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John Fedorowicz vs Matthew Bengtson
Eastern Open (1997), Washington, District of Columbia USA, rd 2
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Modern Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-17-12  TheBish: Fedorowicz vs M Bengtson, 1997

White to play (18.?) "Very Difficult", Black is up a pawn.

I only looked at one candidate move, but it looks like it's good enough to tie Black up in knots.

18. Rc1!! Qxd3 19. Rxc8+ Bf8 20. Bh6 Nd7 21. Rxa8

All this is forced. Now White would like to remove the guard of f8 by attacking the knight, while Black needs to untangle his pieces. Black should refrain from 21...Qxe4 22. Re1 Qc2 23. Rxe7, with the idea of 24. h3 (luft) followed by 25. Rxd7.

21...f6 22. e5! e6

Or 22...fxe5 23. Nxe5 Qxd4 24. Re1 Qc3 25. Kf1! and the Ne5 both stops the black queen from checking and removes it's defending counterpart on d7.

23. exf6 and soon White will be able to play Ne5 with a mating attack.


Missed the best defense of 22...Kf7 for some reason... not the best idea to do the tough ones in the wee hours of the morning! But at least I was on the right track (analyzing from the diagram). I would be curious to know if Fedorowicz saw the final position at move 18, or if he just knew his attack would be winning.

Nov-17-12  agb2002: White is a pawn down.

Black threatens 18... Qxd3.

The first move that comes to mind is 18.Rc1, to take advantage of Black's weak back rank, 18... Qxd3 19.Rxc8+ Bf8 20.Bh6 Nd7 21.Rxa8:

A) 21... Qxe4 22.Re1

A.1) 22... Qc6 23.Ne5 Qc3 24.Rc1 Qxd4 25.Nxd7 Qxd7 26.Rxf8#.

A.2) 22... Qd5 23.Ne5 + -.

B) 21... f6 22.e5

B.1) 22... fxe5 23.Nxe5 Qxd4 24.Re1 Qc3 25.Kf1 + -.

B.2) 22... Kf7 23.e6+ Kxe6 24.Bxf8 Nxf8 25.Rxf8 + -.

B.3) 22... e6 23.exf6 Qb5 (23... Kf7 24.Ne5+ and 25.Nxd3; 23... Qc3 24.Rc1 and 25.Ne5) 24.Ne5 + -.

Nov-17-12  Bengambit: 18.Rbc1!? if...18...Qxd3?? 19.Rcxc8+ Bf8 20.Beh6.....but if...20...Nd7!! then there is work to be done. I hope I am right on this,let's go and see.
Nov-17-12  Marmot PFL: <The problem is though that attacking white's center doesn't have as much clout as it usually does in the grunfeld, in this particular variation. The Qa5xa2 line keeps the game dynamic; black has to suffer for a while as is usual in the whole Rb1 variation, but at least he has a pawn for it here.>

You have a point there, but from an amateur POV there were lots of variations to learn and theory changed fast. I also played 9...b6 and 9...Nc6 (which I like best) but then started playing the Nimzo-Indian more. The lines there were more strategic and don't depend so much on memory or finding forced moves.

Nov-17-12  Bengambit: Ok,close enough. Black's Queen has work to do to get into a fighting position after 18...Qxd3 and his 8th rank is defended twice by the rook on c8 and the Bishop on g7 and the knight to d7 later on,but the rook on c8 needs help plus the knight on b8 is still at home. Look's like black fell into a flurry of exchanges that put himself into a positional strain and never got his queenside fully developed. And that much cost him the game.
Nov-17-12  David2009: Fedorowicz vs M Bengtson, 1997 White 18?

