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Baris Esen vs Nikita Vitiugov
World Team Championship (2010), Bursa TUR, rd 5, Jan-09
Queen's Gambit Declined: Ragozin Defense (D38)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-10-10  Don Cossacks: Nice game by Vitiugov.31...Rf3! is a decisive tactical shot.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanshin: <Don Cossacks: Nice game by Vitiugov.31...Rf3! is a decisive tactical shot.>

What's interesting is that <41...Rf3> is not only decisive, it is forced. Other moves like ...Rg6 or ...h3 allow White to equalize.

Premium Chessgames Member
  alexrawlings: Black ot move at move 31 could make a nice Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to move (31...?). Material even. "Medium."

A quick assessment of the position shows that black's rook is under attack, making it very likely that this is the man that makes the key move. Armed with that knowledge, it only takes another moment to spot


(actually I wanted to make this move before I noticed that the rook was en prise). White pretty much has to play

32 Qxf3

because moving the queen, say 32 Qd2 loses to 32...Rxc3 33 Qxc3 Qxe2.

32...Rxf3 33 Rxf3

and now the point...


threatening 34...Qxg2#. There are a couple of ways to avoid the mate, but they all drop a rook...

34 Rg3 Qxe2


34 g3 Qxf3

This must be it. Time to check.

Jun-10-10  zooter: 31...h3 seems to break through as

a) 32.g3 h2+ breaks through
b) 32.f3 Rxf3 wins

But Looks like I made a mistake. Not sure why h3 doesn't win

Time to check

Jun-10-10  tacticalmonster: 31 Rf3! (threatening Rxc3 and Qxe2) 32 Qxf3 Rxf3 33 Rxf3 h3! 34 Rxh3 (34 g3 Qxf3) Qxe2
Jun-10-10  zooter: Ok, I missed the fact that the black rook on f6 is enprise

So after 31...h3 32.Qxh3 Qxe2 33.exf6 is equal

Premium Chessgames Member
  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has a winning attack, thanks to the majors bearing down on white's weakened kingside and the h-pawn in position to add pressure to g2. Black can force a win with

31... Rf3! 32.Qxf3 (otherwise Rxc3 wins a rook) Rxf3 33.Rxf3 h3! and white must give up a rook to prevent mate e.g. 34.Rxh3 Qxe2 35.Re3 Qd1+ 36.Kh2 Qxd4 37.e6 Kf8 and black wins easily.

Time to check.

Jun-10-10  Eduardo Leon: 31...♖f3 32.♕xf3 ♖xf3 33.♖xf3 h3 and white must drop a rook.
Jun-10-10  SufferingBruin: <zooter>, I did the same thing. We can have jackets made.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I didn't notice that the Black rook was under attack, so I, too, thought that 31...h3 might be winning.

But the rook is under attack, and 42...h3 32 Qxh3 Qxe2 33 exf6 Rxf6 is going to be a draw

Jun-10-10  Quentinc: This is an interesting case of chess blindness. I also did not notice that the f6 rook was en prise. I did consider and reject 31...h3, but only because it didn't seem immediately decisive enough for a Thursday puzzle. So I stumbled upon Rf3, never realizing that the rook *had* to be moved.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I saw 31...Rh6 with 32...h3 to follow but it's too slow. Just about any move but g3 stops it.

The interesting thing about this continuation is if white follows 31...Rh6 with 32 f3. Now if black follows with 32..h3 this is the position.

click for larger view

White cannot take the queen with 33 fxg4 because 33...h2+ is mate next move!

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: It's been a hard days night, and I been working like a dog.

Today's theme is about overworked pieces. As a game progresses, chess pieces take on work commitments. In our starting position, the black Rf6 is a security guard for c6, the white Re2 is a nursemaid for f2 and the white queen is a bodyguard for the Re2. The g2 pawn has some mobility (it could move to g3), but it is contractually obliged to stay on the g file otherwise the white king would be in check.

