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Rudy C Douven vs John van der Wiel
Hoogovens (1989), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 9, Jan-24
Semi-Slav Defense: Meran. Rabinovich Variation (D49)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-17-14  malaparte: Good morning, this is my first kibitz. I was wandering if somebody else considered Nf5, I see Newzild did. What would be the follow up? 34.Nf5 exf5 35.Qxf5 then I'd like to put a Rook on f1, but I'm not shure how Black would reply. Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marius: 34.Nxe6 fxe6 35.Qxe6+ Qf7 36.Bxh7+ Kf8 37.Qxc8 Rxc8 38.Rxc8+ Ke7 39.exd6+ Kf6 40.Rf1+ and Rxf7 is interesting
May-17-14  Conrad93: For some reason I got this instantly.

It reminds of the Rxe6 tactic in the Karpov-Topalov game.

May-17-14  morfishine: <34.Nxe6> Splat

<malaparte> Hello, welcome! I hope you enjoy the POTD. FWIW: I spent some time on <34.Nf5>, <34.Rxc8> & <34.exd6>


May-17-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: It looks to me like the answer is 34 Nxe6. I can see seven ways for Black to avert mate, and each leaves him the exchange down.
May-17-14  avidfan: White surely missed 34.Nxe6 since mate is threatened next by 35.Qxg7.

34...fxe6 35.Qxe6 is check with an additional atttacker on rook at c8.

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35...Kh8 36.Rxc8 Rxc8 37.Qxc8+

35...Kf8 attracts 36.Rf1+ Nf6 etc.

35...Qf7 37.Bxh7+ Kf8.

<BraveUlysses>'s 36th move should read 36...Bxg2+ and also (37.Kxg2 ).

May-17-14  tallinn: I guess the real difficulty of Nxe6 is the aftermath. Fritz defends as black with Bxg2+ Kxg2 fxe6 Qxe6+ Kh8 Rxc8 Qb7+ Kf2 Rxc8 exd6 and the exposed position of the white king gives black counterplay with lots of difficulties for white to defend. It doesn't matter that Fritz evaluates the position as a clear win for white with >3.0. A human being will still struggle to win this.
May-17-14  diagonalley: given that this was/is a puzzle, i assumed that 34.NxP must be the text move... and it seemed there were some promising follow-up lines... though maybe not conclusive... plse could someone submit for machine analysis(?)
May-17-14  Sally Simpson: Rudy C Douven vs John van der Wiel

click for larger view

White to play.

No doubt about it boys there are good things here.

Presented as we were with a White to play and win position then we spot the shot 34.Nxe6 and dig in KNOWING it wins.

Poor Rudy is sitting at the board not knowing it wins and must dig in with all the pressure OTB play brings.

Add that to the fact he was having a bad tournament (He finished bottom with 5pts (one win) from 13 games.

His one win was a gift from Joel Benjamin when White's sense of danger deserted him.

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Here Benjamin played 31.c6 (31.Kg2 was the move) Black smartly played 31...Qa6!

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Game over. (remember this one, it will one day be a Monday or Teusday puzzle.)

So although most of us see 34.Nxe6 because of the 'Stop Here' clue on page one, how come Rudy did not play it?

Well it's very messy. Van der Wiel notes up the game in Informator and looks at 31.Nxe6 and here we must assume that there was a piece of after game analysis with Douven so this can give an inkling what was going on in White's mind.

The Van der Wiel variation.

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34. Nxe6 Bxe5 Best according to Van der Wiel...and perhaps Douven.

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35. Rxd8+ Rxd8 36. Nxd8 Qxe3

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37. Bxh7+ Kxh7 38. Rf1

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End of analysis - White is winning. (Van der Wiel).

But holding that position in your mind (plus all the other varaitions) Those two Black Bishops are straffing the White King. Qh3+ ghosts pop up.

So Douven went the easier way. It's always harder fully concentrating on a difficult win when there is a tempting easy way to play.

He took this position as White.

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Looks OK. A big passed pawn up.
We are then treated to Van der Wiel snatching the game out of the fire with a perpetual.

Good game to pull to bits over the board in your bedroom. I've always been interested in finding out why, or having a good stab at why, some trick shots are missed.

Personally my rule of thumb is:
If you cannot see the clear win and it looks murkly but every instinct is telling you to do it. Then shut your eyes and play it.

This has led to some nice wins but also some OTB disasters. There is nothing worse than losing a game you could have won (brilliantly).

OK if you never saw it during the game but seeing it and backing out of the coming complications. This makes the loss 10 times worse.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White went for the routine exchange when the sharp knight move would do the trick.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has one pawn for a bishop.

Black threatens 34... Bxe5.

The first idea that comes to mind is 34.exd6 but after 34... Rxc1 35.Rxc1 Rxd6 36.Rc8+ Nf8 Black seems to hold.


Another idea is 34.Nxe6 with the triple threat 35.Qxg7#, 35.Nxd8 and 35.exd6:

A) 34... fxe6 35.Rxc8

A.1) 35... Rxc8 36.Qxe6+

A.1.a) 36... Kf8 37.Qxc8+ Kf7 38.exd6 + - [R+2P vs N].

