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Ricardo Calvo vs Donald Byrne
Palma de Mallorca (1968), Palma ESP, rd 1, Nov-24
Formation: King's Indian Attack (A07)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-12-10  chris197: This is not a draw. Black cannot move his bishop without white promoting. Black must keep his king on a5 and b5. Eventually black's king will move to a5 and white's bishop to e2. Black will have to move a pawn and lose it or move the king off the fifth rank which loses the bishop, allowing the pawn to promote. This repeats until black is out of pawns and then the bishop can block the b5 square again.
Jun-12-10  tarek1: Engines don't undestand plans and schemes, they "think" in terms of moves (move by move). Sometimes they pronounce a position a draw when it's winning, sometimes a win when it's a draw (fortresses) but when you force them to play the right ideas they eventually see the light.
Jun-12-10  VincentL: <Dzechiel>Yes, you are right.

In your line, the crucial move is black`s 70th. I have tried 70.....d1=Q and g4, and in each line white can get back to defend the pawn on a6 with his bishop, and then proceed to promote the a pawn. There is something I am not seeing...

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: <Dzechiel>Oh, you're right - the bishop is on e2 in your continuation. You set up the zugzwang one move faster, so 68. Be2 is actually the fastest win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: Hey, <tarek1> You made a typo - 69...Kxh3. The correct one is 69...Kxa6.

<tarek1> Your analysis is perfect so, I completely agree with this.

68. b8=Q! Bxb8+, 69. Kb7! Kb5, 70. Bg4 Ka5, 71. Be2! (cutting Black King off) g4 (forced), 72. Bxg4 Kb5, 73. Bd1 Ka5, 74. Be2! (again) d1=Q (forced), 75. Bxd1 Kb5, 76. Be2+ Ka5, Bf1


Jun-12-10  VincentL: <AJ>You looked at this for 45 minutes. Any comments on the analysis in the posts here?
Jun-12-10  esbstrd: It's already been said many times, but it bears repeating. THIS IS NOT A DRAW.

"68.b8Q Bxb8+ 69.Kb7 Kb5 70.Bg4 Ka5 71.Bd1 g4 72.Be2 g3 73.Kxb8 d1Q 74.Bxd1 Kxa6 75.Bf3"

In the above line given by LIFE master AJ, if black simply plays 72.Bxg4 (71. Bd1 was already a mistake.) we reach a position known to tablebases. Suprise, suprise, tablebases confirm it is a win for white.

Take a look for yourself.

Jun-12-10  tarek1: <SuperPatzer77> thanks for correcting me.

In my analysis I thought that white couldn't sacrifice the pawn immediately. But actually he can play b8Q and set up the zugzwang plan with the Be2 idea a little later. This is just a move-order difference which doesn't change the result.

Jun-12-10  Jason Frost: Pretty easy Saturday.

It becomes immediately clear when first looking at the puzzle that white is playing for a win and that he can not place his pieces in such a way so as to queen the b pawn without the black bishop taking, since the black bishop has a bunch of in-between moves and can never be zuged of the diagonal.

After realizing that, the goal becomes to queen the a pawn, so first 68. b8Q Bxb8+ 69. Kb7

And now black can not move the bishop or the A pawn will queen, so the only legal moves can be made by the king, so white just has to move his bishop anywhere along the d1-h5 diagonal, and then place it on e2 when the black king is on a5 and black can't move without losing his bishop or letting the A pawn queen (or losing all his pawns, and then allowing one of the proceeding options)

Reasonably simple

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <LIFEMasterAJ> I don't see the draw. After <68.b8Q Bxb8+ 69.Kb7 Kb5 70.Bg4 Ka5> 71. Be2 g4 72. Bxg4 Kb5 73. Bd1 Ka5 74. Be2 d1=Q 75. Bxd1 Black is lost.

What am I missing?

<Sneaky> Are you sure the position

click for larger view

is a draw?

If it's Black to move, White clearly wins. If it's White to move, seems to me he wins after 1. Bd1 Kb5 2. Bf3 ka5 3. Be2 , transposing into the won (Black to move and lose) Zugzwang position.

Jun-12-10  babaul: Well, well. Draw? Just look at 70...Ka5 71.Be2 and Sneaky says "some neutral move like 71...g4, and 72.Bxg4, then ...Kb5 again." OK...and now 73.Bd1 (not Be2) and is game over :) after 73...Ka5 74.Be2 Black is in zugwang. So not a draw .
Jun-12-10  babaul: <LIFE MASTER AJ> My both Fritz and Rybka saw win for white in no time..maybe you should get a good enginee?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think the answer is beginning to emerge... I think.

