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Aivars Gipslis vs Mikhail Vitalyevich Ulibin
URS-chT (1988), Naberezhnye Chelny URS, Oct-??
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Open System Euwe-Keres Line (C07)  ·  0-1


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Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Monday (Very Easy)

Gipslis vs Ulibin, 1988 (21...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Up a P. The White Kg1 has 2 legal moves, both light squares on the back rank. The Black Qf6 and White Qf3 are mutually attacking, burdening the White Nd4 and Pg2. The Black Rg6 pins Pg2. Thus, Black should remove Nd4, removing all defense of Qf3. The rubber band defense between Bd4 and Qf6 then rescues Bd4. The Black Ke8 is secured from check.

Candidates (21...): Bxd4

21Bxd4 (threatening 22Qxf3)

22.Qxf6 [else, Black has a tempo to rescue Bd4]


White has lost a N.

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: <goodevans:>
<Also, how many bothered to check that the resource 22 Rf4 fails?...>

A good point that I and almost everybody else failed to note.

Dec-21-09  remolino: 21...Bxd4 wins a piece
Dec-21-09  Wade Keller: I like Mondays.
Dec-21-09  Patriot: <<goodevans>: I got it quickly enough, but I actually think this is tougher than usual for a Monday.>

I agree. There seemed to be more to look at than the usual Monday problem. I used 1 or 2 seconds looking at Rxg2+, because it's a check. Then another 1 or 2 seconds looking at Bxh2+. Then I think it took another second to see Bxd4. Or maybe it was Qxf3 first? After that it took about 25 seconds just to verify it works and there isn't anything better.

I would say after 21...Bxd4 22.Qxf6 Bxf6 then 23.Rxh7 Ke7 but that's a moot point as white is already lost.

Dec-21-09  Patriot: <<goodevans> Plenty there for the beginner then! Also, how many bothered to check that the resource 22 Rf4 fails?>

A very keen point!

Premium Chessgames Member
  sethoflagos: 21 ... Bxd4 threatens Qxf3 which the pinned pawn g2 cannot recapture


22 Qxf6 Bxf6 and black is a piece up. The knight coming to e5 has lots of targets (the pin on g2 is still live) and though 23 Rxh7 is available, there's little else.

Dec-21-09  MaxxLange: <Black then opens lines against the white king with the oh so fashionable g5> the game was from 1988. If ...g5 in this kind of French has been "fashionable" for 20 years, then it's main line now.
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: The *idea* of taking the knight with 21...Bxd4 occurred to me the moment I realized that white's queen was guarded only by the knight (since white's g-pawn is pinned).

It was a moment or two later before I confirmed that this was the solution. White can take my queen with 22.Qxf6, but then I recapture -- and save my bishop -- all in one swoop with 22...Bxf6.

Black scoops up a free piece and should win. Good puzzle. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black captures the only viable defender of the queen. However white recaptures,black has yet another cap.

He will win at least a piece.

Dec-21-09  VincentL: In this "very easy" position black has various threats.

21.... Bxd4 wins a piece, since the white knight is the only active defender of the queen, the g pawn being pinned by the black rook.

If 22. cxd4/Bxd4 Qxf3

If 22. Qxf6 Bxf2+ 23. Kxf2 Nxf6

Dec-21-09  VincentL: Woops. Very careless on my part.

If 22. Qxf6 Bxf6

Dec-21-09  xKinGKooLx: This was not as easy as normal for Mondays. I spent quite a while looking at sacrifices before seeing that none of them work. Then, I tried just to win material, and saw the move. Nice puzzle.
Dec-21-09  YetAnotherAmateur: Well, after seeing Bxd4, I was wondering whether that was all there was to it.

As far as why black won, I don't see the castling or lack thereof to have much of anything to do with it. Instead I see a whole slew of mistakes by white (without the benefit of a computer):

- Losing a tempo with Bd3 followed by Bb5 2 moves later, accomplishing exactly nothing.

- Trying to destroy the g5 pawn rather than trying to keep it planted on g5 (where it is blocking black's B, Q, and R from attacking the king).

- 16. Bxd7. Qf1 looks to me to be far superior, by maintaining the R-Q battery on the f file.

- 20. Bf2. I have some guesses as to what white was thinking, but trading rooks here looks a lot better.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <<goodevans> Also, how many bothered to check that the resource 22 Rf4 fails?>

I don't think I specificially checked that move. However, I did notice that black had 22...Bxf2+ in the event that white didn't play 22.Qxf6. (And, of course, black had 22...Qxf3 if white captures my bishop.)

