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Ruben Rodriguez vs John van der Wiel
Moscow Interzonal (1982), Moscow URS, rd 3, Sep-09
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation Nimzowitsch Attack (E15)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: White swoops like a magpie. Top of the bill Nxd7 kicks it off gaining promotion for the c pawn. Wen castle retakes, c6 is a clever shot bringing black down to earth.
Oct-29-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <zaxcvd:> < the game is incomplete -- these are the rest of the moves: 39.Qa8 Rd2 40.Qxa5 Rxe2+ 41.Kg1 b4 42. <snip>>

Thanks for letting us know - I nailed it - not quite all the remaining moves though...


Your essays wonderfully capture the beauty of chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I answered this one-but does white REALLY have a crushing advantage at the end? He has a queen for rook and knight.I'm guessing black's clock went dead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: After further review,black is bacon because the Q-side pawn are going down.
Oct-29-09  cyclon: 35.Nxd7 - and IF > Rxd7 (-Nxd7 36.c6 and either Rb6/Rb8 gets 37.c7 - elsewhere/37.cxd7), then INDEED 36.c6 Rxd6 ( if Black Rook moves OFF D-line >37.Rd8X ) 38.c7 wins.
Oct-29-09  AccDrag: Saw it almost instantly, but only because I've seen similar "P attacks N and will promote on one of 2 squares" positions before. It's nice when previous experience pays off. :-)
Oct-29-09  psmith: Very cute. I saw this quickly, knowing it was a puzzle. But I wonder at what point Rodriguez began to plot it. Also at what point Black's position becomes hopeless.
Oct-29-09  BOSTER: Drawish season suddenly disappeared like heavy fantastic clouds, black and white, gone by wind. The horizon is clear again waiting for new battles. White advanced c5 pawn and black back rank weakness are decisive factors in this puzzle.. 35.Nxd7 Rxd7
36.c6 Rxd6
37.c7 Nd7
38. c8=Q+ Nf8
39. Qc7 and white wins.
Oct-29-09  AuN1: got it
Oct-29-09  psmith: Looking over the game with Fritz 5.32, Black seems to disdain a possible draw by repetition with 21...Ne5. If the best White can come up with is 22. Qb4 we'll be headed for a draw.

An interesting possibility comes up at several points when Black might try ...b5.

19... b5 20. Qxa6 Qxa6 21. Rxa6 bxc4 22. b4
d5 23. f4 Ng6 24. a4 with advantage to White, according to Fritz 5.32.

23... b5 24. Nxa6 Nxa6 25. Qxa6 Qxa6 26. Rxa6 bxc4 27. b4 with advantage to White, according to Fritz 5.32.

24... b5 25. Nb6 Rd8 26. cxb5 axb5 27. Na8 Qa7 28. Qxa7 Rxa7 29. Nb6 Rb7 30. Rc1 Ne8 31. Nc8 Nxd6 32. Nxd6 Ra7 33. Nxb5 Rb7 34. a4 with an interesting position.

Oct-29-09  YouRang: Got it faster than the average Thursday...

It smelled like a promotion tactic, so I first tried 35.c6, which looked okay for a moment: (35...dxc6? 36.Rd8#; 35...Rxb6? 36.c7!), but sadly, 35...Nxc6 didn't have such a nice answer. However, the idea of advancing the pawn to c7 where it has a choice of promoting on either c8 or b8 (thanks to black's knight) seemed to be the key.

Next try: <35.Nxd7!> and now black has problems:

35...Nxd7 (and black's knight is pinned by our rook against d8) 36.c6 and nothing successfully stops the pawn.

35...Rxd7 (black rook pinned against d8) 36.c6! Rxd6 37.c7! and again the threat of promoting on b8 or c8 makes promotion unstoppable. Black's best is 37...Nd7 38.c8=Q+ Nf8 but the active queen should prevail given black's bad position.

Oct-29-09  psmith: Looking a bit further, Black seems to miss a chance with 20... b5. For example:

20... b5 21. cxb5 Qc7 22. f4 Qxc3 23. Qxc3
Rxc3 24. fxe5 Rxc2 25. exf6 axb5 26. R1d2 Rxd2 27. Rxd2 d5 28. fxg7 Ra8 29. Kf3 Kxg7

Oct-29-09  chillowack: <BOSTER: Drawish season suddenly disappeared like heavy fantastic clouds, black and white, gone by wind.> I don't think this game was ever "drawish." White gained, maintained, and increased an advantage with very precise and skillful play, and in the end it became clear that the advantage had become decisive. There was no "drawish season" here!
Oct-29-09  midochessmachine: got it at the first glance
Nxd7!and the pawn queens :)
Oct-29-09  Samagonka: Very good puzzle which demonstrates that pawns in the sixth rank can be more powerful than a rook and a knight put together.

