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Victor Knorre vs Gustav Neumann
Berlin (1864), Berlin GER
Spanish Game: Berlin Defense (C65)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I got 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Rf7 trapping the queen, but unfortunately the white queen is also attacked. :|
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: This is one of those positions where the solution will either pop into your head almost immediately or will take some time to see. It's an either-or kind of thing.

The reason, I think, is that it's a situation peculiar to wild west gunfighters, kung fu masters and chess. It's a face off.

No, not the somewhat implausible film by John Woo. I'm talking about the classic scene where two combatants stare at each other intently. Beads of sweat drip off noses. Eyes narrow. Ennio Morricone's trumpets blare mournfully.

Until one of them blinks, twitches, moves a little finger ... then it's a flurry of activity. Pistols drawn, swords flash, kung fu punches crack slightly out of sync with the soundtrack, someone ends up deader 'un a dead 'un.

In chess terms, it happens when piece threatens piece .... <and the threatened piece stands its ground.> It doesn't run away. It doesn't capture. It simply stands there. Threater and threatee glaring at each other along the dusty main street of a frontier town, with or without a shaolin temple nearby.

It's a dangerous tactic. The face-off relies on one or both of the combatants having supporting buddies. The other six of the magnificent seven (gunfighters or samurai). One of the three from the good, the bad and the ugly joining with the second to overpower the third.


The problem and risk with the face off is that these supporting buddies might get distracted and not do their duties. Then the face-off can be resolved with advantage.

And so to today puzzle. The patented Once squint test suggests that the action is going to take place on the e5 square. Most of the bits are staring at that square where there is already a minor face-off situation. The attacked black knight is standing its ground, secure (?!?) in the support offered by its buddies.

Exchange off a couple of minor players and we get to a major face off. After 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Qxe5, we have a major face-off with queen staring at queen. Now all white has to do is distract the Re8 and the black queen is lost.

And if you've seen that sort of thing lots of times before, it will do the aforementioned head-popping thang. Then all we have to do is spell-check the variations and work out how to respond to 25. Ka7, and our job here is done. We can ride into the sunset to stirring strings, leave the peasant farmers to carry on growing chillis and corn for our nachos.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: A slightly complex variant on an old theme: a mistress cannot serve two masters.

The forcing process is 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 24.Rxe5, winning material after 24....Qxe5 25.Rd8+.

Mar-20-14  bebgsurg: After :
23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Qxe5 25. Rd8
does not 25 .... Rxd8, 26. Qxe5 h6 force 27. Kh2 hxNg5 and equality ??
Mar-20-14  benjamincito: very easy, the while win the queen after of bishop x knight-bishop x bishop, rook x bishop ¿Q x Rook? Rook 8+.....
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: In an odd pin-skewer tactic, white wins a piece.
Mar-20-14  BOSTER: The Q is: responsible for such mess?

Believe me any patzer playing black can create
such mess.

And if somebody thinks that black king need the protection of the rook e8 , he is wrong.

Really only the
rook g8 need the protection.

Mar-20-14  cyclon: 23. Bxe5 Bxe5 24. Rxe5 Qxe5 25. Rd8+ and White wins a piece in either -25. -Rxd8 26. Qxe5, or -25. -Ka7 26. Qxe5 Rxe5 27. Rxg8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I cast my ballot for 23.Bxe5. For example:

a. 23...Bxe5 24.Rxe5 Qxe5 25. Rd8+

a.1 25...Ka7 26.Qxe5 Rxe5 27.Rxg8

a.2 25...Rxd8 26.Qxe5

Mar-20-14  PJs Studio: Very good Boster.

This puzzle seemed easy because every move is entirely forced. We've had so many convoluted king hunts lately that this seemed rather pedestrian.

Mar-20-14  Nick46: Poor Neumann - another great chess player (highest ELO 2742, in 1867) who went barmy. Here, shot down by Knorre.
Mar-20-14  OneArmedScissor: Got it.
Mar-20-14  Nick46: thank you ,well done!
Mar-20-14  M.Hassan: "medium"
23. White to play and equal material both sides;

23.Bxe5 Bxe5
24.Rxe5 Qxe5
<if...Rxd8 26.Qxd5 and Black looses his Queen>

26.Qxe5 Rxe5
White is up a Knight.

Mar-20-14  Ezzy: Looked at it for 10 minutes, and it was doing my head in that I couldn't find the solution. Had a complete blindspot. Analysed to 25 Rd8 and didn't see anything, completely forgetting after 25..Rxd8 the black queen was en pris.

Ah well, bad day at the office.

Mar-20-14  Clodhopper: Proving once again I am a Monday-Wednesday player...
Mar-20-14  Patriot: <Dr. J> <Maybe not: 23.Rxe5 Bxe5 24.Bxe5 Rxg5 25.Bf6> That's an interesting line. After analyzing the position myself and deciding on 23.Bxe5, I ran it through Houdini which said white barely has an advantage at all after 24...Rxg5. I did not look at your line with an engine but I'm thinking 25...Rc5. For example, 26.Bxe7 Rxc3 27.bxc3 Rxe7.

From real game logic, it shows the above line is "messy" compared to a clearly winning move with 23.Bxe5. That should be enough to avoid the 23.Rxe5 line in most time controls (if 24...Rxg5 is considered).

Mar-20-14  Patriot: <Dr. J> I remembered it wrong. Houdini gave black a slight advantage. It's just about equal.

But I was right about 25...Rc5 26.Bxe7 Rxc3 27.bxc3 Rxe7 as best play.

Mar-20-14  Whitehat1963: Definitely didn't see this one. And I wouldn't have found it over the board a move at a time either. 25. Rd8+ took me completely by surprise.
Mar-20-14  BOSTER: < Whitehat1963>.

If you took away extra details, and had the pos. like this (ex.)

click for larger view

Black to play

lf Qxe5 Rd8+ did not take you by surprise.

Mar-20-14  yureesystem: What a beautiful combination.
Mar-20-14  Patriot: <BOSTER> That takes me by surprise. If 1...Qxe5, it's much better to play 2.Qxe5 since 2...Rxe5 3.Rd8#.
Mar-20-14  newzild: Missed it. A very interesting combo.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <patzer2: <agb2002: The material is identical.

White can overburden the rook on d8 after 23.Bxe5 Bxe5 (23... Rxg5 24.Bxd6 cxd6 25.Rxg5 + - [R]) 24.Rxe5 Qxe5 25.Rd8+>

I think you meant to say "...overburden the rook on <e8>.">


<Anyway, thanks for the observation as it prompted me to put the combination beginning with 21. Bxe5! into my "overworked piece" game collection.>

Thanks to you.

Mar-21-14  morfishine: <gofer> I definitely have a problem with this pattern. Maybe a I need to pull out Polgars book (5,334 problems), find this section and work through them all
search thread:   
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