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Johannes Zukertort vs Berthold Englisch
London (1883), London ENG, rd 13, May-21
Queen Pawn Game: Zukertort Variation (D02)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 5 OF 5 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-24-12  solskytz: <once> but he has - and especially to ghosts of knights!

At one point in his game, an opponent demolishes one of his knights, because he's afraid that the knight, the opening being a sicilian, will maneouver his way to c4 with devastating effect.

Nimzowitsch then comments "I could have supplied him with yet another ghost by playing" the other knight in a way that he, also, starts maneouvering towards that very square!

May-24-12  LoveThatJoker: <Pawn and Two> Stockfish confirmed my idea that 48. Na6 is the best try to avoid repetition after 48. Nd5 Qc6 - if White does not wish to go into the game continuation that is.

I cannot possibly disagree with you when you say that the ending is difficult to win as it also is with the actual game continuation. Your message to me just adds credence to my argument that this is not the best puzzle for a White to play and win scenario.


May-24-12  Patriot: Tough problem! First I had to get past 47.Qb8+, including the line 47...Kd7 48.c8=Q+ Qxc8 49.Qxa7+ Kd6. I thought about <47.Qb5 Qxb5 48.c8=Q+ Kf7> and for a while I didn't see <49.Qxe6+! Kxe6 50.Nc7+ and 51.Nxb5 >.

This is a good one!

May-24-12  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this endgame position, material is even, but the advanced c-pawn and the move certainly look to be winning advantages. I looked at 47.Qb8+ Kd7 where the best continuation I can find is 48.c8=Q+ Qxc8 49.Qxa7+ Kd6! - the *only* saving move and it looks like a draw. I also looked at 48.Nb4 (to try to overload the queen), but black seems to hold with 48...Qd7. So my preferred continuation is

48.Qb5! (winning a piece) Qxb5 49.c8=Q+ Kf7 (... Nd8?? 50.Nc7+) 50.Qxe6+ Kxe6 51.Nc7+

Now black looks to have drawing chances with either 51...Kd7 or Ke5 (but not 51... Kd6?? 52.Nxb5+ wins, getting rid of the troublesome a-pawn immediately) 52.Nxb5 a6 and I am not going to try to analyze either ending from the diagram. However, I would like a shot at playing Crafty EGT from the game position. Time for review...

May-24-12  JohnBoy: <Random, Jim> - after 51...a6 is 52.Nc7 best? I'm looking at 52.Na3 with the plan of giving up the knight for the a pawn when black's king gets over to the queen side. Particularly with Na3-b1, black's king comes to b2, and white plays Nd2-c4+ when black pushes the pawn to a3. Is it known that the king can force the pawn through against a lone knight?
May-24-12  chopin4525: I got this right according to Zukertort and his game combination but when I analyzed the entire game with Houdini I saw this:

Analysis by Houdini 2.0c Pro w32:

1. (#14): 1.Qa4+ Kf8 2.Qb4 Qxb4 3.c8Q+ Kf7 4.Qd7+ Kf8 5.Nxb4 Nc5 6.Qd6+ Kf7 7.Nd5 h5 8.Qe7+ Kg6 9.Qe8+ Kf5 10.g4+ hxg4 11.fxg4+ Kxg4 12.Qg6+ Kh4 13.Ne7 a6 14.Nf5#

2. (1.47): 1.Qb5+ Qxb5 2.c8Q+ Kf7 3.Qxe6+ Kxe6 4.Nc7+ Ke5 5.Nxb5 a5 6.Kf2 a4 7.f4+ Ke6 8.Ke3 g5 9.Kd4 gxf4 10.gxf4 a3

And I'm like "What?" O__o"

Yeah, this is a "medium puzzle"...You need supernatural power like Houdini to imagine there is a continuation infinite times better than the one you and Zukertort found out. My low self esteem grew up enough today. :(

Premium Chessgames Member
  Moonwalker: Thanks <scormus>. Yeah not looking forward to the weekend!

