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Yasser Seirawan vs Eric Lobron
OHRA (1983), Arnhem NED, rd 5, Jul-20
Tarrasch Defense: Classical. Carlsbad Variation (D34)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-01-04  unclewalter: i think maybe 16. Qb2 was the first bad move...maybe trying to hold on to that c3 pawn in the first place with 15. Qc2...
Feb-01-04  Benjamin Lau: I don't like 11. Bxf6?. Most of Yaz's positional problems come after this. Much better is 11. Be3 when white retains a significant advantage and has good pressure on the IQP.

13. Bxd5!? winning the pawn seems good at first but one cannot help but think that Lobron did not simply overlook this and had decided to give Yaz the pawn, but at a large cost. I don't like Seirawan's shattered position after 13...Bxc3. It kills him later in the middlegame when black infiltrates the queenside with the heavy pieces. After 13...Bxc3, no longer does black have an iso- now it's poor Yaz (and he has two if you count rook pawns).

16. Qb2?! allows the deadly queen pin but there isn't much else for Yaz to do at that point, his game is far behind.

17. Bxb7?! doesn't appeal to me. You're supposed to outright die or something if your opponent gives you a b pawn and you accept. I don't know if Lobron's pawn sack is sound, but in all practicality it looks like his attack would be very hard to refute over the board, so maybe Yaz shouldn't have taken the pawn.

18. e3 leaves serious weaknesses on the light squares but again Yaz is in horrible position so there isn't much he can do without making it worse. Still, this doesn't take away the brilliance of Lobron's final combination.

Feb-01-04  Catfriend: As unclewater asked, does 22..g6 work?
Feb-01-04  FryGuy1013: For white, wouldn't 22. Rxc3 be a much better move? Crafty analyzes it to:

22. Rxc3 Rxb2 23. Rxb2 Qxc3 24. Rb8 Bc8 25. Bb7 Qe5 26. Rxc8+ (black up 1.2 pawns), which is how I imagined it to play out. However, white seems to have much more control over the board because the king can get to g2 and the bishop controls the diagnol attack with the pawns defending the horizontal and veritcal. The only problem is the black a pawn, but it can't safely advance with only the queen to protect it. I let crafty self-play from this position and it led to a draw, so there might have been hope from there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Here's two questions about today's problem (22...?):

1. How would White have refuted 22...Qc6?

2. If there was an extra Black pawn in the position on c4 or c5 or c6 or c7, would 22...Qxf2+ still win? Why or why not?

P.S.: I saw Lobron play in the late 1970's at a few open tournaments in Germany, when he was still playing amateurs. It was obvious even as a mature teen that Eric was an amazing chess talent, demolishing the American and German experts and masters I knew at the time in both blitz and tournament chess. By 1983, when this game this game was played, Lobron was beginning to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with on the international scene. His rating peaked in 1992 at age 32 at 2625. Although GM Lobron's rating has declined a bit in recent years, he remains an active and respected player on the international scene. I have always enjoyed his active and tactical style of play, such as his adoption of the Tarrasch Q.G.D. in this game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Benjamin Lau> Good comments about White's opening strategy. The opening explorer seems to confirm your suspicion about 11. Bxf6?! being suspect, with Black winning four and drawing five of the nine games in which it was played. With 34% wins and 52% draws, your recommendation of 11. Be3 is probably the most solid and is certainly the most popular alternative.

However, another interesting alternative is 11. Bf4 as played in Kramnik vs Deep Fritz, 2002 where the super GM got the better of the draw against the computer.

The Tarrasch has certainly declined in popularity in recent years, and that may be due in some degree to the fact that the computers are helping analysts find better lines for White in exploiting the isolated black queen pawn. Black now has to work really hard just to secure drawing chances it seems. Personally, I'm hoping the super GMs or the computers can revive this fun opening that most of the super GMs seem to have given up on for serious play as Black.

At amateur level and club play, I suspect the Tarrasch is still a good try for Black. Certainly it is useful in learning the strategy of how how to play with and against an isolated queen pawn. And as seem in this game, if White does not play precisely or is not aware of opening theory, Black has winning tactical possibilities.

