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Tatjana Molchanova vs Natalia Zhukova
Russian Team Championship: Women's League (2009), Dagomys RUS, rd 1, Apr-02
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-21-09  Crowaholic: <Got it move for move for 5 moves.> It took me 5-10 minutes to arrive at the exact solution up to 36. ..Bxa2, i.e. 13 ply, and I settled on it because it looked logical and winning. Call me T-1000... (Alright, I did use a board. Call me T-900.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: 30...Rf6 31. Ne3 and Black still has some work to do.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: A much quicker way to victory in line A.1.b.ii is 36... b5 immediately, instead of 36... Bc4: 37.Kf2 b4 38.axb4 a3 and the white bishop can't stop both pawns.
May-21-09  randomsac: I spent lots of time trying to get e3+ to work, but I couldn't figure out how to utilize the passed pawn. Oh well, great play by black.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium):

T Molchanova vs N Zhukova, 2009 (30...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: R+2P for 2N. The White Kg2 has 2 legal moves, both on the h-file, suggesting Rc1-h1 supported by Bb7. The Black Bb7 also has a discovered check on Kg2 from behind Pe4. White depends on 30…Bxa6 31.Nxd6 to protect Na6 from Bb7. The Black Rc1 can capture Nc4, however.

Candidates (30…): e3+, Rxc4


(1) 31.Kh2 Rh1#

(2) 31.Kh3 Rd4 (threatening 32.Rh1# and 32.Bxa6)

White must drop Na6, which is no longer protected, to give his K luft.

<[Toga suggests mate in 5 instead:

31…Rh1+ 32.Kg4 Rd4+ 33.Kg5 Kg7 34.f4 f5 35.Nxe3 h6#]>

(3) 31.Bf3 Bxf3+ 32.Kxf3 Rxc4 33.Nb8 [else, Bxa6] Rc8

Black is R+B+P ahead after …Rxb8 Kxe3.

(4) 31.f3 Rxc4 32.Bxc4 [else, drop Nc4]

32…Rd2+ 33.Rxd2 [else, Rxb2]

33...exd2 (threatening 34…d1=Q and 33…Bxa6)

34.Be2 Bxa6 (still threatening 35…d1=Q)

The extra Ps, especially Pd2, give Black a winning advantage.

May-21-09  JG27Pyth: Ideas flow nicely here. Tactical opportunity leads to obstacle -- refinement -- new opportunity.

This is why, I think, many solvers have found the puzzle on the easier side of things despite the unusual theme: clearance of a rank.

The e3 pawn push, and Rxc4 sac both serve to clear the second rank setting up Black's Re2+ promotion tactic.

This would be very hard to find, I believe, if it weren't that one more or less stumbles into it while looking for other things. The interplay of the e3 push and the rook-sac nearly wins a piece or mates... and while exploring that, one happens to note the opportunity arising from the newly cleared check-path on the 2nd rank.

From there it's a matter of calculating that the position results in an easily won ending.

Satisfying. A Thursday puzzle I'm confident I would have found OTB.

May-21-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this open endgame, black has a rook and two pawns in exchange for 2 knights, with pressure on the white king from the Bb7. But how does one take advantage of this battery and also take care of the hanging rook on d6? I had some trouble with this one, because I was initially preoccupied with an immediate 30...Rxc4 (Candidate #1), but this does not go anywhere after 31.Bxc4 e3+ 32.Kf1. I finally realized that the more direct 30.... e3+ wins in all variations by limiting white's options.

Candidate #2:

30 ... e3+

A 31.Kh2? Rh1# OK, no more sui-mates.

