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Christian Bauer vs Victor Bologan
Enghien-les-Bains FRA (2001), It, rd 5, Apr-16
Queen's Gambit Declined: Three Knights Variation. General (D37)  ·  0-1



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Jan-10-09  goldfarbdj: I saw the idea of Bxg3 followed by Nxh4+, but I didn't follow it all the way to the f4 move, so I don't think I get full credit.

<viky>: If white plays Kh1, black plays Qf3+ followed by Rf6, and white will be very hard pressed to stave off mate.

Jan-10-09  blacksburg: wait, i don't get it. i saw all of this, but i figured it was just a perpetual check, so i didn't think it could be right.

32.Kf1? in my calculation, i just assumed that this was bad, and didn't bother to calculate after ...f4, Kh1 just looks better. why doesn't white play 32.Kh1?

i am pleased to see that i am not alone in my confusion.


Jan-10-09  dzechiel: <al wazir: <dzechiel: . . . I'm sure one of our contributors with better software than which I own ...>

This is the first indication you have given that you may be using an engine in your analysis. Don't undercut my admiration for the caissan acuity of your wetware. Say it ain't so.>

I should have phrased this better. What I was trying to indicate is that my copy of Chessmaster 9000 (the best chess software I own) is so lousy at this kind of stuff, that I can't even use it to validate my own analysis (plus I'm running on a 2.8GHz P4 POS).

I rarely start this software at all, and I certainly don't use it to assist in my solving of these positions.

Jan-10-09  blacksburg: ohhhh, Rf6, ok.
Jan-10-09  amurph64: 2 super sacrifices but f4!! is a killer, opening the file for the rooks to rampage across the board, white has no answers to this as his minor pieces never really get their act together.
Jan-10-09  percyblakeney: I had 26. ... Bxg3 27. fxg3 f4 28. exf4 Rxf4 29. gxf4 Qg4+ to begin with and it almost worked but got much too complicated from there.

click for larger view

For example 30. Kf2 Qxf4 31. Ke2 Ng1+ 32. Rxg1 Qh2+ seems to win for black if white plays Kd1 or Ke1, but sacrificing the queen with Ke3 (Qh3+) is apparently the way to go for white.

Jan-10-09  Chris1Clark: My faith is in tact never thought dzechiel could be using anything other than finest cerebral wet ware. I too was convinced about Kxh4+ as the start but was looking for an early conclusion. These semi-mid game puzzles lose me. I don't think I have the confidence for Sat and Sun. Happy new year everyone.
Jan-10-09  tallinn: <dzechiel: my copy of chessmaster 9000 is so lousy> I bet not only your copy is. I think the best engine one can get nowadays for free is Rybka 2 together with the Arena GUI.

Arena GUI including rybka 2.2:

Rybka 2.2 (including mp-version) and opening book:

For the position: my solution attempt was Nxh4 gxh Qf3+ Kf1 Bg3. Now white has several responses and I was uncertain how to continue from here but believed that two pawns and a nice attack on the white king would be sufficient compensation for the piece. It took Fritz some time to calculate that Bxg3 immediately is much stronger then Nxh4. In fact, my solution gives black an advantage but not a winning one.

For the game line: Fritz did not accept the second sac Nxh4. And as it was beyound my caps to see the winning Bxg3 I did as well not manage to find the win in that line: Bxg3 fxg Nxh4+ Kf2 Qf3+ Ke1 Rd8 (the best move, Ng2+ and Qxg3 are weaker alternatives) Rd7 Rxd7 exd Qh1+ Ke2 (the rook is lost: Kd2 Nf3+ Kc2 Qg2+ Kc3 Qd2+ Kc4 Ne5#) Qxc1

The problem is that black has so many attractive moves each time but only a few of them (sometimes only one) is winning. Look at this line: Bxg3 fxg Nxh4+ Kf2 Qf3+ Ke1 Ng2+ Kd2 Rd8+ Kc3 and now Qxe3+ is bad for black (Nxe3 is the winning move here). Once black's attack runs out of fuel the white pawn e6 becomes a serious problem.

Jan-10-09  DoubleCheck: When I first saw the puzzle on the homepage (before soloution) I saw three moves I wanted to play; Nxh4+, Bxg3 and f4

So initially I wanted to play f4 without being overly concerned over Bxe4

My continuation using f4- This may be VERY different to what other members get

26. ...f4
27. Bxe4 Nxh4+
28. gxh4 f3+! (29. Bxf3 Qxf3 - strong for black)
29. Kf1 Qxh4
30. Ke1(best) Qxe4
31. Nxd6 cxd6
32. Rxd6 Rf5! (aiming for Rxf2/Rh1)
33. Rcd1 Rh5
34. Kd2 Rh2
35. Rf1 Qh4
36. Ke1 Rh1
37. Rxh1 Qxh1+
38. Kd2 Qf1
Strong queen position but unclear...