I reckon that both the game continuation and the 71 Be2 line (my pick) win for white, but only if you apply Patzer2's tempo losing trick.

This is the final position of the game:

click for larger view

Black has to play 70...Ka5. Any pawn move just loses the pawn. Any bishop move other than Ba7 loses to a7. And Ba7 loses to Kxa7. So 70...Ka5 is forced.

Now 71. Be2 puts black in zugwang. If his king retreats, white can grab the Bb8. Pawn moves just get grabbed. Bb8 moves and we play a7.

So black has to drop pawns. 71...g4 72. Bxg4 Kb5

click for larger view

Now white needs to waste a move, Patzer2 stylee. The immediate Be2+ doesn't do it. We need to hit Be2 without it being check. Any move along the d1-h5 diagonsal ought to do it, let's say 73. Bd1.

Again 73...Ka5 is forced. Now we play 74. Be2

click for larger view

Black is in zugwang. For amusement, we could continue the sequence one more time. 74...d1=Q 75. Bxd1 Kb5 76. Bf3 (our Patzer2 patented tempo wasting move) Ka5 77. Be2

Apollo 13 radios back to the control centre. "Er... cancel that Houston. We don't have a problem. We're going to the moon after all."

Verdict? White wins with either the game line or the 71. Be2 line.

I think ...

<presses the kibitz button with trepidation in case he is about to made to look an enormous fool>

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: When I wrote

<I suppose that black could have pushed his pawns, having the white bishop capture them, and that would give him a king move, but in the end, it all comes out the same.>

I really should have spelled this out fully. I thought the temporizing with the white bishop was fairly obvious, so didn't go into much detail.

Premium Chessgames Member
  SuperPatzer77: Here is another similar game - Calvo - Hamann, Menorca, 1974.

Black to move and win below:

click for larger view

1...g1=Q!, 2. Bxg1 Kg2, 3. Kg4 Ba8!, 4. Kh4 Bf3! (cutting White King off), 5. a8=Q (forced) Bxa8, 6. Kg4 Bb7, 7. Kh4 Bf3!

In 1974 Calvo himself sure remembered that the game between Calvo and Byrne was played in 1968. In another similar game between Calvo (White) and Hamann (Black) in 1974, Calvo offered Hamann a draw and Hamann accepted that. Ooops!! Hamann shouldn't have accepted that before because he could've won this game - he missed 1...g1=Q!.


Jun-12-10  Eduardo Leon: White to play. 68.?

click for larger view

<68.b8=♕+! ♗xb8+ 69.♔b7>

At the cost of a pawn white achieved three important goals. First, he made room for his king at b7, which means the a pawn is free to advance. Second, the black bishop is locked at b8 to prevent immediate 70.a7 by white. The third goal is being able to play the following sequence, which is itself divided in three parts.


What else? Any other king move allows 70.♔xb8, and 69...g4 tosses a pawn. Black can only switch his king between a5 and b5. Part 1 consists in cutting the b5 square from the black king to force black to toss a pawn.


Not 70.♗e2+ ♔a5 71.♗g4 ♔b5, repeating moves.

<70...♔a5 71.♗e2>

click for larger view

<71...g4 72.♗xg4>

Part 1 has concluded. Now part 2 consists in repeating the same mechanical procedure to win the other black pawn.

<72...♔b5 73.♗d1 ♔a5 74.♗e2>

click for larger view

<74...d1=♕ 75.♗xd1>

Part 2 has concluded. Now part 3 consists in repeating the same mechanical procedure to force the king off a5 and b5.

<75...♔b5 76.♗g4 ♔a5 77.♗e2>

click for larger view

And part 3 will conclude with either 77...♔(any) 78.♔xb8 or 77...♗(any) 78.a7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni:

click for larger view

Yep. Simple win by triangulation. Black's only moves to avoid instant loss are Ka5 and Kb5. White plays his bishop along the d1-h5 diagonal, avoiding the e2 square until Black's king is on a5. Black then has to pitch his pawns, and the process is repeated until he's out of move.

