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Jan Foltys vs Harry Golombek
London (1947)
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation Battery Variation (B73)  ·  1-0

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Given 9 times; par: 59 [what's this?]

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sac: 38.Rxa6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Dec-05-09  Red October:
Dec-05-09  Patriot: I saw that 38.Rxa6 Rxa6 39.Rb7 Rg6 40.c7 Ra8 41.Rb8 Rg8 42.Rxg8 Rxg8 43.Nd7+ Ke7 44.Nb6 is winning so I accepted Rxa6 as the correct move.

The game line, 42.Rxa8 is more accurate since 42...Rxa8 43.Nd7+ Ke7 44.Nb8 allows the pawn to promote safely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: White's energy is too great, vault a rook in. Most moves are winning here, I thought it was Rb7 initially because it is worth noting that the f7 cell is mate. However Rxa6 is the move elect. Trick the king into defending the e pawn then charge.
Premium Chessgames Member
  David2009: Saturday's puzzle Foltys vs Golombek, 1947 White 38?

White is a Pawn up with a dangerous passed pawn and a number of tactical threats. However none of these tactics quite work. So I propose Kf2 threatening Ke3, Kd4 and Kc5 depending on Black's reply.

Tactics that do not work include the following:
(A) The most forcing move is 38 Rxa6 which should be analysed first: 38 Rxa6 Rxa6 39 c7 Ra8 40 Rb8 Ke7 41 Nc6+ Kd6 and White is busted. 38 Rxa6 Rxa6 Nd7+ Ke7 also gets nowhere. 38 Rxa6 Rxa6 39 Rb8 Rxb8 40 Nd7+ Ke7 41 Nxb8 also does not promote.

(B) 38 c7 threatening to promote the Pawn by 39 Rxa6 Rxa6 40 Rb8 Ra8 41 Rxa8 Rxa8 42 Nd7+ Ke7 42 Nb8! followed by 43 c8=Q. However 38 ...Rgc8 holds and puts Black right back into the game.

(C) 38 Rb7 which threatens mate. Now (C1) 38 ...Bxb7 is a losing blunder: 40 cxb7 Rb8 41 Nd7+ Ke7 42 Nxb8 Rxb8 43 a4 Kd7 44 a5 Kc7 45 a6 wins. White is threatening 46 a7 Rxb7 47 Rc2+ K moves 48 a8=Q. (C2) 38 ...R(either)f8 is met by 39 Nd7+ Ke7 40 Nxf8+ winning the exchange unless Black captures leading back to play similar to variation (C2). However (C3) 38 ...Rg7! seems to hold: 39 Nd7+ Ke7 40 Nb8+ Bxb7 41 Rxb7+ Kd8! (not Kf8? 42 Rxg7 Kxg7 43 c7 and queens; or 42...Rxb8 43 c7 Rc8 44 Rd7 and promotes) and Black seems to be surviving.

After 38 Kf2 Rg7 39 Ke3 Bf1 (39...Rbg8 loses the B for too little compensation) 40 Rb7! is awkward for Black. The g2 pawn cannot be captured because of the mate threat and meanwhile White's Rooks are very active. 1-0?

Time to check how the game
Egg on my face. 38 Rxa6 works after ...Rxa6 38 Rb7! Rg7 39 c7! a move I did not consider properly. The final position has the same theme as the threat in my variation (B).

When time allows (not now) I will digest other comments and also see if my "quiet variation" can win against Crafty. I spent a lot of time on this position: in a game I would probably have stopped analysing quite early to settle for the quiet variation.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: <Foltys Towers> Not bad - that was a great show.
Dec-05-09  eric the Baptist: That was SO easy. Got it in about three seconds! All these puzzles are way too easy for me. I don't even bother to look until Saturday and Sunday.
Dec-05-09  GaeBulg: Didn't see it hehe.
Dec-05-09  Eduardo Leon: White can create a mate threat with...

38.♖xa6! ♖xa6 39.♖b7

Now, the only way to stop 40.♖f7# is...