I'm actually not all that new to the site, been visiting for years, I just didn't post much :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <JohnBoy> <after 51...a6 is 52.Nc7 best? I'm looking at 52.Na3 with the plan of giving up the knight for the a pawn when black's king gets over to the queen side. Particularly with Na3-b1, black's king comes to b2, and white plays Nd2-c4+ when black pushes the pawn to a3. Is it known that the king can force the pawn through against a lone knight?>

I like your strategy, but I do not think that 52 Na3 is a good idea to go about it because after 52...Kd4 black's king is in better position than white's king.

click for larger view

Black can even try to trap the knight as b5 is closed off, so your scenario where black's king is on b2 and white can check on c4 and win the pawn on a3 might not be achievable.

I think that white's knight has to stay out of trouble on the upper side of the board to succeed in the plan you've outlined.

I did not verify RV's analysis. I adopted it because his Rybka work has proven to be unfailingly accurate in the past, time after time.

May-24-12  Patriot: <Jimfromprovidence> <From the above continuation by <RV>, hereís one for all of you endgame phobics.> I took the easy way out, looking for the best move. 67.Nf6 is the only attempt to win. 67.Ne3? probably draws since it puts the pawn defender within target distance of the king.
May-24-12  JohnBoy: <Jim> - I certainly thought about knight traps. After 52...Kd4 53.Kf2 Kc3 54.Ke3 (or e2) Kb3 (not ...Kb2 55.Nc4+ & N-a5-b7 and white has much more freedom to give up the knight at a convenient time) 55.Nb1 and we are headed to exactly the situation I foresee. The knight can go to d2. I don't know if black can keep white from giving up the knight, and now the black king is away from the k-side.
May-24-12  stst: Waited too long, I'd opted for Qb8+ to start some fire...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <JohnBoy> <I certainly thought about knight traps. After 52...Kd4 53.Kf2 Kc3 54.Ke3 (or e2) Kb3 (not ...Kb2 55.Nc4+ & N-a5-b7 and white has much more freedom to give up the knight at a convenient time) 55.Nb1 and we are headed to exactly the situation I foresee. The knight can go to d2. I don't know if black can keep white from giving up the knight, and now the black king is away from the k-side.>

These endgames are so tough. I like 53...Kd3 instead of your 53...Kc3 here.

click for larger view

I simply do not see how white can force a winning endgame with 52 Na3 as the starting point.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Two moves after missing an immediate win, 45.Qc3! Qxd5+ 46.Qf3 Qc5/d7 47.Qb7!, Zukertort was confronted with our puzzle position:

click for larger view

Like so many of our chessgames puzzle solvers, Zukertort neatly solved this position, winning a knight for a pawn, with the moves: 47.Qb5! Qxb5 48.c8Q+ Kf7 49.Qxe6+ Kxe6 50.Nc7+ Ke5 51.Nxb5.

Zukertort's clever combination gave him a considerable material advantage, but is the resulting position a win? The position after 51.Nxb5 provides us with a difficult endgame study:

click for larger view

Black can try to defend his position by 51...a6, or 51...a5.

Here is Fritz 13's analysis of 51...a6: (2.63) (32) 51...a6 Nc7 a5 53.Kf2 Kd4 54.Ke2; (3.41) (30) 54...Kc3 55.Nd5+; (3.63) (34) 55...Kd4/c4 56.Ne3+; (5.14) (31) 56...Kc3 57.Kd1 g6 58.Kc1 f5 59.Nd5+ Kd3 60.Ne7 Ke2 61.f4 g5 62.Nxf5 gxf4 63.gxf4 Kf3 64.Nxh6 Kxf4 65.Nf7 Kg4 66.Ne5+, and White wins, as Black cannot capture the h-pawn!

At move 54, Black could also try: (3.37) (30) 54...a4 55.Kd2; (3.78) (32) 55...Ke5 56.Nb5 h5 57.Kc2; (6.25) (31) 57...g5 58 Kd3 h4 59.gxh4 gxh4 60.Ke3; (12.25) (31) 60...Ke3 61.Ke4 f5+ 62.Kd4 Kd7 63.f4 Kc6 64.Kc4 Kb6 65.Nd4 a3 66.Kb3, with a clear win for White.

In this last variation, Black can also try: (5.28) (31) 57...h4 58.Kd3 g6 59.Ke3 hxg3 60.hxg3; (5.58) (31) 60...Kf5 61.Kd4 Ke6 62.Ke4 Ke7 63.f4 f5+ 64.Kd5; (5.81) (31) 64...Kf6 65.Nc3 a3; (9.71) (32) 66.Kc4 Kg7 67.Kb4, and White wins, as his a-pawn is lost.

