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Vladislav Ivanovich Tkachiev vs Ruslan Ponomariov
Tal Memorial (Blitz) (2008), Moscow RUS, rd 27, Aug-30
Sicilian Defense: Alapin Variation. General (B22)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-13-09  hakonh: White can win a bishop with 17. Bf4..
Jan-13-09  geeker: Took a bit longer than usual for a Tuesday, came up with the forcing Bf4. I assumed it had to be a blitz game for Ponomariov to lose so quickly, and the game page verified it.
Jan-13-09  Woody Wood Pusher: Pono got owned big time.
Jan-13-09  Patriot: 17.Bf4 was fairly easy to spot once you notice the overloaded queen and rook.

<TheaN: <18.Bxc7 Rxe1 (Qxc7 19.Re8 1-0) 19.Qxe1 > and the mate threat is still in order and Black may not take back. Take note that Nb4? is impossible (trying to remove a piece from the mating pattern) as the Queen is covering b4. 18.Rxe8 Qxe8 19.Bxc7 works, but it hands Black the e-file unnecessarily. And in the end Bxc7 is just as forcing.>

I totally agree. I'm not sure what a computer evaluation would give between 18.Rxe8+ and 18.Bxc7 but Bxc7 has to be better for the reason you gave. If nothing else, Bxc7 gives black the "opportunity" to blunder with Qxc7.

Jan-13-09  veerar: 4......Qxd5,is book!
Jan-13-09  dukesterdog2: Black's back rank weakness allows white to win the bishop with 17.Bf4.
Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White has black in a bind after 17 ♗f4!.

White threatens mate and the black queen. The queen may move to stop the mate but would abandon the bishop behind her. After 17...♕d7 18 ♖xe8+ ♕xe8 19 ♗xc7

Jan-13-09  Utopian2020: Black's 16... Re8 was a major blunder. Black needs to clear his back rank by 16... Bd7 before playing 17... Rfe8.
Jan-13-09  Samagonka: I'm not that hopeless after all! Having messed up yesterday, it feels good to get this one.
Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Well, I found 17.Bf4 -- on about the 5th or 6th time I looked at it.

Frankly, I ultimately found it only because I *knew* there was a tactic to be found, and that there was little else to look at.

Based on this, I would have to guess that my chances of seeing it OTB were slim. :-\

Jan-13-09  TheTamale: Got it almost instantly. Not to say that dozens of subtleties didn't escape me, but I got it.
Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: I found Bf4--but only because there really wasn't anything else: none of those moves that look good, but aren't.
Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Now that was fun! Like a good whodunnit, the prime suspect kept changing as the combination unravelled.

In the starting position the smoking gun is the Re8. It sits unprotected on the vulnerable back rank. Now all we need to do is move the Be3 with tempo and then we can snaffle the rook.

But we have no check with the Be3. Bxh6 doesn't do anything. Any other move allows the rook to exchange itself for the Re1 with check. So maybe the rook has an alibi?

Maybe the Qd6 is the killer and the Re8 is a red herring? Let's see about attacking the black queen with 17. Bf4 ...

Hang on a second, 17. Bf4 allows 17... Rxe1+ 18. Qxe1 Q(somewhere). The black queen cannot be caught.

Ah, I see. Where exactly is he going to put the black queen? He cannot defend both Qe8# and Bxc7. So something like 18...Qd7 19. Bxc7 and we have won a bishop.

By a process of elimination, I accuse the Bc7 of murdering black's position, But the Re8 and Qd6 were no doubt accomplices to the crime.

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Jan-13-09  A.G. Argent: <Once><...good whodunnit, the prime suspect...> So DCI Tennison hasn't retired after all.
Jan-13-09  mworld: i should have seen Bf4 but was blinded by my inability to give up trying to make Bxh6 into an attack.
Jan-13-09  stacase: Dicover threatened mate and attack Black's Queen all in one move. And Oh by the way the Queen can't defend against the mate. Works for me!
Jan-13-09  viky: Bank rank is weak and rook does not have support + rooks are not connected at present..

