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Elijah Williams vs Daniel Harrwitz
Harrwitz - Williams (1846), London ENG, rd 1
Queen's Gambit Accepted: Old Variation (D20)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Feb-24-09  MaczynskiPratten: I liked this - a really elegant stalemate trap. The basic trick is to lure or force the Black King to cover White's escape square b2. White actually tried a similar trap a few moves earlier with 77 Rc3+ which Black did not fall for.
Feb-24-09  YouRang: <LIFE Master AJ: TUESDAY / February 24th. 2009. Problem of the day.

White to move and play his 84th move.

I actually took over five minutes on this one, I am not sure if I was "wool-gathering" or what.

I came up with the wild, desperado kind of idea with 84.Rb4+! The Rook can now chase the Black King all over the board, offering itself at every turn. Black can never take - because of the stalemate threat. If 84...Kd3; then 85.Rd4+!, to be followed by more checks, and eventually RxN. >

I don't understand. If 84.Rb4+, why not 84...Kxb4, which leaves b2 unguarded? Then, 85.Kb2 a1=Q+ and black wins.

Feb-24-09  YouRang: Oop - I see that <johnlspouge> already addressed the 84.Rb4+ idea.
Feb-24-09  WhiteRook48: this was a great stalemate trap
Feb-24-09  powerweb: what if 81. ...Rb3?
Feb-24-09  WhiteRook48: 82. Rc1
Feb-24-09  MiCrooks: Not so much a swindle here as Black has no escape. Anybody have a six piece tablebase that can say when this was actually drawn?

If Black doesn't take then Rxc3+ wins the Knight or stalemates. Interestingly, seems to be strong drawing chances here given that any trade of rooks is a draw. Black cannot keep White from moving a1-b2-a1 etc without stalemating him or dropping the pawn.

My guess is that Black errored in pushing the pawn too far too soon.

Feb-24-09  YoungEd: It sort of seems like a cruel injustice of life that Black could be up a piece and a pawn and still have to submit to a draw! Ah, well.
Feb-24-09  Archerforthelord: not really as gawain explained he had the win on move 81 and missed it. i think the outcome is a correct one.
Feb-24-09  ZUGZWANG67: Of course, such a material lead must be a win but it may be not so simple to win it OTB!

In fact, I' m wondering if it was a good idea or not to play 66. ...a2 (?!). That is because in reality, after the push, Black loses the option of trading the Rooks, as the Knight and a rook-pawn to the 7TH (2ND) rank is draw when the weak K stands in front of the pawn.

click for larger view

Feb-24-09  SuperPatzer77: <gawain: Good one. What a swindle! Frank J. Marshall would have loved it. The winning strategy for B was to protect the pawn with the knight (posted at b4_ freeing the rook to move off the file (say to h3) and then check at h1.

Harrwitz actually had this position at move 81.

click for larger view

Black to move

81...Rh3 wins. White can check on the B file and trade his rook for knight and pawn but Black likes that just fine. >

<gawain> You're absolutely right about 81...Rh3

Here is the detail below:

81...Rh3, 82. Rb7+ Ka5, 83. Ra7+ Kb6, 84. Ra8 Rh1+, 85. Kb2 Rb1+, 86. Kc3 a1=Q+ (forcing White to give up his White Rook for the Black Queen)


Feb-24-09  ZUGZWANG67: Hi <gawain>

Excellently analysed. But not 81. ...Rb3 (?), because of the desperado white Rook !


click for larger view

Feb-24-09  Juni: Oh, that's good.

Can't believe I missed it...

Feb-24-09  MiCrooks: Yes, the repositioning of the Knight to c3 rather than b4 was a big mistake. At b4 there is always the threat of Nc2+ forcing the King out of the corner.

After Re3-Rh3 White is dead. Rc1 is one try but then Ka4 mates. Key is that White no longer has any desperado checks. So after the rook moves on the first rank somewhere Black has Rb3. Now if White moves off the back rank it is mate. White is helpless against Ka3, Nc2+ and assuming White has timed it so his Rook is at c1, Rxc2 Rb1++.

After Nd5 Black could still win. He simply had to play Nb4 and try again! Any other move draws.

Feb-24-09  Aurora: Easier than yesterday. White obviously played for a draw.
Feb-24-09  Phoenix: Funny that today's Tuesday puzzle should feature a stalemate motif. Perhaps solving this puzzle allowed the current World Chess Champion hold on to the draw in today's game in Linares? Ivanchuk vs Anand, 2009
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I saw the main variants very quickly. I suspect the players of the 19th century weren't as impressed with the saving draw as we are.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Hi <ZUGZWANG67> you make a very nice point. If B tries 81... Rb3 thinking checkmate at b1 he falls right into the stalemate.

Or does he? Chess machine shows a win for Black because after many checks it seems that he can maneuver his King to d3 and then W has no more worthwhile desperado checks. For example.

click for larger view

If Rd5+ then black captures with the knight and the White king must take the now-unprotected a2 pawn. Black then wins easily.

If Rc3+ then B captures with the rook and the stalemate is released as b2 is available for the W king.

So maybe even the apparent error 81...Rb3 would win. But not as readily as 81 ...Rh3

Feb-25-09  njchess: I got this one yesterday, though I did not have time to comment. Black gets overconfident and careless thinking he has a won position. Quite a con by White to save a draw!
Feb-25-09  SuperPatzer77: <MiCrooks: Yes, the repositioning of the Knight to c3 rather than b4 was a big mistake. At b4 there is always the threat of Nc2+ forcing the King out of the corner.>

<MiCrooks> I strongly agree with you that the repositioning of the Black Knight to c3 rather than b4 was a crucial mistake.

Of course, Nb4 is a lot better than Nc3 because the a-pawn is on the a2 square. Black King with a Black Knight and Black a-pawn on a2 square vs lone White King is provably drawn.

Therefore, Black should reposition his Black Knight to b4 instead of c3 if the Black King with a knight, a-pawn on the a2 square and a rook vs White King with a rook. It can lead to a endgame win.

See two diagrams below:

click for larger view

White draws

click for larger view

Black wins

<MiCrooks> and <gawain> Kudos to both of you!! Your analysis is absolutely excellent. Of course, it is absolutely tricky for any average chess player like us.


Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: For some reason I was under the mistaken impression that 84.Rb4+?? would draw, but Black can take, as the b2 square is NOT covered. (Tired analysis.)
Apr-18-09  WhiteRook48: if Black doesn't take the rook, what?
Jul-27-09  Knight13: <WhiteRook48: if Black doesn't take the rook, what?> White draws either way.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: don't ya gotta love it when rook pawns break all the rules?
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: After 37....Rc6,

click for larger view

...white should have played 38.Rf5!!

click for larger view

The black king is now boxed in. There is a threat of Ref1 followed by R1f4+ or Rxf6.

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