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Ekrem Cekro vs Luis Carlos Patriarca
Olympiad (2008), Dresden GER, rd 8, Nov-21
Reti Opening: Anglo-Slav Variation. New York System (A12)  ·  1-0
ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-23-08  ZUGZWANG67: 70. Bxh6 should win, because 70. ...Bxh6 71. Qd5+ Kh7 72. Qxd8 Qxd8 73. Rxd8 allows White a R+P for B. And moreover, the Black Bishop is bad and nothing could distract White from playing 74. Rd6.

And if anything but 70. ...Bh6, 71. g5 creates two connected passers, which should be enough, I think.

Dec-23-08  JG27Pyth: aphasia:<If Black goes for the 70... Rxa8 Qxa8 Qf7 line then doesn't exchanging all the pieces on f8 lead to an easily won king and pawn ending?>

I don't know how easy it is... everyone seems to think g5 for white is very strong -- but if it's just Kings and pawns Black has a simple powerful breakthru threat with e4! which keeps White's King from being able to support his passed duo... I don't think White can just exchange off all the pieces after Rxa8 and coast.

Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <nuwanda: ... and <agb2002> in your line D.3) 72...Qxc6 is check, oops, no need to hurry things, i think 72.g5 is easy and strong>

Yes, you're right! :)

So, the impression I had that physically small boards like the diagram would minimize the probability of making blunders like this (an important piece -the king- gets out of sight) was completely false: a tiny eye movement can cover a small board (a tiny angle times a significant distance makes a not so tiny arc), but your attention still focuses on a reduced number of pieces, no matter the actual size of the board...

Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  neilmcmurdo: Jg27Pyth - The breakthrough isn't fast enough. The white king covers easily and the resultant endgame is a very easy win for white.
Dec-23-08  njchess: I have three candidate moves: Rxd8, g5 and Bxh6. Rxd8 is forcing but seems more likely to draw than win for White once the heavy pieces are off the board.

The more I look at g5, the less I like it. With Black's queen able to move freely along the 7th rank, it doesn't appear to me to be a good idea to open up the g-file. For example, 70. g5 hxg5 71. hxg5 fxg5 72. Bxf5? Qg7 and White's in trouble. 72. Ra6 is better and allows White the possibility of a passed pawn on c6, but it's not conclusive and too difficult for a Tuesday!

That leaves Bxh6. 70. Bxh6 wins for White if Black replies with Bxh6 (e.g. 70. Bxh6 Bxh6 71. Qe5+). So Black should't take. 70. Bxh6 Qd7 (best?) 71. Bxf8 Kxf8 72. g5 is winning for White as well.

Time to check. Got it, but it took longer than I would have liked.

This is a remarkable win for White. The first piece isn't exchanged until move 26, and by move 33, Black is thinking he has a draw in a closed position.

Both sides meander about until White hits on the idea of leveraging his dominance of the a-file to attack b6, or better, attack the 7th or 8th ranks. Then, White attacks Black's g4 pawn and when Black slips up with 48. ... Qe6?, he uses that a-file dominance to play 49. Na5! followed by Nc6. This little maneuver forces Black to spend time shoring up his queenside by ridding himself of the knight, opening up the position a little bit more.

Meanwhile, White uses the time wisely to launch a king side attack with 55. f4. Black makes every attempt to defuse the attack by exchanging pieces, but White smartly declines and comes out ahead with 59. Bf5+!.

At this point, White's control of the light squares and the a-file, as well as his stronger bishop give White a sustainable advantage. But it isn't until Black plays 68. ... Rd6 (anticipating 69. Qc6) that White is fully able to exploit Black's weaknesses with 69. Ra8!. Only slightly better would have been Rb8.

Given White's 70th move, Black would have held his crumbling position together longer with 69. ... Qg7 rather than the text move, but sooner or later his b6 pawn will fall, and with it, Black's game.

Dec-23-08  JG27Pyth: <neilmcmurdo:The breakthrough isn't fast enough. The white king covers easily and the resultant endgame is a very easy win for white.>

Nimzowitsch said something to the effect of: the threat is more powerful than the combination itself... and Black's pawn breakthru is a case in point... Black doesn't need to play e4 and indeed he <must not play e4> prematurely or as you say the King covers quite easily... but by holding e4 in hand Black prevents the White King from advancing up the board to support his pawns. He must stay back to prevent e4.

There's probably a win for White, but I don't know it and I'd like to see the technique. I don't think it qualifies as "very easy."

Dec-23-08  JG27Pyth: OH HELL. Nevermind... Yes. It's <easy> ... I see what I'd been missing... White rather easily wins black's e5 pawn... and with that "threat" gone, it's over.
Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Well, I found that white can pick up a pawn.

