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Mladen Palac vs Evgenij Romanovich Agrest
Olympiad (2008), Dresden GER, rd 5, Nov-17
Caro-Kann Defense: Advance Variation. Botvinnik-Carls Defense (B12)  ·  0-1


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sac: 35...Rxg2+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Wednesday (Medium/Easy)

M Palac vs Agrest, 2008 (35…?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Down a P. The White Kg1 has 3 legal moves. The White K-position has weak dark squares, accessible to the Black Ne4. The Black Rc2 has the 2-nd rank, but the White Qd1 threatens it, creating an immediate tactical tension. The Black Qf5 and Rc2 are on the same diagonal, obscured only by Ne4, suggesting possible indirect protection through a discovered attack if White plays Qxc2. The Black Qf5 requires activation. The Black Kg7 is presently secure.

Candidates (35…): Rxg2+, Qxf3

35…Rxg2+ 36.Kxg2 [Kh1 Qh3+ 37.Nh2 Qxh2#] [Kf1 Qh3 and a similar mate soon]

36…Qg4+ 37.Kf1

[37.Kh1 Nf7+ 38.Kh2 Nxd8 39.Rxd8 Qxf3]

[37.Kh2 Qg3+ then 38.Kh1 Nf7# or 38.Kf1 Qf7#]

37…Qh3+ 38.Ke2 [38.Kg1 Qg3+ then 39.Kh1 Nf7# or 39.Kf1 Qf7#]

38.Qg2+ Kd3 39.Nf7+ forks Kd3 and Qd1

Black has Q for R+N and an open K and should win.

Dec-03-08  Major Dude: Can't believe I saw this one so easily.
Dec-03-08  zanshin: I guess I'm not the only one who thinks this was easier than Monday or Tuesday ;-)
Dec-03-08  tjshann: Like others, I could find this in puzzle mode but would probably not see it over the board. The White King has several early escape moves and so some calculation is necessary to ensure either mate or the killing fork.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Solved this one quickly, with an intuitive approach. Sac the rook and see what happens. Next I saw the possibility of a knight fork at f2 with the white king on h1. Finally saw the actual continuation where the king is forced to d3 to allow the fork.

The uselessness of the white knight (not to mention the other pieces) is marvelous

Dec-03-08  JG27Pyth: I guess everyone's chess intuition (greased by "problem solving mode") is fully functioning: as so many have noted -- Rxg2 is fairly screaming for a try. It was monday level difficulty to spot the key move IMO... but the actual calculation was just deep enough to make a weak calculator (me) squint and concentrate to make sure I wasn't missing some tricky defensive resource. I think full credit today only for those who analyzed to the end of the text. (still leaving it a rather easy wednesday).
Dec-03-08  yoozum: I was thinking more along the lines of an immediate 35...Nf2, forcing the white queen out and giving good attacking options for black. Obviously what actually happened was better.
Dec-03-08  emoboy: Hey viky, touch move!
Dec-03-08  Patriot: White threatens Qxc2 so what if black tosses the rook with check?

35...Rxg2+ 36.Kxg2 is the critical line. (36.Kh1 Qh3+ 37.Nh2 Qxh2# or 36.Kf1 Rf2+ 37.Kg1 Qg4+ 38.Kh1 Qg2#)


A) 37.Kh1 Nf2+ wins the queen and leaves the knight on f3 hanging.

B) 37.Kh2 Qg3+ 38.Kh1 Nf2#

C) 37.Kf1 Qh3+ 38.Ke2 (38.Kg1 Qg3+ and mate next) 38...Qg2+ 39.Kd3 Nf2+ wins the queen and hangs the knight on f3.

The key here is the knight fork on f2 and the white knight on f3 makes it even better for black. 35.Rxg2+ would not work if it weren't for the white queen on d1 due to variation C.

Dec-03-08  TheaN: Okay, back to no peeking: I still think I have this one, though. Everything up to winning material advantage is forced.


