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Michael Adams vs Smbat Gariginovich Lputian
EUCup f Ljubljana (1995)  ·  French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Main Line (C09)  ·  0-1
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Premium Chessgames Member
  outplayer: easy to see both ...d2 and ...f4+. Would it be the same if i'd play f4 first?
Mar-02-10  TheaN: Tuesday 3 March 2010


Target: 1:25;000
Taken: 1:05;593

Material: unbalanced, White ♖ / ♗+2♙

Candidates: d2, Re5..... oh, <[d2]>

A typical endgame problem, where Black has definite compensation for the exchange; two pawns of which one is passed, and the Bishop is stronger than probably either Rook. Due to the terrible White coördination, Black should have a way to gain something from the position. Initially I neglected the pawn push d2 because of 52.Rxd2 and nothing next. However, 51....Re5† or any other move results in a foggy situation where it is unclear if White can breakthrough and Black can defend, or in the other way, if Black can create a fatal breakthrough; a draw is the most probable result. So, Black HAS a clear move in this position. Than, it has to be:

<51....d2> White doesn't have any clear countermeasures against this other than capturing the pawn: the c-Rook can't return, and of course 52.Rf1 d1=Q is rather insufficient.

<52.Rxd2> so what is the key here then? Ah, of course.

<52....f4†> you don't get take-out-the-defender moves more easily than this.

<53.Kxf4> any other move loses the Rook just as much.

<53....Rxd2 > and a full Bishop should be enough, although Black should watch out not to trade all pawns. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a bishop and two pawns for a rook. White would probably try to play g3 and Rd2 to stop the pawns. However, the white king (between both black advanced pawns) becomes overburdened after 51... d2 (51... f4+ 52.Kd2 looks more difficult for Black):

A) 52.Rxd2 f4+ followed by 53... Rxd2 and 54... Ra2 winning the pawn on a5 and the game.

B) 52.Rxf5 d1=Q 53.Rff7 Qe2+ 54.Kf4 Qf2+ 55.Rd4+ and mate soon.

Mar-02-10  gofer: Well it looks like a simple case of where white thinks he is protecting against Pd3-d2 with Ke3 and Rf2, but in reality he isn't.

51 ... d2

White must stop the pawn or it will promote

52 Ke2 d1=Q+ winning
52 Rf1 d1=Q 53 Rxd1 Rxd1 winning

Main Line

52 Rxd2 f4+
53 Kxf4 Rxd2 winning

White is now a bishop down and cannot defend both Pg2 and Pa5. Also Pa5 is indefensible, so white will defend Pg2 and lose Pa5 at which point white is now down a passed pawn. So in the end I am not sure when white will resign, it might be immediately after 51 ... d2, but it might be after 52 Rxd2 f4+...

Time to check...

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <51...d2> to channel the rook, followed by <52.Rxd2 f4+> deflecting his guard.
Mar-02-10  A Karpov Fan: got him
Mar-02-10  nuwanda:

for me today a little confirmation of the often mentioned rule with those small little tactics: change the move order

my first thought was 51...f4+ followed by 52...d2, but of course 52.Kd2 is an adequate defence. a little change does the trick, never forget to try...

another amazing small detail how the human brain works: many people here, me too, saw the importance of the black bishop in covering d3/e2. but d3 is irrelevant as its covered by the black rook, the only thing that matters is e2, funny


Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i didn't get it...i was looking at f4 move huh!
Mar-02-10  goodevans: About par for the course for a Tuesday "Easy" puzzle, which begs the question why Adams didn't see it. <51 Rf2> looks like a real stinker to me!
Mar-02-10  WhenHarryMetSally: missed it arrrrrrrrrr :'(
Mar-02-10  desiobu: A case of poor calculation on my part. I saw 51...f4+ and didn't bother to cross-check all of white's responses before looking at the solution.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <goodevans><51 Rf2...looks like a real stinker to me!> Indeed 51. Rf2?? is a loser, since 51. g3 seems to offer good drawing prospects. However, the "real stinker" IMO was 18. Nc1? (instead of 18. a5 ), because it cost White his winning chances and was the source of his trouble for the remainder of this game.

Still, it was a valiant effort on the part of Adams to recover from a near lost position and bring the game back to the point that 51. g3 could have held the draw. Too bad he overlooked 51...d2! .

