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Luke McShane vs Ni Hua
2nd Sanjin Hotel Cup (2005), Tiayuan CHN, rd 7, Jul-15
French Defense: Tarrasch. Morozevich Variation (C03)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-01-12  cyclon: <newzild:> <Also, after 73...f2+ 74. Ka2 f1=Q, White can simply play 75. Bxf1> No he can't because 72. -e2 has been played (illegal move, sorry). Same is with Qf8+ because pawn is still on a7, but youre RIGHT - after studying the position for a while it came evident that Black does not have enough counterplay and/or checks not to mention mating threats.
Apr-01-12  Patriot: White is up a pawn.
Black threatens to promote, while black's bishop guards the diagonal.

72.cxd4 e2 looks winning since 73.Bxe2 fxe2+ promotes. 73.Rxe2 fxe2+ is no better. Another idea was 73.a7 f2+ 74.Kb2 e1=Q 75.a8=Q Qb4+ . But perhaps 74.Ka2 is the key there which looks pretty good.

72.Bf1 e2 73.Bxh3 e1=Q 74.cxd4 Qa5 looks dangerous but might be ok.

I spent a lot of time on this and I'm still not sure. I'll go with the gutsy 72.cxd4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 72 cxd4 e2 73 a7 e1Q 74 a8Q Qb1+ 75 Rb2 f2+ 76 Ka4 here is the position.

click for larger view

Say if black tries 76...Qxb2 here. Play should continue something like 77 Qd8+ Kf5 78 Qd7+ Kg5 79 Qxh3 Qxd4.

click for larger view

Black threatens 80...Qxc4+, so how does white both protect the bishop and keep the pawn from promoting?

Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: I want to start of by saying that I really appreciate Luke McShane's chess playing abilities and this is why I think this puzzle is ultra-cool.

I've come up with the following which seems a decent practical try:

<72. cxd4 e2 73. a7 e1=Q 74. a8=Q Qb1+>

(74...f2+ 75. Ka4 Qa1+ 76. Ra2 Qd1+ 77. Ka5 Qe1+ 78. Ka6 )

<75. Rb2 f2+ 76. Ka4 Qxb2>

(76...Qa1+ 77. Ra2 transposes to subvariation noted above; 76...f1=Q 77. Qf8+ and 78. Qxf1 )

<77. Qd8+ Kg6>

(Only move: the K must avoid stepping on the seventh rank and f5, or else he will lose the R while White covers f1 with both Q and B - therefore giving White all the winning chances.)

<78. Qd6+ Kg5/Kh5 79. Qe5+ Kg4>

(79...Kh4 80. Qf4+ Kh5 81. Bf7#)

<80. Be6+ Kf3>

(80...Kh4 81. Qf4+ mates as above)

<81. Qf5+ Ke2>

(81...else 82. Qxh3+ )

<82. Bc4+ Kd2/Kd1/Ke1 83. Qxh3> f1 is covered and White has all the winning chances


Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: I'm glad I got today's puzzle on the money. Now comes the objective part of the rating for the week:

Monday - 0.80 out of 1 is fair as I got 1...Qh1+ which some members put as their entire answer and claimed the full point for and I went with 1...Qh1+ 2. Kxh1 Rxf1#.

Tuesday - full point

Wednesday - full point

Thursday - full point

Friday - 0.25 out of 1 is fair as I correctly got the solution had Black declined the N.

Saturday - I'm commuting my 'full point' down to 0.70 as although I didn't write the ...h6 defense the continuation that follows is completely obvious and there is no way White could have got that winning position without 1. Qh5 and 2. Kd2!

Today - full point

For a score of 5.95/7 with a pass for the week.


Apr-01-12  cyclon: < LJLMETAL: 72. cxd4!, e2
73. Bxe2!, fxe2
74. Rxe2 and wins>
Not quite so easily. 73. -fxe2+ is a discovered check by the Black Rook from h3, so White has to react to that first 74. -Rxe2 being an illegal move. White loses here.
Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> 1. RxP+! KxR 2. P-B8=N+! K-R1/K-R3 3. R-R7#

It should also be brought to your attention that in the final diagram of your first/solution post, Black has ...QxP+ when Black is better.


Apr-01-12  GlennOliver: It is not apparent that this can be anything other than a Black win, whether following Luke McShane's actual move or following the alternative "call the bluff" move given in the Annotations to the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I core blimey guv it a minute detail in but wolf recking bd4 isnt it suttle, in cxd4 it doughnut in bf1 it hinges another pawn surge freed in bb6 one bedazzle in white array of in king pole rook strike it is pawn take d4 what I dont in stipulate the reasoning headache behind bf1 roof in ceiling a7 surely binds black being gamble wroth undertaking light mittens off king in spare room apply in cocoa lotion give back opportunity to bishop hold the court freed at evermore its I cross-over tent a pegging future in east surge hedge for one pawn up acolumn rook to open later in so you think it mark in building he toil for wait in bb6 cheerio it rising kingc4 away it being gift in rookh1 park in midfield re1 dint king father in 76.kd3 adding misery to bishope2 ramd1 tell a... 0l. IE cxd4 he find garden hoeing in feed rag you bobbing apples for our fool inbf1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WinKing: Oh man I don't know. Looks like there are two possible candidates here. 72.cxd4 & 72.Be2 might do the job let's see.