So not only 69.Bg4, but 69.Bh5 and 69.Bf3 win. As does 69.Be2+ for that matter; it just takes longer. Just don't get fancy and play 69.Bc2 g4!, and Black wins. Indeed, that may be why White chose 69.Bg4; he just wanted to be darn sure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: For fun, one could play 68 b8N followed by 68...Bb6+ 69 Kb7, below, and it still should be a win for white.

click for larger view

It ought to end up a bishop and knight vs. king endgame every time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: One interesting point here is how a non-tablebase engine can be fooled by this positions like one.

After 69. Kb7, Fritzie is saying that 69...Kb5 is 0.00, giving only 70. Be2+ as white's reply. All other moves lose for black.

But as soon as we play the appparently drawing 69...Kb5, Fritzie gets the message and comes over all priapic about about 70. Bh5, 70. Bf3 and 70. Bg4.

So why should the engine be so dumb? One answer might be the horizon effect. As the computer only analyses so many moves ahead, it doesn't see a win that happens just beyond its analysis.

I have been humbled by Fritzie so many times, that today is a rare treat. And whenever he is rude to me in future as in "I told you you gotta study opening theory", I will quietly whisper: "yes, but let's not forget that you wanted to play Be2+"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Fritzie tries to get revenge...

I've had him analysing the position after 69...Kb5 for some time. He is now saying that 70. Bg4 is mate in 90, 70. Bf3 is mate in 101, and 70. Bh5 is mate in 104.

And yet just one move earlier he was insisting it was a draw. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Sneaky: Please note (since CG didn't make it very obvious) that the move played does NOT win. Dzechiel said "Slightly different move order, same result" ... but that slight difference is the difference between winning and drawing. The game has given is one of those horrible situations where somebody, with a draw in hand, decides to resign. What if Black continued with 70...Ka5, then White would presumably play 71.Be2 to "protect the a6 pawn". But now some neutral move like 71...g4, and 72.Bxg4, then ...Kb5 again.

Finally you reach a position like this

click for larger view

WHICH IS A DRAW!! Anytime White gets the nerve to try Kxb8 then Black immediately plays d1=Q, game drawn. Poor Byrne, he resigned when he could have salvaged half the point.

*** >

The foregoing analysis is <not correct>.

Tablebases ( verify that the above-diagrammed position from the post by <Sneaky> is 1-0 with either side to move. Black to move is in zugzwang; White to move wins with Bishop tempo moves along the d1-h5 diagonal until he can play Be2 when Black's King is on a5.

The point is that White will not play Kxb8 when the Black King is attacking the a6-pawn. Eventually Black will be forced by zugzwang either (I) to play ... Ba7 (allowing White to play Kxa7 maintaining the defense of the a6-pawn); (II) to move the B along the b8-h2 diagonal (allowing White to advance a7, with a8=Q next); or (III) to move the K to the 4th rank (allowing White to play Kxb8 without dropping his a-pawn).

68. Be2 is the most accurate win, but the position remains 1-0 after 68. b8=Q.

Jun-12-10  WiseWizard: So instructive, i got the sac and Kb7 but the waiting move wasn't in my arsenal til now thanks guys
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is even.

The white king can't move because the a-pawn would be lost. Therefore, make some room with 68.b8=Q Bxb8+ 69.Kb7, zugzwang:

A) 69... Kb5 70.Bg4 Ka5 71.Be2 + -, to cut the king, not really to protect the pawn because after Kxb8 it would follow d1=Q, Bxd1, Kxa6. If a pawn moves the white bishop will capture it and if bishop moves then 72.a7 wins.

B) 69... g4 70.Bxg4, just delays the defeat.

Jun-12-10  licuan: it took 10 minutes 4me to find the pawn sac on b8.
Jun-12-10  mertens: The "direct" attempt 68. Be2 Bf4 (or somewhere else along the diagonal h2-b8) 69. b8=Q Bxb8 70. Kxb8 fails to 70. - d1=Q and 71. - Kxa6, so White has to free his King in order to promote the a-Pawn. After some thought it strangely appears that the only square that leads out of prison is b7, so 68. b8=Q Bxb8 69. Kb7. Now the black bishop can't move due to the advance of White's a-Pawn, and the black King is tied to White's a-Pawn (watching for d1=Q and Kxa6 as above) and consequently has to shift between a5 and b5. So White might operate with zugzwang, e. g. 69. - Kb5 70. Bf3 Ka5 71. Be2! (zugzwang) g4 72. Bxg4 Kb5 73. Bd1 Ka5 74. Be2! (once again zugzwang) d1=Q 75. Bxd1 Kb5 76. Be2+ and 77. Kxb8 and wins. I hope I did not overlook anything ...
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