White: a2, b2, e3, e5, g2, h4, Nf3, Re1, Qd1, Kg1

Black: a7, b7, f7, g6, h5, Ne4, Rc2, Qf5, Kg7

Material: +♙

Candidates: <[Rxg2†]>

Once again we have a successful gambit. Strangely enough it always seems the masters, either F, I or G, get these kind of positions. When I gambit a pawn it is not as bad as this... what was this, a Budapest?

<35....Rxg2†!> rips open White's king side castle for the Black Queen to finish. Pretty much the only sacrifice in this position, but strangely enough also an effective sacrifice. ♖c2 was en prise, and that is also taken care of.

<36.Kh1 Qh3† 37.Nh2 Qxh2‡ 0-1> not White's best defense.

<36.Kf1 Rf2†> take note that now, Black's Rook and Knight work perfectly together to create a tempo gaining mate attack for the Black Queen.

<37.Kg1 Qg4† 38.Kh1 Qg2‡ 0-1> there are multiple ways to mate anyway. Might as well mate in one. Okay, White cannot decline this sacrifice.

<36.Kxg2 Qg4†> we do see that the Rook was a valuable attacker: suddenly, the White King has more spaces to go to. Neither good, otherwise the sacrifice wouldn't be correct of course.

<37.Kh2 Qg3† 38.Kh1 Nf2‡ 0-1>

<37.Kh1 Qh3†> now I know there is probably a mate here. Lets find it: I'm not going for the simple 37....Nf2† with 38....Nxd1 without trying...

<38.Kg1 Qg3† 39.Kh1 (Kf1 Qf2‡ 0-1) Nf2‡ 0-1>

<38.Nh2 Nf2† 39.Kg1 Nxd1> okay, no mate, but White is pretty screwed now: not much better for Black compared to Nf2 immediately, but more forcing: White is being threatened with mate here, and has to take on d1.

<40.Rxd1 Qxh2 > where White cannot protect both vital pawns e5 and h4: Black reaches time control after this simple move and wins with ease.

<37.Kf1> White's best move, and winning also by winning the White Queen instead of mate. This one still requires some finding though.


<38.Kg1 Qg3† 39.Kh1 (Kf1 Qf2‡ 0-1) Nf2‡ 0-1> as in variation CBA.

<38.Ke2 Qg2† 39.Kd3> finally free... yeah, the King.

<39....Nf2† > but not the Queen, and once again White is not able to pick up the Black Knight in combination with the Rook to get ♕ vs ♖+♘, because the Knight on f3 will be easy prey for the Black Queen.

Time to check.

Dec-03-08  TheaN: Variation CBB should read: <38.Nh2 Nf2† 39.Kg1 Qg3† 40.Kf1 Nxd1>, obviously. Only there, Black threatens mate.

3/3 (100%)

Dec-03-08  dukesterdog2: I got the first two moves, and had the right idea of trying steer the king into the royal fork. But I was looking to get the white king to h1, and did not see far enough to find the fork with white's king on d3.
Dec-03-08  Zzyw: Found this a little easy for a Wednesday, because there are no strong replies from white to watch out for.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 35...Rxg2+ is murderous, e.g. 36.Kxg2 (on other moves, 36...Qh3 is crushing) 36...Qg4+ 37.Kf1 (37.Kh2 Qg3+ 38.Kh1 Nf2#; 37.Kh1 Nf2+ wins the Q) 37...Qh3+ 38.Ke2 (38.Kg1 Qg3+ and mate on f2) Qg2+ 39.Kd3 Nf2+ wins the queen. After Black takes the Q, White's knight is also hanging, so Black wins easily.
Dec-03-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I wouldn't have guessed a Caro from the puzzle position.
Dec-03-08  triangulation: Ok let me take a crack at this.
This surprisingly took a lot of thought by the time I was happy with my solution.

First I was thinking of 35...Nc2 but couldn't make much headway.

