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Alexander Onischuk vs Csaba Balogh
Olympiad (2008), Dresden GER, rd 7, Nov-20
Slav Defense: Soultanbeieff Variation (D16)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-31-11  sevenseaman: <morfishine:73.Rh5 and black is lost.

Maybe CG transposed Tuesday with Thursday?>

Two pennies for your thoughts. I flunked it. And that after giving it all of bleedin' 5 minutes.

'Mental block' you'd perhaps commiserate! But I know a better word the language has for my kind of clumsiness;


A half wit could have asked himself the easiest question, 'How to isolate the pawn promotion from the enemy R.

Cheers on seeing you are enjoying it.

Mar-31-11  sevenseaman: Now what the cojones is a 'Lucerne'?
Mar-31-11  scormus: 73 Rh5! Wow, amazing! I got an endgame puzzle.

Look guys, I dont want to know that it was really only a Tuesday puzzle (or maybe even Monday).

Mar-31-11  knight knight: White to play, material even.

The first thing to note is why white can't play 73. c8=Q. Ok then 73...Rc3+ 74. Kb7 Rxc8 75. Kxc8. Now 75...g3?? 76. Rh3 and white wins. So 75...Kg5 and fast forwarding a little...

click for larger view

From this position, 1. Kf3 Kh1 2. Rh7+ Kg1 3. Rg7 Kh1! the pawn cannot be taken due to stalemate. So instead 3. Kg3 Kf1 4. Rf7+ Kg1 5. Rf2 Kh1 again no good for white. In this line if 5. Kh3?? Kh1 actually wins for black!

So the key move in the original diagram must surely be to cut off the black king, with 73. Rh5!

Play might continue 73...Rg1 74. c8=Q Rc1+ 75. Kb7 Rxc8 76. Kxc8 Kg6 (76...g3?? 77. Rh3) 77. Rd5 Kf6 78. Kc7 and white's king can march around to gobble up the g-pawn. Black can never play g3 because white moves the rook to the third rank and captures the pawn, meanwhile black's king is stuck on the sixth rank.

Time to check...

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: Thursday 31 March 2011


Material: = ♖+♙ endgame

Candidates: c8=Q, <[Rh5]>...?

So c8=Q fails on Rc3 with a rook vs pawn draw. Ok. Rh5....

CG, 1 April is tomorrow hm? Just checkin you don't consider it to be today, cause this is not a Thursday puzzle. The technique is worth a 'before Monday' rating, the puzzle for those unfamilliar with it prolly would get Tuesday, Wednesday at latest. Ah well, can't have superduper difficulties all the time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  takchess: I'm endgame challenged and soon forget the Lucena postions finer details after studying it.

Here are some links for further study:

Mar-31-11  paavoh: @sevenseaman: For Lucena, check it out at:

Lucerne is another name for the Swiss city Luzern, I believe :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  takchess: This is an instructive game on how to simplify to an endgame and march a pawn up the board. I need to study this one.
Mar-31-11  BwanaVa: I think he mate me means "Lucena" position.
Mar-31-11  stukkenjager: even Rh6 wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: 'Medium'? Really? This is basic endgame technique to a beginning player, and as such, hardly deserves to rate as anything but easy.
Mar-31-11  sevenseaman: Thanks <paavoh> Found comprehensive explanation in your link.
Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: In this R&P ending, white has won the promotion race, but must be careful about how to promote. After 73.c8=Q? Rc3+ 74.Kd7 Rxc8 75.Kxc8 Kf5 (g3?? 76.Rh3 wins) 76.Kd7 g3 77.Kd6 Kf4 the white king does not have a path to get back to stop the g-pawn, so white would have give up the rook for pawn or repeat checks to arrive at the draw.

Instead, White wins immediately with:

73.Rh5! obtaining a Lucena position-like shelter (see ) that insures the life of the new queen:

73... Rc3+ 74.Rc5 and black can resign.

