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Wolfgang Unzicker vs Georg Stein
Essen West German ch (1948), FRG, rd 7, Sep-??
French Defense: Winawer Variation (C15)  ·  1-0


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sac: 55.Nxc4+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: I think some of the earlier commentary dismissed too quickly the defensive idea of 55. ... Ka6 (instead of taking the Knight on c4 in any of three possible ways). It is true, as pointed out by <RandomVisitor> that 56. Rc7 preserves a winning advantage for White, but he still has a lot of work to do. My main line (with some input from Fritz7) runs (after 55. Nxc4 Ka6!): 56. Rc7 Qd8 57. Rgg7 bxc4 58. Ra7+ Kb5 59. Rgb7+ Kc6 60. Rc7+ Kb5 61. Qe5 Bc6 62. Rxc6 Kxc6 63. Qxe6 Qd6 64. Ra6+ Kb7 65. Qxd6 R3h6 66. Rb6+ Ka8 67. Qxd5+ Ka7 68. Qb7#. It is better to play a defensive move that extends the game another dozen moves or so (during any of which your opponent could go wrong) than to allow an obvious forced mate in two or three moves.
May-03-06  jmelton: Nice puzzle and game. I looked at Nxc4+ and Qd6+ right away, but didn't see right away what to do after Black blocked the queen check. So then I started looking at 55.Nd7+, which appeared at first to win. It took me a while to realize that after 55.Nd7+ Bxd7 56.Qd6+, Black can win by giving back the extra piece with 56...Qc6! The crucial difference from the game position is that since Black's bishop is on d7, the Black rook is defending the back rank and White doesn't have Qb8+ any more. Little things like that make a big difference! :(

Another thing: As I was playing through the game later with Fritz and noticing how closed the position was until the very end, I was thinking to myself: "Fritz will have absolutely no clue what's going on or what to do" -- and I was right. No computer program can formulate a plan like Unzicker did of marching the king to safety all the way over to the queenside to prepare White's pawn break on the kingside. Computers are better tactically than human grandmasters in the majority of positions (although not this one -- it took my Fritz 5 minutes of analyzing from the position after 54...Qc8 to evaluate 55.Nc4+ as a clear win for White, whereas even most of us patzers saw Nc4+ as a promising sacrifice almost immediately). But the conceptual understanding of the game that human GMs display is awesome to watch. Very deep game by Unzicker!

May-03-06  jperr75108: Pretty cool puzzle, I got the first few moves but thats it.
May-03-06  belka: I like how this answer seems less calculative and more positional. A clearance sacrifice is the easiest way to demonstrate that Black's pieces are actually misplaced. This is somehow hidden in plain sight on the board, because it appears that the Black queen defends the 7th and bishop as well defends the light squares around the king.

As Bronstein says, however, a weakness of the dark squares is also a weakness of the pieces on the light squares. All it takes is the White queen to d6, and Black's pieces will try in vain to defend the king on light squares.

May-03-06  chiguire: Nice puzzle, unfortunately I never saw the solution coming.
May-03-06  Alex S.: I saw Nxc4+. Couldn't follow it up, so dismissed it. BuhGUH
May-03-06  Halldor: First I didn't see anything in the position but after a while I began with 55.♘xc4 because it's a forceful move, it clears the diagonal for the queen; the rook is also powerful on the 7th rank. I didn't try anything else, but had a lot of fun calculating many winning variations.
May-03-06  tacite: <WannaBe : 56. Qd6+ Ka5 (only square) 57. Ra7> And if after 56.Qd6+ black plays Bc6?
May-03-06  belka: <tacite And if after 56.Qd6+ black plays Bc6?>

56... Bc6 57. Qc5+ Ka5 (or Ka6) 58. Ra7#

The bishop blocks the queen's defense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I got this one! I also saw that the alternative check at d7 would result in the 7th rank being clogged with the capturing piece. The mate after 56... ♗c6 57 ♕c5+ ♔a4(or 5) 58 ♖a7# is similar to the Reti trap in Reti-Tartokower.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MrSpock: <jahhaj> Great plan! Thanks a lot :-)))
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Jahhaj> Good analysis of the possibility <54...Qd8 55. Nd7+! Kc6 56. Nb8+ Kb6 57. Re1! >. However, at this point, I'll disagree a little and suggest 57...R3h6 makes a difference. After 57...R3h6 58. Nd7+ Qxd7 59. Rxd7 Bxd7 60. Qd6+ Bc6 61. Rxe6 Rxe6 62. Qxe6 f4 (diagram below) White has an advantage (+1.22 @ 23 depth per Fritz 8).