Two puzzles for the price of one! The first move is a no-brainer

click for larger view

since White wins two Rooks for the Queen with 18.Rc1 (OK, there is an alternative: exchange Queens and win the b7 Pawn followed by the a5 Pawn if all goes well, but this gives a long and difficult ending). The real puzzle occurs at move 22:

click for larger view

when White has to find e6 (not difficult but White is also vulnerable on the back rank so can't go mad). Time to fire up Crafty End Game trainer (link to the puzzle position:

[This part of the post was combined after spotting the first move OTB, then looking at the game to see how Black defended].
Well, well, well. The far-sighted robot interposes 21...g5!? instead of the expected 21....f6. The reason soon becomes clear: after the natural moves 21...g5 22.h3 Qc3 23.R1xa7 Qc1+ 24.Kh2 Qf4+ 25.Kh1 Qc1+ 26.Ng1 Qc6 Black is attacking the loose Bishop at h6. Playing without silicon assistance I continued 27.Bxg5 f6 28.Bh6 Kf7 29.Bxf8 Nxf8 30.f3 Qb6 31.Ne2 Qb2 32.Ra2 Qb1+ to reach

click for larger view

Fedorowicz vs M Bengtson 1997 variation 33? when it is clear that (without silicon help) White will have a long and hard fight ahead to land the full point. Further Crafty EGT link:

So three puzzles for the price of one! Here finally is a Crafty EGT link to the position after 21...f6 as in the game (the second puzzle): Against the game line, the EGT defends with 25...Qc3 instead of the mistake 25...Nd7 and a hard fight is in prospect.

White can win a piece with 22.e6+ but in this line also the EGT defends fiercely. Chapeau if you can beat it without silicon help!

Nov-17-12  Marmot PFL: <You mean like this (D E Vigorito vs A Shaw, 2000), from one of my last appearances in the arena?>

Yes, that's the king of thing I meant, all those Kramnik games to study...

I had a lucky draw in another line, some years earlier with the late Bryon Nickoloff. To get out of book I optimistically played 9...Nc6 10 d5 Bxc3+!? (Ne5 is safer) 11 Bd2 Bxd2+ 12 Qxd2 Na5 13 h4 Bg4 14 h5 and white got a strong attack. Later he somehow got careless and inverted moves, and I was able to trade queens and draw. But this is not a reliable line for black.

Nov-17-12  sfm: <David2009: Fedorowicz vs M Bengtson, 1997 > *Thank you*, David, for all your Crafty-links. I love them - and what a challenge it often is to actually win the game, after having spotted the, eh, win.
Nov-17-12  Patriot: 18.Rc1 looks like a must but it's hard for me to quantify since 18...Qxd3 19.Rxc8+ Bf8 20.Bh6 Nd7 21.Rxa8 Qxe4 and I'm not sure how to build more pressure. White must also be careful about his back rank, so 22.Rc1 for example doesn't seem to do much. This is a reason I rejected 22.Ne5 since 22...Qxd4 forks rook and knight. I'm only seeing this line at best: 18.Rc1 Qxd3 19.Rxc8+ Bf8 20.Bxe7 Nd7 21.Rxa8 Qxe4 22.Bxf8 Nxf8 23.R8xa7 which looks like white may have a slight edge but still unclear.
Nov-17-12  Patriot: On move 21, I didn't think 21...f6 was necessary. I completely missed 21...Qxe4 22.Re1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Patriot: 18.Rc1 looks like a must but it's hard for me to quantify since 18...Qxd3 19.Rxc8+ Bf8 20.Bh6 Nd7 21.Rxa8 Qxe4 and I'm not sure how to build more pressure.>

Looks like White has 22.Ne5, no? 22...Qh4! and Black *only* loses a piece, I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Patriot> You are right, 22.Re1 looks bloodier and quicker than 22.Ne5.
Nov-17-12  Patriot: Oops! 20.Bxe7? Nc6! refutes my entire line. Better luck tomorrow...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thanks, <David2009>. I thought it was too good to be true. I figured it was desirable to threaten the h6 bishop with the queen, but ...g5 didn't cross my mind. Although my analysis didn't get that far, when I saw the position on my screen, it was kind of clear that Black has to play 25...Qc3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <morfishine> <I got fairly well along this line, even Blacks attempt <21...f6> and White's answer <22.e5> It was here I varied with 22...Qc4 and and as usual, my follow up is like milk: its "Patzerized">

lol. In a real game you would have found the better continuation once you got there. My feeling about this puzzle is that most of us would go for 18.Rc1 as soon as we see that we get two rooks for the queen and Black is tied up with mate threats. Then we would scramble to find the best moves. At move 18 it doesn't look risky to go for it.

