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Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu vs Fabiano Caruana
Dortmund Sparkassen (2015), Dortmund GER, rd 7, Jul-05
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Tartakower Attack (C52)  ·  0-1



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Given 15 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

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sac: 28...axb4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-01-16  poulh: I came up with 27 ...a5 but couldn't figure out what Caruana would do if Nisipeanu moved 28 Be7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <poulh: I came up with 27 ...a5 but couldn't figure out what Caruana would do if Nisipeanu moved 28 Be7.> Same here.
Jul-01-16  AlicesKnight: As above - with the outside passed P I was looking for some clever way to liquidate pieces and counter Nd4, but never saw this.
Jul-01-16  YouRang: Friday puzzle: 27...?

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After a moment searching in vain for some tactical brilliancy, I decided that black's best is simply pushing the a pawn <27...a5>, because:

(1) The pawn's path is protected from white's DSB on a5 and a3 by the Nc4.

(2) The pawn gains a tempo by kicking white's DSB to e7 (it's only safe square!).

So, <28.Be7 a4>

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There's nothing to stop ...a3, but after say <29.Kf1 a3 30.Nc1>

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It wasn't clear to me how to proceed (except to be happy about getting my pawn to a3 without much resistance).

Modesty prevents me from claiming that I solved it...


I see that white helped black a bit with <28.Nd4?>. With black pushing a passed pawn, white should have been more alert to promotion tactics.

In this case, <28...axb4! 29.Nxc6 b3! 30.Rxc7>

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White is up a full rook, but in return black has <31...Nd6!>, guarding Pb7 and ensuring an uninterrupted path to promotion on b1 .

Jul-01-16  YouRang: I'm no opening expert, but it seems like white never really recovered from the dubious <4.b4?!>

click for larger view

Black grabbed the b-pawn, and next thing you know, white is resigning because black is about to promote on the b-file.

Incidentally, this illustrates why the Opening Explorer win-loss stats can be misleading. 4.b4 looks great:

Opening Explorer

And yet, Caruana (black) was able to follow a series of moves that turned the stats negative, without white even having to deviate from the "best" moves.

Jul-01-16  gofer: This one is really quite difficult. White has a weak back rank but I don't see a way to exploit it. The only weakness I can see is Bb4 which is currently constrained on the a3-f8 diagonal and can only move e7 if it has to run anywhere. With that in mind, I would play...

<27 ... a5>

28 Nd4 axb4
29 Nxc6 b3
30 Rxc7 Nd6!

Pb3 will promote with check! Any move other than 30 Rxc7 loses the rook to stop the promotion, so I suppose this it the game continuation, but there is an alternative for white...

<28 Be7 Nb6>

Black regains control of the seventh rank and threatens to steamroller Pa5 down the a file to promotion. This isn't a winning move immediately, but seems that black firmly has the initiative...


Wow! I nailed it! But what happens after <28 Be7>? <YouRang> went for <28 ... a4> which I considered, but I don't see it being as clear cut as he makes out the white bishop comes back to b4 <29 Bb4> and things are about to be exchanged off at which point there is no certainty on anything...

Jul-01-16  stacase: After flailing around it looked like pushing the a Pawn might be it. But I chose 29...xc3 instead of 29...b3.
Jul-01-16  WickedPawn: <Penguincw: Happy Canada Day to the Canadians on this site!>

Nice gesture.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!!!

Jul-01-16  The Kings Domain: Not the usual kind of puzzle, and a seemingly bland one which leads to a skillful and clever finish by Caruana.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <poulh: I came up with 27 ...a5 but couldn't figure out what Caruana would do if Nisipeanu moved 28 Be7.>


Jul-01-16  sfm: <You rang: ...It wasn't clear to me how to proceed (except to be happy about getting my pawn to a3 without much resistance).> Nice analysis, and thanks for the diagrams. In the position referred to, simply 30.-,Ne5 looks devastating.
Jul-01-16  Patriot: I decided on 27...a5 but didn't see that sequence coming!
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <Friday> is my 2nd favorite F word. :(
Jul-01-16  diagonalley: didn't even consider 27.... P-QR4 <diagonalley>: nul points :-(
Jul-01-16  wtpy: You rang, it seems in your final position where the knight has retreated to c1 that black can play ne5 attacking rook and attacking d3, then grab the pawn on c3 with his rook and push b pawn to win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Breakaway! Black's B-pawn will queen.
Jul-01-16  YetAnotherAmateur: I only get partial credit on this one, since I saw the first move and the beginnings of the game line, but not the full continuation to a clear advantage.

