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Vasilije Tomovic vs Milan Vidmar
Liberation (1945), Ljubljana SLO, rd 2, Dec-27
Queen's Gambit Declined: Traditional Variation (D30)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-18-07  Retireborn: 68.Kd6? falls into a horrible stalemate trap with 68...Rxe5 69.Kxe5 f6+.

68.Re7 planning e6 and f6 should win.

Mar-05-08  deadlysin: f6+ draws
Mar-05-08  TrueBlue: was this way too easy or is it just me?
Mar-05-08  Tactic101: Tactic101: With black being materially down, a draw is all he can hope for. He notes the position of his king, noting that the king has only 2 legal moves and none if the f pawn were to vanish from the seventh rank. If the king were to replace the e5 pawn, then f6+ draws by stalemate if the black rook wasn't on the board. So, Rxe5! saves the day.
Mar-05-08  zooter: A stalemate motif thrown in suddenly!?!

Black obviously is in bad shape and should be happy with a draw

68...Rxe5 does the trick, Now:

69.Kxe5 f6+ is stalemate irrespective of whether black captures the pawn or not

69.Rxf7 Rd5+ 70.Ke6 Re5+ and so on with a draw

69.Any other rook move apart from Rxf7 Rxf5

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to play. Black is down a pawn. "Medium/Easy."

At my very first glance, I thought it was white to play, and I was very concerned that the black king was almost stalemated, and, that given half a chance, black would try a "crazy rook" maneuver in order to achieve said stalemate.

At that moment I noticed that it was black to move and started typing this.

It seems that the correct move is, indeed...


If white captures the rook with 69 Kxe5 then 69...f6+ draws by stalemate. White's best try seems to be

69 Rxf7

Now black can start checking the white king until he gets sick and tired and agrees to the draw (or takes the rook, resulting in stalemate). Eg:

69...Rd5+ 70 Ke7 Rd7+ 71 Kf8 Rd8+ 72 Ke7 Rd7+ 73 Ke6 Re7+

Uh, oh. If white doesn't want to lose he has to take the rook

74 Rxe7


Tomovic just got careless. I wonder what his last move was (that allowed the draw)? Time to check.

Mar-05-08  MostlyAverageJoe: 68...Rxe5 is the only move with any traces of hope (if KxR, then f6+ and stalemate no matter what). White's only recourse is to move the rook, leaving a clearly drawn ending, which I did not bother to analyze (since whatever happens then cannot be worse than what would happen after any other move but Rxe5).
Mar-05-08  zooter: <deadlysin: f6+ draws>

68...f6 would lose to 69.e6 and if 69...Rxe6 70.fxe6 and there is no stalemate and if 69...Rd1+ 70.Ke7 and white wins!

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: It looks like 66 Ra6+ may have been called for. I'm not even sure that would be good enough to win.
Mar-05-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <zooter> I think <deadlysin> commented on the final position after KxR, since otherwise the move would be f6, not <f6+>.
Mar-05-08  PolishPentium: PP is willing to admit his puzzlement about this one. First, why didn't White just carpe the diem and seize the f pawn on move 66 (66 Rxf7)? If Black foolishly tries to goad W into the stalemate trap by 66 ...Rxf5, 67 PxR sidesteps the problem neatly (though of course taking with the King would be folly). Ergo, Black does not try 66...Rxf5, and White should win due to a two-pawn advantage, one of those pawns being nicely poised to advance to the sixth rank.

Loving ahead, even having screwed up with 68 Kd6, there's nothing truly compelling W to play 69 KxR, knowing that the move immediately draws. Again PP would suggest 69 Rxf7. Black won't be able then to offer his Rook indefinitely (W will be able to find a way to put a stop to the offers of self-immolation), and then White's pawn advantage should prevail. It's certainly possible PP is wrong---he is, after all, a certifiable duffer--- but it's hard for him to believe White can't win this...

Mar-05-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <dzechiel: It looks like 66 Ra6+ may have been called for> I think you mean 68.Ra6+.

Hiarcs says it is good enough (+3.79, 25 plies deep), but perhaps not trivial OTB.

I guess the idea would be to advance the e- or f- pawn forcing an exchange, then hide white K from checks and promote...

