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Zbynek Hracek vs Vladimir Kramnik
Eurotel Trophy (2002) (rapid), Prague CZE, rd 1, Apr-29
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-19-09  Patriot: <GoHabsGo: What if white plays 24. Nxe5 instead of resigning?>

It's certainly worth a look, but I think black can just respond 24...Rxc2 25.Nxg6 fxg6 and black still wins the knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: I got completely distracted by the scenario 18. Nxe4. Then, if ...dxe4, 19. Bxf8, Qxf8 20. Qxh5, and White is way ahead on material. If Black does not play 18...dxe4, then White still threatens Qxa5, while the Knight threatens to take a Bishop.
Feb-19-09  YouRang: Ack. I found 21...Be3 rather easily. After all, we are threatening ...Qxg2# if we can deflect the queen, and how better to do that than with the bishop?

The queen wants to find a square where it can't be further deflected, and here I figured 22.Qb2 (c2 is vulnerable to a ...Rc7 and a2 is vulnerable to ...Be6). I figured that black could win a pawn and attack white's queen, with 22...Nxd3, but this also relieves the mate threat at g2.

However, I didn't look deeply enough.

After checking with the computer, I see that it leaves white with a loss after 23.Qe2 Bf4+! 24.g3 (24.Kh1 Qg3+ & Qh2#) 25.Bxh3 and white is toast.

Feb-19-09  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium):

Hracek vs Kramnik, 2002 (21...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: B for N. The White Kh2 has 1 legal move, to h1. Black has a concerted attack against the light squares and the P-chain around the White Kh2. The White Qd2 and Kh2 are burdened by defense of Pg2, suggesting a possible deflection or decoy combination from the attack by Qg6 and Nf4. The White Qd2 must also defend Pd3. Thus, 21...Be3 merits consideration. The Black Bd7 and Nf4 both attack Ph3, which is defended by Ng1. Thus, 21...Bxg1 is also an interesting candidate. Both Black Rs require activation. The Black Kg8 is secure.

Candidates (21...): Be3, Bxg1

21...Be3 22.Qc2 [Qxe3 Qxg2#] [else, drop Pd3 or be mated]

22...Rfc8 23.Bc3 [else, drop Pd3 or be mated]


White must drop the B or be mated with 24...Qg2#. White should therefore surrender Pd3 without playing 23.Bc3. There are interesting sacrificial variations after 21...Bxg1 22.Rxg1 Qh5, but I cannot see any decisive advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <johnlspouge: ... 22...Rfc8 23.Bc3 [else, drop Pd3 or be mated]> Gosh, John, you also missed 23.Nc4... What's the matter with this puzzle?
Feb-19-09  patzer2: For today's Thursday puzzle solution, Kramnik's 21...Be3!! uses a clever deflection to force the Queen into a position where the attack on the pinned piece with 23...d5! proves decisive.

In the final position, Black wins after 24. exd5 Rxc4! . For if 25. Qxc4, then it's 25...Qxg2#. Or if 25. dxc4, then 25...Qxc2 wins the Queen and the game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: It's all been said, so no point in repeating. Our job is to deflect the white queen from whatever square she tries to run to along the second rank.

It's one of those combinations where black doesn't invest material, so he can keep on safely improving his position by thumping the white queen. Be3 plonks the bishop in a wonderful attacking square. Rfc8 grabs an open file. Be6 or Ba5 slice into the position. We can even replace the Nf4 with a bishop and strong threats against the black king.

Doesn't seem to warrant an unplugged diagram today, except perhaps for this little variation. What happens if 21...Be3 22. Qc2 Nxd3 23. Qxd3?

click for larger view

Black to play and mate in 3.

Feb-19-09  Patriot: <Once: Doesn't seem to warrant an unplugged diagram today, except perhaps for this little variation. What happens if 21...Be3 22. Qc2 Nxd3 23. Qxd3?>

I already solved that one. :-)

Feb-19-09  DarthStapler: I didn't get it
Feb-19-09  ZUGZWANG67: As complicated as a thursday can be. There' s a sensitive spot at g2 and its only defender is the Qd2. My candidates are:

21. ...Qxg2+; 21. ...Bxh3; 21. ...Qg3+; 21. ...Bxg1; and 21. ...Be3.