Other ideas I had were;
26. ...f4
27. exf4 Nxh4+
28. gxh4 Qg4+
28. Qg3!? Qxe6
Although kingside-pawn structure is broken, white may hold defences

26. ...f4
27. exf4 Nxh4+
28. gxh4 Rxf4 (threat of Rxf2+ with Rf8+ may come in play later) Abit better for black I believe but still Unclear...

As with the case with all puzzles on chessgames, wednesday through to sunday - move order is vital and a study in itself not just initial position

Jan-10-09  TheTamale: I usually don't try to guess the Saturday puzzles; I just play them through and see if I can even understand what happened at the end. This one I got the first move - seemed to open things up for Black, with White's hands tied up - although the exact follow up was, as usual, too much for me.
Jan-10-09  tallinn: To add to my previous comment. Fritz 11 needed a search depth of 20 (10 minutes on my machine) to see that Bxg3 is a winnig move. It did not appear in the list of best 5 moves until that search depth.

More research gave that Nxh4 gxh Qf3+ Kf1 Bg3 Rd2 Bxh4 is winning as well, blacks resource f5-f4 is really too strong:

a) Rxc7 f4 (threats Qh1+ and f3#) Bxe4 (Rdc2 Qd1+ ) Bxe4 Qxe4

a1) Qd5 Qxd5 Rxd5 fxe3 f3 (only move: Rc2 Rxe6 and the threat e2+ costs material) Rxf3+ Ke2 Rf2+ Kxe3 Rxe6+ Kd3

a2) Nd6 Qh1+ Ke2 fxe Nf7+ (Qxe3 Rxf2 Kd2 Rf3 ) Kg8 Qxe3 Bxf2 Qxf2 Rxe6+ Kd3 Qe4+ Kc3 Rc6+ Rxc6 Qxc6+ Kb4 and the white knight on f7 will get lost to a double attack by the black queen on king and knight.

b) Qd1 Qh3+ Ke2 f4 Bxe4 fxe fxe Qxe6 Rd4 c5 Nc7 (Ra4 Rf2+ Kd3 Rd8+ Nd4 cxd Rxd4 Rxd4 exd Qh3+ Kc4 Rxb2 ) Qe7 Nxe8 cxd Qxd4 Rxe8

Jan-10-09  ruelas007: no way dude that fritz took that long, i consider myself to suck at tactics but the first thing i saw was Bxg3 and then sac the knight, i guess that means i'm gettin better at this chess thing
Jan-10-09  Reisswolf: I too considered the knight sarifice first. But the problem is that it allows the f2 pawn to remain on its square. I began to realise that the bishop sacrifice is the only way to get a semi-open f-file for the rook on f8 to start takin effect.

Good to know that Fritz did not accept the knight sacrifice in the game line. While working on the problem I had declined it too.

Without a chessboard at my disposal I could not get all the way (nor am I claiming that I would have solved it completely if I did have a chessboard).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Like <patzer2> I loved 32...f4, threatening fxe3+ with mate to follow quickly.

I also think black missed a qucker win with 37...Qe3!, below, and not the text Qe5.

click for larger view

This move atacks both bishop and rook. Now, if white tries to protect the bishop as in the text with 38 Nc2, then 38...Rxb2, below, threatening b5+ looks overwhelmingly forcing.

click for larger view

Jan-10-09  1Basso: My Fritz10 (depth 18) gives black a 3.50 advantage after 26...Bxg3 27. fxg3 Nxh4+ 28. gxh4 Qf3+ 29. Kg1 Qg3+ 30. Kh1 Qxh4+ 31. Kg1 Qg4+. Very close to what was actually played in the game. Fritz suggested Bxg3 as best move from depth 14.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult)

C Bauer vs Bologan, 2001 (26…?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Even. The White Kg2 has 3 legal moves, all light squares. Black has a local superiority around the White K-position, with an outpost Nf3 and Qh5 in the area and the dark-square Bd6 aimed at Pg3. Black also has Re8 and Rf8 backing Pe4 and Pf5, although Pe6 is in the middle of the Black position. The Black Kh8 is secure. White has no loose pieces, but the White army on the Q-side will be slow to contribute to K-side defense (Nb5-d4, Qb3-c2, and Re1-g1). Black can certainly sacrifice to start an attack, but only 3 attacking pieces (Bd6, Nf3, and Qh5) are immediately available, so Re8 and Rf8 require activation.