After 68.Ra6+:

(+3.83) 68... Kh7 69. Kd6 Kg7 70. Ra7 Kf8 71. f6 Kg8 72. Ra8 <the rest less reliable: Kh7 73. Ke7 Rxe5 74. Kxf7 Re4 75. Kf8 Rxg4 76. f7 Rg1 77. Ke7 Re1 78. Kd6 Rd1 79. Ke5 Re1 80. Kd4 Rd1 81. Ke3 Rf1 82. f8=Q Rxf8 83. Rxf8>

Mar-05-08  Terry McCracken: It was easy to calculate, nevertheless it was nice for CG to slip in a draw.
Mar-05-08  jovack: Rxe5... I realized quickly that this was a play and draw type deal. Rxe5, followed by a whole array of ways to draw based on white's response.
Mar-05-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <PolishPentium: PP is willing to admit his puzzlement about this one. First, why didn't White just carpe the diem and seize the f pawn on move 66 (66 Rxf7)?> It draws - black does crazy rook routine and checks with impunity since black K cannot move:

click for larger view

See the first post by <dzechiel> for the answer to your second paragraph.

Mar-05-08  vortex2639: can someone explain to me why black did not play 60...Rxh3. He would have evened material, and I think at worse still gotten the draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: <vortex2639: can someone explain to me why black did not play 60...Rxh3. He would have evened material, and I think at worse still gotten the draw.>

It may have been the last move before the second time control, which is often at move 60.

If Vidmar had worked out a drawing plan, based on keeping his rook on the e-file, and was short of time, then it made sense to stick with the draw he had already worked out, rather than try a new drawing path.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkThornton: Instead of 68. Kd6?, <68. Re7> is the correct move.

If Black then tries the stalemate trap with <68...f6?> (hoping for 69. e6 or 69. exf6) White replies <69. Re6!> and wins, e.g. 69...Rxe5+ 70. Rxe5 fxe5 71. Kd5 1-0

So Black has to play <68...Kg7>, when the game still hangs in the balance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: <MostlyAverageJoe: <dzechiel: It looks like 66 Ra6+ may have been called for> I think you mean 68.Ra6+.>

Actually, I did mean 66 Ra6+, but the idea is the same for both that move and 68 Ra6+, to chase the black king out of his self built coffin and prevent stalemate possibilities, then use the white king to get the e-pawn moving down the board.

Mar-05-08  ForeverYoung: The right stalemate idea came to me after a couple of minutes. Then came the right way to force the draw after 68 ... Rxf5 69 Rxe7. I am off to a 3-0 start this week.
Mar-05-08  sallom89: nice puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: The trick line would be

68 ... Rxe5
69 Kxe5 f6+

which forces the stalemate.

But in fact, white will not do this if he plays best. White will move the rook in response. But he will not take grab back the pawn, because of

69 Rxf7 Rd5+

Here white cannot take the rook which results in the stalemate, so he has to evade the check. If he moves to the queen side, then the rook just follows resulting in perpetual check.

It is possible for white to try and get the king to the other side of his rook, which is the line

69 Rxf7 Rd5+
70 Ke7 Re5+
71 Kf8 Re8+

which forces the king to take the rook resulting in the stalemate.

The king can also try and end the perpetual checks in front of the rook

69 Rxf7 Rd5+
70 Ke7 Re5+
71 Kf6 Re6+

here white is forced to take the rook either with the king, or the pawn. But this ends up in the same old stalemate.

So what's white got? Stuff like

69 Ra8 Re4
70 Rg8 Rxg4
71 Ra4 Kxf7
72 Ra7+

which is perpetual check.

There are probably other lines. I couldn't find any answer for white that wins, and don't really think black can turn the tables either. So I checked with Rybka and it sees a draw.

Mar-05-08  mravikiran: The catch is "play and draw" and not "play and win"
Premium Chessgames Member
  ahmadov: A nice one, which I failed to find... :(
Mar-05-08  zanshin: <vortex2639: can someone explain to me why black did not play 60...Rxh3. He would have evened material, and I think at worse still gotten the draw.>

Because 61.f6+ puts Black's King in a bind and White gets the pawn back. For example,

click for larger view

(3.19): 61...Kh7 62.Rb7 Kg6 63.Rb8 Ra3 64.Rg8+ Kh7 65.Rg7+ Kh8 66.Rxf7 Ra6 (Rybka top line 21-ply)

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