40.♘d7+ ♔e7/f7/g7 41.♘c5+

... wins material.

Dec-05-09  Eduardo Leon: I overlooked 39...♖g7, damnit!
Dec-05-09  Eduardo Leon: To redeem myself, here is the winning line:

42...♖xa8 43.♘d7+ ♔(any) 44.♘b6!

Dec-05-09  TheaN: Saturday 5 December 2009


Target: 10:00;000
Taken: 9:23;483

Material: White up, ♙

Candidates: Rxa6.......... Rb8... no it IS <[Rxa6]>

Once again a typical puzzle position: White a pawn up with a difficult endgame to win, has a winning passed pawn combination here. In truth, the idea ain't too difficult, this puzzle asked for just a little bit more than that; not really Saturday worthy I think, though.

For some reason I dropped my main move after a minute or five and tried to go with Rb8? immediately. This loses after 38.Rb8 Raxb8 39.Rxb8 Rxb8 40.Nd7† Ke7 41.Nxb8 and now both 41....Bb8 and Bb5 should win, giving Black time and space against the pawn. No, in fact, the Black Bishop is such a powerful defender, that the true puzzle is much more logical.

<38.Rxa6! Rxa6> I wouldn't suggest anything else for Black here.

<39.c7...<>> this is the key position. Although Black can defend with both Rooks, which is Black's best defense here, the c-pawn can't be stopped...

Oh wait. Now I notice that that might not be Black's best defense at all: I was looking at <39.c7? Raa8? 40.Rb8!<>>, with the combination as in BB (see below), but this does not work after 39....Rc8 and Black will simply win pawn c7 next move. This calculation added around half a minute, so actually around my par time. No, White should continue with:

<39.Rb7!> completely different approach. This threatens mate with Rf7‡, the common Arabian pattern. Black can defend in two ways:

<39....Rf8> making this very simple for White.

<40.Nd7† Kf7 41.Nxg8> if Black decides to level material:

<41....Kxg8 42.c7 Rc6 43.Rb8† Kf7 44.c8=Q Rxc8 45.Rxc8 > wins the Rook. So, in fact, Black should defend by putting the Rooks on the same rank, but this loses a tempo and thus the game in a spectacular way, based on my earlier combination with 39.c7?.

<39....Rg7 40.c7 Ra8> which Rook doesn't really matter, c8 has to be covered. Ra8 however, keeps tabs on pawn c7. White will still play:

<41.Rb8> threatening both c8=Q and Rxa8, so Black cannot actually take pawn c7 and still has to move back with the other Rook.

<41....Rg8 42.Nd7† Ke7 43.Rxa8!> and this is beautiful;

<43....Rxa8> Kxd7 loses a Rook after 44.Rxg8 Kxc7, winning easily for White.

<44.Nb8! > and Black has no way to stop the c-pawn. His King cannot advance to d7 or d8, and the Rook is blockaded. Wonderful:

click for larger view

Time to check whether I missed a defense.

Dec-05-09  TheaN: 6/6

Easy week here, this didn't happen for me in the last four months :P.

To be honest I'm surprised so much wins on move 38, but I think they're all based on the same pattern and 38.Rxa6! is most forcing.

I missed that 40....Rg8? is a bad defense of c8 due to the same mate, as 41.c8=Q Rxc8 42.Rf7‡ 1-0, which is strange to miss after spotting it initially. However, 41.Rb8 leads to exactly the same as in the Ra8 variation (as Ra8 is now critical to fight for a few more moves), and I saw that that wins so I count that as an inaccuracy.

The end, as said, is beautiful. I missed the rational win 43.Nd7† Ke7 44.Nb6!? Kd7 45.Nxa8 Kc8 and White is winning easily due to the fact that Na8 is immune. This is simple, but Nb8 is way more pretty, and faster.

On to judgment day. I guess they are going to give us a 151 moves deep combination tomorrow or something, after this easy week.