B 31.Bf3 Bxf3+ 32.Kxf3 Rxc4 and the trapped knight on a6 also falls to Rc8-a8

C 31.Kh3 Rd4! and white can't meet the double threat of Rh1# and Bxa6

D 31.f3 Rxc4! 32.Bxc4 Rd2+ 33.Rxd2 exd2 overloads the Bc4 winning the Na6 and leaving a won ending:

D.1 34.Be2 Bxa6 35.Bd1 (Kf2 Bxe2 36.Kxe2 Kf8 37.Kxd2 Ke7 38.Kc3 [or a4 Kd6 39.Kc3 Kc5 followed by b5] Kd6 39.Kc4 Kc6 40.a4 h5 41.f3 f5 42.f4 b5+ 43.axb5+ Kb6 winning the b-pawn then marching to the K-side) Bc4 44.a4 (a3 b5 45.Kf2 a4 46.Ke3 b4! also forces an a-pawn promotion) b5 45.axb5 Bxb5 46.Kf2 a4 47.Ke3 a3 48.Bb3 Bc4! promoting a pawn because the bishop is again overloaded.

D.2 34.Bb3 Bxa6 35.Kf2 (Bd1 transposes to D.1) Bc4! wins immediately.

A really nice ending, but not quite as tricky as Saturday's puzzle.

May-21-09  YouRang: Well, I saw 30...e3+ and 31.f4 looks forced. But then I didn't see anything better than 31...Re6, which gets my rook out of take and puts it behind my passed pawn.

I'm thinking that I've got the force to win with this by eventually forcing white to give up material to stop the pawn.

But 31...Rxc4! seems to force the issue more directly.

May-21-09  jfshade: Like many here, I saw e3+ as probably black's best shot, and that f3 was white's only good response. From there, I tried analyzing the Bxf3+, Bxa6 and Rd1 lines, but they didn't look like they went anywhere. I considered Rxc4 Bxc4, but my powers of visualization failed me as I missed the Rook sac on d2, freeing the e pawn and allowing Bxa6. Getting this close is a great incentive to work a little harder on my board visualization.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Saw the discovered check but after that I went off on completely the wrong track.
May-21-09  gofer: okay I think I have missed another one...


Can anyone help me to see the more sensible lines for black than the ones below? This is the second week in a row where I am making things far too complex...

30... e3+
31 f3 (forced from what I can see of the alternatives)

31 ... Rxc4
32 Bxc4 Rd2+
33 Rxd2 exd2
34 Be2 (forced from what I can see of the alternatives)

34 ... Bxa6
35 Bd1 (forced from what I can see of the alternatives)

36 ... b5

Now white has two possible defenses, a) the King tries to defend the pawns from queening, b) bishop and pawn tries to defend the pawns from queening and both attempts seem to fail...

Option 1) King

36 Kf2 b4
37 Ke3 Bc4
38 Kxd2 Bxd2 and black has 2 passed pawns that can't be attacked, so must be winning...

Option 2) Bishop and pawn

36 a3 b4
37 axb4 Be2
38 Bxe2 a4 and black has 2 passed pawns that can't be stopped, so must get a queen!

May-21-09  gofer: Hold it a moment!!! That was the correct combination!!!! On a Wednesday 10 moves???!!!!
May-21-09  gofer: Oh... ...I've been reading the comments and now realise that its Thursday! So maybe a more difficult combination is allowed... ...maybe I should work out the day of the week before I look at chess puzzles...


May-21-09  WhiteRook48: Got it!!
May-21-09  njchess: A bit obvious...
May-21-09  remolino: Seems like a complex position, many themes. Let's define the motifs before we look for variations.

1. Knight on a6 is indirectly defended by bishop, but bishop could be diverted 2. Discovered check with pawn; pawn could dangerously approach promotion 3. White king seems uncomfortable; diagonal could become open and rook could access first rank 4. Second rank seems weak for white

My first attempt was to prevent the connection of the bishop to the knight, but direct attempts fail. The position is too dynamic, white has too many tactical responses and threatens to capture the rook, so black moves most be decisive.

30... e3+ 31. f3 32 RxC4 BxC4 33. Rd2+

Not that difficult because line is forced, but one needs to start analysing variations after 31. f3.