Feb-01-04  aboynamedgeorge: I strongly object to the claim that white "retains a significant advantage and has good pressure on the IQP".

Neither side has finished developing yet! Be3 is the normal move (played zillions of times), and white was probably playing something different to see if he could get an advantage that way. I'd bet that he thought the position would only be equal after Be3 (since they're both GMs who probably prepared for the game, and know the theory quite well).

Kids today, they just don't have any respect for an IQP!

Feb-01-04  Benjamin Lau: <Neither side has finished developing yet! >

You don't have to finish developing in order to already have an advantage against an IQP. Just look at the position. Anyone can tell that after 11. Be3 that white is much, much better. His c3 knight and g2 bishop are both attacking the IQP, reducing black to passivity. The pawn cannot move forward because it is blockaded by a knight, and after 11. Be3, another blockader is added to the lineup, which basically means black is under a semi-paralysis.

<I'd bet that he thought the position would only be equal after Be3 >

Actually, Seirawan was probably just experimenting and knew that Be3 offers an IMMENSE advantage for white. He probably was just wondering if Bxf6, trying to grab the pawn, was correct. Apparent it was not. Anyone who says that the position is "only equal" obviously has not had much experience with the IQP.

<Kids today, they just don't have any respect for an IQP! >

As a 1. d4 player, I have much respect for the IQP, however, it can be either a strength or a weakness, depending on the position, and in this case, it is a weakness.

Here's a nice case where white grinds black into the dust for taking on an IQP:

Karpov vs Kasparov, 1984

White's pressure was so strong in this game it convinced black, who later became world champion, to adopt another d4 defense.

It's also worth noting the statistics:
33.9% for white; 11.5% for black. This position is no where equal, it's practically strategic slaughter.

May-06-15  SpiritedReposte: This game hasn't been commented on in over a decade. Seirwan was on thin ice hoping his back rank threat was worth something but ...Qxf2! shows the lies of it nicely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Frontal Lobrontomy
May-06-15  john barleycorn: < whiteshark: Frontal Lobrontomy> in the backrangs.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: It looks like 22...Qxf2+ is going to do the trick.
Oct-02-18  saturn2: White threatens mate on the back rank. Black can win a rook.

For example
22...Qxf2+ 23. Kxf2 (Qxf2 gets mated) Rxb2+ 24. Kf3 Bg2+ 25. Kf4 g5+ 26. Ke5 Rxc1 27. Ra8+ Kg7

Premium Chessgames Member
  khense: Also after 24... Kf3; Black can play 24... Bg2+; 25 Kf4; g5+ Then Black can take White's rook on c1 without any checkmate for white.
Oct-02-18  saturn2: my 24...Bg2+ seems alsi to work after 25. Kg4

25...f5+ 26. Bxf5 Rxc1

Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: 22...Qxf2+

A) 23. Qxf2 Rxc1+ 24. Qe1 (24. Qf1 Rxf1#) Rxe1+ 25. Kf2 Rf1+ 26. Ke2 Rb2+ (or 26...Rb8 27. Bf5 Bg2 28. Be4 Rb2+, etc.) 27. Kd3 Rb8.

B) 23. Kxf2 Rxb2+ 24. Kf3 (24. Bc2 Rxc2+ 25. Rxc2 Rxc2+) Bg2+.

Somehow, amazingly, I managed to overlook that 24...Rxc1 25. Ra8+ Rc8, foils the back-row mate. But my line still wins:

25. Kg4 (25. Kf4 g5+ 26. K moves Rxc1) f5+ 26. Bxf5 Rxc1. Now there is no back-row mate -- not even an imaginary one.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn down.

White threatens mate in five.

The position of the white queen invites to play 22... Qxf2+:

A) 23.Kxf2 Rxb2+

A.1) 24.Kf3 Rxc1 25.g4 (25.Ra8+ Rc8 wins) 25... Bg2+ 26.Kf4 Rf1+ 27.Ke5 Rb5+ 28.Kd4 Rb4+ followed by 29... Rxe4 - + [r+b].

