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Samuel Reshevsky vs Stefano Tatai
Netanya-A (1973), Netanya ISR, rd 10, Jun-07
King's Indian Attack: Symmetrical Defense (A05)  ·  1/2-1/2


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find similar games 2 more Reshevsky/S Tatai games
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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  smitten: Seems like Black can manage to draw after Nxf4+. After Nc1 White can play Kc3 and Black night is stuck at the corner..
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: I'm always on the lookout for these sorts of cheap tactics. I once managed to pull this off in an online game, to the great annoyance of my opponent, who refused to accept my draw offer and finally stalemated me when his time was about to run out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni:

click for larger view


First of all, what is Black playing for? A win looks unlikely, as it will be very hard to attack the h-pawn. In fact, the knight stands an excellent chance of getting trapped or stranded.

So Black's probably going for a draw. The opponent has a bishop, so the first thing you look for is rook pawns. White has a wrong-colored h-pawn. Instant plan!

Black needs only make sure he can get White's f-pawn off the board after 50...Nxf4+, and this turns out to be easy in the game continuation.

There might be analysis proving White can't win the ending in any event, but he could surely make Black suffer and Reshevsky was the type who would do that. Why bother? By the way, I don't think 52...Kg6 would work after 53.h4 h6 54.Be8+ and 55.g6. It would at least be difficult to hold.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to move (50...?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

The first question that must be answered here is, "Is black playing for a win or for a draw?" I think it's for a draw.

If anything, white has the "advantage" in this position, as black is pressed just to save his knight?

Where does it go? On

50...Nc1+ 51 Kc2 Na2 52 Kb3 Nc1+ 53 Kb2

and black loses the knight and the game. The only other square that "looks" reasonable is


but after

51 Ke3

followed by 52 Bf1 and 53 Kf2 the knight will again be lost.

This means that the knight will have to capture on g3 or f4, and winning chances will disappear.

But! There are drawing chances, all due to the fact that the white bishop does not control h8. Let's see how this goes down:

50...Nxf4 51 gxf4

Not taking the knight would suddenly give black all the winning chances.


It is imperative that black eliminate white's f-pawn. The h-pawn is of almost no concern.

52 fxg5

Anything else allows black to capture on f4 and wind up in a book draw, as white would only have a rook pawn of the wrong color for his bishop.


Once again, black must eliminate the g-pawn, as the h-pawn doesn't matter. Going after the g-pawn with the king is a mistake, as after 52...Kg6 53 h4 h6 54 Be8+ allows white to get his pawn to g6, where black loses.

53 h4

Taking with 53 gxh6+ Kxg6 once again produces the well known book draw.

53...hxg5 54 hxg5 Kg6

and white has no way to save his last pawn.

This must be it. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I've seen this before in Edmar Mednis' columns and books, so this was easy.
Jul-30-11  TheBish: Reshevsky vs S Tatai, 1973

Black to play (50...?) "Very Difficult"

It looks like Black's knight is trapped. If 50...Ng1 51. Ke3! Nh3 52. Bf1 Ng1 52. Kf2 and White snares it. But Black has a way to draw.

50...Nxf4! 51. gxf4 Kf6

At first I thought Black could play 51...g5 52. fxg5 Kg6 53. h4 h6, but then 54. Be8+ Kg7 55. g6 gives White an easy win.

52. h4 h6 53. Kd4 g5 and Black draws, either by liquidating all of White's pawns, or after 54. fxg5+ hxg5 55. h5, by the fact that White has the wrong colored bishop to have any chance to queen the h-pawn.

Jul-30-11  tacticalmonster: 1) Black knight is attacked and it has very little square to escape

candidate: 50 Nc1+ and Ng1

a) 50 Nc1+ 51 Kc2 Na2 52 Kb3 Nc1+ 53 Kb2- The knight is lost

b) 50 Ng1 51 Ke3 g5! 52 fxg5 (52 Kf2 Nh3+ 53 Kg2 g4 = and 52 Bf1 g4 53 Bg2 h5 54 Kf2 Nh3+ 55 Bxh3 gxh3 =) 52...Nh3 53 Bd3 Nxg5 54 Bxf5 Kf6 55 Bd3 h6 =

Jul-30-11  TheBish: The way Tatai played it was simpler, but my way works too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: According to The World of Chess Reshevsky stared at the final position for an hour before agreeing to the draw. It helped cost him a share of first.
Premium Chessgames Member
  hedgeh0g: I thought the point of the puzzle was to find some obscure win for Black in a seemingly drawish endgame, but failed to find anything at all. In fact, if anyone is better in the endgame, it's probably White.

The move ...Nxf4+! secures the draw instantly by exploiting the well-known drawing idea of obtaining a lone king vs king, bishop and rook pawn of opposite queening colour to the bishop.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Seems to me the line 50...Ng1 51. Ke3 g5! = also works just fine to force the draw, and with less difficulty.

The point of the game continuation is I suppose to show the h-Pawn and the light Squared Bishop can't force a winning promotion on the dark h8 square, as long as the lone King can block access to the promotion square. For example, in the position below (black to move):

click for larger view

Black easily forces the draw after 1...Kg7 2. Kh5 Kh8 =, as 3.Kh6 is stalemate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Magic Castle: Looks like the aim of the puzzle is to find a win for black. It is a long process but I think the initial best moves are 50...Ng8. 51. any K or B moves, g5 52. fg5....Nh3. The next phase is for black to attack the pawn by 53. Kf4..Kg6. The pawn is recovered and it looks that Black's Knight is now better than the white's bishop. Everybody work it out. It is fun.
Jul-30-11  sevenseaman: I do not think N has a life. 'Trapped' is right. So can it make its death count?