My first thought was to look for a back-rank mate via Ra6-a1. Alas, white can thwart that plan with a simple g3, and there's no way for white to cover that square.

Then I looked at forcing moves. Alas, Bxh2 goes nowhere useful.

So I hunted for other assets black might have, and saw the passed a-pawn. What happens if we push it? 27. ... a5

That leaves white with only a couple of reasonable alternatives: A) run with 28. Be7

or B) counterattack with 28. Ne4

Of the two, I saw 28. Be7 more likely, due to the lurking threats involving Bf6, Ne4, then Rxc7-c8#. However, white doesn't have time to pull that off, and that means they have nothing on hand to stop black's a-pawn from promoting.

Jul-01-16  YouRang: <sfm> <wtpy> Regarding my posted line: <27...a5 28.Be7 a4 29.Kf1 a3 30.Nc1>, you've proposed that black continue with <30...Ne5>

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Checking this out, we have <31.Rd1 Rxc3>

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Black is certainly better, but it's still not real clear about how to promote.

For example: <32.Bb4> attacks the Rc3, and it has to move off the 3rd rank, allowing <32...Bxa3>.


Checking with my engine, perhaps black's best (but complicated) option would be: <30...Bd6>

<31.Rxb7 Na5 32.Ra7 Bxe7 33.Rxe7 34.Na2 Rb3>

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It may continue: <35.Ra7 Nc6 36.Ra8+ Kg7 37.g3> (make safe square at g2 for K, avoiding ...Rb1+ Ke2 ...Rb2+ forking K+N) <37...Ne5 38.Ra5 Nd3>

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Now it appears that black can start walking his K to the queenside to help with promotion tactics. For white, bringing his king to the queenside is a problem, because <Ke2? ...Nxf2! Kxe2 Rb2+> )

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Several others have noted the similarity of the conclusion of this game to two famous games from the 1930’s: Tylkowski vs A Wojciechowski, 1931 and M Ortueta Esteban vs J Sanz, 1933, including some comments that were very witty.

The play leading to the unstoppable Black passed b-pawn was, if not strictly “forced”, at least “best” <AFTER> White played 28. Nd4.

The conclusion would have been much less clear-cut if White had played 28. Be7. Black still emerges with a big (probably winning) advantage, but in that variation, the puzzle takes on a positional character, as distinguished from the tactical nature of the game continuation. It seems to me it would have been a better-conceived puzzle if (rather than the position after 27. Ne2) the given position were the one after 28. Nd4:

click for larger view

Jul-01-16  YouRang: <Peligroso Patzer><It seems to me it would have been a better-conceived puzzle if (rather than the position after 27. Ne2) the given position were the one after 28. Nd4:>

Definitely! Good point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is identical.

White threatens 28.Nd4 Ra6 29.f3 Bb6 30.Rxb7.

I've been unable to find anything decisive. My first idea was to try to trap the white bishop, then to push the a-pawn and also to try to exploit White's back rank but couldn't make them work.

Jul-01-16  sfm: <YouRang: Regarding my posted line...> Impressive analysis. The conclusion is clearly that against best defense, 28.Be7 it is still hard, and that today's nut to crack was to spot why the obvious 28.Nd4 was the fast way downhill. There you go!
Jul-01-16  mel gibson: DR4 64 bit agreed with the text solution

27... a5

This was a hard puzzle.

Jul-01-16  JimmyRockHound: Well played Sir! My silicon couldn't find a5 without prompting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Caruana hit him with the ol' "Fried Liviu Attack"
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