A.2) 24.Ke(f,g)1 Rxc1#.

A.3) 24.Rc2 Rcxc2+ 25.Bxc2 (25.Ke(f,g)1 Rb1#; 25.Kf3 Rf2#) 25... Rxc2+ - + [b].

A.4) 24.Bc2 Rcxc2+ as above.

B) 23.Qxf2 Rxc1+ 24.Qe1 (24.Qf1 Rxf1#) 24... Rxe1+ 25.Kf2 Rf1+ 26.Ke2 Rb2+ 27.Kd3 Bf5 - + [r].

C) 23.Kh1 Bg2+ 24.Bxg2 Rxb2 wins (25.Rg1 Rc1; 25.Ra8+ Kh7 26.Be4+ g6).

Premium Chessgames Member
  landshark: After 24.Kf3 Black also has the simple -Rc1, since 25. Ra8+ is met by -Rc8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Didn't remember the game from my 2004 post, but 22...Qxf2+! which wins as in the game continuation, was easy enough for me to quickly find as the solution to today's Tuesday (22...?) puzzle.

For a White improvement, instead of 11. Bxf6 =, our Opening Explorer indicates White has had more success with the popular moves 11. Be3 ⩲ as in White's win in Kasparov vs Illescas Cordoba, 1994 and 11. Bf4 ⩲ as in White's win in E Can vs S Khanin, 2013.

Oct-02-18  Walter Glattke: C) 23.Kh1 Bg2 24.Bxg2 no check on h7, 24.-Rxb2 25.Ra8+ Kh7 26.Be4+ g6 27.Rxc3!? Qxh2# or C2) 24.-Rxc1+ 25.Qxc1 Qxg2#/Bxg2# C2a) 25.Bf1 Rxf1#
Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: Have 22...Q:f2+ as snaffling the Queen leads to mate,

23.K:f2( Q:f2 R:c1+ and # )...R:b2+
24.Rc2 (24.Kf3)...Rc:c2+ 25.B:c2 R:c2+
26.Kf3 R:h2

Oct-02-18  eblunt: <al wazir: Somehow, amazingly, I managed to overlook that 24...Rxc1 25. Ra8+ Rc8, foils the back-row mate. But my line still wins:>

I'm glad I'm not the only one who fiddled around chasing the king out to g4/f4 so as to have the pawn check to create space, before taking the Rc1

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: From a practical perspective, <Benjamin Lau> in his 2004 post may have had a point in finding 17. Bxb7 ⩲ to = (+0.30 @ 36 ply, Stockfish 9) a bit suspect.

However, 17. Bxb7 wasn't the pawn capture that led to White's defeat.

The real culprit was the second pawn grab 22. Rxa7??, allowing today's Tuesday puzzle solution 2...Qxf2+ -+ (-6.40 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 9).

Necessary instead was 22. Qd2 Rxc1+ 23. Qxc1 Rb4 24. f3 = to ⩱ (-0.14 @ 41 ply, Stockfish 9) or 24. Bg2 = to ⩱ (-0.32 @ 42 ply, Stockfish 9), when despite the near equal computer evaluation(s) I suspect most strong masters would rather be playing Black for the potential endgame promotion of the a-pawn.

Oct-02-18  TheaN: Tuesday 2 October 2018


This took me a bit longer than I'd hoped I would considering the move for Black is the only one that can hope to take an advantage. After <22....Qxf2+> Black questions White's back rank instead of the other way around, and after <23.Kxf2 (Qxf2 Rxc1+ 24.Qe1 (Qf1 Rxf1#) Rxe1+ -+) Rxb2+ -+> and I actually stopped calculating as the additional checks on the White give Black the breathing room for the king, beside the point that Black can just take on c1 straight away because Rook and Bishop cover c8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: It's ridiculous how long I stared at this position before even considering Qxf2+. Not like black has lots of options either.
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