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Yuhua Xu vs Anna Ushenina
Women's World Championship Knockout Tournament (2006), Ekaterinburg RUS, rd 2, Mar-14
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-03-10  Auguste: 24. Rc3 is sort of forced, because black is threatening Qc2+ and then Qc1+. after black's queen move like 24... Qb5, 25. Rxd7 is easy to find.
Dec-03-10  twin phoenix: oddly enough i got this one fairly easily... just notice that Black threatens Q-c2+ and then mate and ask yourself how do i is solve this dilemma? the retort 24. r-c3 so effectivly stops all of blacks threats that white will be free to play such moves as 25. Rxd7. easy... The hard part, of course, is checking all tactical situations to make sure it is winning. yay i finnally got a friday!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: With black to move in the puzzle position,it's a Monday mate in three with a queen sac. With white to move,24 ♖c3 is a must!
Dec-03-10  Patriot: I didn't spend much time on this and went with 24.Rc3 after I saw the mate threat. I decided it was safe to play and it produced counter-threats which looked interesting.

An efficient thought process might go like this...

"White is not in check and I don't see an immediate mate that white can deliver, so let's start by examining material differences and see if black has any threats."


* Material and threats by black do not matter at this point, since if white has a forced mate he should just deliver it!

"First, black threatens 24...Qc2+ 25.Ka1 Qc1+ 26.Rxc1 Rxc1#, so the only good candidates for white are the one's that address this issue. Also, there doesn't seem to be any more threats."


* When looking for threats OTB, make sure you look at ALL threats in the position--not just threats generated by the piece that moved.

"Before going further I should look at material differences since they play a direct role in analysis. White is down a pawn."


* Whenever one side is up material, the likelihood of sac'ing material back increases--especially when there is a strong attack against them. Otherwise they may be dropping material without compensation which would be a waste of time to analyze unless there were further checks, captures, or threats to examine.

"Now to look for candidate moves. Black has a killer move, 24...Qc2+ which must be addressed. 24.Rc3 is a very strong move, attacking the queen and also threatening 25.Rxd7 in some lines. 24...Qxc3 25.bxc3 is good for white, and I don't see other moves that refute 24.Rc3 so it is safe. 24.Bc3 f5 looks menacing for white. 24.Nc3 Qxg4, so that's not safe. 24.a3/b3 may give black time to consolidate although I'm not sure what he can do at this point. 24...Nxf6 25.Nxf6+ Kh8 26.Qxc4 Rxc4 27.Nxe8 looks good for white so there's no harm there."


* When considering candidates, it's usually best to look at the strongest moves first.

* A "safety test" must be performed on each without going into a lot of detail. If you can determine early that a candidate isn't safe, it can be quickly eliminated to save time.

* Going into a lot of detail on any candidate is a mistake at this point since there could potentially be a killer candidate that wins on the spot. Otherwise you may be wasting a lot of time.

"24.Rc3 looks like the strongest candidate with multiple threats against black as well as stopping black's threats. At this point if I don't have much time I could go ahead and play this move since there aren't any other moves that look promising. Otherwise I may want to look at this further. 24...Qxc3 25.bxc3 . 24...Nxf6 25.Nxf6+ Kh8 26.Rxc4 . So black must protect the queen while defending the knight on d7. 24...Qa4/Qb5 25.Rxd7 Qxd7 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Nxd7 wins the queen. But if 25...Kh8, now both the rook on d7 and bishop on f6 are hanging. White is at least ok if he retreats the rook but is still down a pawn."

I'm going to end it there.

Dec-03-10  goodevans: <rilkefan: "24...Qa4 25 Rxd7? Rxc3! 26 bxc3"

Why not 26.Bc3 instead?>

<tacticalmonster: < rilkefan > yeah a hallucination. I thought after 25 Rxc3 26 Bxc3 Black can play 26...f5 forking N and Q but I overlooked that White can play 27 Nf6+ winning the queen.>

... or 27 Rxg7+ winning the King!

Dec-03-10  Patriot: I made at least one mistake. At the bottom where it reads "24...Qa4/Qb5 25.Rxd7 Qxd7 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Nxd7 wins the queen." is actually incorrect since the bishop is on f6. 26.Bxg7 as <dzechiel> mentioned looks like the winning move.

Sorry for the lengthy post. Hopefully it helps some of the kibitzer's on this site.

