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Lajos Portisch vs Heikki Westerinen
Halle Zonal (1963), Halle GDR, Jul-??
Benoni Defense: Old Benoni (A43)  ·  1/2-1/2
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-19-08  TrueBlue: got it right away, not that difficult ...
Dec-19-08  zzzzzzzzzzzz: early in the middlegame, white has the initative, but he seems to lose it
Dec-19-08  mkrk17: The solution looks so obvious. I guess some manual like Dvoretsky's endgame manual might have the logic behind the move, and what happens in case of any other move.

I guess such positions dont really tickle the tactical bone.

Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <dzechiel> I always find your explanation of your own thinking illuminating, but especially in this case (because it illuminates this very interesting problem as well). Thanks!
Dec-19-08  arnaud1959: An idea later used successfully by Korchnoi against Petrosian in their last candidates match. But I didn't find that game in the database.
Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The obvious 72... Kxh4 seems to fail miserably: 73.Kxf5 Kg3 74.Kg5 h4 75.f5 h3 76.f6 h2 77.f7

A) 77... a2 78.f8=Q a1=Q 79.Qf4+ Kh3 80.Qh4 mate.

B) 77... h1=Q 78.Bxh1 (78.f8=Q Qxd5+) a2 79.f8=Q a1=Q 80.Qf4+ Kh3 81.Qh4 mate.

Perhaps 72... Kg4 can save the game:

A) 73.Be6 Kxf4 74.Kxh5 Ke5 75.Bc4 Kd4 76.Be6 f4 77.Kg4 Ke4 78.h5 f3 79.h6 f2 80.h7 (80.Bc4 a2 81.Bxa2 f1=Q winning) f1=Q 81.h8=Q Qg1+ 82.Kh4 Qh2+ 83.Bh3 Qf2+:

A.1) 84.Kg4 Qf4+ 85.Kh5 Qe5+ 86.Qxe5+ Kxe5 winning.

A.2) 84.Kg5 Qg3+ 85.Bg4 Qe5+ 86.Qxe5+ Kxe5 winning.

A.3) 84.Kh5 Qf3+ and Black draws at least.

B) 73.Bc4 Kxh4 74.Kxf5 Kg3

B.1) 75.Kg5 h4 76.f5 h3 77.f6 h2 78.f7 h1=Q 79.f8=Q Qc1+ and draw.

B.2) 75.Kg6 h4 76.f5 h3 77.f6 h2 78.f7 h1=Q 79.f8=Q Qc6+ and draw.

C) 73.Kf6(h6) Kxf4(h4) 74.Kg6 Kg4 looks bad for White.

Time to post and see the subtlety I suspect Im missing.

Dec-19-08  JG27Pyth: <<keypusher><dzechiel> I always find your explanation of your own thinking illuminating, but especially in this case (because it illuminates this very interesting problem as well). Thanks!>

I'll second that... A model of clarity today, Dzechiel.

Dec-19-08  njchess: First, I noted that White's bishop cannot move off the a2-g8 diagonal. Further, his bishop needed to cover a second diagonal at the same time. The result is White must spend a move capturing to prevent Black from queening.

Second, from the puzzle position, Black needs a maximum of seven moves to queen after capturing the h pawn (one king move and six pawn moves). White needs only six moves after capturing the f-pawn (one king move, four pawn moves and a bishop move). For example, 72. ... Kxh4 73. Kxf5 Kg3 74. Kg5 h4 75. f5 h3 76. f6 h2 77. f7 h1=Q 78. Bxh1 a2 79. f8=Q a1=Q and White has all the chances for winning. That analysis eliminated 72. ... Kxh4.

That left 72. ... Kg4. Any other move loses material and the game to Kxh5. At first, I feared that White could move his king in response to Kg4. But Kh6 or Kf6 just lost material (e.g. 72. ... Kg4 73. Kh6?? Kxh4 (73. Kf6?? Kxf4)). That meant White's bishop had to move after 72. ... Kg4.

72. ... Kg4 73. Bc4 (best since it attacks f1). Black still needs seven moves after capturing either pawn. But with White's bishop attacking f1, playing Kxf4 allows White to queen in six. But if Black plays Kxh4, White will also need seven moves to queen (one king, four pawn and two bishop moves including Bd5).

After White plays 74. Kxf5, Black will queen right before White does. Black then plays Qxh1 and the position is drawn. Not too difficult since Black only had two candidate moves to choose from in the puzzle position.

Dec-19-08  CapAnson: why was this three stars? just a simple little clarification of the endgame..
Dec-19-08  xrt999: A simple calculation to 7 moves comparing Kxf4 vs Kxh4 is all it takes.....
Dec-19-08  xrt999: I like to play the Benoni as black with Nf6, the Hromodka system. It leads to very complex positional games due to avoidance of trades.