Candidates (26…): Nh4+, Bxg3

26..Nh4+ 27.gxh4 [else, drop a critical P without compensation]

Here, I timed out because I could not find a win with 26...Nxh4+ after following it with 27...Qf3+, then 27...Qg4+, and then 27...Rf6. Given my bloodthirsty nature, the double sacrifice in the game variation did occur to me, but only after I exhausted myself, so I need to sample variations more effectively than I did today.

The freeware Toga II 1.3.1 gives the following best play variations, with the last move I entered <emphasized>. Humans can improve near the end of the complete computer variations.

The evaluation of 26…Nxh4 is favorable to Black but not winning at ply 15:

[ply 15/56 time 07:32 value (to White) -0.70]

26…<Nxh4> 27.gxh4 Qf3+ 28.Kf1 Bg3 29.Rd2 Bxh4 30.Nxc7 Qh1+ 31.Ke2 Qxc1 32.Nxe8 Rxe8 33.Rd1 Qc8 34.Ba2 Qb8 35.Qd5 Rd8 36.Qb5 Rxd1 37.Kxd1 f4 38.Ke2 f3+ 39.Kf1

Toga first sees 26…Bxg3 after 1:53 (min:sec). I have been impressed with Toga's ability to prune variations, and I now use it exclusively despite having paid for Rybka:

[ply 13/53 time 01:53 value (to White) -0.98]

26.<h4> Bxg3 27.fxg3 Nxh4+ 28.gxh4 Qg4+ 29.Kf1 f4 30.Rd7 Rxe6 31.Ke1 fxe3 32.Qxe3 Qg2 33.Rd8 Rxd8 34.Qf2 Qxf2+ 35.Kxf2 Rd2+ 36.Ke3 Rxb2 37.Rxc7

The evaluation of 26…Bxg3 jumps from about -1 P to -3 P only after 31:35, however.

[ply 15/100-time 31:35 value (to White) -2.91]

26.<h4> Bxg3 27.fxg3 Nxh4+ 28.Kf2 Qf3+ 29.Ke1 Rd8 30.Rd7 Ng2+ 31.Kd2 Rxd7+ 32.exd7 Qf2+ 33.Kc3 Qxe3+ 34.Kc2 Qf2+ 35.Kc3 a6 36.Qd5 Qxg3+ 37.Kb4 c5+ 38.Ka4 axb5+ 39.Kxb5 Rd8 40.Qxf5 Qb3+ 41.Ka6 Qxb2

My chessforum gives detailed instructions on downloading the chess analysis freeware Toga and Arena.

Jan-10-09  Patriot: Material-wise it's even. White has a few threats like Nxd6 or Nxa7, with Nxd6 making more sense to rid black of a strong bishop. That suggested 26...Bxg3, but the first thing I considered was 26...Nxh4+.

For example:

26...Nxh4+ 27.gxh4 Qf3+ 28.Kf1 Bg3 with f4 to follow


26...Nxh4+ 27.gxh4 Qf3+ 28.Kg1 Rf6 but white has 29.Nxd6 so <dzechiel> may be right that 28...Bh2+ is necessary here. Then ideas of 29...Rf6 or 29...f4 seem slow.

So then I looked at 26...Bxg3:

26...Bxg3 27.fxg3 (27.Kxg3 Qg4#) Nxh4+ 28.gxh4 Qf3+ 29.Kh2 (29.Kg1 Rf6) and that's where I thought it was very unclear.

What followed is way above my level of analysis. Right now I'm more concerned with managing both time and analysis to get me to the next level than solving a puzzle this difficult.

Jan-10-09  WhiteRook48: I thought white would play 41st move. What a surprise to see it wouldn't go on after 40...Qg3+
Jan-10-09  DarthStapler: I didn't get it
Jan-10-09  1Basso: WhiteRook48: I thought white would play 41st move. What a surprise to see it wouldn't go on after 40...Qg3+

After 41. Kd4 Rd2+ white loses the queen.