click for larger view

[White to move (63. ?) at end of analysis above]

However, even with perfect play I doubt White can win this, as I would think Black has excellent chances of holding his little fortress together for a draw. The fact that Fritz 8 at 23 depth hasn't found a decisive result indicates to me that winning this isn't at all easy and indeed may not be possible for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Hmmm. I missed it. I guess pretty quickly that the key move was to move the knight (just to get it out of the queen's way), and I even considered 55. Nxc4, but I just couldn't quite see the follow-through. :-(
May-03-06  HELLOHELLOWATER: My IQ is 165, and i got this around 4 seconds. GIVE ME A CHALLENGE FOR ONCE. I got every puzzle for the last 4 weeks alrdy. all easy
May-03-06  HELLOHELLOWATER: If anyone of you think you are as smart as me, do this

Say silk 5 times, Spell silk 3 times, Say silk 6 times. What do cows Drink? Answer it with your 1st answer. I am the smartest person on earth sadly..

May-03-06  miguel12: Hello are the greatest person on earth...we all bow down to your superior intelligence. It IS sad that someone as savvy as you with 3rd grade word games is the smartest person on earth. I mean, 4 seconds...WOW. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: I saw the theme (move the knight and check with the queen on d6, but thought the knight could move pretty much anywhere with a threat. Obviously the check on c4 is the right move. Shoulda looked closer.

<HELLOHELLOWATER> Methinks thou dost protest too much. An IQ of 165 would be about four standard deviations. I can't imagine anyone that intelligent who would at the same time feel so insecure. A real dichotomy, wouldn't you agree?

May-03-06  schnarre: Love the finish!
May-03-06  HELLOHELLOWATER: So anyone have a answer for my question?? Post it! Anyone smart enough to answer it??
May-03-06  HELLOHELLOWATER: dzechiel, i garantee people would get this puzzle correct in about 30 seconds. Even people with half of my iq, maybe including you too, could get this one. im not trying to sound conceited, but this one is very very easy. too easy
May-03-06  jahhaj: <patzer2> I hadn't given much consideration to 58...Qxd7, just assumed there would be a win somewhere. Your final position certainly looks hard to win, but White does have another possiblity.

Instead of 61.Rxe6 White can play 61.Rg1 threatening to bring the rook to the 7th or 8th rank. Allowing either of these seems to be fatal fairly quickly so Black must prevent this with 61...R6h7 then White's queen picks up the king side pawns and with an extra pair of rooks there seems less chance of a fortress.

Still 54...Qd8 is clearly the best move, and 54...Qc8 was an outright blunder.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <jahhaj> I'm not convinced 61. Rg1 makes any difference in this line. White gets the Kingside pawns in both variations, but Black is able to set up his fortress anyway.

Play in this variation could go 61. Rg1 R6h7 62. Qxe6 (62. Rg6 Re8 63. Rxe6 Rxe6 64. Qxe6 f4 65. Qf5 Rb7 66. Qf6 f3 67. Qxf3 Re7 ) 62... Rh6 63. Qxf5 Re8 64. Qf4 Rhe6 65. Rg7 R6e7 66. Rxe7 Rxe7 (+1.22 @ 22 depth per Fritz 8).

click for larger view

[White to move (67.?) at end of above analysis]

As far as I can see, White's chances of winning with 61. Rg1 are the same as in the 61. Rxe6 line (slim to none).

May-03-06  aazqua: >>
Wouldn't it actually be great if this puzzle started at move 50 and was used for Saturday or Sunday? >>

My thoughts exactly. It's not a bad wednesday puzzle as there are some variations to work out but the reall action starts with the pawn clearance for the knight (that also happens to trap the black bishop)

May-04-06  dakgootje: <Wouldn't it actually be great if this puzzle started at move 50 and was used for Saturday or Sunday?> Think it would be too far from forced to use as a puzzle
Oct-09-15  ivansoto: This biography Georg Stein should correct the sentence "He died somewhere in the 80s" to "He died sometime in the 80's."
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