Dec-03-10  JG27Pyth: I usually insist that I solve out the puzzle from the diagram but today I thought, Rc3 is right, and if he wants to keep his N, he'll need to work out whether his Q belongs on a4 or b5... so why don't we let him think on <his> time ;) -- then I guess-the-move'd it from there. 100% on the g-t-m. But I'm pretty sure trying to calculate/visualize up to Rxf7 with confidence from the first position would eat up a huge chunk of clock and there's always the chance I confuse myself and chase a purple rabbit into the bushes of defeat.
Dec-03-10  goldenbear: I had this one worked out, but I considered 24.Qxe4 to be the main reply.
Dec-03-10  JG27Pyth: Oh, btw <Once> I disagree that Rc3 isn't a move that 'smites'... it's defensive, ok, but it's defensive, <with privileges> as the kids say ;) Removing the mating threat down the c-file activates the threat against d7 -- a smite, non?
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Friday puzzle solution, we were treated to a winning combination by Chinese GM Yuhua Xu from a game which helped her to win the 2006 FIDE Women's World Championship.

Yuhua's 24. RC3! (today's Friday solution) combines a number of tactics in her winning combination, including a poisoned pawn trap (23. Rh3!), defensive combination (24. Rc3!), deflection (24. Rc3!), decoy sham sacrifice (25. Rxd7!), a Pin and Knight Fork threat (e.g. 25...Qxd7 26. Bxg7 f5 27. Nf6+ Kf7 28. Qg6+ Ke7 29. Nxd7 ) and an overwhelming mating threat (26. Rxf7!).

On the surface, the puzzle solution 24. Rc3! is a simple defensive move designed to stop the back rank mate threat after say 27. Bxg7?? Qc2+ 28. Ka1 Qc1+ 29. Rxc1 Rxc1#.

However, on a deeper level, it springs the trap set after 23. Rh3!, when the only saving reply is 23...Nc5! = with about even chances. Earlier, 21...e5! = was an even easier way to equalize.

Instead, after the blunder 23...Qxc4? (falling into the trap by taking the poisoned pawn), Yuhua springs the trap with the decisive 24. Rc3!, when 24...Qb5 (or 24...Qb4 25. Rxd7 ) 25. Rxd7! (not 25. Bxg7?? Bxg7 26. Rg3 Qe5 ) wins a piece due to the dual threat of mate or a Knight fork after 25...Qxd7 26. Bxg7 .

If 25...Rxc3, then simply 26. Bxc3 leaves the Rook on d7 untouchable due to the pin and knight fork threat, winning the Queen after 26...Qxd7 27. Nf6+ Kh8 28. Nxd7 with decisive material advantage.

In the final position, White threatens a number of mates, including a simple mate-in-two (e.g. 26...Rxc3 or 26...Qf5 yields 27. Rxf8+ Rxf8 28. Qxg7#) or mate-in-three after 26...Re7 27. Bxg7+ Kg8 28. Nf6+! Kxf7 29. Qg6#. Black can prolong it with spite checks or by sacrificing the Queen, but with strong play the mate is unstoppable.

Dec-03-10  tacticalmonster: <David 2009>

click for larger view

29...Rc7 is a weak move because Black drops the exchange in a four-move combination: 30 Nf6 Rec8 (or 30... Ree7?!) 31 Qf4 Kg7 32 Ne8+! Rxe8 33 Qxc7. However, it is hard to suggest any move for Black at all on the 29th move.

Dec-03-10  Brandon plays: Black seems to defend rather well using crafty or else my attacking skills suck. It took me like 60 moves to checkmate though it was a won position.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <JG27Pyth> I suppose it depends on your definition of "smite". I think the term was first coined by Purdy who said that we should "examine moves that smite".

I have always taken a smiting move to be a violent one that forces a reply, such as check or a capture. The dictionary definition is to inflict a blow, to hit, to cleave.

Does 24. Rc3 hit or cleave? I don't think so, but 25. Rxd7 certainly "smites".

I suppose like many other things in chess it comes down to personal preferences. I don't think that 24. Rc3 is the usual type of solution for the CG puzzle, but if you do then that's perfectly fine by me.

Dec-03-10  M.Hassan: <scormus: I think mot of us can say the same......> Thank you and it is indeed cosoling to hear this from a persistant and regular kibitzer with such good explanation.
Dec-03-10  David2009: <gofer>, <tacticalmonster>: Congratulations!