Mar-31-11  eaglewing: I looked at 58. Rf4 f5 and it looks like a remis.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Once><Fritz says that 73. Kb5 and 73. Kd5 also win. The white king advances towards the rook until it can't check any more. Then white plays Rc6 to safeguard the passed pawn. Evade a few more checks, the queen the pawn and win. Something like this:

73. Kd5 Rd3+ 74. Kc4 Rd1 75. Rh6+ Kf7 76. Rc6 Rc1+ 77. Kd5 Rd1+ 78. Ke4 Re1+ 79. Kf5 Rd1 80. c8=Q>

In this line, what if Black plays 75...Ke5 (diagram below after 75...Ke5 instead of 75...Kf7))?

click for larger view

How does White win?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: I really should have timed myself on this because it took me a while to see it, maybe 5-10 minutes!? Sure I finally decided on 73.Rh5 -resigns-, but taking this much time shows a lack of understanding.

I calculated 73.Rh6+ Ke7 74.Kb7 Rb3+ 75.Rb6 as winning for white, but decided 73...Kg5 makes it easy for black to draw. And the fact that 73.Kb7/Kd7 Rc3 sets up a draw because the white king is too far away from the g-pawn to win. The white king needs to make it to f2 or h2 with the rook behind the pawn to claim a win. I really had to dig deep to remember this. This kind of endgame knowledge needs be recalled very quickly to avoid a lot of wasteful analysis. This means practicing basic endgame techniques until they are KNOWN instantly--no calculation required.

Mar-31-11  David2009: Onischuk vs C Balogh, 2008 White 73?

Congratulations to everyone who found 74 Rh5! I went instead for 73 Kd5!? which is much slower. It also takes an unnecessary risk: 73...Kg6 74 c8=Q Kxh7 75 Ke4 Kg6. On checking, this turns out to be a tablebase win for White but it is close: Black tries to guard the Pawn with his King (avoiding losing the R in the process) and play Rf3 constructing a fortress to keep the White King out.

I have fed the puzzle position

click for larger view

into Crafty End Game Trainer link:

73 Kd5!? is good enough to beat the EGT: 73...Rd3+ 74.Kc4 Rd1 75.Rh6+ Kg5 76.Rc6 Rc1+ 77.Kd5 Rd1+ 78.Ke4 Re1+ 79.Kd3 and now 79...Re8 80.c8=Q Rxc8 81.Rxc8 would win easily. As expected 73 Rh8 and 73 c8=Q only draw.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: <patzer2> <How does White win?>

Doesn't 76.Rc6 win? Even with the rooks gone and a white queen on the board vs. Kf2 and pawn on g2, this is a known win as long as the pawn cannot promote right away.

Mar-31-11  LIFE Master AJ: I found 73.Rh5 almost instantly ... than began second-guessing myself, thinking, "It can't be THAT easy."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Black will try to sacrifice his rook for the white pawn and draw the R vs p ending. White prevents this with 74 Rh5 - Rc3+ 75 Rc5 Rxc5 76 Kxc5 g3 77 c8(Q) and wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Patriot: <LIFE Master AJ> <I found 73.Rh5 almost instantly ... than began second-guessing myself, thinking, "It can't be THAT easy.">

Solving basic endgames instantly is what I'm shooting for. On your way to master, did you practice these techniques to see them instantly (similar to de la Maza's approach to practicing tactics)?

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <LIFE Master AJ: I found 73.Rh5 almost instantly ... than began second-guessing myself, thinking, "It can't be THAT easy.">

This comes from someone who claims elsewhere that he never bothers with POTDs.

Way to be disingenuous, <The. Greatest. Player. Ever.>

Go ahead, take this down! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!

Mar-31-11  sevenseaman: <scormus:73 Rh5! Wow, amazing! I got an endgame puzzle. >

Why do endgame puzzles (me included) scare so many people? Is it something akin to kids at school being frightened of maths - just a psychopathic phobia?

More likely we missed going through an elementary, systematic training.

Me; I even got a big tome on endgame studies by Ghenrik Kasparyan.

Mar-31-11  geeker: Wow, I expected to have trouble with an endgame puzzle, but solved it in less than a minute. First analyzed the immediate promotion, but then saw that the "bridge" was necessary.
Mar-31-11  zealouspawn: If you know the pattern, you can get it in a couple seconds. Great pattern to learn if you don't know it. It also works in similar positions to interpose minor peices
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