17 Bf4 Rxe1 18 Qxe1 if Qxf4 Qe8+# if Qd8 Bxc7
and the bishop can not be taken because of the mating threat

Jan-13-09  Kasputin: It is fun to speculate and that is all this is, but I wonder what would happen (in terms of the posts) if we had this same position but with a black h-pawn on h7?

Some kibitzers found this puzzle very easy and others clearly didn't. (I am speaking on the relative scale of a Tuesday of course.) Like lots of others, I initially had my eye trained on black's kingside. After all, those white bishops are aimed that way ... well you get the drift.

But I didn't look at that for long. After I saw white's d3 bishop covering h7 and the discovered attack on e8 if the e3 bishop moved, then the rest fell into place quickly.

So if that black h-pawn was on its original square, then I suspect that those kibitzers who had some difficulties (initially anyway) would have noticed the real tactical point much sooner.

Jan-13-09  Kasputin: <Patriot: <TheaN: <18.Bxc7 Rxe1 (Qxc7 19.Re8 1-0) 19.Qxe1 > and the mate threat is still in order and Black may not take back. Take note that Nb4? is impossible (trying to remove a piece from the mating pattern) as the Queen is covering b4. 18.Rxe8 Qxe8 19.Bxc7 works, but it hands Black the e-file unnecessarily. And in the end Bxc7 is just as forcing.>

I totally agree. I'm not sure what a computer evaluation would give between 18.Rxe8+ and 18.Bxc7 but Bxc7 has to be better for the reason you gave. If nothing else, Bxc7 gives black the "opportunity" to blunder with Qxc7.>

It's matter of preference (either method wins easily), but the strategic principle of trading-down when ahead in material would weigh a little more with me, and I think I would play Rxe8+. After all black doesn't have to play ...Rxe1 and since white's Rxe8+ forces the issue, then that is probably what I would choose. Besides I feel a bit more blunder-proof if there is less material floating around on the board.

Interesting <Patriot> that you mention <not sure what a computer evaluation would give>. In my limited experience playing against chess programs, I think that a program might follow your lead and play Bxc7 first (even if there weren't the blunder-mate possibility on black's part).

Jan-13-09  Patriot: <Kasputin: So if that black h-pawn was on its original square, then I suspect that those kibitzers who had some difficulties (initially anyway) would have noticed the real tactical point much sooner.>

That may be true. We usually first learn about back rank mates with the pawns blocking the king's escape, then later progress to bishops or knights or other pieces cutting off the king's escape. I would just about bet that there are more back rank mates way below expert because the player did not provide luft for the king. With expert and higher, these back rank mates probably occur more often because of pieces guarding the escape squares.

Jan-13-09  Patriot: <Kasputin>

About the Bxc7 or Rxe8+ choice, you bring up some good points. Trading down, especially with the heavy pieces, when ahead is usually the right strategy. This principle becomes more important to follow with low-rated players because they are more likely to miscalculate somewhere, but high-rated players are more likely going to follow the "best" line that a computer might give. Both lines are winning, however, so ultimately it is a matter of preference.

Jan-13-09  muralman: 2 for 2. Though, I know the real brain teasers are yet to come.

I just hope the harder puzzles do not start in the middle of the match as they do sometimes. When there are so many options, I get lost.

BTW, I do not own any chess computers. I just wrap my brain over the puzzles.

Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Took a while but I got it
Jan-13-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I'm back! (Doubting that anyone missed me.) Saw Bf4 pretty quickly.

I am glad to see that this was a blitz game. That makes it easier to understand how Black got into such a pickle.

Jan-15-09
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Tuesday Jan 13, 2009 puzzle solution, White's 17. Bf4! uncorks a discovered attack that is just too much for Black's over-worked Queen to handle.

With an extra piece, White wins easily.

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