threatening Qg7#, and black is forced to play <35...Rg8> (or 35...Nf2+, which accomplishes nothing, so you might as well keep it where it *might* have some defensive utility).

With the rook at g8, another mate threat emerges if we can check along the a1-h8 diagonal. The queen sets that up with <36.Qf4>, and it's basically over. Black can move the rook or give spite checks with the knight, but Qf6+ & Qg7# are coming.

May-05-11  YouRang: <Qf6+ & Qg7# are coming>

...or even better, to avoid being taken by the knight, white should opt for:

<Qe5+ & Qg7#>


May-05-11  Marmot PFL: After this game Tal postponed the next game, complaining of stomach trouble. It did not help as he also lost to Hubner, Kuzmin, Korchnoi (as usual) and missed the candidates tournament.
May-05-11  mrjoshherman: 35. Ne6 Rg8 36. Nf8 Nf6 37. Nxg6+ RxN (whoops!)
Premium Chessgames Member
  takchess: I agree with <gofer>

<Personally, I find this site has exactly what I want.>

Also anyone looking for more insane problems should look for the hardest problems in Lien's Sharpen your Tactics or the upper levels of CT-ART.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: I'm sure everybody would find this like a Monday puzzle since the back rank is easily exploited with 35.Ne6 if ...Rxe6 36.Qf8# or ...Rg8 then 36.Qf4 & Black is doomed.
May-05-11  DarthStapler: I got the first two moves but I missed the fact that Qh6 was mate
May-05-11  BOSTER: <Once>
<And if you can think a better way of running the site, I am sure the admins would love to hear your suggestion>. In chess we often use the method of trial an error. My suggestion is. Let's play <Daily Puzzles> during one week only without <CG> evaluations (without difficulty), and another week with puzzles, where the difficulty is chosen in no particular order. After this you can decide what is better for site.
May-05-11  SBarrett449: 30. Qxe4?
May-05-11  gars: Where did Tal go wrong??
May-05-11  James Bowman: <fm avari viraf:> I was thinking Tuesday-ish but still educational because the rook deflection for the back rank was slightly unusual.
May-05-11  Marmot PFL: <Tal is checkmated by one of the rank outsiders! Tal had the worst of the middle game and hardly improved matters with blunders on moves 25 and 30. Estevez kept his head well in the mutual time scramble.> tournament book
May-05-11  WhiteRook48: I got it!! 35 Ne6 Rg8 and 36 Qf4 wins
May-05-11  stst: long tiring day, late again.
g7 is the focal point:
35.Ne6 threatens Qg7,
if 35...RxN or Re7; 36.Qf8#
therefore 35...Rg8 to guard g7
but then
36.Qf4 threatening Qe5;
if h6 or h7; 37.Q goes back h6#
Now Black has no piece at all to guard the e5-h8 diagonal - lest Rf8 ==> 38.QxR#; or 37...Nf6 ==> 38.QxN# Black is helpless.
See if any error in between....Bed time!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black avoids disaster on the bias,only to face it straight up.
Oct-21-13  paul1959: 30...Qxe4 is a desperate try to complicate. 30 ...Bxd1 runs into 31 Nf5 Qf8 (31 ...gf5 32 Nf6)
32 Ng5 Qxh6 (32 ...Qg8 33 Ne7)
33 Nxf7+ Kg8
34 Nfxh6+
So 30 ... Bxd1 loses a piece and on moves other than Qxe4 White remains an exchange up with the attack
Oct-21-13  Mudphudder: This has to be the worse I've ever seen Tal play.
Jun-01-20  carpovius: 36...h5 was a loosing move
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