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Lev Alburt vs Andrew Jonathan Mestel
Chess Olympiad (1984), Thessaloniki GRE, rd 6, Nov-24
King's Indian Defense: Averbakh Variation. Geller Defense (E73)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: It is only now, with the benefit of hindsight, that I can see it. :D
Dec-29-07  Chesstalesfan: manic: if 63.Kb1 Rb7 and if 64Qxc3 Bxc3+ The black has more energetic play
Dec-29-07  znprdx: I found 60..h4 but with the idea of Rb7, If 61.Qxf4 Bh3+ 62. Rb2 Rc7+ mates. I thought 61.Rc2 would hold so started looking at the same sequence as <dzechiel:> but with the "quiet move" 63...h4 missing the easy defense 64.Kb1 and fizzle...

Phenomenal: a perfect zugswang after the immediate h4 ...then still being able to play Rc7.... get out the gold pieces once again.

I love the anecdote: thanx <Sneaky> and will surely enjoy studying the position

Dec-29-07  TrueBlue: I still don't understand the urgency of h4 :( I believe white can't play Qh4 to prevent the move because the queen is needed to protect the king on the other side of the board. Sorry guys, I still don't see it.
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Having calculated deeply into the position, Mestel realizes Alburt's exposed King position after 59...Bc5 is helpless, despite the fact that white is "up a whole Rook" in material.

However, before Mestel can launch a decisive attack he must first shore up and defend his own King position with the amazing 60. h4!!, which coincidentally solves today's extremely difficult Saturday puzzle.

One possibility illustrating the importance of the "defensive" 60. h4!! is the "forcing" line 60...Ba3+ 61. Rb2 Rc7+ 62. Bc2, when instead of <dzechiel>'s logical 62...Qxf3= (see <Amarande>'s analysis) the blunder 62...Qc3?? loses to 63. Qxh5+ Kf5 64. Qh7+ Ke5 65. Qg7+ (turning the tables for White by winning the Black Queen and the game with a skewer tactic).

With Mestel's h5 square now protected after 60...h4!!, the threats of 61...Rc7! and 61...Ba3+! are now much more powerful. Alburt tries to escape with 60. Kb2, but Mestel's amazing reply 61...Rc7!! still leaves White hopelessly lost.

For example, in the final position, after 61...Rc7!!, the tries 62. Bc2 and 62. Rc2 both lose to 62...Ba3+! [e.g. 61...Rc7!! 62. Bc2 (62. Rc2 62...Ba3+! 63. Kb1 Rb7+ 64. Ka1 Qd4+ 65. Rb2 Rxb2 ) 63. Kb1 Rb7+ 64. Ka1 Qc3#]

P.S. I'm visiting relatives over the holidays and am without a chess program, so I'll appreciate any corrections or improvements.

Dec-29-07  GannonKnight: Wow ... That may have been the hardest one ever. I still don't understand it. I may have to go to Fritz. The theme seems to be that shoring up the safety of the Black king allows Black to attach without check.
Dec-29-07  GannonKnight: It took Fritz 8 three minutes to figure out that 60 ... h4 was the move. I don't feel so bad about missing it. :)
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A strange position after move 56-black could not make the winning move,as it would have claimed as a draw by his opponent!

In our puzzle,black would like to make threats with his rook,but it is pinned to the h-file under penalty of Qxh5+,forcing a draw or even a win. Black just quietly moves this pawn out of harm's way by pushing it forward. To be exact,the pawn itself would be endangered,but the threats behind its capture would by unplugged.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Could it be said that if black had made "the best move" at move 56,he would have "TRIPPED" into a draw? lol
Dec-29-07  zanshin: <GannonKnight: It took Fritz 8 three minutes to figure out that 60 ... h4 was the move. I don't feel so bad about missing it. :)>

<GannonKnight> Fritz 10 found it in 5 seconds.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Why didn't black play 54...h4 ? Did he have to spend some time thinking about it too?
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: A lot of kibitzers have asked, why 60…h4? Why can’t black just start checking with the bishop or queen and then bring the rook over to assist with the attack?

The answer is that black needs to control the b and c files with his rook without check first, in order to set up the knockout blow. Playing the intermediate h4 allows him to do this. This move frees up the rook and also prevents white from checking black’s king on his next move.