Dec-05-09  WhiteRook48: bluphth hard
Dec-05-09  Patriot: <TheaN> "I missed the rational win 43.Nd7† Ke7 44.Nb6!? Kd7 45.Nxa8 Kc8 and White is winning easily due to the fact that Na8 is immune."

44...Kd7 is illegal. Otherwise with corrections you noted you were on the mark. I should've spent a little time analyzing the Rf8 defense which "could have" refuted the whole thing whereas you did.

To correct my own analysis, 39...Rg7 is what I intended to write.

Dec-05-09  Pliquer: 38. Rxa6!! Rxa6 39. Rb7 (threatening mate)

[If Rf8 then 40. Nd7+ Ke7 41. Nxf8+ Kxf8 42. c7! Rc6 43. Rb8+ and the pawn queens]

Therefore Rg7 puts up more of a fight, but now black has removed both guardians from the back rank, so 40. c7! is quite obvious.

[Now Rb7 loses immediately to c8=Q which renews the mate threat and if Rxa2 then 41. c8=Q and there is no perpetual for black and white is won]

So Ra8 is forced, then comes the natural 41. Rb8.

Now admittedly here I stopped analysing and hastily checked my solution, but there are more tricks. Rg8 and it almost appears black has got away with it. But then simply 42. Rxa8! Rxa8 43. Nd7+ Ke7 44. Nb6 and black will be playing out this endgame (or not) a knight down.

Dec-05-09  aidin299: it's very surprizing to me that in 1947 two unfamouse chess players have played this very instructive position , exactly the same set and variasion which Rybka 3 ( the most powerful chess engine at present with ability to calculate near 3 million nodes/second) can play !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: 38.Rxa6 Rxa6 39.Rb7 threatening mate on f7.

A) 39...Rf8 40.Nd7+ K to 7th rank 41.Nb8+ wins a piece

B) 39...Rg7 40.c7 Ra8 41.Rb8 Rg8 42.Nd7+ K moves 43.Rxa8 Rxa8 44.Nb6 leaving white a piece up.

Let's see what happened...


Nailed it!

Dec-05-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this endgame, white is up a passed pawn, a powerful passer on c6 that is well-supported by the rooks and centralized knight. The c-pawn should decide the ballgame, so it is evidently important to control c7 and not let the black king defend with Ke7-d6. White has a forcing continuation to this end:


Black must defend the mate threat, limiting his defensive options.

A) 38... Bxb7 39.cxb7 Rab8 40.Nd7+ Ke7 41.Nxb8 Rxb8 42.a4 Kd7 43.a5 Kc7 44.a6 wins

A.1) 39... Ra3 (or other a-file) 40.b8=Q Rxb8 41.Rxb8 Rxa2 43.Rb7 leaves no good defense against Rf7#

A.2) 39... Rae8 40.Nc6 followed by b8=Q and Nxb8 leaves black a piece down with no compensation.

A.3) 42... d4 43.Kf2 keeps the d-pawn contained without burdening the white rook.

B) 38... Rgf8 39.Nd7+ Ke7 40.Nxf8+ Kxf8 41.Rb8+ Rxb8 42.Rxb8+ followed by c7 wins.

C) 38... Raf8 39.Nd7+ Kd7 40.Nxf8+ Kxf8 41.Rb8+ wins.

D) 38... Rg7 39.Nd7+! (inducing an interference by the black king) Ke7 (or f7) 40.Nc5+ Bxb7 41.cxb7 Rb8 42.Na6 Rg8 43.Nxb8 Rxb8 44.a4 wins as in A.

D.1) 39... Rxd7 40.Rxd7 and black can't stop c7 followed by Rb6.

D.2) 40... Kf8 41.Rxg7 Kxg7 42.Nxa6 Rxa6 43.Rc2 Ra8 44.c7 Rc8 (Note: the black king is outside the square of the a-pawn, a handy and durable visual reference that facilitates the calculation at move 39.) 45.a4 Kf7 (d4 45.Kf2 d3 46.Rc3 and the black's d-pawn is contained by the white king) 46.a5 Ke7 47.a6 Kd7 48.a7 Ra8 49.c8=Q+ wins

D.3) 42...Rxb7 43.Rxb7+ followed by Rxg7 and the ending is trivial.