50...Nxf4+ gxf4 is the way. Any other way of perishing looks effete.

I thought of a vague win rather than an obvious looking draw. So my wishful second move is 51...Kg6, planning for the K to get to h4 before consolidating.

Utopian! May be Tatai is more clear-headed and a realist and quickly settles for a draw.

Today's puzzle makes me feel empty.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <keypusher: According to The World of Chess Reshevsky stared at the final position for an hour before agreeing to the draw. It helped cost him a share of first.>

He was probably fantasizing about somehow getting something along these lines, when White wins:

click for larger view

Of course that's quite impossible.

Jul-30-11  scormus: It is B to draw isnt it? Simplest way is to realise W cannot force win with LSB and h pawn as long as BK gets to the corner.

So 50 ... Nxf4 51 gxf4 and advance the pawns g5 and h6. I had <Dzechiel's> 51 h6 first but it looks the same.

Seem to be other 50 ... moves but this seems the clearest.

The <patzer2> position has odd memories for me. I once had it as B in a club championship game against the club champ. I annouced the draw in front of him and the tournament controller and I left the table as I had to go back to work. Next day I found he was given the win as he claimed we could have played on. So <Mr. $%&> if youre reading I hope your ears are burning.

Jul-30-11  scormus: <keypusher ... hour before agreeing to the draw>

well, perhaps if I'd known that when I played that game .....

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <FSR> Not so impossible.

In one of my very early team matches, I had a position resembling Black's in your diagram:

click for larger view

I knew about rook pawn draws, but had foolishly let my king get stalemated and now had no choice but to play ...g3.

My opponent reached out to take the pawn, hesitated, and exclaimed, "Oh, no! If I take the pawn, you're stalemated!

I have never had a poker face, but did my best. "So I guess it's a draw?"

"Yes, it's a draw" he agreed.

This was in my younger days, so I was quick enough to get away from the table before his teammates descended on him.

Jul-30-11  abuzic: 50...Nxg4, gives quick way to draw:
51.gxf4 g5 52.fxg5 h6! (52...Kg6 loses immediately to 53.h4 h6 54.Be8+ followd by g6.

If 50...Ng1, white has better position but still a drawish endgame.

Black can maneuvre so the N will not be trapped: 51.Ke3 g5 52.Bd3 (52.Bf1 g4) Nh3 53.Bd7 (or 53.Bd3) Kg6 followd by ...Nxg5 or Kxg5 and the night will ponder between h3, f2, h1 squares to secure equality. As <dzechiel> stated: "why bother" and suffer? go for granted and quick draw.

Blakc's <30...Qxa5> was bad move, 30...Nc6 keeps balanced position. White failed to follow after <30...Qxa5 31.Re8 Qc5? 32.Rg8+>, he could have strong attack and winning position with 32.Rh8!, very rich position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: If I remember correctly, with one pawn and a bishop of the opposite color of the queening square, you cannot win if the opposing king controls that square. In the final position, it looks like white cannot force a different result than that.

I guess the real question is after 50...Nxf4+ 51 gxf4, below, can white force one of his pawns to the g file and protect it?

click for larger view

As long as black follows with 51g5, it appears that a draw is inevitable.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Phony Benoni> That's a most embarrassing sort of thing in team competitions. In my youth I once had a somewhat similar experience, albeit just in an offhand game at my high school chess club. I was playing someone even "fishier" than I and had a crushing material advantage. I made my move and thereafter realized, to my horror, that I had just stalemated him. The pawns were blocked, so he had no pawn moves. He also had no king moves, and his other pieces were all pinned against his king in various ways, rendering them immobile. He surveyed his position sadly, made some remark about how tied up he was - and resigned! I quickly set the pieces back up before anyone came along and examined the position. Whew - ridicule averted!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Magic Castle: Nobody takes my suggestion seriously. so here is one line. 50...Ng1 51. Ke3...g5. 52. Bf1...g4 53. Ke3..Nf3. The h pawn is threaten.

Another. After. 51....g5. 52 fg5.. .Nh3 53. Bf1..Ng5 54. Kf4..Kf6 55.h4 Ne6 56. Kf3 Kfe5. 57.h5..h6. Looks like black is better now.

Jul-30-11  scormus: <FSR, Phony Benoni> Seems I started something with my tale! I do like these anecdotes, they remind me thay chess players are not cold, calcluating, completely logical. They do the same daft things as everyone else!
Jul-30-11  ounos: Very difficult?!?! :-/

Interestingly, I thought it was so easy that I didn't see it through, and peeked at the solution thinking that Kg6 would be ok :)

Seeing the precise royal dance needed to capture the knight if it goes left is interesting too.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <FSR, Phony Benoni> Very amusing stories! Liked both very much.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: Not difficult at all. 50...Nxf4 51. gxf4 g5, forcing a trade of the g-♙ and leaving white only one ♙, the h-♙.

Black draws because the ♗ doesn't control h8, the square the h-♙ wants to promote on. It's the wrong ♗ or the wrong ♙ or the wrong color square.

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