So if black plays 60…Ba3+ or Qc4+ he will be stopped. White has enough resources and will come out ahead on the exchange.

But with the freed-up rook black now has the edge and cannot be stopped.

I had to play out the position several times in order to understand why 60...h4 works.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult) Black to play and win

Material: down a R with Bs of opposite color. Black has a spatial advantage around the exposed White K and White's pieces are not effectively positioned for attack or defence. Tactical motifs include ...Bf2 with Black Q, K, and R on the same diagonal. Black's main task is probably bringing in the R for the attack, probably with check, because of threats against his K position. Queening motifs with Pe5 might be important, and the Pe5 at e6 might help cut off the White K's flight. The Black K can run for cover to the Q-side if Black has a 1-move mate threat (putting White on something I now call a "treadmill" on 1-move threats, having seen the motif a couple of times in puzzles, notably

Ilivitsky vs Keres, 1955

the recent Keres loss in a double R endgame).

Candidate moves: Ba3+, Be3+, Qc3+, Qa3+, e6, h4

Black's basic threat is
60...Ba3+ 61.Rb2 Rc7+ 62.Bf2 Qc3 (threatening Qxg7+, regaining material and further mayhem)

White's counter is Qxh5+ eventually followed by Qh8+ and removal of the Black Q.

White's basic positional problem is that he can not improve his K's defences. All this suggests removing the immediate Q+.

60...h4

Now we just run through the alternatives.

61.a3 or a4 no difference to the threat

61.Kb2 Rb7+ and # follows

61.Bf2 Ba3+ 62.Rb7+ and 63...Qc3#

61.B other no difference to the threat

61.Rb2 Be3+ 62.Rd2 Qc3+ followed soon by # of Black's choosing

61.R other no difference to the threat

61.Q moves off 2nd rank Ba3+ 62.Rb2 Rc7+ 63.Bf2 Qxf2#

61.Q moves along 2nd rank no difference to the threat

61.Ra1 moves no difference to the threat

This solution feels good for a change. (I have had a bad week.) Time to peek.

Oh well, I missed the game line. I will still take 1.0 anyway, just because I can ;O) Time to check the kibitzing.

<patzer2> gives a nice summary of the reasoning, as usual.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <johnlspouge> Congratulations on finding the winning 60. h4!! I couldn't resist 60. Ba3+!? with a premature attack, leading apparently to a draw. However, I was happy that after seeing the game I could figure most of it out without the benefit of a computer chess program.
Dec-29-07  ruzon: Putting myself in Black's shoes, I could barely figure out any moves for Black from about 24 to 42...b5. I cannot understand what Mestel finally saw in the position that made him choose to open it up then. And never mind h4.
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: Well I missed. I ground out the 60 Ba3+ line and got the draw. Against the rook material difference I thought, well, maybe that is the answer; it would after all be sensible where "fighting for the draw" is the theme of a difficult puzzle.

Of course, all that is the wrong answer. 60 h4 is correct.

The game line isn't quite right either, it is suprising how many blunders were in this game. I suspect time pressure. This game was tossed around like a hot potato before the end.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <patzer2>: Thanks a lot. I will not admit to the time I spent on the solution. I took even longer than Fritz 8 :)

Today's puzzle is a great antidote to the widespread solution strategy doing no analysis, picking the most forcing move, and giving yourself a full point 1.0 when the move happens to be correct. From my Thursday hack on

C Bielicki vs Smyslov, 1964,

I now know that when you have the solution, you <know> it!

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <zenpharaohs: I ground out the 60 Ba3+ line and got the draw.>

I also was briefly tempted, to make the opening line in my analysis "Black to play and draw".

Lately, however, I have become noticeably better than the Jester program at evaluating long-term K safety. My wins against Jester strengthened my confidence in my initial judgment that the puzzle was "Black to win". Recalling <UdayanOwen>'s maxims, that your tactics are correct when they further the positional considerations, I concluded that my "threat" was perfect tactically. I then stopped calculating and started analyzing again, to find what I was missing. That's when I realized that White could do nothing to improve his position defensively and saw 60...h4.