E) 38.... (other) 39.Rf7#

I often get to Saturday puzzles late in the day, but I hope this post contains one or two useful insights that have not been covered already.

Time to review the game and other comments...

Dec-05-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: I should have spent more time on 38.Rxa6, which is simpler, but 38.Rb7+ earns the full point, as noted previously.

Oops - D.2 looks incomplete or flawed.

Dec-05-09  newzild: Yes, it was easy for a supposedly "very difficult" puzzle. What is more interesting for me is 37.Rdb2. In a blitz game I would automatically play 37.Rc2 ("always put your rooks behind a passed pawn").

White's move aimed at occupying the open file demonstrates that he was already looking to exploit the mating possibilities in the position. The rules are there to be broken, folks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: <TheaN> You're absolutely right

42...Rxa8, 43. Nd7+ Ke7, 44. Nb8! (blockading the Black Rook on a8 to let the White c-pawn go queening.


Dec-05-09  SufferingBruin: 1000 rating, trying to get better.

First off, thanks to MaxxLange for yesterday's comment. Much obliged.

I was looking at 38.♘d7+ ♔e7 39.♘c5 ♗c8 40.♖b8 ♖xb8 but that went nowhere.

Then I thought the black bishop was just annoying so I went down the exchange: 38.♖xa6 ♖xa6 39.c7 ♖c8 39.♖b8 but that's a damn blunder (Rxb8). So there’s that.

Then I got hungry. And no, I did not enter the position into Chessmaster and take back move after move for any number of minutes while my stomach growled. No, I did not.

After dinner...

Oh, for the love of... I got scared off by my blunder so I didn't further explore Rxa6; didn't even look at Rb7 after sacrificing the exchange.

<That was SO easy. Got it in about three seconds! All these puzzles are way too easy for me. I don't even bother to look until Saturday and Sunday.>

I hate you. I hate you with the heat of a thousand suns. The next time you move a piece, I hope you get splinters.

Seriously, I'm kidding. Jealous, yes. Bitter? Of course. But kidding, nonetheless.

And I hope you get splinters. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <SufferingBruin> Enjoyed your post, as always. Very well written and funny.

If you stick with it, a funny thing will happen. You will get better. Problems that currently elude you will become ridiculousy easy. You will spot the key move much more quickly. Tactics and themes will suggest themselves. Some grandmasters talk about the move that the position demands - an instinctive pull to the right solution, or at least a very tempting one.

And the weird thing is that you probably won't notice it happening. It's like watching your kids grow up. They grow day by day but because you see them every day you don't really notice it. That is, until they do something really remarkable, or gramps (who doesn't see them every day) says "my, hasn't he/ she grown?"

Stick with it, and you will be the one spotting solutions in a nanosecond and making others jealous of you. And we will all have the pleasure of your company, sense of humour and good writing. Enjoy!

Dec-06-09  SufferingBruin: Dear Once,

I'm very grateful for the comment and, as always, the advice. I love this game and I love this board.

I'm going to give myself a little time before checking out the insane puzzle. And yes, I do feel like I'm getting a little better here. Best...

Dec-08-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <Oops - D.2 looks incomplete or flawed.>

This is to follow up on a cryptic comment I made late in the day after my initial post on Saturday. In variation D.2, (after choosing a somewhat more complex solution than 38. Rxa6 in the game) I reached the following position after white's move 47.a7 in my visualized analysis:

click for larger view

I continued "Ra8 49.c8=Q+ wins." True enough, but I did not note that black is nearly in zugswang here - neither king nor rook can move without losing at least a rook. Play might continue 47... d4 48.Kf2 d3 49.Rc3 d2 50.Ke2 h5 51.Kxd2 and black can resign.

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