In fact, if black had played 5...Nf6, this would have been a transposed Hromodka. I am not familiar with Westerinen, but you can sense his style of play; no piece is captured until move 16.

Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Interesting puzzle. I suppose the point is to see why 72...Kg4 is preferred over the immediate 72...Kxh4.

The point is that white's bishop is perfectly positioned to kill black's pawn promotion efforts at a2 (of course), and more subtly, at h1. Also, white's king is perfectly positioned to take either Pf5 or Ph5.

And when your opponents pieces are so perfect, you want to force him to move one of them to a less-perfect square by burning up a tempo. That's what 72...Kg4! accomplishes:

White is in a little zugzwang. He can't move his king (which would give up a pawn for nothing) nor can he take his bishop off the a2-g8 diagonal (which would allows ...h2 & ...h1=Q), so he must move the bishop to some square where it DOESN'T guard h1.

This is better than the immediate 72...Kxh4 73.Kxf5 Kg3 74.Kg4 h4 and we have a pawn race that black must lose because of the bishop guarding h1.

Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult):

Portisch vs H Westerinen, 1963 (72?)

Black to play and draw

Material: P for B. Neither K is in any immediate danger in this sparse endgame. Presently, Bd5 is completely restricted to the a2-g7 diagonal by the threat of Pa3-a2-a1=Q and wins. Black should try to get a passed K-side P, so with 2 passed Ps, he can deflect the White B with one to permit the second to queen. For brevity, the following omits infeasible variations permitting either of these wins.

Let us perform a thought experiment, removing Bd5 and Pa3 until further notice, to analyze the resulting K+P endgame. First, the candidate 72Kg4 is now transparent: as usual in a K+P endgame, Black seizes the opposition to prevent the capture of his Ps. Second, Black has a choice: which P to capture? Because of symmetry, after White captures the complementary P, White queens his P just after Black.

Now, put Bd5 and Pa3 on the board. The B alone cannot mate. So, if Black can queen first as above, the resulting Q+B vs. Q is a draw: Black just keeps checking, ensuring that the B never interposes with check (e.g., by placing his K on a dark square).

Candidates (72): Kg4

72Kg4

If White moves Kg6, he does no more than draw because Bd5 alone cannot mate.

(1) 73.Kf6 Kxf4 then Kxh4

(2) 73.Kh6 Kxh4 then Kxf4

(3) 73.Be6 Kxf4 74.Kxh5

[74.Kf6 Kg4 then Kxh4 and Black at least draws]

74Ke5

If White lets Black capture Be6, the Black Pa3 queens first, winning.

75.Ba2, e.g.

[75.Bc4 Kd4 can not be better, because the Black K can protect Pf5 from e3]

75f4 76.Kg4 Ke4 77.h5 f3 77.Kg3

[77.h6 f2 78.Bc4 f1=Q 79.Bxf1 a2 and Black wins]

<[According to the Nalimov tables at http://www.k4it.de/index.php?topic=... I went wrong with 77Ke3, trying to win, which loses against

78.h6 f2 79.Kg2 Ke2 80.Bc4+

The correct play (easily found to ensure a draw) is

77f2 78.Kxf2 Kf5]>

(4) 73.B moves along the a1-h8 diagonal but not to e6, e.g., 73.Bc4

Black can force a draw, because White must expend a tempo to stop h1=Q.

73Kxh4 74.Kxf5 Kg3 75.K moves off the f-file

75h4 76.f5 h3 77.f6 h2

(threatening h1=Q with at least the Q+B draw above)

Because the B must stop the two passed Ps, White can do no better than the Q+B vs. Q draw above.

Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: In my variation (3), 73...Kxh4 achieves the object of a draw more simply than 73...Kxf4, for the reasons <YouRang> so ably points out.
Dec-19-08  cydmd: The basic point of this puzzle is zugzwang as <dzechiel> has already said. But some other points are interesting as well. Although I'm gonna repeat some of <dzechiel>'s excellent comments, my intention is to show how the logic worked for me without calculating detailed lines.

First, notice that the white bishop controls two important squares: a2 and h1. Second, f and h pawns are exactly in the middle of the board. Black and White easily force a passed pawn (72... Kxh4 73.Kxf5 Kg3 - the only move to pass the black pawn - 74.Kg5). In a pawn race, both have 4 squares ahead to be crowned. The black pawn would crown first, but the white bishop denies it or takes it (Bxh1). In either case, the a-pawn goes to a2 and White crowns first (f8=Q and a1=Q). Draw seems inevitable, but a mate net is setup (Qf3+ and Qg2#, or Qf3# if the h-pawn still occupies h2). So, if White crowns first and Black crowns on a1, Black is lost.

