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Viacheslav Ragozin vs David Bronstein
USSR Championship (1945), Moscow URS, rd 15, Jun-25
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Tartakower Attack (C52)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-10-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: My answer was as follows:


Material is basically even, but Black threatens mate with ... Rxh3+, and 36 gxf3 does nothing to stop it.

So I'd try 36 Nf4. Black's only reasonably looking tries are:

36 ... Bxf4 -- but that allows 37 Rd7+ and mate next.

36 ... Rxf4 -- but that allows 37 Rxd6, and Black can't cover both the Qb6+ and Rd7+ threats.

36 ... Qh4 37 gxf3 Qxf4 creating a different mate threat than before. (I'd probably try 38 Re7+ Bc7 39 Kg1, running for e2. I'm not sure whether that wins, but it seems a lot better than White's alternatives.)


I'll give myself credit for a success, as I'd have played the right move for the right reasons.

Sep-10-15  Steve.Patzer: My mistake. I thought it was black to move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  poulh: I don't see mate next in:

36 ... Bxf4 -- but that allows 37 Rd7+ and mate next.

37 Re7+ leads to mate

Sep-10-15  raviarun: <pilobolus: Would Nc5+ worked to?> Nc5+ Qxc5 would probably delay mate
Premium Chessgames Member
  Moonwalker: I only considered 36.Nc5+. If Bxc5 then 37.Rd7+ followed by 38.Qc7#. If 36...Ka7/b8 mate quickly follows. 36...Kc6 and Kc8 gave me trouble and I didn't know how to proceed. After 36...Qxc5 I was completely stumped so I gave up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a knight for a bishop.

Black threatens 36... Rxh3+ 37.gxh3 (37.Kg1 Rh1#) 37... Qxh3+ 38.Kg1 Rg8#.

A quick suicide is 36.gxf3 Qxh3+ 37.Kg1 Rg8#.

The knight and bishop hinder the action of the white rooks. This suggests 36.Nc5+ but after 36... Qxc5 37.gxf3 Qf5 (37... Qh5 38.Re7+ Bxe7 (38... Kc6 39.Rxd6+ Kxd6 40.Qc7#) 39.Rd7+ and mate next) 38.Kg2 Rg8+ looks losing for White.

The alternative is 36.Nf4:

A) 36... Bxf4 37.Re7+ Kc6 (else 38.Q(R)d8#) 38.Re6+ Kc5 39.Rd5+ wins decisive material (39... Qxd5 40.cxd5 Kxd5 41.Qa2+ wins the rook on f3).

B) 36... Rxf4 37.Rxd6 and the triple threat Re7+, Rd7+, Qb6+ wins.

C) 36... Qc5 37.gxf3 (37.Rd5 looks also winning) seems to win decisive material since 37... Bxf4 38.cxb5 looks very bad for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: I still like 36. Re7+ (my move), though it's not as good as 36. Nf4:

A) 36...Bxe7 37. Nc5+ Qxc5/Bxe5 38. Rd7+ Kc6 (38...Kb8/Kc8 39. Qd8#) 39. Qc7#.

B) 36...Kc6 37. cxb5+ axb5 38. Qxa8+ Kb6 39. Qa7+ Kc6 40. Qb7#.

C) 36...Kc8 37. Ne5 Rxh3 + 38. gxh3 Qxh3+ 39. Kg1 Bxe7 40. Rd7 Qxd7 41. Nxd7 Kxd7 42. cxb5 Bd7 43. Qd2+ Kc8 44. bxa6 Rxa6 45. Qc2+ Bc7 46. Qxh7, and I'm going to claim a win here.

Sep-10-15  lentil: I solved this one instantly... as Black-to-move!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: <36 Nf4+ ...>

36 ... Rxf4
37 Rxd6

black has no attack and white has huge mating possibilites with Re7+, Rd7+, Qb6+ and even Rb6+...

36 ... Qxh3+
37 Nxh3!

36 ... Rxh3+
37 gxh3!

black is now forced to play Bxf4 as the queen moves cannot support Bd6! So this transposes to playing Bxf4 immediately...

<36 ... Bxf4>

<37 Re7+ Kc6> (Bc7 Qxc7# or Kc8/Kb8 Rd8/Qd8#)

<38 Re6+ ...>

38 ... Kb7
39 Qb6+ Kc7
40 Rd8#

38 ... Bd6
39 Rexd6+ Kc5 (Kb7 40 Qb6+ Kc7 41 Rd8#)
40 R6d5+

<38 ... Kc5>
<39 Rd5+ Qxd5>
<40 cxd5 ...>

click for larger view

At this point black is losing but still may try for a swindle...

40 ... Rxf2
41 Qb6+ Kxd5
42 Qxf2 Kxe6
43 Qxf4 ...

click for larger view

Black is on a hiding to nothing...


Hmmm, was there something I missed?! Why did black walk into the worst option?

Premium Chessgames Member
  cocker: 36 ... Ra3 is an interesting try. White can simply play 37 Rxd6 or 37 Re7+.
Sep-10-15  dfcx: Black can play Rxh3+ mating next. So white must act fast. There are two checks available to white: Nc5+ and Re7+.

36.Nc5+? Qxc5 37.Re7+?? Bxe7 38.Rd7+ Kc8 and white runs out of steam.

click for larger view

36.Re7+? Bxe7 is not any better.

So we need something different.

A. 36...Rxf4 37.Re7+ Kc6 (Bxe7 38.Rd7+ mates) 38.Rxd6+ Kc5 39.Rc6+ and mates next

B.36...Bxf4 37.Re7+ Kc6 38.Re6+ Kc5 39.Rd5+ wins the queen for a rook.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Looking at today's Thursday puzzle (36. ?) all I could see at first was Black forcing mate after variations like 36. c5?? 36...Rxh3+ 37. gxh3 Qxh3+ 38. Kg1 Rg8#.