Dec-29-07  randallbsmith: <TrueBlue> and <deadlysin> ... does <patzer2>'s explanation make it clear? Black wants to play Rc7 to set up unstoppable mating possibilities, but white can just respond Qxh5, and suddenly trouble city for black. The idea of today's puzzle is to think that extra step: can black first screw up the works on the right side of the board so he is then free to do Rc7? (... and like several others, I didn't ask that question either, BTW :-( ).
Dec-29-07  zb2cr: I followed roughly the same line of thought as <dzechiel>--reaching the same wrong conclusion.

Who was it that said: "For every problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong."? I should have remembered that today.

Dec-29-07  jon01: Hi! Firstly I would like to say that I usually don't spend over 5 minutes to solve a daily puzzle. Therefore I only manage to get the correct answers for Monday to Thursday. Saturdays and Sundays are always the days when I skip quickly to the solution.

However, today it was completely different. I had a nice evening with my father and I decided to put the position on a chessboard. At the beginning we were just playing throught the most obvious moves, like 60. ...Ba3+ and 60. ...Qc3+ and of course noticed immediately that white has a serious threat on h5. Nevertheless these checks didn't bring anything good for black, moreover it seemed like white was much better after few moves. After that I started to think much deeper. I saw that black queen covers square b1 and bishop has a great place, because it can attack a3 and e3 both. The rook is not in good place, though it protects the h-pawn, it is necessarily needed in the attack and I found a really original move 60. ...h4! White can't take the pawn with the queen because of mate and now he is also unable to give check with one move. So we started to check the variations. After trying some moves, we forgot everything and I had a better idea to write everything down.

My first scribbling was the only legal king move. 61. Kb2, we got the most forcing line followed like 61. ...Bd4+ 62. Kc1 Qc3+ and now white had three choices: 63. Kb1 leads to a quick mate with 63. ...Qa1+ 64. Kc2 Qb2#; 63. Rc2 leads to a mate with 63. ...Be3+ 64. Kb1 Rb7+ 65. Rb2 Qc1# and the third possible move was 63. Bc2, that gives white the longest counterplay. 63. ...Qb2+ 64. Kd1 Qa1+ 65. Bb1 Qxb1+ 66. Kd2 Bc3+! 67. Kxc3 Rc7+ 68. Kd2 Rc2#. After analysing all this it seemed like Kb2 is not a good response by white.

After that we decided to look over all white bishop moves. These often lead to a long variations which I'm not going to write here now, but in some lines even that kind of position occured:


click for larger view

And ...e2! is a winning move here.

When me and my father had written down the variations, we finally decided to check. And it was so good feeling when 60. ...h4! was actually played. To our surprise white responded with 61. Kb2 which lead to a quick mates I already described above.

It was a very interesting evening and I'm sure we'll try this soon again. Looking forward to see Sunday puzzle.

Dec-29-07  jon01: Oh and it took more than 2 hours to find all these lines.
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <randallbsmith> <Black wants to play Rc7 to set up unstoppable mating possibilities, but white can just respond Qxh5, and suddenly trouble city for black. The idea of today's puzzle is to think that extra step: can black first screw up the works on the right side of the board so he is then free to do Rc7? (... and like several others, I didn't ask that question either, BTW :-( ).>

Remember. It’s not just c7 where he wants to be able to put his rook, but b7 as well.

It all depends on white’s 61st move. If white plays either 61 Ba4 or Rc2, then 61…Rb7 wins. 61… Rc7 ends up in a draw by repetition in both of these continuations.

Again, black needs the flexibility to move any of his attacking pieces without having to give check at the same time.

That’s why he needs 60…h4 first. That’s the only move that ensures a winning attack for every possible 61st move white can make.

Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <Jimfromprovidence>: I would put the emphasis slightly differently. White can do nothing useful, either defensively or offensively, and can only wait for the storm. Black therefore can shore up his defenses to ensure White has no viable counterattack. Black's attack does not improve because White has to commit himself defensively: it improves because Black blunted White's counterattack.
Dec-29-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <I would put the emphasis slightly differently. White can do nothing useful, either defensively or offensively, and can only wait for the storm. Black therefore can shore up his defenses to ensure White has no viable counterattack. Black's attack does not improve because White has to commit himself defensively: it improves because Black blunted White's counterattack.>

I've already concretized why black wins with 60...h4

1). Black has to play 60..h4 or he will lose or draw.

2). Even if he plays 60...h4 he can still be drawn if he doesn't play correctly thereafter.

3). The reason 60...h4 succeeds is that it enables black to amount an attack without having to check on every move.

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