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Vasily Yemelin vs Esad Goric
Rijeka (2001), Rijeka CRO, rd 2, Dec-02
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-27-06  mormonchess: <patzer2> I also enjoy your contributions to this site. We should play on sometime.
Feb-27-06  Grampmaster: Normally a five move combo would be difficult to follow. It took quite awhile but I was able to follow it to conclusion. My weak game has improved lately just by carefully following (or trying to) all forcing moves to conclusion. This technique is what solved this puzzle for me.
Feb-27-06  Grampmaster: Make that a four move combo
Feb-27-06  patzer2: <mormonchess> Thanks. However, I've given up online play. My membership has expired, and what little play I do now is face-to-face OTB.
Feb-27-06  mormonchess: <patzer2> No worries. If the dollar keeps declining against the Euro, I might have to give up online play as well;).

I've got Junior 9 and Fritz 8, and I plan on offering more analysis of games and kibitzing more on here, so I look forward to learning from great players like you.

Feb-27-06  belka: <Catenaccio: so you guys are trying to find the solution without moving the pieces on a ches board, like if it was in a real game?>

Absolutely. Moving pieces on a board is like looking at the answer, because you get to see pieces move without working it out in your head.

The reason is that solving tactics involves two things (at least!). There's board vision -- the ability to see the pieces and their potential moves. And then there's pattern recognition -- seeing what weaknesses and features of the position you can exploit.

If you move pieces, you get the pattern recognition, but you don't exercise your board vision. You're getting the answer to that part of the puzzle without working it out for yourself.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <patzer2: Here's some tips> All your tips are useful and worth following, but they don't answer the question everyone asks: In a real OTB game, when CG isn't there to whisper "white to play" in my ear, how do I know if there's a winning combination?

Specifically, how did white know to sac the bishop with 21. Bxh7+ ? (The combination actually began on the previous move, 20. Bg5, a sucker move that black fell for.)

Here's what I can see that makes the attack a good bet:

1. After 21...Kxh7, black's ♔ is out in the open and his pawn wall is damaged.

2. Black has no minor pieces on the kingside to help defend his majesty.

3. White has two pieces at hand (♘ and ♕) to attack with, and there are two ♖s that may be able to join in. (Remember the rule: an attack needs three pieces, one to sac and two to give mate. To be sure, the rule has exceptions, as here, where only the ♕ takes part in the final kill.)

4. The other side has no counterplay.

5. Another guideline, not applicable in the present case, is that you should at least start sniffing the wind for the scent of a combination if one of your adversary's major pieces (♕ or ♖) is severely restricted and may be trapable.

Maybe other kibitzers can refine these tips or come up with additional ones.

But these guidelines -- or hints, really -- only tell you when it's a good bet to start looking for a combination. Whether or not it works depends on detailed analysis, with the clock ticking. That's where practice with CG's problems and others like them, e.g., is indispensable.

Feb-27-06  dakgootje: Well i think its mainly that youve got to recognise the positions where a combination is possible, so that you dont try to make a combination in a total normal position. I think you can recognice these positions best with just playing often and doing puzzles. Just look at forced moves in games, sacs and things like opening lines to the enemy king. But you need mainly enough experiance to recognise the positions i think.
Feb-27-06  TTLump: I like to focus on the idea of multiple threats, combined with a specific short term goal. Your goal might be mate, or win some material or establish an outpost for a minor piece, or create a protected passed pawn, etc. The point is that every time you make a move towards that goal, try to find a move that threatens to accomplish any TWO of the above. Your opponent will eventually be forced to choose between the threats that he responds to, allowing you to accomplish the other.

Even the single threat can be a powerful weapon if it lets you move your piece on a subsequent move, to a square from which you CAN make a multiple threat.

If such a move is not immediately available, then make a positional move that strengthens your control of the center, or eliminates a weakness in your position, or restricts the scope of an opponent's piece, or increases your King safety, or takes control of a diagonal or a file, or strenghtens your pawn structure, etc. etc.

So often we focus too much on the immediate tactics of a given position, not realizing that good positional play will almost always create tactical opotunities that practically play themselves. On this thought, I would love to see some puzzles where the move to play is strategic or positional rather than tactical.

Feb-27-06  patzer2: <Mormochess> Thanks! But I'm not a "great player," and even at kibitzing there are many here stronger here than me. So welcome to and I look forward to seeing more of your contributions.