Jan-10-09  peristilo: Hi, Dezechiel! I like your analysis and I know you dont use any tool but your own brain to solve the problems. I always look for your analysis cause I think they are very logical. More than once I chose the same lines of yours, even those which are not correct.
Jan-10-09  wals: Christian Bauer - Viktor Bologan, Enghien-les-Bains FRA 2001

Analysis by Rybka 3 1-cpu 32-bit: time: 70min 38sec

1. (-1.92): 26...Bxg3 27.fxg3[] Nxh4+[] 28.Kf2[] Qf3+ 29.Ke1[] Ng2+[] 30.Kd2[] Qf2+ 31.Kc3[] Nxe3 32.Rd7 Qxg3 33.Nxa7 c5 34.Kd2 Nf1+[] 35.Kc2 Qf2+ 36.Kc3 Ng3 37.Qc2 Ne2+ 38.Kc4 e3 39.Rcd1 Rxe6 40.Nb5 Ng3 41.Qxf2 exf2

(, 11.01.2009)

Jan-10-09  njchess: I got the first five moves almost immediately. The immediate Nxh4+ didn't make any sense and that only left the text move. Seemed easier than yesterday's puzzle.
Jan-11-09  TheBish: C Bauer vs Bologan, 2001

Black to play (26...?) "Very Difficult" (3.5 stars), material even.

Candidate moves: 26...Nxh4+, 26...Qg4, 26...Bxg3.

26...Qg4 (threatening Nxh4+) is too slow, letting White defend with 27. Nxd6 (or 27. Rh1, but not 27. Kf1? Qh3+ 28. Ke1 Bxg3! 29. Rh1 (or fxg3?? Qg2#) Qg2 with attack) Nxh4+ 28. Kf1 Qh3+ 29. Ke2 Qg4+ 30. Kf1 with at least a draw for White.

26...Nxh4+ 27. gxh4 Qg4+ 28. Kf1 (but not Kh1?? Qh3+ 29. Kg1 Bh2+ 30. Kh1 Bg3+ 31. Kg1 Qh2+ 32. Kf1 Qxf2#) Qh3+ 29. Ke2 (again not Kg1?? Bh2+ leading to mate as in the previous note) - and Black's attack runs out of steam.

I looked at 26...Bxg3 as a first part of a double piece sacrifice to denude the king, i.e. 27. fxg3 (not Kxg3?? Qg4#) Nxh4+ 28. gxh4 (or White can refuse the knight, which will be looked at) Qf3+ 29. Kh2 Qf2+ 30. Kh1 (or Kh3 g5!) Qxh4+ 31. Kg1 (or Kg2 Rf6 32. Kf1 Rg6! 33. Bxe4 (desperation) fxe4 (or Qh2 34. Bg2 Rxg2) 34. Re1 Qh2 and 35...Rg1#) Qg3+ 32. Kf1 (or Kh1 Qh3+ 33. Kg1 Rf6 with Rg6+ and mate in a few) f4! 33. Bxe4 (to create a flight square at d3) fxe3+ 34. Ke2 Rf2+ 35. Kd3 e2+ 36. Kc4 exd1+Q 37. Qxd1 (or Rxd1 Qe5 with attack) Qe5 38. Nc3 Rxb2 39. Qd5 Qxe6, and Black has a big material advantage in the endgame (R+4P vs N+B).

Going back, after 26...Bxg3!! (exclams are justified, knowing it works!) 27. fxg3 Nxh4+!, if White refuses the second sac, he loses material or gets mated: 28. Kf2 (or Kg1? Nf3+ 29. Kf1 Qh1+ 30. Kf2 Qh2+ 31. Kf1 Qg1+ 32. Ke2 Qg2#; or 28. Kf1 Nf3! 29. Rd7 (to avoid mate) Qh1+ 30. Kf2 Qxc1 31. Rd1 Qc6 with a big material advantage of exchange and two pawns) Qf3+ 29. Ke1 Qxg3+ 30. Kd2 (forced) Qf2+ 31. Kc3 Qxe3+ 32. Kb4 c5+ 33. Ka4 Qxb3+ 34. Kxb3 Rxe6 35. Nxa7, and Black has four (4!) connected passed pawns for the bishop, and should win easily. Time to see how close I came!

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 8..Nc6 with the idea of supporting ..e5 is rarely played and likely surprised White; 8..c6 is the main line. There was no reason for Black to give up the fight for the tempo with 9..dxc?!; 9..a6 was more consistent. White missed the opportunity to play 13 d6!..cxd 14 Qxd6..Qxd6 15 Nxd6..Bg4 16 Nd2..b6 17 h3..Bd7 18 N2e4..Be7 19 0-0 with a small edge for White. Again 14 qc2 would have been the more consistent continuation. 25 Kg2? ended up fueling Black's attack; a better defense would have been 25 Kf1..Nxh2+ 26 Kg2..Nf3 27 Nxd6..cxd 28 Rxd6..Qg4 29 Rh1..Ng5 30 Qd1..Qf3+ 31 Qxf3..exf+ 32 Kh2..Rxe6 33 Rxe6..Nxe6 34 Rd1..Ng5 with a small advantage for Black.

Really nice game by Bologan.

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