Trying to find a way to get my queen into an attacking position, the most obvious square for it is d5, which is currently guarded by black's rook.

I can't deflect the black rook, but there are other ways to stop a rook -- one way is to pin it! And this is the idea behind 70.Bxh6! picking up a free pawn since recapturing w/ 70...Bxh6 leaves the black rook pinned, allowing 71.Qd5+ and forking K+R.

Dec-23-08  Patriot: At first I wanted to play 70.Bxh6 Bxh6 71.Qc6 Qxc6 72.Rxd8+ and 73.bxc6. But, 71...Qxc6 is check! Then I saw that 70.Bxh6 Bxh6 71.Qd5+ wins the rook for a bishop and pawn and is easily winning.

I think there is an important point after the main line. For example, if 71...Kh7 72.Qxd8 it takes a lot more calculation to see what happens after 72...Qb7+. It looks as though 73.Qd5 is the only move; otherwise black draws with bishop checks or white gets mated. But then 73...Qxd5 74.cxd5 c4 75.dxc4 d3 76.Kf2 e4 77.Ke1 and the black pawns are easily stopped. Notice that none of this had to be analyzed if white simply played 72.Rxd8. Black has no counterplay and white threatens both Rd7+ (threatening to capture queen for rook) and Qg8#. While it is "normally" correct to offer a trade of queens when up in material, it does allow some counterplay in this position even though white wins either way.

Dec-23-08  YuanTi: Bxh6

Not hard to spot this one

Dec-23-08  ZUGZWANG67: Maybe it' s not that easy, after all ! Of course, We can easily see that after 70.Bxh6 Bxh6 71.Qd5+ Kh7 72.Qxd8 Qxd8 73.Rxd8 White is up the exchange + a P.

But what if Black does not take the B at h6 ? Then, White is up a full P. But let us see 70.Bxh6 Rxa8 71.Qxa8 Qf7 as pointed out by <aphasia>, then it' s not so simple say, after everything gets exchanged at f8 with 72. Qxf8+ Qxf8 73.Bxf8 Kxf8. The critical move here is probably 74.g5, because not only White would be threatening to get a pair of connected passers here, but also, to remove the base of the black pawn chain from f6 to e5. This last point decides, because then Black's threat of a breakthrough at e4 is less dangerous. This factor denies Black some counterplay. Thus, 74.g5 and:

a) 74...fxg5 75. hxg5 e4 76. dxe4 and the White K remains in the square of the d4-Pawn, when the Black King can not face three connected passed pawns.

b) 74. ...Kf7 75.Kf3(!) Kg7 76. Ke4 Kf7 77. gxf6 Kxf6 78.h5 and the e5-Pawn falls

c) 74. ...e4(!?) 75. dxe4 Kf7 76. gxf6 Kxf6 and White improves the position of his K by 77.Kf3(!). For example, 77. ...Ke5 78. h5(!) Kf6 (what else?) 79. Kf4 Kf7 80.e5 Kg7 81.e6 wins.

I' m wondering if CG considered this when placing this tuesday puzzle. I suppose that after 74.g5, one is supposed to know that 2 passed pawns are stronger that one (not yet) passed pawn. But I find this not so obvious for a tuesday.

Dec-23-08  ZUGZWANG67: In fact, after 70.Bxh6 Rxa8 71.Qxa8 Qf7 72.Qxf8+ Qxf8 73.Bxf8 Kxf8 74.g5, Black does not want to see White with 2 connected passed pawns and thus, would probably play something like 74. ...Kf7 (I don' t think that 74. ...Kg7 changes anything in the analysis here) 75.Kf3(!) Kg7 76. gxf6. And one can see here that we have what Dvoretsky calls "mined squares", that is, squares of reciprocal zugzwang (I kinda like this word...) at e4 and f6. Thus, White wants to get to e4 after Black is at f6, while Black wants the opposite to happen, that is, gets his K to f6 when ths WK is already at e4. So, 76. ...Kxf6 77.Ke4 ends matters.
Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  penarol: <Crowaholic: This is only a Tuesday puzzle because Black played 70. ..Bxh6?. After 70. ..Rxa8 71. Qxa8 Qf7, White wins because the Black bishop and king can't move (and the queen has only very limited mobility), but Tuesday solutions tend to be more obvious than that.>

72. Qxf8+ and the pawn ending is easily won.

Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <ZUGZWANG67><: Maybe it' s not that easy, after all ! Of course, We can easily see that after 70.Bxh6 Bxh6 71.Qd5+ Kh7 72.Qxd8 Qxd8 73.Rxd8 White is up the exchange + a P.