Nov-17-12  kevin86: white gains two rooks for the king...and a better position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I went with 18. Rc1, anticipating a bind on the Black kingside.

For example: 18...Qxd3 19. Rxc8+ Bf8 20. Bh6 Nd7 21. Rxa8 f6 22. e5 Kf7 23. e6+ Kxe6 24. Bxf8 Nxf8 25. Rxf8

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <david2009> <Well, well, well. The far-sighted robot interposes 21...g5!? instead of the expected 21....f6. The reason soon becomes clear: after the natural moves 21...g5 22.h3 Qc3 23.R1xa7 Qc1+ 24.Kh2 Qf4+ 25.Kh1 Qc1+ 26.Ng1 Qc6 Black is attacking the loose Bishop at h6.>

Thanks for posting these "challenges".

One reason that 21...g5 makes sense to me is because black sees 22...g4, which would force white to retreat the knight before he can play it to e5.

To counter this move white has to provide relief from a back rank mate threat such as after 21...g5 22 Ne5? Qxd4.

click for larger view

22 h3 or 23 h4 provides this relief.

Nov-17-12  S A G A R: I got 2 words for it. "OUT of THE WORLD!"
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <kevin86: white gains two rooks for the king...and a better position.>

Hmm... two rooks for your king is bad business. Even your whole opponent's army for your king is bad business! (Unless your whole opponent's army includes your opponent's king, in which case I am not sure how things would play out... both kings cannot die simultaneously).


Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Aim in at our c1 rook meld amazing finish after riff I c3 or c2q

duck in draw fire question whats the point in trading light square

bishops when black has a built up in kingside like car on it

12...bd7 ok is it too weaken e4? A bod see through in ah good rooka1

b2 bg5 bb5, bading 15.bd3 gives us chalker tinking off light queen

centralized in lounge rb1 I'll crack on winding rookc1 safety

abundance after ko network queen exchanged for one too glimpse in

home a kit Qxd3 19.Rxc8+ children in school it bain of our lives

having back rank mates it ok in bf8 bob and weave in bh6 a nd7 bar

21.Rxa8 in gestate the move suffer in f6 look whaleing e5! to

dampened his heart in Kf7 er d3 can in effect rigamortis set in

tactics abound for nf3 ever sat i leg in key to see re1 dip in would

e6 to sure up rides h6 in take principle rooka8 live in black dreams

it double in d7 a wain as card queen trumped in staked8 fed horror

in glory it nod in hammer e5 whether d3 animal it branch in oh ok

helicopter 25th to c3 when rook two knightf3 versus queen and knight

win for light in cap e1 rook has e6 condiment in?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Marmot PFL> The pawn snatch you played against Nickoloff is something I never quite trusted for Black either.

As to the line in the game I cited, my preference was 12....Nd7 over the heavily analysed 12....Bg4, as I saw little other than a dour defence to hold a half-point in the latter variation.

A few months after the game with Vigorito, I lost in 12....Nd7 to a player ~2100, then never had another chance to play the Gruenfeld in either of my remaining events before I retired.

Nov-17-12  M.Hassan: "Very difficult"
White to play 18.?
White is down by a pawn.

The unconnected Rooks of Black in the back row is what White takes advantage of and gives away his Queen:

18.Rc1 Qxd3
19.Rc8+ Bf8 (the only defense)
For White, Rxf8#. So, Black has to defend f8
So far, two Rooks for a Queen
22.Re1 Qd5
<if....Nxe5 24.Rxf8#> 23..........Qe6
24.d5! Qxe5
Queen has to remove the attacker of d7 square.
White is way stronger in exchanges but there is still work to do:

26.Re1 exd5
Now there are 3 attackers of f8 square and two defenders. 27............f5
28.Rxf8+ Nxf8

26..........exd5 probably had not been played in which case the game lasts longer but still with the winning lines for White.

Time to check

Nov-19-12  kevin86: oops,I meant two rooks for the QUEEN.
Nov-19-12  avidfan:

click for larger view

At the final position, if the Black Knight moves then he loses the Queen by a royal fork 27.Nf3-e5+ while 27...Qb5 does not really defend the Knight because 28.Rxd7 still follows, so if 28...Qxd7 29.Ne5+ forks the royals again.

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