So, Black must force White to move the bishop away from h1, losing one tempo. With 72... Kg4, White has got the opposition and forces Black to move the bishop. If not, a white pawn falls, Black keeps the opposition again (73.Kf6 Kxf4 or 73.Kh6 Kxh4), and White has no way to defend its last pawn.

Now, the bishop has to move over the a2-g7 diagonal to keep a2 under control. Any square of that diagonal allows Black to win one tempo. But 73.Bc4 introduces a trap. The bishop now controls f1 and the mate net is unset. Now, Black is able to take the h-pawn and draw is ensured.

Oh, yes, I forgot the trap. If the mate net is unset, Black could crown after White by taking the f-pawn. Wrong. Now, White crowns its h-pawn controlling the a1-h8 diagonal and avoiding Black to crown on a1.

Looking at the several points I listed, I entirely agree with CG about the puzzle level.

Dec-19-08  SamAtoms1980: Zugzwang you very much.
Dec-19-08  xrt999: this game was played about 45 years ago and both of these dudes are still alive.
Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: This game Smyslov vs Lilienthal, 1938 was played 70 years ago and these guys are still alive too!

:)

Dec-19-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's difficult endgame puzzle solution, Black plays the Zugzwang 72... Kg4! to improve the position and force the draw.

The idea is that any move of White's Bishop or the King after 72...Kg4! worsens White's position. After the forced Bishop move 73. Bc4, White no longer guards both a2 and h1 and Black has the one extra tempo needed to secure the draw.

P.S.:

I found the explanations by <YouRang> and <dzechiel> particularly helpful today.

Dec-19-08  TheChessGuy: This is a pretty intuitive draw. The pawns on the kingside have to go (otherwise Black wins), and then White has insufficient material to checkmate. However, he can just shuffle his bishop along the a2-g8 diagonal ad infinitum, so Black can never queen his pawn. Therefore, a draw!
Dec-19-08  ZUGZWANG67: With 72. ...Kg4, Black protects the pawns, attacks both white pawns and get the opposition against the WK. After that, White must move the Bishop along the a2/g8 diagonal and thus, agree to a draw. But not to any square, as 73. Ba2 (?) Kxf4 74. Kxh5 Kh3 75. Kg6 f4 76. h5 f3 77. h6 f2 78. h7 (78. Bc4 f1) 78. ...f1=Q 79. h8=Q Qg2 +.

I don' t have any software (I' m at work) to check that out. Maybe someone could analyse and see if 73. Ba2 (?) is as bad as it appears...?

Peace !

Dec-19-08  Vishy but not Anand: 72. ....Kg4 (any other moves will end up in favor of White) 73. Bc4 (to protect f1 square but still seem will end in a draw)Kxh4 74. Kxf5 Kg3
74. Kg5 h5
Both will get a new queen and will end up draw by perpetual check.
Dec-19-08  Vishy but not Anand: Lajos Portisch focus was in the queenside and I think Kingside maneuver is better than Queenside in this position. Anyway, black position is basically cramped and it is not easy for black to get a breakthrough in queenside. So I think 15.Na4? is not a good decision. I prefer to bring white pieces to kingside.

15. Rfe1 (preparation for center open file) b5
16. axb3 Rxb3
17. Bd3 Qb8
18. Rab1 a5 (...e6? 19. exd6 Nxd6 20. Bxd6 Rxd6 21. Ne4 Rb6 22. Nxc5 great advantage for white) 19. Na4 a4
20. Bg5 f6?(or Qd8)
21. e6 Bc8 (...fxg6? 22. exd7 Nf6 23. Nxg5 Nxd7 23.Rxe7 almost winning for white)

22. Bf5 clear positional advantage for white and with kingside attack, I don't think it will reach 70+ moves for white to win (not to draw).

Dec-29-08  Vishy but not Anand: < Vishy but not Anand: Lajos Portisch focus was in the queenside and I think Kingside maneuver is better than Queenside in this position. Anyway, black position is basically cramped and it is not easy for black to get a breakthrough in queenside. So I think 15.Na4? is not a good decision. I prefer to bring white pieces to kingside. 15. Rfe1 (preparation for center open file) b5
16. axb3 Rxb3
17. Bd3 Qb8
18. Rab1 a5 (...e6? 19. exd6 Nxd6 20. Bxd6 Rxd6 21. Ne4 Rb6 22. Nxc5 great advantage for white) 19. Na4 a4 20. Bg5 f6?(or Qd8)
21. e6 Bc8 (...fxg6? 22. exd7 Nf6 23. Nxg5 Nxd7 23.Rxe7 almost winning for white)

22. Bf5 clear positional advantage for white and with kingside attack, I don't think it will reach 70+ moves for white to win (not to draw).>

Typo error : move 19 should be "Ne4" and not "Na4"

Aug-31-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <63.♗a2>


click for larger view

Black found a very interesting possibility for a draw - even so, 63...♔d7 should be enough for a draw too

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