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Etan Ilfeld vs Halb
21st World Open Class Sections (1993), Philadelphia, PA USA
French Defense: Winawer. Poisoned Pawn Variation General (C18)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-29-09  Kasputin: <JG27Pyth: Once<So, how about we say that seeing the Nd8 Ne6 defence gets the full point, but that seeing up to that point earns, say <JLS>'s 0.7777?> Jeez, and I thought I was stingy with the full-points! You think one really needs to calculate the Ne6 defense? I mean it's sort of a throw-furniture-in-the-way-defense. If these were stronger players, Black wouldn't bother to play Ne6, he'd have resigned already. It's not like Ng5 is hard to find.

*grumbles and collects his 77 cent share of the pot*>

I agree (up to a point) with what you guys are saying and I know for sure that <dzechiel: ...never considered 13...Nd8. I like to think I would have found the correct reply, but we will never know.> would absolutely find the correct response in a real game situation. (I am less certain that I would -- lol).

But I really think that these CG puzzles, precisely because they are not always neat and tidy, offer a very good type of exercise. There are lots of tactics books out there, software, etc... designed to practice tactics or mating patterns, test your speed, etc... But these puzzles, once they get past the Tuesday or so stage, offer a chance to not just see the first couple of moves correctly but to do a very deep analysis of a particular position.

Here is an example:

I was pretty sure (on a basic gut level) that something like 11 ...Rd8 would not work for black. And in a real game, I doubt that I would have tried to calculate that out in advance when considering 11. Bf6. But this kind of puzzle affords us the possibility of doing just that sort of complete analysis.

Now maybe a defence like 11 ...Rd8 can be glanced at and safely passed over (in a real game or in a puzzle like this), but I don't think the same can be said of a defence like 11...Nce7. And I didn't even think about that one! So absolutely no points for me.

But I did think about 11 ...Kh8 and not everyone else did, and I think in these kinds of situations something like 11 ...Kh8 is a reasonably good try. I am not saying that I got the calculation right re. ...kh8 , and I am not even saying (in a real game situation) that I wouldn't have found good responses to something I had not intially anticipated. What I am saying is that I think it is going to improve my playing ability to think of all the reasonable defences to a candidate move like 11. Bf6 regardless of how much time and forethought I would have put into that move in a real game situation.

Anyway, I am not trying to say that anyone should approach these puzzles in the same way that I try to do, but I am pretty sure, based on the posts from folks like <dzechiel> <MostlyAverageJoe> <Once> <TheaN> <johnlspouge> <YouRang> and many others that there are many kibitizers out there who do try and see all that they can see in these sorts of positions.

Although I have to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who posts a comment such as "too easy" or "saw it in a flash" and believe that they did indeed see it in a flash, I know that what they are telling me about how they think and about how chess really works is really not much in comparison to all of those other kibitizers who really post something substantive.

I just wish - as I have mentioned to the CG people before! - that they would archive these things by the day (e.g., Mon - Sat) or at the very least by the specific date that they used a position as a puzzle.

Jan-29-09  costachess: the alternative is
16 ... cxd4
17 Qxh4!! Qc3+
18 Kf1 Qa1+
19 Kg2 Qh1+
20 Kh1

click for larger view

Jan-29-09  Kasputin: <MostlyAverageJoe: < Once: ... how about we say that seeing the Nd8 Ne6 defence gets the full point> Disagree. IMO, the winners of the full point today are (drumroll):

Rybka 3 (as posted by <zenpharaohs>)

Hiarcs 12.1MP (as posted by myself on the first page).

The best defense for black is 11. Bf6 Nce7 12. Bxf5 Ng6 etc.>

So what you are saying is we are screwed? They can't enjoy it because they are machines, and we can't figure it out cause we aren't machines? LOL

Jan-29-09  costachess: In my opinion after 11. ... Nce7 the best white move is 12. Bxg7!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Chess is a sea where a gnat may drink and an elephant can bathe.

IMHO, there is no right answer as to how deeply you need to analyse. It all depends what you want to get out of the position, and this wonderful game of ours.

If you are a 5 minutes blitz specialist, then your solution to today's problem might go something like this: "Bf6 followed by Bxf5 and surely black is in deep doo-doo."

Most of my chess is at classical time controls, so I like to analyse as much as I would need to in a time control of all moves in 90 minutes. That means I don't spend more than 20 minutes on any position, cos I would not have more than that in a real match. My goal is to improve my decision-making ability for the kind of chess that I play OTB. So I look for more detail than the blitz guys, but I don't worry about the deep calculation that the next lot want.