So, I think I can be satisfied that I had that base covered. :-)

Dec-21-09  310metaltrader: Rf4 does not help and black's bishop can "uptempo" the situation by taking white's bishop with check, black has to capture the bishop back and then white's queen can exit stage left.
Dec-21-09  WhiteRook48: 21...Bxd4. so easy
Dec-21-09  MaczynskiPratten: I wonder how many question marks 21 Rh4 deserves. By far the worst plausible move on the board, as White unwittingly self-pins his g2 pawn! Nice to see that a famous 2500+ can do this, there's hope for us patzers yet :-)
Dec-21-09  cyclon: 21.-Bxd4, cufflinks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <YetAnotherAmateur> True enough, white does not play very well in this game. But I'm not so sure about the "slew of mistakes"...

Bb5 "accomplishing exactly nothing"? Well not quite. Black was threatening g4 to kick away the Nf3, then to capture twice on d4. White's plan with 9. Bb5 was probably to meet 9...g4 with 10. Bxc6. To be true, there were other ways to meet this threat, but there is some logic to white's idea.

Trying to keep the g5 pawn planted in place where it blocks black's pieces. How exactly? g4 and h3 both invite h5 and a pawn roller.

I don't see that much to choose between 16. Bxd7+ and the odd-looking queen retreat 16. Qf1. If anything, I would rather have another rook on f1 than the queen. Fritz marginally prefers Bxd7+, and I probably agree. When your opponent has fractured pawns it often paws to liquidate into a king and pawn endgame.

Again, I don't see much between 20. Bf2 and 20. Rxg6. Exchanging rooks gives black the free use of the open h file against the white king. Fritz rates the two moves as about equal, at about -0.57 (for Bf2) and -0.72 (for Rxg6).

Maybe it's time to look again at the wisdom of castling so early....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <MaxxLange> The point is that g4/g5 has become fashionable in a number of openings. I've even seen Gary Lane propose it as a variation of the closed sicilian with e4, Nc3, g4, although I have to say that this just looks plain wrong to me.

Earlier this year, I played the dutch as black against someone who played d4, Nf3, h3 and g4.

I suppose that the computer age is tempting people to try new lines that were previously thought anti-positional or unplayable. Who knows? Maybe one day some super computer will prove that the grob is not as bad as we thought....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <johnlspouge: The rubber band defense ...> Correct mnemonic!
Dec-21-09  turbo231: <johnlspouge> <monday (very easy) black to play and win>.... Is something wrong with my computer? Please tell me where you're seeing....... and win..... at? I cant find it, all I can see is "black to play"!!!..... It took me forever, but I finally found the move, and a very neat move. I was about to give up.
Dec-22-09  YetAnotherAmateur: <Once> valid criticism of my argument, but not quite correct on a couple of points:

- It's not Bb5 that accomplishes exactly nothing, it's Bd3. If the bishop belongs on b5 (which it definitely did, no argument there), and there's nothing to stop it, why not just put it there in the first place?

- Yes, Rxg6 gives black the h-file to use, but black already has the g-file I'm not sure how much you're really giving up there.

- Another move I'm starting to examine is 18. Re1. I understand the theory (get the other rook involved when black's is still stuck in the corner), but in practice it looks to me like white is better off with 18. Rg4 first.

My general impression of white's play is a continuing refusal to meet a threat head-on, even when that would be a reasonable or even advantageous response.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <YetAnotherAmateur>

I think that white played Bd3 for fairly valid reasons. In the advance french, the white e5 pawn prevents a black knight from taking up a defensive posture at f6. So Bd3 eyes up the tasty diagonal to the h7 pawn, which is no longer defended by a Nf6. Many white victories have come from white playing the greek gift sacrifice against the advance french, with Bxh7+ and Qh5+, sometimes with Ng5+ thrown in for good measure.

If Bb5 straight away, black would kick it away with a6. Then Bxc6 deprives white of a fine attacking piece and also allows black the rare luxury of playing c5 twice. And as c5 is the French player's favourite move, playing it twice just has to be good. Bxc6 also gives black the bishop pair and allows black to castle kingside without any greek gift tricks.

So I don't think we can fault white for playing Bd3... it's a pretty standard place to park the LSB in the french. And I don't think we should be so harsh on him for later playing Bb5. I know the books say that you should only move a piece once in the opening, but we do have to react to our opponent's threats (eg g4), which sometimes means we need a second move.

Bb5 makes more sense once black has played g4, because then Bxc6 bc makes it difficult for black to castle on either wing. But Bb5 first would be an unnecessary weakening.

I dislike Rxg6 because it straightens up black's pawns and gives black an easy h file attack. It creates a position where white has none of the play and black has all the fun.

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