Then for some reason I thought of the aphorism "desperate times call for desperate measures."

Obviously since it's a puzzle, I figured the solution was not for White to tip his King over and resign. So there must be some clever desperado defensive/attacking move available.

That's when I hit on the idea of 36. Nf4! Yep! That works! After 36. Nf4!, it's Black who has to try and figure out how to get out of trouble.

P.S.: According to the aphorism "desperate times call for desperate measures" likely originated with ancient Greek Physician Hippocrates' version "For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Steve,

Understandable you thinking it was a Black to move puzzle.

click for larger view

It certainly looks like a Monday Black to play puzzle and then you see the name 'Bronstein' it must be Black to play. 1..Rxh3+ mates. Solved!


I found two other games played after the Bronstein games where 7...Nh6 was played. Both White wins.

We need a gladiator to step up to the plate and play Bronstein's idea and win with it.

I've got Carlsen's mob number but he is not taking my calls anymore.....anybody got Nakmura's mob number?

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: 36.Nf4 is such an obvious and versatile move that I looked for something better... only to lose everything but the kitchen sink
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <36.Nf4> saves the day
Sep-10-15 With "White to move" puzzles I always first ask "what move can White make to hammer Black?". My first try was Ne5, which wasn't too bad, but fortunately I also asked "but what can Black do to White?". Since Ne5 isn't sufficiently forcing to forestall Rxh3+, I finally hit on Nf4 to cover h3. It all fell into place after that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White needed to throw a monkey wrench into black's attack before his attack could proceed.
Sep-10-15  BOSTER: On The front page< The Sorceres's Apprentice > you read "Improve your chess with the great D.Bronstein". 7...Nh6 is this wrong, or <his pet line 7...Nh6 is still viable>?.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Mid f4 lare wins piece then c5 queen an f3.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Possible at resurge and reenter registers right reignition as left off rook plum dress source eg f3 at biff ive queen lady g5 it's good again as can carry back sway vows give quad one f4 lare every am good chance infer cutoff point ash camp clean aim blow duo bind am cad i among bet dead i dipoff an bet huffle an shuffle go build three houses like milarepa land stones frugals fatefuls again learn am line elegy rates ein famile eg often dead delve spar elegy rate free ebber thin as pick an aid better glide i do at cream i be at cutoff point an bet i beset a good quotient back an eg liege nt infer tile ground glorify oh door as put as hone monarch angles b7 arrive spark b6 among buffets mate at one get dutiful crum pivot able vet bruv dim free muff knight off f4 lare good dark mammoth task eline an deline fatefuls again learn d6 angle dipoff bin edit ok ave ogles am duo deline act dead inter glides curious am bind as am done knight frees d6 rook deal ash focus 35...Rf3 offer tile ground beet.

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Sep-10-15  northernfox: Woo Hoo! I solved Monday through Thursday this week. I better quit while I am ahead.
Premium Chessgames Member
  unferth: <dfcx: Black can play Rxh3+ mating next. So white must act fast. There are two checks available to white: Nc5+ and Re7+.

36.Nc5+? Qxc5 37.Re7+?? Bxe7 38.Rd7+ Kc8 and white runs out of steam.

36.Re7+? Bxe7 is not any better.>

after Qxc5, I don't think the rook on f3 is immune. looks to me like white can at least survive after gxf3, e.g. 36 gxf3 Bc7 38 Qe2, etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <qqdos: <DrGridlock> According to Bronstein's book 200 Open Games of 1970, he"had fancied that things would turn out differently: after the loss of his KBP (9.Bxf7) Black would have an extra line of attack, and the menacing black rooks would surge relentlessly and irresistibly into White's camp." It didn't happen that way due to Bronstein's own errors, but

<his pet line 7...Nh6 is still viable>.>

I hope this opinion becomes widely shared. Maybe Bronstein was just trying to keep the Evans alive.

Sep-10-15  BOSTER: < DrGidlock: I'm not sure what Bronstein's idea was behind the defence>. May be this great idea was years ahead of his
Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this two-way attacking position, white has a knight for a bishop. Black has serious force directed at the white castled position, but the exposed king and passive Ra8 is a handicap. Nonetheless, black threatens to force mate with 36... Rxh3+ 37.gxh3 Qxh3+ 38.Kg1 Rg8#. White can't accept the rook offer for the same reason: 36.gxf3?? Qxh3+ 37 Kg1 Rg8#. An active counter is white's best option:

36.Nf4!! attacks h5, defends h3, and opens attacking lines.

A.36... Bxf4 37.Re7+ Kf6 (Kc8/b8 38.Rd8#) 38.cxb5+ Kc5 39.bxa6+ wins the BQ.

B.36... Rxf4 37.Rxd6 and the double threat of 38.Qb6+ and 38.Re7+ is deadly, for instance:

B.1 38... Re8 39.Qb6+ Ka8 (Kc8 40.Rc6+ is similar) 40.Qxa6+ Kb8 41.Rb6+ Kc7 42.Rb7+ Kc8/d8 43.Qa8#

B.2 38... Qc5 39.Re7+ forces mate.

B.3 38... Rf7 39.Qb6+ Kc8 40.Rd8#

C.36... Qc5 37.gxf3 Bxf4 38.Rd7+ Kb8 (Kc6 39.Qc7#) 39.Qd8+ Qc8 40.Qb6+ Qb7 41.Qxb7#

D.36... Qf5 37.Rxd6 Rxf4 38.Re7+ forces mate.

I also considered 36.Nc5+ (and might well have played it OTB) Qxc5 37.gxf3, where 37... Qf5 appears to cause trouble for white.

Time for review....

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