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Aivars Gipslis vs Mikhail Tal
Tournament (1955), Vilnius (Lithuania)
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. General (B30)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is a pawn down.

White threatens 48.b8=Q.

Black has two options: one is to push a pawn without controlling the promotion square and the other is to control White's back rank before moving any pawn.

In the first case, 47... e2 48.Rc1 (48.Kf2 e1=Q+ 49.Kxe1 h2 wins) h2+ 49.Kh1 (49.Kf(g)2 e1=Q+ wins) and Black is defenseless against b8=Q. Or 47... h2+ 48.Kh1 e2 49.Rc1 with the same result.

In the second case, 47... Rb1+ 48.Kh2 e2, Black's e-pawn cannot be stopped:

A) 49.b8=Q Rh1+ 50.Kxh1 e1=Q+ 51.Kh2 Qg3+ 52.Kh1 Qg2#.

B) 49.Kxh3 e1=Q and mate soon.

C) 49.Rc2 e1=Q 50.Kxh3 Qg3#.

Jan-15-11  mrsaturdaypants: 47...Rg2+

(a) 48 Kf1 e2+ 49 Ke1 49...h2 50 e8=Q+ (50 Kd2 e1=Q+ 51 Kxe1 h1=Q#) h1=Q+ 51 Kd2 Qd1#

(b) 48 Kh1 e2 49 Rc1 Rf2 50 Kg1 Rf1 51 Rxf1 h2+

Now there are ways for white to lose, but there's one line where white and black both queen, and I don't see a clear win for black.

Time to see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Another five queen game...although the queens are not on the board and the last is in the post-mortem.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <al-Wazir> After <54...e2>:

click for larger view

I don't think your line makes any difference in this case, since Black also escapes after <55.Qf8+ Ke4 56.Qe7+ Kd3 57.Qd6+ Kc3! 58.Qe5+> (only check) <58...Kc2>.

click for larger view

It's funny how the pawn on c5 keeps going from goat to hero to goat again. In the position after <54...Ke2>, White has a tablebase draw <without> that pawn because the queen has additional checking options.

Jan-15-11  montree: Re3! counter blow is really interesting!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: Well I would see the following...

47 ... Rb1+
48 Kh2 e2
49 Re3 fxe3 (b8=Q Rh1+ 50 Kxh1 e1=Q+ mating)
50 b8=Q ...

click for larger view

But now black has a choice keep the advantage of the first move (Rh1+) or try to hold onto the rook and probably fall into a stalemate (e1=Q)... I think the promotion without check is too risky!

50 ... Rh1+
51 Kxh1 e1=Q+
52 Kh2 Qf2+
53 Kxh3 Qxf3+
54 Kh2 e2 (Qg3 loses to Qh1+)

click for larger view

Now this is the crutial position! I think the black king can move to safety between Pe2 and Qf3 without getting mated or stalemated and eventually promote Pe2!

The rest is beyond me, well I probably went wrong much earlier, with 49 ... fxe3 instead of the immediate 49 Rh1+ (but I think the position transposes).

Time to check what I have missed!!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: No Way! Spot on for once! :-)
Jan-15-11  Ratt Boy: Big fun today: Tal is in the puzzle and the GOTD!
I think I might actually have my first Saturday Solution! 47...Rg2+ 48.Kh1 (48.Kf1, e2+ 49.Ke1, h2 50.b8=Q, h1=Q+ 51.Kd2, Qd1+ and mates)), e2 49.Rc1, Rf2 50.Kg1, Rf1+! 51.Rxf1, h2+! and one of the pawns queens, f'rinstance with 52.Kg2, exf1=Q 35.Kxf1, h1=Q+ (with plenty of time to come back to the 8th rank and stop the W pawns). Time to check.
Jan-15-11  VincentL: "Very Difficult".

I was too tired to look at this last night, but letīs see what I can do this afternoon.

In this race to promote, 47...... Rb1+ 48. Kh2 e2 49. b8=Q e1=Q leads to a perpetual for white (I think) if he wants it.

A variation on this, 47.....Rh1+ 48. Kh2 e2 49. b8=Q Rh1+ 50. Kxh1 e1=Q+ 51. Kh2 Qxc3 may even lead to a win for white.

So what stroke of genius did Tal pull out of the bag here?

In the last line, supposing we don't capture the rook on c3, but instead play 51.... Qf2+ Can we reach a mating position here? If 52. Kxh3 Qxg6 mate. If 52. Kh1 Qg2 mate.

So... white must play something else on move 49. not b8=Q.

If 49. Kxh3 e1=Q and black cannot prevent mate with the queen on h1 or g1.

The only other move I see to prolong the game is 49. Re3.

Now I think 49.....Rb2. If 50. b8=Q+ e1=Q* 51. Kxh3 Qh1 mate.

If 49.... Rxe2 50. Kxh3 R38 51. c6. Here I am stumped for the moment.

