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Yuri Rusakov vs Boris Kalinkin
Lodz (1963)
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation (B96)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-12-08  zanza: Got it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Beautiful!

I found the same line as <al wazir>, by chance as the first line that I looked at.

19. Ng6+ demands to be considered. It exploits the pinned g pawn, shoves an attacking knight up the board (most great combinations rely on a far advanced knight) and it owns two of the squares around the black king (f8 and e7).

19. ... Ke8 is forced. Now we have a stalemated black king, and the rule for stalemated kings is to check, check, check until dead. The check has to come on f7, so let's try 20. Qxf7+ Nxf7 (forced). Now we need another check on f7, so let's look at Bg8. The knight cannot be defended, so we are home free.

No, wait, the knight can dodge out of the way and still defend f7 from its new post. Ah, that's okay we have 21. Rf8 mate.

You have got to love the plight of the black bishop on d7. Black would dearly love to move it, either to defend f7 or to allow the queen to defend along the seventh rank. But it is totally hemmed in by its own pieces on all four compass points.

Is the theme of this week - combinations that lead to classic mates?

Jun-12-08  eblunt: < kevin86: I tried the "noisy" way with the queen sac at f7,but gave it up-not thinking that it leads to mate. Instead,I went for the quiet Ne4 but I guess the reply of f5 would gum up the works >

20 Ne4 f5 21 gxe5 ep. and it's not pretty for black. IMO Black's best reply is 21 ... Ke7 (or else loses the d6 Knight) but it goes downhill pretty quickly after that. I think e4 is winning, but much more slowly.

Jun-12-08  goodevans: <eblunt: < kevin86: ... I went for the quiet Ne4 but I guess the reply of f5 would gum up the works > 20 Ne4 f5 21 gxe5 ep. and it's not pretty for black>

Against 20 Ne4 I'd probably opt for 20 ... Nf5 then if 21 g4 g6 giving up a piece but with some hope of winning the trapped bishop. Whatever the case, white's win isn't as clear as in the game.

Jun-12-08  YouRang: Okay, 20.Ng6+ Ke8 is so attractive that I considered nothing else.

Initially, my idea was then 21.Bg8 (threat:Bxf7+ with mate to follow), but I think black had one defense: 21...Nf5 (blocking the Q+R battery and putting my knight en prise).

But I had so much firepower attacking the kingside that I figured a queen-sac was worth looking at, so: 21.Qxf7 Nxf7.

NOW 22.Bg8 has teeth, because the knight is no longer able to block on f5, leaving black the choice of moving his knight (allowing 23.Rf8#) or not (allowing 23.Bxf7#).

Jun-12-08  lost in space: There are at least 3 solutions:

1. First the ♕ sac: 20. ♕xf7 ♘xf7 21. ♘g6+ (and not ♖xf7 as proposed by <dezechiel>) ♔e8 22. ♖xf7 ♔xf7 23. ♖f1+ ♔e8 24. ♖f8#

First the ♘ sac (see game)

And, a third solution - proposed by a few kibitzers - 22. ♗g8!, working for both solutions and more elegant (and shorter)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: 20. Qxf7+
20 ...Nxf7 [forced]
21. Ng6+
21 ...Ke8 [also forced]
22. Bg8 [at which point black can resign]

Moving the N on f7 leads to Rf8#. If the N is left on f7, then it will be captured by the white B, which is also mate. I can't see any way for black to prevent this capture. The black bishop is hemmed in and can't move, the black queen is blocked by the bishop, and the rooks can't do anything.

Okay, I will check to see if I got it or not.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Kasputin: Okay, apparently there are several solutions. It's funny - last night I glanced at the puzzle and really only thought about starting with the knight check. But feeling tired I went to bed without thinking too much about it. This morning, I started off thinking of nothing but sacrificing the queen. Others solved it this way too, but the majority took different routes. So if this were a Monday puzzle, would we have the reverse (i.e., almost everyone starting with the queen sac and the minority doing something different)? :-)
Jun-12-08  YouRang: There are other "lesser" solutions too. One idea that I originally considered (but dismissed as it got too complicated) was to deflect the black knight via: 20.Ng6 Ke8 <21.Ne4>.