May-21-09  ruzon: Here are my deep thoughts:

30...♖g1+ is a bad idea.

30...e3+ is much better.

30...e3+ 31.♔h2 ♖h1#. Don't go to h2.

30...e3+ 31.♔h3 ♖h1+ 32.♔g4 ♖d4+ 33.f4 (33.♔g5 ♔g7!) ♖1xc4 34.♗xc4 ♖xc4 35.♘b8 (35.♖xb6 f2!) and Black has a comfortable advantage.

30...e3+ 31. ♗f3 ♗xf3+ 32. ♔xf3 ♖xc4 and White can resign.

30...e3+ 31. f3 is most interesting. 31...♖e6 32.♘c7 ♖e7 comes to mind but doesn't look great.

30...♖xc4! 31.♗xc4 e3+ is similar to many of the above lines except that 32.f3 is met with 32...♖d2+!! with White trading Rooks and losing his Bishop on d1. And 32.♔h3 is still met by 32...♖d2 followed by a Rook trade or exf2. That must be it.

That took over 10 minutes. I think I missed TheaN's par time.


Hmm. Does the move order matter? Yes it does! 30...♖xc4!? 31.♗xc4 e3+ 32.♗d5+ and ♖d2 cannot be played before the e3 pawn disappears.

May-21-09  ruzon: Whoops, my post-look comments should say 32.♗d5!.
May-21-09  anupam.mukherjee: First time I got a Thursday puzzle, followed quite a few combinations through.
May-21-09  DarthStapler: I never even thought of that second move
May-21-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: A few neat points from other kibitzers:

1. In the line 30...e3+ 31.Kh3, instead of 31...Rd4 winning material, <agb2002> pointed out that black can force mate with 31...Rh1+ 32.Kg4 Rd4+ 33.f4 f5+ 34.Kg5 Kg7 followed by h6#

2. In the line 30...e3+ 31.f3 Rxc4 32.Bxc4 Rd2+ 33.Rxd2 exd2 34.Be2 Bxa6 35.Kf2:

click for larger view

I went for a won K&P ending with 35...Bxe2, but <agb2002> showed that 35...Bc4! is quicker.

3. In the above line with 35.Bd1, <gofer> suggested 35....b5 instead of my 35....Bc4 or 35...a4 from <agb2002>:

click for larger view

In fact, this works well, except there is a flaw in his 2nd line:

<Option 2) Bishop and pawn
36 a3 b4
37 axb4 Be2(??)
38 Bxe2 a4>

In this line, after 39.b5, white queens with check and should win! Instead of jumping the gun with b4, black should play 36...a4 37.Kf2 b4! and either the a-pawn or d-pawn must queen. Other than this error, nice analysis by <gofer>.

May-21-09  Marmot PFL: I saw all the elements of this puzzle, yet failed to put them together in the right sequence which this Russian woman did convincingly. Maybe that's why i has a losing record against women in tournaments.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A little too deep 4 me. I good conclusion with black ahead the two passed pawns at the end.
May-23-09  SuperPatzer77: <CHESSTTCAMPS> You're absolutely right about 35...Bc4! that I actually didn't see.

White decides to choose 34. Be2 instead of Tatjana Molchanova's move - 34. Bb3 below:

34. Be2 (stopping the Black e-pawn) Bxa6, 35. Kf2 Bc4! (forcing White to give up the White a-pawn) 36. Ke3 (only move) Bxa2

See that 35...Bc4! - if 36. a3?? then Bb3! (forcing White to give up the White Bishop for the Black e-pawn and leaving Black one bishop up)

I'm telling you <Chessttcamps> the truth that I'm unable to solve the problem if White chooses 34. Be2 instead of Tatjana Molchanova's move - 34. Bb3.

Well done, <Chessttcamps>!!!


Jun-01-09  patzer2: For the Thursday, May 21, 2009 puzzle solution, 30...e3+! leads to a decisive passed pawn for Black.
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