I canīt see anything better for black after 49....Rb2, so there must be some other continuation at this point. The only other feasible move I see is 49....Rxb3. Now 50. Rxb3 e1=Q+ 51. Rb2 (not 51. b8=Q Qf2+ 52. Kxh3 Qg3 mate) 51.... Qg3+ 52. Kh1 h2.

If 53. Rxh2 Qxf3+ 54. Eg2 Qxb7 winning.

If 53. b1=Q Qg1 mate.

If 53. Rg2 Qh4+ 54. Kg1 Qd8 55. c6 (not Rb2 Qd4+ forking K and R and capturing the b7 pawn a move later). Is this winning for black? 55.....Qb8 56. Rb2 and black has at best a perpetual.

I cannot quite finish this, and my time is up. I will have to check.

Jan-15-11  VincentL: 49....fxe3 was played in the game. I briefly considered this, but thought white could get a perpetual.
Jan-15-11  Ratt Boy: Dang. Missed that, after 51...h2+ 52.Kxh2, and Black queens, but not with check.

I guess that's part of why Tal was Tal...and I'm not.

Jan-15-11  scormus: Defeated today, I never considered 49. Re3. I suppose it would have been too easy if W had nothing bettet than 49 b8=Q. The though that tomorrow will be even harder makes me feel like waiting for Monday. That could be a new strategy - if I cant do a day I dont try the rest of the days in the week.

Maybe Tal combos should only be given as Sunday POTD ;)

Jan-15-11  Patriot: Black is down a pawn, but that doesn't explain the position well. What matters here is the advanced pawns on both sides. And anytime pawns are this advanced, the possibility of tactics increases. Of course in puzzle positions, tactics are usually there anyway. In such positions, it's usually better if you can promote with check.

I looked at various possibilities because there are quite a few. I looked at h2+, e2, Rg2+, and Rb1+. Of those I liked Rb1+ the best. Here's a quick survey:

47...h2+ 48.Kh1 e2 49.Rc1 (forced) and now either 50...Rxb3 51.Re1 or 50...Rd2 which looks pretty tricky.

47...e2 48.Rc1 (48.Kf2? e1=Q+! 49.Kxe1 h2 ) and either 48...Rxb3 or 48...Rd2 which is similar to above.

47...Rg2+ 48.Kh1 e2 49.Rc1 which doesn't look very promising for black.

47...Rb1+ 48.Kh2 e2 49.b8=Q Rh1+! 50.Kxh1 e1=Q+ 51.Kh2 Qg3+ 52.Kh1 Qg2#.

The last sequence looks like a win, but I never considered tossing the rook (49.Re3!?) as in the game. Tricky stuff!

Jan-15-11  WhiteRook48: I missed it, but 49 Re3 stalls the loss
(48 b8=Q Rh1+ 49 Kxh1 e1Q+ 50 Kh2 Qg3+ 0-1)
Jan-15-11  SpoiltVictorianChild: So I saw Rb1+, d2, and Rh1+ to promote with check, and I would have played that over the board, but I didn't go into it KNOWING it would be good. I just didn't see anything else that had any sort of play to it at all.

Come Friday/Saturday, the puzzles get to complicated for me to reason out the exact moves, but I sometimes get the right idea from instinct, I suppose.

Jan-15-11  BOSTER: This is the position after 42...h5 with white to play

click for larger view

After the long strange journey g1-f1-e2-d3-c3-d2-e1 white king returned home. Playing 43.a6, my guess, white would win this game, because only one tempo ahead. One line is:
43.a6 bxa6 44.Rc3 h4 45.c6 h3 46.c7 h2 47.c8=Q+ .

Jan-15-11  wals: Missed that one.

Rybka 4 x 64

White blunder: d 25 : 8 min :
(-2.11):44.Rc3. Best,

1. (-1.24): 44.a6 h3 45.Kg1[] bxa6 46.Rc3[] Rg2+ 47.Kh1 Rg8 48.c6 Ke6 49.Kh2 Kd6 50.Kxh3 Kc7 51.b4 Rg3+ 52.Kh4 e4 53.Rc4[] Rxf3 54.Kg4 Rf1 55.Rxe4 Kxc6 56.Re5 Kb6 57.Re8 f3 58.Rb8+ Kc6 59.Ra8

2. (-1.24): 44.Kg1 h3 45.a6 bxa6 46.Rc3[] Rg2+ 47.Kh1 Rg8 48.c6 Ke6 49.Kh2 Kd6 50.Kxh3 Kc7 51.b4 Rg3+ 52.Kh4 e4 53.Rc4[] Rxf3 54.Kg4 Rf1 55.Rxe4 Kxc6 56.Re5 Kb6 57.Re8 f3 58.Rb8+ Kc6 59.Ra8

White blunder: d 25 : 6 min :
(-#25):47.axb7. Best,

1. (-2.06): 47.Rc1 bxa6 48.c6 e2 49.Re1 Rc2 50.Kh2 Rxc6 51.Rxe2 Rc3 52.Rf2 Rxb3 53.Kxh3[] a5 54.Ra2 Rxf3+ 55.Kh4 Rd3 56.Rxa5+ Ke4 57.Ra4+ Rd4 58.Ra2 f3 59.Kg3

d 19 : 6 min :