Some folks like correspondence chess. Then it would be perfectly okay to spend more than an hour really getting under the skin of a position.

And then we have the centaurs, riding into battle atop heavyweight silicon steeds. They want to know absolute best play by both sides.

I guess that if chess is a sea, we all get to choose how to enjoy it. Some will surf over the top. Others will snorkel or scuba dive. And a select few will go deep ... really deep. How deep? It's classified. (Obscure film reference there, guys!)

And however you approach this game, it's all good.

Jan-29-09  skemup: skemup: if 11..Kh8 12.BxN gxf6 13.exf6 Rg8 14.Qh5 exf5 15.Ng5 Rg7 16.Qh6 Rxg5 17.Qxg5 wins i think..
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: I found this a bit quicker than normal for a Thursday since 11.Bf6 is clearly an attractive try --

(A) We exploit the pinned Pg7. (B) We create a Qxg7 mate threat, which is stopped by the knight, but the knight is eliminate-able (heh) with Bxf5. (C) We vacate g5, which looks like an excellent attacking square for our knight.

I see 3 reasonable replies for black:

First, 11...g6 relieves the knight of guarding g7, but it creates dangerous holes at f6 and h6, allowing 12.Bf6 (with intent to get my queen to h6 with mate to follow). I expect 12...Ne7 13.Bxf5 (removing defender of h6 and g7) Nxf5 (replacing that defender with another) 14.Nh4! threatening to remove the defender again, and this time there is little for black to do about it.

Second, 11...Kh8 unpins the g7 pawn, but it busts open the defense: 12.Bxf5 (threat:Qxg7#) gxf6 13.exf6 (threat: Qg7#) Rg8 14.Qh5 (threat: Qxh7#) exf5 15.Ng5 (again threatening Qxh7#!) and this time black has no good way out.

Third, 11...Nce7 guards Nf5 with a like defender, but this is a variation of the first case: 12.Bxf5 Nxf5 13.Nh4 .

Looking at the game, I see that I missed a black alternative, although clearly not a good one, since it allows my queen to get to h6 with my bishop at f6. His knight can stop mate at g7, but putting my knight on g5 is child's play, with Qxh7# next (or ...Rd8 16.Qxh7+ Kf8 17.Qh8#).

Jan-29-09  Justawoodpusher: Although I saw most of the lines, I am not sure if I would have played this OTB.
Jan-29-09  unliketea: Perhaps its already been analyzed ... Im seeing a relatively safe continuation for black as such:

11. Bf6 Nce7
12. Bxf5 Nxf5
13. Nh4 h5

From here I see
14. Qxh5 Nxh4

14. Qg3 g6
15. Nxf5 exf5
16. Qg5 Kh7

Jan-29-09  unliketea: bah ... missed 14. Qg5!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: costachess: "11 ... Nce7
12 Bxg7 Nxg7
13 Qh3 Ng6
13 Ng5 h5
14 g4 h4"

No, Black isn't going to lie down like that. In this line, you will see

14 ... cxd4

click for larger view

the sacrifice has come to nothing and Black will win the game.

Jan-29-09  SamAtoms1980: Saw 11 Bf6 (the masked pin) 11 ... g6 12 Bxf5 exf5 - - then I got careless with 13 Qh4 h5 14 Qg5 Kh7 and Black stonewalls. White has various ways to keep attacking the position, but they are all s-l-o-w.

Just a C+ for the day.

Jan-29-09  wals: (once.. chess is a sea, etc etc)
and where one may quietly drown.
Jan-29-09  ZUGZWANG67: < JG27Pyth, MostlyAverageJoe, Once, Kasputin, and others...>

I did not see 13. ...Nd8 and 14. ...Ne6. Was it because at a certain point, I decided to stop calculate and instead, followed my instinct based on the fact that at that point, Black was worse ? Maybe ! But I think that somehow, one has to stop calculate. And of course, the 'when point of stopping calculation' is probably based on one factor, being the strenght of the player. Yeah ! Why not ? What else and where' s the problem with that anyway ? Personnaly, I could not see the variations clearly enough after 13.Qg5 to keep thinking in terms of 'variation'.