PS.: time and again I have observed some great writing talent amongst a number of Kibitzers on CG - a very nice analogy from <Once>. I enjoyed reading every bit of it.

Oct-29-09  sethoflagos: Not a draw today I think.

White's best chances for a quick win look to be Rd8++ or pawn promotion both of which are frustrated by black's d7 pawn. So remove the pawn

35. c6 Nxc6 does not look to be going forward
35. Rxd7 RxR 36. NxR NxN 37 c6 Nb6 must be a black win, so 35. Nxd7 NxN 36. c6 Rb8 37. RxN Rc8 38. c7 anything 39. Rd8+ wins 35. Nxd7 NxN 36. c6 Rb6 37. RxN anything 38. c7 wins
35. Nxd7 RxN 36. c6 RxR 37. c7 wins
35. Nxd7 RxN 36. c6 Nxc6 37. Rxd7 wins
35. Nxd7 g2 etc 36.NxN RxN 37. Rb6 opens the queenside pawns

Oct-29-09  WhiteRook48: missed it
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I see 35.Nxd7 Rxd7 36.c6

If 36...Rxe6 then 37.c7 and the pawn queens on c8.

If 36...Nxc6 37.Rxd7 and white is up the exchange.

Let's check...
Hm, white ends up a queen for rook and knight. I always find it odd when a player resigns after making his move instead of before, though I'm sure there are good reasons for it.

White has the initiative in the resigned position, but I don't see a forced win.

Oct-29-09  ruzon: Anybody know why Black didn't play 13...e5? After 14.♘db5 ♕c5 15. ♗g5/d2 Black looks a lot stronger.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: All day, I've been thinking about endgames of knight vs pawn on the seventh (as you do). And it turns out that it all depends on where the knight starts from.

The absolute best starting position is straight in front of the pawn. This draws, no matter whose move it is. Even a white king cannot chase the knight away (other than rook pawns of course).

click for larger view

Second best is when the knight is one move away from the queening square:

click for larger view

If the white king is distant, this is again a draw regardless of who is to move. The knight both controls the queening square and can get to the queening square next move. However, if the opposing king is close enough (eg c7 or e7) the knight player will lose.

Things start to get trickier when the knight is two moves away from the queening square or can capture the pawn instantly. The knight can still draw, but only if it has the move and if the opposing king is distant:

click for larger view

The knight loses if it is three or more moves away from the queening square, as in this diagram (plus all the squares further away):

click for larger view

Now the knight player loses, regardless of whose move it is. There is no way he can get his knight to the queening square in time.

Tricky beasts, knights!

Oct-29-09  dakgootje: <Tricky beasts, knights!> Horses might already object to being called beasts, being noble animals and all -- let alone knights themselves!
Oct-29-09  lzromeu: I do it in a minute. The value of a passed pawn in line 6 and 7 explain the sacs. Beyond this, the back rank threat

Black can do nothing.

Oct-29-09  ComboKal: <dakgootje> re: <Tricky beasts, knights!> The Knight was designed to represent the armoured cavalry of a king. So, it is not really a horse, but the knight in shining armour that rides majestically into battle upon a horse. The piece was designed in the shape of a horse's head for simplicity.

With that said, what a unique piece the knight is! It's a sneaky one, too. Oh, those knight forks!! Many amateur and intermediate players can recognize the danger of having the queen or other piece on the same file or diagonal as the king. It's not so easy, however, to recognize the forkable position of a knight. Also, my favorite checkmate is the smothered mate of a knight, especially if it involves the sacrifice of a queen! I would love to see a puzzle posted with that scenario.

Oct-29-09  ComboKal: I am new to this site, and I'm loving it! I went to <game collections> and typed in <smothered mate> and got a whole bunch. I may be up for hours!!!
Oct-30-09  Chessdreamer: Incomplete. The game concluded:

39.Qa8 Rd2 40.Qxa5 Rxe2+ 41.Kg1 b4 42.Qxb4 Rxa2 43.Qd4 Ra5 44.b4 Rd5 45.Qc4 g6 46.b5 Nd7 47.Qc8+ Kg7 48.f4 h5 49.Qc7 Rxb5 50.Qxd7 Rd5 51.Qa4 Rf5 52.Qd4+ Kg8 53.Qb2 Kh7 54.Qd2 Rd5 55.Qe3 Rf5 56.Kg2 Kg8 57.h3 Kg7 58.g4 hxg4 59.hxg4 Rd5 60.Qc3+ Kg8 61.Kg3 Kf8 62.Kh4 Ke7 63.Qb4+ Ke8 64.Qa3 f6 65.Qa4+ Ke7 66.Qa7+ Rd7 67.Qb8 Rd5 68.Qc7+ Rd7 69.Qc3 Rd5 70.g5 Rf5 71.Qc7+ Kf8 72.Qd8+ Kf7 73.Qd7+ Kf8 74.gxf6 Rxf6 75.Kg5 1-0 --

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