I like 21. ...Be3 because it attacks the high value defender of g2. Thus:

a) 22. Qb2 Bd4 wins the exchange;

b) 22. Qa2 Be6 Nc4(23. Qc2 Rc8 24. Nc4 Nxd3) Nxd3 25. g3 or 25. Kh1, (in case of 25. ...Bf4(+)) Rc8 wins a piece

c) 22. Qc2 Rc8 23.Nc4(23. Qa2 Be6 24. Nc4 Nxd3) Ba4 24. Qa2 Bb3 wins.

I think that the one of the keys of the position is the possibility to swing the black dark square bishop to f4 after the N has come to d3.

Time to check. (GULP !)

Feb-19-09  dzechiel: <goldfarmdj Why give Bxc3 an exclam when the simple Rxb2 seems to be absolutely crushing?>

Mostly because I wasn't paying attention.

Feb-19-09  ZUGZWANG67: 23. ...d5 ? I don' t get it. I can' t see the point after 24 exd5. Instead of 23. ...d5, I calculated 23. ...Ba4 24. Qa2 Bb3 25. Qb2 Nxd3, with the triple threat of ...Nxb2, ...Rxc4, and, in case of Qxb3, ...Bf4+ (and mate to follwow soon) see diagram.

click for larger view

What am I missing ?

Feb-19-09  zb2cr: Hi <ZUGZWANG67>,

You wrote: "3. ...d5 ? I don' t get it. I can' t see the point after 24 exd5."

See <dzechiel>'s post earlier. He pointed out that after 23. ... d5; 24. exd5, Rxc4 wins a piece--note that the d3 Pawn is pinned by Black's Queen, and White's Queen is still tied to the second rank.

Feb-19-09  ZUGZWANG67: Thanks, <zb2cr>. I can see it now. But not obvious to spot without moving the pieces.
Feb-19-09  ZUGZWANG67: The reason why 23. ...d4 was hard to find is because of the presence of two 'diagonal pawns' between the Qg6 and the Q(c2) after 22. Qc2.
Feb-19-09  ZUGZWANG67: Uh ? 23. ...d5; sorry.
Feb-19-09  Julian713: Seems to me that White's ultimate mistake was 17.Bxb4, at least from a defensive standpoint. Not only could he have blocked the file with a pawn (21.axb4) his bishop would be able to keep Black's knight from advancing...allowing White to do two things: free the queen off the second rank, and set up the f3-g4-h3 pawn triangle (which he tries to do, one move too late in the actual game).

I'm very new to this higher of level of there some other reason why 21.axb4 is not as good as 21.Bxb4?

Feb-19-09  Julian713: I mean 17.axb4/17.Bxb4
Feb-19-09  hat40: Good game.
Feb-19-09  Julian713: Sorry for the triple post but I just saw something else...why not 18.Bxd6 instead of 18.Qd2? The only reason I see for moving the queen on move 18 is to keep the knight from threatening it on the next move...but by doing that, he allows Black to play 18...Qf6 and prevent the capture of d6. Which the more I look at it, the better it pretty much screws over Black's position no matter how he responds...the best he can do is semi-equal exchange while giving the initiative back to White.
Feb-20-09  Shams: <<Julian713>why not 18.Bxd6 instead of 18.Qd2?>

black's ...Nf4 is a big threat in the position, so white spends a tempo now to save one later. 18.Bxd6?! and ...Bxh3 in response looks sharp.

Feb-20-09  zb2cr: Hi <Julian713>,

You asked about 17. axb4 vs. 17. Bxb4. The Bishop capture applies pressure from the Bishop on the Black Pawn on d6, forcing Black to think about defending it in the future. Also, 17. axb4 puts a White Pawn in a position where it blocks the action of White's black-squared Bishop, somewhat restricting the Bishop's mobility.

Jul-09-13  notyetagm: Hracek vs Kramnik, 2002

Game Collection: OVERLOADED: TTTCIE: THE THREAT TO CAPTURE IS ENO 15 ... c7-c5! White b4-pawn must meet threat to capture of ... Qd8xNa5

Jul-09-13  notyetagm: Hracek vs Kramnik, 2002

Game Collection: PINS AGAINST UNDEFENDED PIECES (UPMP) 23 ... d6-d5! 0-1 exploits undef c2-queen and loose g2-mate sq

Jul-09-13  notyetagm: Hracek vs Kramnik, 2002

Wow, Kramnik exploits the *hell* out of the White queen <DEFENDER> at the end of this game.

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