Black's other main try is 51...a5.

Here is Fritz 13's analysis of 51...a5: (3.27) (32) 51...a5 52.Kf2 Kd5 53.Ke2 Kc5 54.Nc7; (3.66) (31) 54...a4 55.Kd3 g6, (or 54...g6 55.Kd3 a4), 56.Ne6+; (4.14) (30) 56...Kd6 57.Nd4 Kc5 58.Kc3 a3 59.Ne6+ Kd6 60.Nf4 g5; (5.34) (30) 61.Ne2 h5 62.Kb3, and White will win the a-pawn, and the game.

In this last variation, inadequate for Black is: (5.62) (30) 56...Kb4 57.Kc2 f5 58.f4 Kc4 59.Nf8 g5 60.fxg5 hxg5 61.Ne6 f4 62.gxf4 gxf4 63.Nxf4, and White is winning. Black has to hold back the h-pawn, but then his a-pawn, and the game will be lost.

Another main variation is: (3.27) (32) 51...a5 52.Kf2 Kd5 53.Ke2 Kc5 54.Nc7; (3.71) (31) 54...Kd4 55.Kd2 Ke5 56.Nb5 h5 57.Nc3; (5.46) (32) 57...Kd6 58.h4 Ke6 59.Ne2 g5 60.Kd3; (6.74) (29) 60...Kd5 61.Kc3 Ke6 62.Kc4 a4 63.Kb4 Kd5 64.Kxa4, and White has a winning position.

A very difficult ending, but I believe the combination: 47.Qb5! Qxb5 48.c8Q+ Kf7 49.Qxe6+ Kxe6 50.Nc7+ Ke5 51.Nxb5, provided White with a winning position.

May-27-12  ChessMystery: 47.Qb5!! what a cool move...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: In addition to 47.Qb5!, does White have any other winning move? 47.Nb4 was suggested by <sevenseaman & Love That Joker>, but the provided continuations were not winning for White, so it is best to submit the position to computer analysis.

A review of 47.Nb4 by Fritz indicates the position favors White, but unlike the move 47.Qb5!, Fritz did not find a winning continuation.

After 47.Nb4 Qd7 48.Na6 Qd2+ 49.Kh3 Qd7; (.87) (27) 50.g4 Qc6 51.Nb4; (.75) (25) 51...Qd7 52.Qc4 Nxc7 53.Qg8+ Ke7 54.Qxg7+ Ke6 55.Qg8+ Qf7 56.Qc8+; (.71) (23) 58.Na6+ Nxa6 59.Qa5+ Kd4 60.Qxa6, and Black has fairly good drawing chances with either 60...Qe7 or 60...h5.

At move 51, instead of 51...Qd7, Black could also play: (1.11) (25) 51...Ng5+ 52.Kg2 Qxc7 53.Qg8+ Kd7 54.Qxg7+ Kd6 55.Qxh6 Qe7 56.Qh4; (.67) (25) 56...a5 57.Nc2 Qe5 58.Qf2 Ne6 59.h4 Nf4+, and again Black has fairly good drawing chances after 60.Kh2 a4, or 60.Kh1 Ke7.

Computer analysis has verified that Zukertort's combination, beginning with 47.Qb5!, was the correct solution to our puzzle position.

May-27-12  psmith: <chopin4525>
I don't think you had the position set up correctly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Blimey MacRiley; I can see why Englisch had the reputation of being hard to beat. Zukertort plays the opening deeply and gets a good-looking position,

click for larger view

But Englisch hangs on and with 34...e5 manages to get some counterplay.

click for larger view

White could in fact now play 35.dxe5 attacking the d-pawn. After 35...Rxe5 he would have to find 36.f4! But Zukertort may not have wanted to play such a move.

Instead of 40...d3 black could have spread massive alarm, despondency, delay and confusion right through Zukertort's entire central nervous system by playing 40...Qc2!!

click for larger view

Black's queen is intending to go to e4 and then e1 with a perpetual, but is also in position to get the d-pawn to d1.

For example, 41.Ne7+ Kh7 42.Nxd5 Qe4+ probably leads to a perpetual.

Or 41.Nd6 d3 42.Qb7 d2 43.c7 d1Q 44.c8Q Qxf2+!