Now, going back to review that idea, I see that it has some merit. Obviously 21...Nxe4 is out due to 22.Qxf7#, but for the same reason, black can't allow 22.Nxd6+ either.

That leaves black with blocking the f-file with <21...Nf5>. But now white can attack the knight with <22.g4!>. This time, black cannot take the white knight as 22...fxg6 23.Bxg6+ Kf8 (not 23...Ke7 24.Qc5#) 24.gxf5 wins a knight, and mate will be served up soon.

After black's f5 knight falls, white has another pretty threat: Qb6! attacking the defender of the d6 square. If ...Qxb6 then Nd6#. :-)

Jun-12-08  MiCrooks: Seems to be the week for multiple solutions. Both Qxf7+ and Ng6+ lead to mate in 4. All moves forcing so this does seem a bit easy for a Thursday. These are both essentially the same variation with a transposition of moves.

The idea of playing Bg8!! is beautiful in that it mates a move faster and that making quiet moves in the middle of a combo like this always seem a bit more esthetically pleasing to me.

For those who wanted to play Ng6+ Ke8 Bg8?? you lose. You need to sac the Queen first so the knight can't go to f5. The suggested Qc5 simply loses to fxg6!

Jun-12-08  Mr. Glass: <griga262: I saw the first move easily, but then I went with 21.Nh8. If this doesn't work, can anyone explain why?>

20. Nh6+ Ke8 21. Nh8 Nf5 and White no long has access to the f7 square. The attack is blocked, and black is left in a better position than before.

21. Nh8 also loses to 21. ...Ke7 (although thats avoidable) and 21. ...f6

I hope that I helped.

Jun-12-08  piever: I hate "easy" puzzles... I usually get a solution (that I would probably play OTB) and then watching the game I find out that there was a much simpler solution that everybody easily spotted...

Here's my thinking process:

Uhm, 20. Ng6+ looks a natural try, but after 20... Ke8 I don't think there is much white can do.. The Nd6 is the only defender of f7, so maybe I can deflect him, so let's try 20. Ne4. Now if 20.. Be8 to protect f7, then 21. Ng6#. 20..f6 or 20..f5 are obviously suicidal (21. exf6 ), so 20...Nf5 is forced, but after 21. Bxf5 exf5 22. Nxf5 white is clearly better (a pawn up, a very strong attack, several threats and better placed pieces)...

After checking the game:

Woops, there was a mate in 4 starting with 20. Ng6... Minor personal satisfaction: my computer evaluates the final position of my line as +3.74

Jun-12-08  ruzon: I saw only as far as losing my Queen and Rook, so I abandoned the line with just two moves to go. I need a better search procedure.
Jun-12-08  JamesBJames: Hmm, this one was pretty easy for a Thursday. My candidate moves were Ng6+ and Qxf7+, and after seeing that the latter was a tempo too slow, it was obvious what needed to be done.

Ng6+ Ke8
Qxf7+! Nxf7
Rxf7 Kxf7
Rf1+ Ke8

3/4, having completely missed yesterday's.

Jun-12-08  jheiner: Thursday. White to play. Medium.

Material even. Black's K has no defense. Black's heavy pieces all have access down the half-open (soon to be fully open) f-file. White has two ways to directly attack the Black K 20.Ng6+ and 20.Qxf7+. Both are absolutely forcing.

20.Qxf7+ Nxf7 21.Ng6+ Ke8 22.Rxf7 Kxf7 (Black can't protect Rf8#) 23.Rf1+ Ke8 24.Rf8# 1-0

Pretty obvious from the cramped K position, and heavy piece access to the enemy K. Just for fun, let's see if the N check works too.