72.cxd4 e2
73.a7 e1(Q) <( if 73...f2+ 74.Ka2 f1(Q) 75.a8(Q) e1(Q) heh! 76.Qf8+ Kg5 77.Bxf1 )>

74.a8(Q) Qb1+
75.Rb2 f2+
76.Ka4 Qxb2
77.Qd8+ ∞ <(I dunno...kinda gives you that queasy feelin')>

click for larger view


72.Be2 fxe2
73.Rxe2 Bb6
74.Kc2 Ke5
75.Kd3 Kf4 <(& I don't think white can hold this)>

click for larger view

So I guess I would go with the 'queasy feelin' line (72.cxd4) but I would not feel comfortable playing it. I am curious to see what white did actually play in the game. This is a pretty complex ending especially when pawn's queening are involved in the mix. A hard decision for McShane to be sure.


Interesting he played Bf1. I rejected that quickly because of:

72.Bf1 Bb6 73.Bxh3 e2 & I figured black wins.

Apr-01-12  sevenseaman: <LoveThatJoker> Nice fun solution of the <phonybenoni> puzzle.

<QxP+> ? You have not given move #, I think you are referring to move 76. for Black where I let him have f1=Q.

May be you have a point there. 76...Qxd4+ 77. Bc4 and Black looks better. The play goes;

77. Bc4 f1=Q (Best) 78. Qf1+ Ke5 The Q cannot afford to take f1 on a/c of the dangerous Qa7+. He will have to settle for a draw by repetition that he can force.

Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

Apr-01-12  panazzolo: Hey, what is the problem about cxd4 e2 a7 f2+ Kb2? Black is not better here?
Apr-01-12  dragon player: Strange position today. Why not 72.cxd4?
maybe because of 72...e2, threathening 73...f2+. But I don't see another move.

Lets just check.


The game went as I wrote above. I thougt it might be a draw after this. Not sure whether to take the points for today. Lets take a half.

6,5/7 Quite good

Apr-01-12  David2009: McShane vs Ni Hua, 2005 White 72?

Missed it completely.

click for larger view

I had analysed 72.cxd4 as a White loss, so looked instead at drawing combinations, for example 72.Rf2? exf2?? 73.cxd4 but of course Black plays instead 72...e2! and wins easily. At this point I gave up.

Here's a link to Crafty End Game Trainer to play the puzzle out interactively:

The robot follows <Jim>'s line as Black 72.cxd4 e2 73.a7 e1=Q 74.a8=Q Qb1+ 75.Rb2 f2 CHECK (I had wrongly considered this a forced loss for White) 76.Ka4 Qxb2 77.Qd8+ Kf5 78.Qd7+ Kg5 79.Qxh3 Qxd4 to reach <Jim>'s position

click for larger view

Now 80. Qd3 keeps everything guarded but is too passive - the f2 Pawn ties White's pieces down and Black checks away on the Black squares. I went round and round with my King but could not safely play b6. Then I tried 80.Qg3+ Kf6 81.Kb3 expecting Qd1+ and with no very clear idea of what to do then, when the EGT surprised me with Qxc4+ 82.Kxc4 f1=Q+ and there is an immensely difficult table base win for White (with innumerable opportunities to go wrong on the way) starting 83.Kb4 Qb1+ 84.Qb3 Qe4+ when 85.Qc4! is the only way to avoid immediate perpetual check. Here's a second Crafty link to the position at move 80 in this variation, to practice the queen and pawn ending:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <LTJ> Black needs to play 79...Kg6 in your line, not 79...Kg4.

click for larger view

That takes away any bishop checks.

Now white can't mess around because he faces a mate in one threat. So, after 80 Qe6+ Kg5 81 Qxh3 Qxd4, you end up in the final position in my second post, whch I believe is very difficult to win.

click for larger view

No one has commented on this position yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: Can we call this a spoiler? Yes, I think we can. Usually in a puzzle there is a piece hanging, but to everybody's surprise there is an even stronger move than taking the piece.

Here, the piece seems to be coated with cyanide anyhow. But the best move by far is to take it ... April fools!

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is a pawn ahead.

Black seems to threaten 72... e2 73.Rc1 Bxc3 74.Kxc3 f2+ but after 75.Kd2 e1=Q+ 76.Rxe1 fxe1=Q+ 77.Kxd1 Black looks lost.

The obvious 72.cxd4 allows 72... e2 73.Rc1 f2+ and 74... e1=Q. This suggests 72.Rf2 to stop and block the black pawns:

A) 72... exf2 73.cxd4

A.1) 73... f1=Q 74.Bxf1 f2+ 75.Kb2

A.1.a) 75... Rh1 76.Bc4 (76.a7 Rxf1 77.a8=Q Rb1+) 76... Rh2 (76... f1=Q 77.Bxf1 Rxf1 78.a7 + -) 77.Kb3 followed by a7, b6, etc.