A.1.b) 36... Kh8 37.Qxc8+ Bf8 38.Bxh7 Kxh7 39.Qxf8 + - [R+2P vs B].

A.1.c) 36... Qf7 37.Bxh7+ Kf8 38.Qxc8+ Qe8 39.Qxe8+ Kxe8 40.exd6 + - [R+2P].

A.2) 35... Be7 36.Qxe6+ and mate in three.

B) 34... Bf8 35.Nxd8 looks winning (35... Rb8 36.Nc6; 35... Nc7 36.e6; 35... Rxc1 36.Rxc1 Qe7 37.Nc6).

C) 34... Bxe5 35.Rxd8+ Rxd8 36.Nxd8 looks similar to B.

D) 34... Bxg2+ 35.Kxg2 doesn't seem to change the result.


Changing the move order 24.Rxc8 Rxc8 25.Nxe6 Bf8 (25... Bxe5 26.Qf5) 26.Qf5 g6 seems to leave Black with an extra piece.


I think I'd play 24.Nxe6.

May-17-14  Sally Simpson: Hi Kevin.

We know that now, but as I said it's a tough one to call OTB.

You can see some of the lads even finding and knowing Nxe6 is the move but are getting 'cloudy' positions. One even asked for a computer to sort it out.

And are we not taught to avoid complications when there is an easier way.

Possibly a Kotov moment.

White spent ages calcualting Nxe6 and all it's ramications. Then spent 20 seconds on playing Rxc8.

Also interesting to note that everyone is taking the Knight with 34...fxe6

click for larger view

and Van Der Wiel's only choice is not taking it with 34...Bxe5. Are the wins after fxe6 that easy to see it does even warrent a mention?

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: According to Stockfish, Nxe6 was even stronger one move earlier, instead of 33.Nd6, which perhaps would have been a better Saturday puzzle.
May-17-14  crane007: 34. rxc8 rxc8 35. nxe6 bxg5 36. ng5
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: This move-by-move look with Fritz 12 convinces me 34. Nxe6!! is decisive:

34.Nxe6!! Bxe5 (34... Bxg2+ 35. Kxg2 fxe6 36. Qxe6+ Kh8 37.exd6 Rxc1 38. Rxc1 Nf6 39. Rc7 Qa8+ 40. Kg1 Rg8 41. Qf5 Qb8 42. Qc5 Qa8 43. Qc6 ) 35. Rxd8+ Rxd8 36. Bxh7+ Kxh7 37. Qf5+ Kg8 38. Qxe5 fxe6 39. Rc7 Qxc7 40. Qxc7 Rf8 41. Qb6 (+6.06 at 22/47 depth on a 2.1 GHZ dual core processor)

May-17-14  Rookiepawn: Does Ne6 qualify as very difficult? I don't think so, I spotted immediately and it leads to material advantage for W in all its lines.

Of course as it was said before, it is difficult to decide for it OTB, that's a different story.

May-17-14  Patriot: White is down a piece for a pawn.

34.Nxe6, threatening mate and the rook.

34...fxe6 35.Rxc8 Rxc8 36.Qxc8+ Bf8 37.Bxh7+ Kxh7 38.Qxc8 Qb7 39.Rd2

34...fxe6 35.Rxc8 Bxg2+ 36.Kxg2 Qb7+ 37.Be4 Qxc8 38.exd6

It may be better to play 34.Rxc8 first.

34.Rxc8 Rxc8 35.Nxe6 Bf8 36.Nxg7 looks strong.

34.Rxc8 Rxc8 35.Nxe6 g6 36.Bxg6 Qxg6+ 37.Kh8 Rf1 perhaps? That looks a little crazy.

I'll go with 34.Nxe6.

May-17-14  Patriot: first line should say 34...fxe6 35.Rxc8 Rxc8 36.Qxe6+ followed by 37.Qxc8+ etc. Not sure what I was thinking there...
May-17-14  gars: After some thought I saw 34) N x e6. But what is the best sequence of moves after that? Thanks a lot.
May-17-14  GoldenKnight: This was so easy that I thought I had missed something, especially for a Saturday. All the more surprising that Douven missed it. 34. Nxe6 just jumps out at you.
May-17-14  dfcx: Got it!
34. Nxe6 threatening Qxg7#
34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Rxc8 (Not Qxe6+ yet) Rxc8 36. Qxe6+ followed by Qxc8 next

Refusing the knight is not much better
34. Nxe6 g6 35. Nxd8 Rxd8 36. exd6

Easiest Saturday for me.

May-17-14  gars: Thank you very much <dfcx>!
May-17-14  echever7: I don't understand why this puzzle is considered "very hard" :S
May-17-14  crane007: 34.rxc8 rxc8 35. nxe6 bxe5 36. ng5 rb8
37. bxh7+ kh8 38. bb1 and white threatens
rd7 and qf5 and if 38. pxg5 rd7
May-17-14  PJs Studio: 34...Bxg2+ shows there is nothing decisive. Thanks for all the great lines. I opted for 34.Rxc8 Rxc8 and only then 35.Nxe6. Not sure how bad this sucks... Probably looses. D'oh!
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