Even in that final N v P ending Englisch showed he was a hard man to beat. Good game, good game!!

May-28-12  ughaibu: Last night I was having some wings and beer with a coworker after work. There were these two pretty, but kinda fat girls drinking at the bar and being loud. They had what I could have sworn was a Scottish accent. I'm a big fan of girls from the UK, so I struck up a conversation. I asked them, "So... you two ladies are from Scotland?" I could see immediately that I had offended them. The brunette scowled and said, hotly, "WALES!" I apologized and said, "I'm sorry. Are you two whales from Scotland?"
May-30-12  LoveThatJoker: <Pawn and Two> Your references to Fritz in a puzzle position played between two humans - although correct in the sense that you are seeking out the objective truth, and appreciated in that I too am for the objective truth - has no bearing on the best practical tries in the position.

To say that Zukertort's combination is the correct answer to the puzzle to the exclusion of Nb4 just because the computer finds drawing chances at 25/26/27 ply analysis, is not taking into the account the practical component of the game.

If you yourself were on the White side playing this game, there is no way in hell you would see as much as Fritz sees. So, instead of criticizing the work both 7cman and I put in on a good practical try, just try your hand at solving these puzzles on a regular basis and posting your solutions on here like everybody else.

If you decline to do so, then that's your prerogative. But don't come here with your cowardice (hiding behind computer analysis and basing your gutless conclusions on it) and pass judgement on the work that I'm doing; as I am putting in the effort day-in and day-out and I am objectively doing an excellent job as it relates to establishing practical winning tries in the puzzle positions.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <LTJ> You have raised an interesting question regarding puzzle solutions to some positions. Is the solution to be based on best possible play, or could it at times, be based on the best practical chance?

On most puzzles, the best possible play is probably correct. However, in some very difficult cases, like this puzzle, a decision could be made for the best practical chance.

In the game, Zukertort decided his best chance was 47.Qb5, and while computer analysis supports his decision, the practical chances with 47.Nb4 are considerable. I can now see your reason for favoring this move. Thanks for pointing your reasoning for this line of play.

I don't think this question of best move/best practical chance, for a puzzle solution, has ever been discussed on chessgames. It would make for an interesting discussion.

You indicated I should consider posting my solutions here for the chessgames puzzles. I did so for the Khalifman puzzle, but you apparently believed that I did not, and have started to use inappropiate language in your communications to me.

Our communications should remain polite and respectful, I will do so on all future communications, and I hope you will too.

May-30-12  Kinan: Zukertort playing the Zukertort variation against Englisch in London. Enough material for a pun.
May-30-12  LoveThatJoker: <Pawn and Two> I agree with you that our communications should remain polite and respectful - I have shown to you in the past that I am respectful.

You made mention to having provided a solution for the Khalifman puzzle, but it only showed up on your second post on that page. If you review what tends to happen here is that the first post is the solution post and all the other posts after that are analysis/chat posts.

Furthermore, a pertinent quote on there regarding your solution went

"When I reviewed this puzzle, I decided to go with 24.Ra1, thinking that after 24...Rxc6 25.dxc6, I might get something going with the passed pawns, and a rook or two on the a-file.

It was pretty much just a guess, but I was curious to see how Fritz would evaluate 24.Ra1. Here is Fritz's evaluation: 24.Ra1 Rxc6 25.dxc6 (.00) (31) 25...Bf6 26.c4 Qb8 27.Ra6 Rc8 28.Rea1 Kg7, or (.00) (31) 25...Qb8 26.c4 Rc8 27.Ra6 Kf7 28.b4 cxb4 29.Ba7 Qc7/b8."

'Reviewing the puzzle' does not sound like 'attempting to solve the puzzle.'

So if you actually did come up with an answer, great. But objectively you can see where kibitzers would think that on that occasion you did not.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: <LTJ> Thanks for your kind reply. Your points are well taken. I should have used my original wording of reviewing the puzzle. I did not intend to indicate that I had solved it. I did spend a fair amount of time on a determining a plan for the first few moves, but only that far. I hope to see more of your original thinking on this puzzle site.
May-31-12  LoveThatJoker: <Pawn and Two> Thank you for being kind - I appreciate it!

A friend in Chess,


Mar-21-13  DubbleX: amazing tactics
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