But what if Black does not take the B at h6 ? Then, White is up a full P. But let us see 70.Bxh6 Rxa8 71.Qxa8 Qf7 as pointed out by <aphasia>, then it' s not so simple say, after everything gets exchanged at f8 with 72. Qxf8+ Qxf8 73.Bxf8 Kxf8. >

But why should white exchange down on f8 with 72.Qxf8+? It's too soon for that -- black isn't going anywhere; in fact he's practically in zugzwang.

Much better is 72.Kf3!, putting our king in position to make a direct attack on black's pawns after exchanges are made.

If 72...Qe7, then 73.g5! fxg5 74.hxg5 (getting connected passers on f&g files)

Or if 72...e4+, then 73.dxe4 d3 (and Pd3 is easily taken by our K).

After these moves are made, THEN we can go for Qxf8+ which simplifies to an easily won endgame.

Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: I still like 72.Kf3 better, but now that I'm looking at it closer, I think 72.Qxf8+ is also easily winning. I don't see any problem with it at all.
Dec-23-08  ZUGZWANG67: <YOURANG: But why should white exchange down on f8 with 72.Qxf8+? It's too soon for that -- black isn't going anywhere; in fact he's practically in zugzwang. Much better is 72.Kf3!, putting our king in position to make a direct attack on black's pawns after exchanges are made. If 72...Qe7, then 73.g5! fxg5 74.hxg5 (getting connected passers on f&g files) Or if 72...e4+, then 73.dxe4 d3 (and Pd3 is easily taken by our K). After these moves are made, THEN we can go for Qxf8+ which simplifies to an easily won endgame.>

You' re right, indeed. After 72.Kf3, Black has no follow up. Thanks !

Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: 70.Bxh6 and the bishop is immune to capture due to Qd5+ winning the pinned rook. I suppose a trade down into a winning endgame occurred instead.
Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Oh boy, Luis took the bishop.
Dec-23-08  mworld: the actual game was very interesting...talk about a lot of waiting moves. I wonder at what point Ekrem started to see the win.
Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: As <Zugzwang67> has pointed out, Black is practically in zugzwang after 70.Bxh6 Rxa8 71.Qxa8 Qf7 (or 71...Qe7). My suggestion, however, would be 72. Qb8. After Black moves, White plays 73. Bxf8 Qxf8 74. Qxb6 and has passed pawns on both sides of the board.

Black's last desperate hope is a perpetual, but White stops that easily. A sample line is 74...Qa8+ 75. Qc6 Qa2+ 76. Kf3 Qa1 77. Qe8+ (winning the f-pawn with check. This line assumes the Black king is on g8. If the king is on f7, Qe6+ wins the f-pawn with a similar series of checks) Kg7 78. Qg6+ Kf8 79. Qxf6+ Kg8 80. Ke4 and wins easily - when the Black queen starts checking, the White king just runs forward to escape the checks.

Black can also try 75...Qa3, but again White has 76. Qe8+ Kg7 77. Qg6+ Kf8 78. Qxf6+, and after 78...Kg8 79. Qg6+ Kf8, he can go straight for mate with 80. f6.

The moral of this ending is that there is no reason to rush the queen exchange. In fact, this endgame is easier to win if White keeps the queens on the board.

Dec-23-08  zzzzzzzzzzzz: pretty easy, solved it in 1 second
Dec-23-08  ku0826: Qd5+ is no use. so its only line Bh6 to win.
Dec-23-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: Well, I got this one but it surprised me that I was right. I ended up playing Bxh6 in hopes that Black would respond with Bxh6, but by no means convinced that Black either would, or should, play that.

According to Rybka 3:

70 Bxh6 Qd7
71 Bxf8 Rxf8
72 g5 Rxa8
73 Qxa8+ Kf7
74 Qd5+ Qxd5
75 cxd5 fxg5
76 hxg5

there will be no way for Black to stop the pawns.


click for larger view

There are lots of other variations on the same themes. It's not something I saw all the way through, but Bxh6 seemed the only sensible choice.

Dec-24-08  nuwanda:

I really cant understand all this talk about the position after 70...Rxa8

As <agb2002> pointed out (see his line B)) White has a clear cut winning path with absolutely no counterplay for black.

Why should i consider complicated lines as <OBIT> does with a black queen flipping around the board ?

Why should i consider maybe winning a tempo as <YouRang> does in a position i dont need one ?

It may be a matter of taste, but on the chessboard i like to keep things as simple as possible...

Dec-24-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Tuesday, Dec 23, 2008 puzzle solution, White forces a winning pin and double attack after 70. Bxh6! Bxh6 71. Qd5+! .
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