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Alexander Khalifman vs Valerij Popov
St Petersburg-ch (1997), rd 5
Modern Defense: Two Knights Variation (B06)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-07-21  Cheapo by the Dozen: That's a bit different for a Monday! Remove a defender, and the next check is mate. But the pattern is cool because of how open the position looks.

And there's a little pin in there to keep the plan together.

Jun-07-21  Cheapo by the Dozen: I did NOT guess until I'd played the game through that Black never castled. Wow.
Jun-07-21  Walter Glattke: 33.Rxe8 (Rxe8? 34.Nc7#) Qa7 34.Rxb8+ Qxb8 35.Qxd7 f5!? 36.Qa4+ Kb7 37.Qb5+ Kc8 (Ka8!? Qa6+) 38.Qc6 35.-Qb1+ 36.Qc1!? Qc8#
Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: gosh, i was expecting something three moves deep, like Qxe8+, Rxe8, Nc7+, K moves, but ... Nc7#. it's over. i only look for bishops on a sunday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I prefer the continuation 33. Qxe8 Nb6 34. Rxb6 Qa1+ (34...Qxe8 35. Ra6+ Kb7 36. Ra7+ Kc6/Kc8 37. Rc7#) 35. Kh2 Rxe8 36. Nc7+ Ka7 37. Rb2#.
Jun-07-21  stacase: It did take a few seconds to see that it all worked.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Oh yes, I like this. Quite a few features for an easy to solve (Monday) position.

Black can't prevent both mates at b8 and c7, and the ♕ pinning the ♖ on b8 is cute.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: <I only look for bishops on a sunday>. Very nice. Tres drole, monsieur!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop for a knight and a pawn.

Black threatens Rxb1+.

The knight on e8 prevents Nc7#. Therefore, 33.Qxe8:

A) 33... Rxe8 34.Nc7#.

B) 33... Qc6 34.Ra1+ Kb7 35.Ra7#.

C) 33... Qa5 34.Nc7+ (34.Qxd7 Rxb1+) 34... Qxc7 35.Ra1+ Kb7 36.Ra7+ Kc6 37.Rxc7+ wins decisive material.

D) 33... Qa7 34.Bxa7 (or 34.Rxb8+ Qxb8 35.Qxd7) 34... Rxe8 35.Nc7+ Kxa7 36.Nxe8 wins decisive material.

Jun-07-21  Brenin: A pretty finish. The unusual mating pattern meant that this took a couple of seconds more than a typical POTD.
Jun-07-21  mel gibson: I was looking for an easy mate in 2 for Monday. I didn't see anything that easy.
Stockfish 13 says mate in 10.

33. Qxe8

(33. Qxe8 (♕e7xe8 ♕a4-a5 ♖b1xb8+ ♘d7xb8 ♕e8-c8 e5-e4 ♘e6-c7+ ♕a5xc7 ♕c8xc7 e4-e3 ♗f2xe3 ♘b8-c6 ♕c7xc6+ ♔a8-b8 ♗e3-b6 f6-f5 ♕c6-c7+ ♔b8-a8 ♕c7-a7+) +M10/70 26)

Jun-07-21  stacase: <Dionysius1: ...pinning the ♖ on b8 is cute.> Yes and not the only feature of that move. Once you notice that White's Bishop is covering the a7 square, it's a done deal as the evaporated knight no longer covers c7 allowing 33.Nc7#
Jun-07-21  TheaN: <33.Qxe8> and it's done, because one Black piece is taken and another is pinned. Because 33....Rxe8 34.Nc7#, Black will have to find a magic way out, but there are a few pitfalls that I did not all consider.

33....Qc6, protecting c7, but after 34.Ra1+ and mate soon.

33....Qa5 works briefly, but Black still loses a piece and the others don't work well together. After 34.Rxb8+ Nxb8 35.Qc8 +- is curtains.

33....Nb6, attacking Qe8 and preventing the mate in a couple of ways is probably the best try to turn the tide. White will have to be careful and play 34.Nc7+! and now either 34....Ka7 35.Bxb6+ with Qxa4+ +- and 34....Kb7 35.Rxb6+ +-.

Jun-07-21  Refused: 33.Qxe8! took me a bit longer than it should have. Main issue for me was the time realizing that Bishop on f2 is standing guard of a7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Now that was fun. We have at least two winning moves. I was torn between the obvious 33. Qxe8 and the slightly less obvious 33. Rxb8+

33. Rxb8 appeals because 33...Kxb8 runs into 34. Qxe8+ and we have won a piece. Or 33...Nxb8 34. Qxe8! Qxe8 35. Nc7+ Kb7 36. Nxe8 and again we've won a piece.

On balance, I preferred 33. Qxe8 because it seems to pose more problems for black. But either move brings home the point, I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Quotient i von guv Qxe8 gestate accommodate guv i manage botched its tack von guv its quotient brindle i von guv packed its ham evasive fist quits its woke i von guv kevlar lovely von guv i leg jezebel its bovver entice viaducts i von guv either tans its whoosh dippy muzzles flairs totups had gestate gungho hid i von guv not a diffy i von guv hive its cope mediate foggies i von blurry its worth Qxe8 edict!
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I don't mean to waffle on but pancake go Qxe8 hamburger hill!
Jun-07-21  johnnydeep: I eventually figured this one out, but I found it tricky for a Monday since I failed to follow the "first look for a queen sack rule). But after the poisoned queen sack is declined, mate takes a while (9 moves per the online engine), and THAT I of course didn't see to completion.
Jun-07-21  lost in space: 33.Qxe8 Rxe8 34.Nc7#

In other words: what <FSR> said

Premium Chessgames Member
  mjmorri: Black never addressed the Rook/King x-ray on the e file and eventually paid dearly for it.
Jun-07-21  QueenMe: stacase: Really liked the "evaporated knight" lingo!
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Monday queen sac xx
Jun-07-21  ku0826: Triple combination, R,B and N without Q.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: A terrific puzzle. 33 Qxe8 was not the first move I considered, nor the second, nor the third, and so forth. So fourth!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Good to see a Monday puzzle that acts like a Monday puzzle.
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