A.1.b) 75... Rh8 76.a7 Ra8 77.b6 + -.

A.2) 73... Ke7 74.a7 Rh8 75.b6 Kd7 76.b7 Kc7 77.a8=Q + -.

B) 72... e2 73.Rf1 (73.Bxe2 Bxf2 - +) 73... exf1=Q 74.Bxf1 Rh1 75.cxd4 Rxf1 76.a7 Ra1 77.b6 f2 looks bad for White.

The same idea with 72.Be2 is met with 72... fxe2 73.Rxe2 Bb6 74.c4 Ke5 75.Kb4 Kd6.

The only possibility seems to replace 73.Rc1 in the first line with a pawn thrust: 72.cxd4 e2 73.a7 e1=Q 74.a8=Q Qb1+ 75.Rb2 f2+ (75... Qa1+ 76.Ra2 Qxd4 77.Rxf2+ looks bad for Black: 77... Qxf2 78.Qf8+) 76.Ka4 Qxb2 77.Qd8+ and then try to capture the loose rook on h3 with checks.

Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <Jfp> Obivously I didn't comment on 79...Kg6 as it gives White what he wants immediately: the removal of the R and the configuration of Q and B attacking the f1 square. It should be noted that after the forced sequence 80 Qe6+ Kg5 81 Qxh3 Qxd4 what I stated throughout my post is correct: White has all the winning chances.

82. Qd3 Qb6 (82...Q check, only helps White to begin mobilizing his K) looking decent enough for White as his plan will now consistent in doing his damndest to bring the K over to the K-side and remove the f pawn. He can afford to do this as Black's K is cut off from protecting the f-pawn and is not in the thick of the battle.


PS. As per the link provided by <David2009> crafty confirms that my plan of 82. Qd3 Qc5 (crafty's move) 83. Qe4 Kh5 84. Qf4 followed by the maneuvering of the K to the K-side to win the f-pawn is correct. After this, Black still has drawing resources. Yet so long as White doesn't fall for stalemating motifs, he will win the game.

Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <sevenseaman> I was refering to the very final diagram to your solution.

After 80. Rc2 Qxd4+ Black is better.


Apr-01-12  cdbloch: Did anyone look at 72. Rf2?
Apr-01-12  LoveThatJoker: <Jfp> I would like to add that you obviously haven't understood the position correctly as in this situation, White would ideally like to keep his B where it is on c4 and not have to move it around. That is why in my 79...Kg4 line, White is lucky that through checks he is still able to win the R while keep f1 under close observation.

Furthermore, my line is practically superior to yours as at least here the Black K prevents White's K from marching over to the kingside and winning the f-pawn. This said, even in my line, Black seems to lack sufficient counterplay and once again, White has all the winning chances.


Apr-01-12  James D Flynn: My first thought was 72.cxd4 (which seems necessary to promote the white pawns) e2 73.h7 e1(Q) 74.a8(Q)f2+ 75.Ka2 f1(Q)Bxf1and Black cannot take with the Q because Qf8+ wins the Q. If instead 73.h7 f2+ 74.Ka2(If f1(Q) 75.h8(Q) leads to the same position) Rh8 75.Bxd2 and R cannot prevent the united passed pawns from queening. Let's try 72.cxd4 e2 73.h7 f2+ 74.Kh2 Rh3+ 75.Kxh3 f1(Q) 76.h8(Q) Qh1+ 77.Rh2 and again White emerges with a bishop up, but is it enough to win? I think there must be something clearer. I tried 72.Rf7 to block the check after 72.....exf7 73.cxd4 but d7 seems to win for Black. I had to do taxes at this point but in the final wild position with each side having a Q, I think there must be something clearer, so I'm going to the game.
Apr-01-12  erniecohen: <<David2009>: Now 80. Qd3 keeps everything guarded but is too passive - the f2 Pawn ties White's pieces down and Black checks away on the Black squares. I went round and round with my King but could not safely play b6.>

The winning strategy is for White to bring his B to f1 and Q to g2, then march his K to the f-pawn, the fall of which ends the game.

Apr-01-12  TheBish: McShane vs Ni Hua, 2005

White to play (72.?) "Insane"

Forgot about this earlier, so not much time now. Going to assume that the Black pawns must be stopped, probably at the expense of a piece. So here goes...

72. Be2

Not 72. cxd4? e2 73. Bxe2 fxe2+ (discovered!) and Black queens.

72...fxe2 73. Rxe2 Bb6 74. c4 followed by 75. Kb4.

Hmmm... looks like maybe a draw? This one really is hard, going to check.


Wow, never occurred to me to allow Black to queen that way. Of course! With the bishop out of the way, White queens too.

Apr-02-12  sevenseaman: <LoveThatJoker> Yes, that was some shoddy work by me. Its never over till its over.

Calls for a better application to see the puzzle truly home. There wasn't any real reason for the hurry.

A good puzzle that I could have enjoyed much more.

Thanks again.

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