Mar-02-10  Patriot: I considered 51...d2 first, but after 52.Rxd2 (what else?) I didn't immediately see 52...f4+. So I continued my candidate search and looked at 51...Re5+ 52.Kd2 Re2+ 53.Rxe2 dxe2. I saw nothing there and returned to 51...d2 52.Rxd2 and then spotted 52...f4+, winning the rook.

<agb2002> I'm curious why you calculated the second line, <B) 52.Rxf5 d1=Q 53.Rff7 Qe2+ 54.Kf4 Qf2+ 55.Rd4+ and mate soon.>, since even 52...Rxf5 is winning and doesn't offer a challenge to black's pawn push. No offense intended, just wondering...

<gofer> There's a slight error: 52.Ke2 is illegal.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Well played black he'l put I anticipate the pawns in use and flog the king. It is even stevens up until Kh7. The feature of this position is the bogey cleric and of course the links with the pawns. 51.Rf2 is taking the mic. Hail the power of the passed pawns.. d2 Rxf2 f4 does lift the lid of the roof off.
Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: Missed it.

I thought the right sequence is 51... f4+ and afterwards 52... d2.

I overlooked 51... f4+ 52. Kd2!


Mar-02-10  awfulhangover: First I looked at 51.-d2 but thought that black just play 52. Rxd2 Then I thought 51.-f4+ was it, but no, coz 52. Kd2! Oh, wait! Ahhh! First 51.-d2 and then 52.-f4+!

(A patzers thought-process!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <<agb2002> I'm curious why you calculated the second line, <B) 52.Rxf5 d1=Q 53.Rff7 Qe2+ 54.Kf4 Qf2+ 55.Rd4+ and mate soon.>, since even 52...Rxf5 is winning and doesn't offer a challenge to black's pawn push.>

You're right. The main reason is that I felt curious about White's counter chances along the seventh rank.

I often like to explore crazy/fantasy lines (see for example B Garfinkel vs F Wren, 1933) for fun and to exercise chess calculation and lateral thinking (there's no clock ticking!).

<No offense intended, just wondering...>

No offense taken, of course.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Funny,I saw the solution almost immediately. The king can only guard d2 at e3-the white squares are barred by the bishop. Black "sacs" the pawn to force white to defend d2-then he chases him from the only square he can defend it.

White is lost.

Mar-02-10  Formula7: Got it. 51...d2 52.Rxd2 (the only way to stop the pawn from queening) f4+ 53.Kxf4/Kf3/Ke4/Kf2 Rxd2 wins a rook.
Mar-02-10  Refused: I think 49.Rc1 was the real problem from white.

I totally understand the desire, to free the rook from the burden to block that pawn and leave this duty to the king.

so instead of 49.Rc1 the immediate 49.Rf2 looks a bit more accurate to me. Now black doesn't have that nasty check on f4.

I might be wrong though.

Mar-02-10  jsheedy: 51...d2! White can stop the advance only by losing the Rook. After 52. Rxd2, f4+! forces the King away from the Rook, e.g., 53. Ke4, Rxd2 and wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: After toying with 51...f4+ for a while, and unsuccessfully trying to figure out what to do if white answers with 52.Kd2, my pattern recognition mechanism finally kicked it.

The pattern in question is the one where a king is defending a piece, but it can only defend it from one diagonal square because the adjacent squares are taken away (typically by a bishop, as in this case, or by the king's own pawns). Its a highly vulnerable defense because it's fun and easy to kick such a king.

Anyway, we can set up that pattern with 51...d2 52.Rxd2 -- and THEN comes 52...f4! kicking the king from it's defensive role to win the rook.

Mar-02-10  wals: White played 51.Rf2 (-5.11) which took him from an even game to disaster. Better was g3 (0.00) maintaining the even playing field.

Courtesy of Rybka 3 1-cpu: 3071mb hash: time 4 min: depth 22:

Mar-02-10  Nullifidian: Coincidentally, I had the pleasure of playing the same tactic in a club game last year as Black on the 51st move too. The diagram begins after White's ♔c2.

click for larger view

In this position, I played 51... ♙d1♕+ 52. ♖xd1 ♙b3+ 53. ♔xb3 ♔xd1 and my opponent resigned the game.

That's the same tactic at work here:

51... ♙d2 52. ♖xd2 ♙f4+ 53. ♔xf4 ♖xd2 and Black will be up a minor piece in the endgame, which is more than sufficient to win.

Mar-02-10  reti: very easy. God bless Tuesday.
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