20.Ng6+ Ke8 21.Qxf7+ (continues as before) Nxf7 22.Rxf7 Kxf7 23.Rf1+ Ke8 24.Rf8#

Time to check. Yep. Not much to say. Two possible forced mate in four.

Jun-12-08  JamesBJames: Whoops, Qxf7+ actually works well enough too - I just messed up with the whole visualization of the move.

And I agree, Bg8! is a very pretty alternative for the penultimate mating move.

Jun-12-08  soberknight: I got the first move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  egilarne: I am quite happy to have found - as Al Wazir and others: Qxf7+ followed by Ng6+ and Bg8!
Jun-12-08  234: Wednesday puzzle <41. ...?> Jun-11-08 V Iordachescu vs Karpov, 2007
Jun-12-08  DavidD: Based on the comments from others, and many are well-worth reading to see how other players think about a chess position, it is clear most players can EASILY calculate a forcing variation 4 moves deep. The real strength of the master player is to play with enough judgment, experience and intuition to arrive at a position where such combinations are possible. In the game, Black didn't take the strength of 15.e5!! seriously enough and was soon defeated. While I admire the ability to calculate lines, I admire more the ability to carefully and relentlessly build up a winning a position where combinations are possible.
Jun-12-08  zb2cr: Hi <DavidD>,

Most of us will readily confess--we only get these puzzles because we're put at a starting point and told to look for a solution. If we reached the actual position(s) in one of our own games, we would quite likely not see the themes that seem to emerge from these selected puzzles.

I myself will readily admit, in quite a few of the puzzles I have solved, I would most likely not have thought of playing the game line over the board if I reached the position--too much fear of my own inadequacy as an evaluator of lines.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <DavidD & zb2cr>. Totally agree with both of your posts. These puzzles are artificial because you know that there is something to look for.

I try to approach them as if they were part of a game. I ask myself - would I have spotted that a combination was "on" and so invested the time to calculate more deeply? And what are the features in the position that make a combination possible - stalemated king, weak pawns, unprotected pieces etc? If I can spot those features, I am more likely to be able to create them in my own games.

The other trick is to rewind the position to find the critical moment (often some way before the puzzle position), as you have done <DavidD> with your comment about 15. e5. For me, that is much more useful than the usual posts about "got it in a second" or "that was too easy for a Friday/ Saturday/ whatever"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < *** Black didn't take the strength of 15.e5!! seriously enough and was soon defeated. *** >

The move that Black really seems to have overlooked was 17. Bxh7+!. This sacrifice always needs to be considered when White advances a pawn to e5, thereby driving the Black Knight from f6 and opening the Bishop's diagonal to the h7-square, especially when White has a Knight on f3 (ready to jump to g5) and his Queen is able to move immediately to the h-file. If Black had played 16. ... h6 (instead of 16. ... Bxg5?), his position would have been only slightly worse.

The position after 16. ... Bxg5 is a good exercise for analysis. If given as a puzzle, one would almost assume that the sacrifice 17. Bxh7+ "must work", but it is not so easy to verify. Here are the critical lines I was able to find (with silicon assistance): 17.Bxh7+ Kf8 [17...Kxh7 18.Nxg5+ Kg8 19.Qh4 Ne7 20.Qh7+ Kf8 21.Qh8+ Ng8 22.Nh7+ Ke7 23.Qxg8 Bb5 24.Nd5+ Kd7 (24...exd5 25.e6 Rd7 26.exf7+ Be2 27.f8Q+ Kd8 28.Qxe8#) 25.Nxc7 ] 18.fxg5 dxe5 19.Nh4 Nd6 20.Ng6+, etc. (as actually played).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: BTW, in the position after 21. ... Nxf7, White missed the fastest win (22. Bg8 with mate next move), but 22. Rxf7 was more than adequate and probably easier to calculate. The only relevant variation would have been: 22...Qd6 23.Ref1 [any] 24.Rf8+ Qxf8 25.Rxf8#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Wednesday, June 12, 2008 puzzle, White has a mate-in-four with either 20. Ng6+! or 20. Qxf7+!
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