<al wazir> Thanks for the analysis and the tips. In addition to those, I would add that looking for unprotected pieces, under-protected pieces and weak King position are some other things that might signal the possibility of a combination.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Zaius> et al.Patzer is right here - also it is a good idea to learn and relearen the basic tricks and traps -the elements (forks,pins , skewers, certain mating patterns and so on) as all combinations are made up of elements - Masters etc just put all the small steps together rapidly -partly from knowledge and partly from ability -but all -however good spend a lot of time practicing - I had moment of chess blindness even on this game -
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <Catenaccio: so you guys are trying to find the solution without moving the pieces on a ches board, like if it was in a real game?> I do this with every tactical problem - and usually I follow anlysis in books in my mind so to speak - but sometimes if I dont have time I just play the game over. I solved this "in my head" in few minutes - but I know a player who learnt to play without a chess baord -- at one stage he had a record for Australasia's of 15 blindfold games played - I cant play blindfold but can visualise [BUT this with difficulty and very rarely] say up to 15 moves (sometimes more if the position "resolves") -but usually 3 or 6 is enough. Of course I often forget where a piece is and so on - I have also sometimes forgotten that a piece I want to use later is one that I moved say on move one...

But its a good idea to try to solve these as if it's a "real game".

Feb-27-06  Larsker: I think I'll blow the whistle on this puzzle. Too difficult for Monday.
Feb-27-06  Capthahn86: I know that I'm not the greatest player and that I will be made fun of for this comment. But I literally solved this problem in a few seconds. Maybe it was just luck, pattern recognition, or both, but the answer just seemed to come to me.
Premium Chessgames Member
  BishopofBlunder: Another good place to sharpen your tactical skills is at the Chess tactics server, located at:

Or just google "chess tactics server" if the link doesn't work. It's free to register. You only need an email address to sign up, or you can log on as a guest and try it first. But if you register it will calculate a rating for you based on your performance, so you can track your improvement. The only down side is that the puzzles are timed. So you can solve it and still lose ratings points. But it is still a lot of fun.

Special thanks to <Richard Taylor> for turning me on to it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: It's certainly good to develop a feel for when a sac should work, but I think you have to be wary about sacrificing on "general principles" - it's still critically important to work out the combination before you play it. For example, I once had a game that opened 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Nf3 Qa5 8. Bd2 Qa4 9. Bd3. At this point, I sensed something about my opponent's demeanor, kind of like a "tell" in poker - the way he was looking away from the board suggested to me he REALLY had his eye on that Bxh7 sacrifice. So, I casually played 9...O-O?!, and a split second later he slammed his bishop down on my rook pawn. Unfortunately for him, he found out 10. Bxh7? is a blunder because of 10...Kxh7 11. Ng5+ Kg8 12. Qh5 Qxc2.

As this story shows, you better double-check your combo first. Every position is different, and sometimes even a stock sacrifice doesn't work.

Feb-28-06  Richerby: <OBIT>, I refuted a similar sacrifice in one of my own OTB games. In the following position, Black played 19... ♗xh3?, which surprised me as I'd completely overlooked the possibility.

click for larger view

However, after a little thought, I saw 20.♖xf8! ♔xf8 21.♘g5 and Black resigned a few moves later.

Feb-28-06  AlexBabich: how come this puzzle is here for two days in a row?
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Richerby>: I don't see that black had much prospect of an attack in the position you give. What would he have done if you had just accepted the sacrifice with 21. gxh3 ?

Note that in this position white has *two* minor pieces (knights) to help with the defense.

Feb-28-06  LIFE Master AJ: Its still a nice sack by White ... and a very interesting game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <al wazir> In <Richerby>'s position, it looks like 21. gxh3 is answered by 21...Qxf3. Black nets a pawn, plus he's got some attack underway.
Feb-28-06  LIFE Master AJ: This contest shows that even masters occasionally miss (or underestimate) the BxP/h7+ idea.
Mar-02-06  Richerby: That's correct, <YouRang>. Black seems to get a decent initiative plus the pawn from 21.gxh3 ♕xf3 with ... f5 to follow and, in any case, White's bishop is bad. The try 22.♖xf8+ ♔xf8 23.♕h6+ ♔e7 24.♖b8 fails to 24... ♘e8 (the same applies even if White hasn't played 21.gxh3.)
Mar-21-06  LIFE Master AJ: It IS a nice combo.
Mar-21-06  LIFE Master AJ: Black may have seen Bxh7+, but thought he could defend ... its hard to see in the position after 20.Bg5, that if Black captures on g5, that the Rook on a2 is the piece to land the killer blow!
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