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Yuri Averbakh vs Viktor Korchnoi
"Here Comes The Queen" (game of the day Sep-01-2018)
Yerevan (1965), Yerevan URS, rd 2, Sep-18
Indian Game: Przepiorka Variation (A49)  ·  0-1


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Given 29 times; par: 64 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-30-03  suenteus po 147: If 40.Kxc1 then h2 and 41...h1/Q. And if 40.f2 then Rf1 and an unstoppable h1/Q. One of the coolest sacrifices I have ever seen. A one move delay that brings the whole of Averbakh's pawn advantage down on his poor head. Here comes the queen indeed :)
May-30-03  MoonlitKnight: 38. Kc2 seems like a terrible blunder. Why move the king into range of a check and ignore the threat of the advancing pawn? Simply 38. f3 to open for the knight on f2 would have been better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black's brilliant final move is usually only seen in chess problems. White has two choices to capture-both bad!

This is a far more subtle version of Marshall's "gold piece game"-where he puts his queen into a place where it could be captured three ways-all leading to mate or fatal loss of material.

Dec-18-04  aw1988: I remember watching this... when Rc1 was played I thought "O Lord, the blunder of the century".
Premium Chessgames Member
  tpstar: Notice how the final move is annotated = "39 ... Rc1!" which is exceedingly rare for these gamescores.

You watched Short vs Krasenkow, 2004 right?!

Dec-18-04  kostich in time: It is an amazing final move by Korchnoi...perhaps almost as a mazing is the fact that Victor played the Kings Indian
Dec-18-04  samvega: 38.Kc2 was to avoid 38..h7 39.Rb1 Rxa2+ 40.Nb2 Rxb2+.

I agree 38.f3 would have been better, but 38.f3 h7 39.Nf2 Re4+ 40.Kc1 Ne3 followed by Re1, and black will win the knight by promotion. I'm not sure how to evaluate the position from there, since white will then win the a6 pawn.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <samvega>:
<38.f3 h7 39.Nf2 Re4+ 40.Kc1 Ne3 followed by Re1, and black will win the knight by promotion.>

Actually, 38. f3 h2 39. Nf2 Rd4+ 40. Kc1 Ne3 41. Rd2! prevents this. So I think Black's correct approach is 38. f3 h2 39. Nf2 Rd4+ 40. Kc1 Nc3! 41. Rd2 Rxd2 42. Kxd2 Nxa2, which looks like a sure win with those two wing pawns to tie down White's pieces.

As for your other comment,
<I'm not sure how to evaluate the position from there, since white will then win the a6 pawn.> White cannot do this, because 41. Rb6? Nd1 42. Nh1 Ne3 43. Nf2 Rd1+ 44. Kb2 Rf1, Black can get rid of the knight without trading the h-pawn for it. The h-pawn would then soon queen.

Dec-20-04  Rama: Korchnoi found a way to turn the game around. On move 25 black is in trouble with the white invasion. On move 30 everything is under control.

I have Averbach's book on tactics -- it helped me a lot. Perhaps it was games like this that helped focus his interest in the topic!

Mar-06-05  aw1988: <tpstar> That was not the blunder of the century. That is the 20th century, whereas the Short move was the 21st. Of course, the blunder of the 20th century I believe is Reshevsky's 40. Qxg6+?? (Mate!).
Jan-11-06  THE pawn: Has this been a puzzle of the day game? that would be an awesome black to move and win.
Mar-08-06  LluviaSean: wowowow!!! that rook sac was great.
Jul-09-07  sanyas: Who would think, after 14.♖fd1, that Black was going to win this game?
Dec-08-07  notyetagm: <LluviaSean: wowowow!!! that rook sac was great.>

Position after 39 ... ♖c4-c1!!:

click for larger view

Yes, this is my standard example for the tactic I call <UNSUPPORTED INTERFERENCE LINE-CLOSING>.

Korchnoi's brilliant 39 ... ♖c4-c1!! <BLOCKS> the first rank so that the White b2-rook cannot use this rank to defend the h1-promotion square of the Black passed h3-pawn.