Then finally the very obvious Rxg2 struck me. Taking the rook is no option as after Qg4+, Kf1 is met with Qh3+, Kg1 Qg3+, Kh1 Nf2+

Kh1 is simply met with Nf2+

Kh2 is met with Qg3+, Kh1 Nf2+

If rook is refused then its even easier

Time to check it out

Dec-03-08  Samagonka: I wish we could all refrain from bigoted remarks like "this was easy!" or "simple to see!". This only underrates those who spent minutes analysing the puzzle or failed to solve it. Even though I spotted the rook sac too, I really don't think the rest was simple. Even the analysis by some of the best players on the blog like Dzechiel and Once show that they put their heads into this and they never said anything like it was simple. That's my Xmas wish, thank you.
Dec-03-08  MiCrooks: Simple is as simple does...

It was simple for me as well, but then I would have played Nd3+ yesterday rather than Nf3 and would have had a long uphill battle to win.

Simple is relative...sometimes solutions jump out at you and sometimes they hide. I can remember several times lately beating myself up when I caught myself looking at long variations on Mondays or Tuesdays. "It has to be easier than this!!", was my mantra there for a while.

Here I was able to see that the White King was going to have to walk into a family fork or get mated so it was a no brainer for me. That said, at blitz I probably something like Rxb2!

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Got it
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: 35...Rxg2+ 36.Kxg2 Qg4+ 37.Kf1 Qh3+ 38.Ke2 Qg2+ 39.Kd3 Nf2+ wins Q for R.

Let's see how I did...

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: A little late in the day to be posting POTD answers, but I better do it while it's still 'today'...

After a couple minutes of playing with knight moves (motivated by desire to guard R with Q) without progress, I decided to think a bit...

Thinking revealed that I wasn't going anywhere unless my queen makes a breakthrough against the white K position, followed up by a Q+N attack that might result in mate, or a winning K+Q knight fork.

But to get this breakthrough, it seems I must spend a rook: 35...Rxg2+ 36.Kxg2 Qf4+. Of course, you don't spend a rook until you see the payoff, and here it is (not too hard to see):

click for larger view

If 37.Kh2, then ...Qg3+ 38.Kh1 Nf2#, so that's out.
If 37.Kh1, then ...Nf2+ forks K+Q, so that's out.

That leaves 37.Kf1 Qh3+ 38.Ke2 Qg2+ 39.Kd3 Nf2+, getting our K+Q fork anyway.

Dec-03-08  shortsight: hmm, <johnlspouge>, would like to comment that your lines look out of place with strange non-existence moves like Nf7+, Nxd8, Rxd8, Nf7#, Qf7#.

The most puzzling is a Nf7+ that forks Kd3 and Qd1!!

Well, I know it's typo, but I just couldn't resist from pulling your leg! :P

Dec-03-08  njchess: Like many I got this one pretty quickly. As far as the game itself, I found it difficult to pinpoint exactly where White went wrong.

While I found his play a bit passive, the only real flaw is that he does not involve his queen side rook until the very end. Certainly, Black's 25. ... Ng3 was the turning point in the match (a move telegraphed by 22. ... Nf5). Nicely set up by Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Wednesday puzzle solution, Black's 35...Rxg2+! forces a winning Knight Fork or mate.
Dec-03-08  DoubleCheck: <<Samagonka>: I wish we could all refrain from bigoted remarks like "this was easy!" or "simple to see!". This only underrates those who spent minutes analysing the puzzle or failed to solve it>

Good Post!

If you remember <Samagonka> I mentioned a similiar comment weeks ago to which you agreed with. I agree with your comment now, I think members posting "I found it, so simple" or "This is a monday puzzle even though its wed/thurs/fri -day " can make others feel inferior or thier time wasted

I dont think its a competition whereby One member must find the soloution before anyone has the chance to post, its more of a case where the 'few' members who actually put notes from chess engines and maybe 25minutes looking at the homepage are worth posting, rather than silly posts like 'found it under 30sec'

The posts that annoy me are 'found it' (etc) WITHOUT providing a line of evidence.

Anyway thats my opinion on the matter.

For todays puzzle, I noted

36. Kxg2 Qg4+
37. Kf1 Qh3+

and here I was too busy looking at variations with 38. Kg1

Since 38. Kg1 provides a longer chance of avoiding checkmate rather than 38. Ke2??

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