The problem with these work commitments is that they restrict the mobility of our pieces. Last night I had a few beers with an old friend to set the world to rights and, in the words of the Boss, to talk about glory days. But I had to get the Mem's permission first. And even then there were some activities that would not have been covered by said permission, such as tattoo parlours, lap dancing clubs and bungee jumping. You see, commitments restrict mobility.

White's last move tried to take advantage of this. The idea behind 31. e5, besides pushing a passed pawn, was to make the Rf6 move. And if black wants to stay protecting c6, the rook has to move sideways along the sixth rank, say to g6 or e6. And if he does that, he removes his threat on f2, which in turn relieves the Re2 of his guard duty.

At least, that's what white thought was going to happen...

Black responds with a strong move of his own on the theme of overwork. One way to spot tactics is to list the commitments of your opponent's pieces, and then to try to exploit them. So black plays 31. Rf3

click for larger view

This exploits one job that the white queen already had (the defence of the Re2) and it gives her majesty a second job - defending the Rc3. And when pieces acquire second and third jobs we know that tactics are highly likely. So one plausible line would be 31...Rf3 32. Qc2? Rxc3 33. Qxc3 Qxe2 and black wins a rook.

Of course, the Rf3 cannot be taken by the g2 pawn because it isn't allowed to leave the g file. No matter how last night had panned out, there was no way that I would be going home with the barmaid, even if she did look a little bit like the lead singer from the Bangles. Well, after several pints of ale she did. A little. Commitments restrict mobility.

White has to take the Rf3, which gives us this: 32. Qxf3 Rxf3 33. Rxf3 h3!

click for larger view

Now both the Rf3 and g2 pawn are overworked. White would love to play 34. Rg3 or 34.Rxh3 to defend against the mate, but either move would drop the Re2. The Rf3 has to stay in placed to guard his buddy. The g2 pawn has to protect the Rf3, but it also wants to move forward to g3 to defend against Qxg2#

And so it ends. White resigns as he can only prevent the mate by dropping a rook. And as morning breaks over Godalming, Surrey, I find myself with a crumpled suit, a fuzzy head, several quid lighter, several pounds heavier but no tattoos and I'm still married.

But when I get home to you
I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Looking back over the game, it seems that black had a deliberate policy to make white take on more and more commitments.

By tripling his heavy pieces on the f file, black forces white to play Rc2 and Re2. Now both rooks are committed to the defence of f2.

27... h4 just about forces white to play 28. gxh4, and the g2 pawn is getting exposed.

29...Qg6 pins the e4 pawn and threatens to transfer the black rooks to the e file. White feels obliged to defend his queen with 30. Rc3 but this means that the Rc3 and white queen are obliged to protect each other and the Re2 is a little lonelier. Black also parks his queen on the same file as the white king.

30...Qg4 sets up our featured tactic, get the black queen closer to the white king and attacks the Re2.

It's a bit like a game of tennis. Rf3 and h3 are the killer volleys from the net. That's the flashy stuff that gets replayed in the television highlights programmes. But the volleys were only possible because black played some forceful baseline strokes. By putting white under pressure, forcing him to take on commitments and dragging his pieces to sub-optimal squares, black gains the time he needs for the killer tactic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Thank you for todays puzzle. :D
Premium Chessgames Member
  Crowaholic: <So one plausible line would be 31...Rf3 32. Qc2? Rxc3 33. Qxc3 Qxe2 and black wins a rook.>

I would rather say 32. ..h3! 33. g3 Rxc3 34. Qxc3 Qxe2 with a quick checkmate. (If White does not play 34. Qxc3, Black responds with ..Qf3, e.g. 34. Qd1 Qf3! 35. Qf1 Rc1, or by taking the queen)

Jun-10-10  tarek1: Here Black has a blockade/obstruction move : <31...Rf3!> hitting the queen. The point is that White cannot exchange the queen for two rooks :

A) <32.Qxf3 Rxf3 33.Rxf3> and now <33...h3> winning : White can only parry the mate threat on g2 at the cost of a rook : <34.Rg3> or <34.Rxh3> loses to <34...Qxe2>, and <34.g3 Qxf3>. If <34.Kf1> then <34...Qxg2+> also wins a rook. White can't play f3 because there is a rook on this square (the blockade).