From there, a player (I believe) must stop a moment and take a look at the resulting position (the one coming from his/her 'internal counting system') and instead of thinking in terms of variations, he/she must think in terms of words and ideas. The diagram below represents the position after 13.Qg5.

click for larger view

Here is my way to improve tactical accuity: Because that I could not calculate anything from there accurately, I tend to (after failure !) to ask myself how I could have seen further than 13. Qg5 in an actual game. And I would do it in question/answer mode. My questionning process would be something like the following:

1) Does Black has anything stronger than 14. Qh6 ? and 15. Qg7+ mate ?

Because Black does not threat mate in less than 2 moves, my answer would be no.

2) Does Black has a check threat that would allow him to gain a tempi and, untimately, use it to defend on h6 and/or g7 ? Once again, the answer is no.

3) Is Black able to successfully defend h6 ? No.

4) Here' s the critical one: Can Black come in time to defend the key g7-square ? The answer is 'yes', because of the disapearance of the e6-pawn. White' s Q needs 2 moves to get to g7, and the Black N can do it to e6 just in 2. But here, White has Ng5, as the newly free g5-square allows the white N to threaten standard mate pattern on h7.

But say I could not see the latter attacking ressource, should I refrain from playing 11.Bf6 OTB just because of the e6-square available in time for the black N ? I do not think so, as White would remain in attacking mode and Black in survival mode.

But the point here is that we are doing puzzles, a kind of working out session dedicated to improving our tactical skills. We want to find our way to, eventually, be able to see as far as we can in a given position. And here, 0.77, 1, 1.5 or 100 seems irrelevant to me, as far as we are using these puzzles for improving purpose instead of showing off anything.

Peace !

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <unliketea> A reference to the Hitchhiker's guide?
Jan-29-09  zb2cr: Well, I saw the game line; but it seems that the game line by Black is not the most stubborn defense. It seems that the most stubborn defense would have begun with 11. ... Nce7. Oh well.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium):

Ilfeld vs Halb, 1993 (11.?)

White to play and win.

Material: B for N. The Black Kg8 has 1 legal move. White has a local superiority around the Black K-position, suggesting the possibility of a sacrificial attack. The White Qg4 and Black Kg8 are on the same file, obscured by the White Bg5 and Black Pg7, suggesting a clearance combination. Both Qg4 and Bg7 can attack Pg7, which Nf5 defends. The White Bd3 attacks Nf5. In addition, Nf3-g5 and Qg4-h5 or -h3 attack the Black Ph7, which is also weak. The White Rs require activation, and the White Ke1 is secure.

Candidates (11.): Bf6, Qh5, Qh3

11.Bf6 (threatening 12.Bxf5 13.Qxg7#)

(1) 11g6 12.Bxf5 exf5 13.Qg5 then 14.Qh6 15.Qg7#

(2) 11Kh8 12.Bxf5 gxf6 [else, drop a N or mate]

13.exf6 Rg8 [else, 14.Qg7#] 14.Qh4 (threatening 15.Qxh7#)

14exf5 15.Ng5 (threatening 15.Qxh7#)

15Rxg5 16.Qxg5 then 17.Qg7#

(3) 11Nce7 12.Qg5 (threatening 13.g4)

Here, I began to doubt the candidate 11.Bf6, and timed out analyzing 11.Qh3.

Jan-29-09  vijaymathslpjz: its not tough to see that Bf6 has an advantage.....but its tough to figure out that black can be attacked so strongly.
Jan-29-09  just a kid: I found the move.I didn't find a continuation,but I knew after 11.Bf6 g6 12.Bxf5 exf5 that Black was lost.4/4
Jan-29-09  ALEXIN: In my opinion the variation is:
11. Bf6 Nce7
12. Bxg7! NxBg7
13. Bxh7! KxB
14. Ng5+ and white has a winning attack on h7 or h8 square.
Jan-29-09  ALEXIN: My variation is wrong.
The best seems to play 12.BxNf5
Jan-30-09  unliketea: <YouRang> "Almost, but not entirely..."
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <unliketea> Good answer, lol!

Of course, the other good answer was 42. ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Thursday Jan 29, 2009 puzzle solution, White initiates a mating attack with 11. Bf6! .

I enjoyed <Once>'s explanation of the basic idea behind the attack with 11. Bf6!, and also found <YouRang>'s analysis of the line 11...Nce6 12. Bxf5! Nxf5 13. Nh5! helpful.

Jun-23-09  I Like Fish: i saw...
whites 6teenth move...
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