1. (-#21): 58.Qa5+ Kc2[] 59.Qa2+ Kd3 60.Qb1+ Ke3 61.Qc1+ Ke4[] 62.Qb1+ Kf4[] 63.Qe1 Kg4[] 64.Qg1+ Kf5[] 65.Qb1+ Qe4[] 66.Qe1 Kg4[] 67.Qg1+ Kh5[] 68.c6 e1Q[] 69.Qxe1 Qxe1[] 70.c7 Qc3 71.c8Q Qxc8 72.Kg3 Kg5 73.Kf3

2. (-#16): 58.Qc4+ Kb2 59.Qh4 Qc3 60.Qf2 Qd2 61.c6 e1Q 62.Qxd2+ Qxd2+ 63.Kg3 Kc3 64.Kg4 Qe2+ 65.Kf5 Kd4 66.c7 Qc2+ 67.Ke6 Qxc7 68.b4 Qb6+ 69.Ke7 Ke5 70.Kf7 Qe6+ 71.Kg7 Qe7+ 72.Kg8 Kf6 73.b5

Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: What an amazing game by Mikhail Tal!

click for larger view

After 57...Kc3!, White resigns in lieu of 58. Qc4+ Kb2, 59. Qh4 (only move) Qc3! (preventing 60. Qe1+), 60. Qf2 Qd2!, 61. Qf6+ Kc2, 62. Qg6+ Kc1, 63. Qg1+ e1=Q+ (forcing the queen trade and leaving Black one queen up) 0-1


Jan-15-11  Patriot: <BOSTER> I thought your line was interesting. Fritz seems to think it is equal, but it likes 43.a6 best.

43.a6 bxa6 44.Rc3 Rg2 45.c6 Rg8 46.c7 Rc8 47.Rc6 e4 48.Rc5+ Ke6 49.fxe4 Kd6 50.Rxh5 Rxc7 etc.

Fritz says that after 43.Kf1 black has just over a pawn advantage (-1.20).

Jan-15-11  avidfan: Considering <BOSTER>'s line that 43.a6 is winning for White since the c-pawn promotes with <check>: if Black ignores the a6-pawn by 43...h5-h4 then 44.axb7 but 44...h3 45.b8=Q is not check while 45...h2 gives the interesting position

click for larger view

Here White is under a mate threat next move by 46...h2-h1=Q while the h2 pawn is protected by the R/b2.

But the Black king is in a mating net. White may win by 46.Qf8+ Ke6 47.Rd6# or 46...Kg6 47.Rd6+ Kg5 48.Qf6+ Kh5 49.Qh6#

Jan-15-11  Patriot: <avidfan> Read my post above. 43.a6 is equal.
Jan-15-11  gourav27: Tal is a stupendous tactician.At the first sight,i did not see a win for white.white is going to sac his rook for gaining tempo.Black Re3 just prolongs the game for few moves.Great game by Tal
Jan-16-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: I had a solution mostly written up yesterday, but was diverted to other things before I could post.

On first glance, even with the move, black appears to be losing the pawn race in this R&P endgame, with white set to get the first queen on the board at b8. But black has a trick to turn the tables:

47... Rb1+ 48.Kh2 e2 and now:

A) 49.b8=Q? (true, white does queen first but...) Rh1+! 50.Kxh1 e1=Q+ 51.Kh2 Qg3+ 52.Kh1 Qg2#

B) 49.Re3! (creating some chance for a misstep by black) fxe3 50.b8=Q

Now black does need to analyze carefully to find the most straightforward win. It doesn't take long to see that 50... d1=Q? 51.Qf8+ Ke5 52.Qd6+ ensures a perpetual check. To maintain winning chances, black must employ the rook sac to promote with check, as in the A-line.

50... Rh1+ 51.Kxh1 d1=Q+ 52.Kh2 Qf2+ 53.Kxh3 Qxf3+ 54.Kh2 d2

All forced. The pawn advances when the black queen is in a relatively mobile spot where it can block checks and assist the pawn. Now it's impractical to lay out a comprehensive set of variations, but a representative line should suffice to show that white has no perpetual check and this is a win for black. The most effective plan is to march the BK to f2 and promote the e-pawn.

55.Qf8+ Ke4 56.Qe8+ Kf4 57.Qf8+ Ke3 58.Qe7+ Kf2 0-1

Time to view the game and kibitzing.

Jan-16-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: Tal varied at move 56 from my line B, but either move works.
Sep-23-15  SimplicityRichard: 19...gxf6! instead of the 'run of the mill' Qxf6. What an interesting concept! Tal, in my view, aims to create a passed central pawn and is thus headed for the endgame. Playing for a won endgame is a style not usually associated with the magician from Riga. Nevertheless in this game, the magician does exactly that, but is afforded the opportunity by the resulting endgame positions, to display his famed tactical genius. #
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