B) Removing the queen won't work : <32.Qd2> and the queen is overworked defending both rooks <32...Rxc3 33.Qxc3 Qxe2>

C) So <32.Re3> is the only remaining defense but : <32...Rxf2> and now the e3 rook obstruct the queen's path to h3 and the only way to defend g2 is <33.Qf1> giving up the queen for nothing, or <33.Rg3> giving up a rook.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is even.

White threatens 32.exf6.

The black queen aims at the white king and the rook on e2. This suggests 31... Rf3, overburdening the white queen:

A) 32.Qc(d)2 Rxc3 33.Qxc3 (33.f3 Rcxf3 - + [R+P]) Qxe2 - + [R].

B) 32.Qxf3 Rxf3 33.Rxf3 h3

B.1) 34.Rxh3 Qxe2 - + [Q vs R+P].

B.2) 34.g3 Qxf3 and mate next (35.Kf1 Qh1#).

B.3) 34.Kf1 Qxf2+ 35.Ke1 Qxf3 - + [Q+P vs R] followed by 36... h2, etc.

C) 32.Re3 Rxf2 33.g3 Qh3 and mate soon.

Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: The queen is overloaded, protecting Ph4-Ph4, Rc3 and Re2 and also stopping Qd1+. So lets make those taks more obvious and pressing!

31 ... Rf3

White cannot refuse the swap as 32 Qc2 Rxc3 33 Qxc3 Qxe2 is winning for black. So we get...

32 Qxf3 Rxf3
33 Rxf3 ...

Now white looks okay, with a passed pawn backed up by two rooks against a queen but the solidity of white's position is just a tissue of lies!

33 ... h3

and now the wheels come off as white must now stop Qxg2# and f3 is not available!

34 Kf1 Rxg2+ 35 Ke1 Qxf3 winning
34 g3 Qxf3 winning
34 Rxh3 Qxe2 winning
34 Rg3 Qxe2 winning

Time to check!

Jun-10-10  bjessee: I actually worked out a Thursday puzzle correctly. Hopefully, my good fortune will last the rest of the day.
Jun-10-10  zb2cr: I saw the game continuation fairly easily. I have nothing constructive to add to the fine comments by <dzechiel>, <tacticalmonster>, <CHESSTTCAMPS>, <Eduardo Leon>, <Once>, <Crowaholic>, <tarek1>, <agb2002>, and <gofer>.
Jun-10-10  LIFE Master AJ: Since ...h4-h3; is obviously one of main Black's ideas here, the first move is 31...Rf3!; winning easily.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Finally got it after wasting a couple of minutes trying to make the immediate 31. ... h3 work. It gradually became clear that if White got the time to push his f-pawn, the threats against g2 could be defended. (31. ... h3 32. f3 Rxf3 just does not work.) So the blocking idea of first 31. ... Rf3 suddenly seemed like the obvious idea, and it was easy to verify that it was winning.

This puzzle is a good example of the principle that if the position seems ripe for sharp tactics (... and this position was given as a puzzle, after all!), and your first intuitive idea does not work, try the same moves in a different order.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: A propos my previous comment: Beware of any tactical analysis attempted first thing in the morning in an uncaffeinated condition.

If 31. ... h3, the reply 32. f3 is not a sound defense, but 32. Qxf3 does hold. It is OK for White that after these moves he would be hanging his e2-Rook because Black's f6-Rook is en prise to the White pawn on e5. So my reasons for rejecting 31. ... h3 were seriously flawed, but serendipitously, they pointed my thoughts towards the idea of 31. ... Rf3!, which is absolutely winning.

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