Your line with 31 Qf4! is much faster than 31 Qd4 which also beats Crafty EGT (reaching an ending N for P up in the main variation). Earlier post: Y Xu vs A Ushenina, 2006

<Brandon plays:> Congratulations - a win is a win! The EGT has a knack of finding unexpected resources in positions that look hopeless.

Dec-03-10  WhiteRook48: i wanted 24 Bc3 instead
Dec-03-10  rapidcitychess: Got this one. I'm getting better!
Dec-03-10  BOSTER: <Phony Benoni> <This game is analyzed by Irina Krush in the July,2006 Chess Life>. Many times ago ,but I remember exactly that it was Monday, one guy asked <Once>: <What is the reason to write something about nothing?>. I don't remember the answer. This is why I want ask you: do you remember all Chess Life games from 2004 untill 2010, more that 1000 games? Honestly, this is impressive.
Dec-03-10  wals: 24.Rc3 appeared to be move needed,
as indicated by the 'body language'
of the board.

Rybka 4 x 64

depth: 22 : 33 min :
Black blunder
(+3.52):23...Qxc4. Best, Nc5, =0.00.

1. = (0.00): 23...Nc5 24.Nd6 Rcd8 25.Nxe8 Qe4+ 26.Qxe4 Rxd1+ 27.Kc2[] Nxe4 28.Kxd1 Nxf2+[] 29.Kd2 Nxh3 30.gxh3 gxf6 31.Nxf6+ Kg7 32.Ne8+ Kg8 33.Nf6+ Kg7 34.Ne8+ Kg8 35.Nf6+ Kg7 36.Ne8+ Kg8 37.Nf6+ Kg7 38.Ne8+ Kg8

2. (2.13): 23...Red8 24.Rhd3 Kh8 25.Bxd8[] Ne5 26.Qe2 Nxd3 27.Rxd3[] Qxc4 28.Nc3 Kg8 29.Qf3 b5 30.Rd7 e5 31.Qe2 Qf4 32.Qxb5 Bb4 33.Bc7 Bxc3 34.bxc3 Qxf2 35.Qxe5 Qg1+ 36.Kc2 Qxg2+ 37.Rd2 Qf3 38.Bd6 Rc6

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <BOSHER> Notice that the post was not written today, but in July, 2006--the same month the magazine was published.

I can't remember whether or not I have a good memory.

Dec-03-10  BOSTER: <Phony Benoni> You are right. It is my blunder, maybe because I know that you are always first to send the comment.
Dec-03-10  standardwisdom: It took me a couple of minutes to grasp that while white does have some very good attack, it is itself only one move away from being mated. (Say misadventure 24. ♗xg7, immediately leads to mate with 24..♕c2+. 25. ♔a1 ♕c1+, 0-1).

With that realization in back pocket, I am thinking:

24. ♖c3 ♕a4 (to keep one eye on d7 square and the other on c2) 25. ♖xd7 ♖xc3

At this point I am a bit stuck, since 26. ♗xg7 would lead to ♕c2+ followed by mate 26. ♘xc3 loses the queen.

That leaves more banal moves like bxc3 or Bxc3. Time to check I guess.

Dec-03-10  Nullifidian: This seems fairly straightforward for a key move. White would obviously like to play ♗xg7, but with Black on the verge of checkmate, White has to be careful.

So 24. ♖c3 stops the mate threat. Black's next move is probably 24... ♕b5, after which White can play 25. ♖xd7 and Black cannot regain the minor piece, because 25... ♕xd7 26. ♗xg7 ♗xg7 27. ♘f6+ ♔h8 (not ♔f8? which leads to mate) 28. ♘xd7 ♗xc3 29. ♙bxc3.

White can use several mating threats to win more pieces from here on out, e.g. 29... ♖ed8 30. ♘e5 (Δ ♘f7+ and ♕g6#) ♖f8 31. ♕f4 (threatens ♕xh6+) ♔g7 32. ♘g4 (threatens ♕h6+ and ♘f6#) ♖h8 33. ♕f6+ ♔g8 34. ♘xh6+ ♖xh6▢ 35. ♕xh6 ♖c5 (to prevent ♕g5+) 36. ♙g4 and White should win easily.

Dec-03-10  Fezzik: I think solving this one depended a bit on luck. Once you see that Black's threats on the c-file are real, Rc3 becomes relatively easy to find.

But if you spent a bunch of time trying to track down some non-existent mating attack without this, you could easily miss the solution entirely.

I was lucky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <BOSTER> Is that a new hobby you've got, taking a pop at me every day?
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