The point is that the line stays(!) <BLOCKED> if White captures the Black c1-rook with either his White d2-king or White d3-knight. For example, 40 ♔d2x♖c1 h3-h2 and the pawn queens.

(VAR) Position after 40 ♔d2x♖c1 h3-h2:

click for larger view

Notice that the Black rook did -not- need to be -supported- when it <BLOCKED> the first rank on c1 because the defending line piece (White rook) was not -already- on that line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Whenever you face the pawn-structure

click for larger view

like in this game after <35...h4>

click for larger view

your alarm bells should start ringing in your head as the follow-up threat of <...g4> is in the air.

Your will find many <<shining examples <<>>>> in

<Tim Krabbe's <open chess diary>>

under <# 322. 17 August 2006: A move rarely seen>

Dec-08-07  notyetagm: <whiteshark: Whenever you face the pawn-structure>

Good point.

Dec-08-07  notyetagm: <whiteshark: Whenever you face the pawn-structure>

So this game is really a tremendous endgame lesson from Korchnoi.

First he uses the pawn breakthrough described above to create an outside passed pawn with 36 ... g5-g4!.

And then he promotes the outside passer that he just created with the rook sacrifice 39 ... ♖c4-c1!!.

This is how you defeat a strong player like Averbakh.

Dec-08-07  Towershield: <notyetagm> you might have seen it before, but here is a game in which Korchnoi played a similar tactic (-Bd3!):

R Fuchs vs Korchnoi, 1965

Dec-09-07  notyetagm: Game Collection: Pawn breakthroughs

click for larger view

click for larger view

click for larger view

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May-13-09  sleepyirv: Well, puzzles are quite easy if you know the game already.
May-13-09  Terry McCracken: 39..Rc1! and the h-pawn will Queen by force.
May-13-09  AnalyzeThis: Just a beautiful game from Korchnoi.
May-13-09  eatingcake: Hello everyone! I'm a long time lurker, first time kibitzer. For today's puzzle, I spent several minutes on 39...Nc3, but I couldn't find a way to make it work after 40. f3 h2 41. Nf2.

Rc1 eventually popped out at me, but I missed 40. f3 h2 41. Nf2 Rf1, settling on 41...h1=Q instead.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: OK, I suppose this is a heresy, but IMO calling ...Rc1 brilliant is a huge overstatement. This is basically a one-mover. It's obvious any winning chances must involve the h pawn, which is only two squares from queening. So, first see if there is a way to promote that pawn, and Lordy, dropping the rook on the first rank does the trick.

I have to admit, though, the final ten moves are amusing. At move 30, Averbakh's king is on g2, and the position is looking rather drawish. Over the next ten moves, his king runs to the other side, the Black pawns advance, and, oops, after 36...g4! suddenly White has to be wishing he left his king on the kingside.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to move (39...?). White is up a pawn. "Medium/Easy."

While which has an "extra" pawn, it is doubled on the g-file, while at the same time black has a very dangerous passed h-pawn.

It really seems like the solution to this problem will be to make it such that the white rook will be unable to cover h1. With this in mind, it looks like we start with...


This deprives the white rook of b1. Now black seriously threatens 40...h2 and 41...h1=Q. White has to put the brakes on this idea.

40 f3

At first glance this looks like the saving move. It not only provides the white knight with access to f2 (which allows it to cover h1), but it also stops the knight check on e4 which would disrupt white's defence.

40...h2 41 Nf2

It looks like white HAS managed to hold it all together. Nuts! This line is fine for white.

OK, time to rewind and start over. The best way to prevent the white rook from covering h1 is...


This is two days in a row when I have gone down the wrong path only to find a dead end. But the simple threat now is 40...h2 and 41...h1=Q. White can capture the black rook with either the king or the knight, but in doing so will make it impossible to catch the h-pawn.

Nope, white doesn't have time to take the rook.

40 f3 h2 41 Nf2

Now here black can play the prosaic 41...h1=Q 42 Nxh1 Rxh1 going up a piece for two pawns. Or black might try


This line may be risky, but it could also be fine. It might go

42 a3 Rxf2 43 Rb1 Rxe2+

leaving black up a full piece. I dunno, perhaps the safest line is best.

Time to check.

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