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Michael Adams vs Vladimir Ivanov Dimitrov
Burgas (1993), rd 6
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Easy but worthwhile.

Thanks to all kibitzers for the illuminating discussion.

Apr-03-07  JustAFish: PATPAT10s. I briefly had a hallucination that the white queen was on the dark squares and that a perpetual would be the result.
Apr-03-07  zb2cr: Wow. All that hard work by Black, and then he throws away half a point in a moment of inattention. Had he not played 68. ... e3, looks like he had many paths to win (as <MostlyAverageJoe> points out).

I saw the puzzle solution within less than 5 seconds, due to the simplicity of the position.

Apr-03-07  monkster: Hi all, i am new to chess. Can someone explain me how come this is a draw? What rule of chess was applied? Thanks!
Apr-03-07  tbentley: <monkster>They agreed to a draw because it's stalemate after 69...Qxh3.
Apr-03-07  realbrob: Quite easy, 69.Qh3+ Qxh3 stalemate. There had been another almost identical puzzle from a game of Boris Spassky more or less a month ago.
Apr-03-07  Rubenus: You see that white can't win, and that the white king is almost stalemated, so it is very easy (like a Monday): PATPAT-3 sec.
Apr-03-07  Timex: Easy. Like what <Rubenus> said, white cannot win, so you look for the stalemate.
Apr-03-07  Dick Brain: 68...Qg3+ looks pretty good because if White plays 69. Kf1 then 69...e3 avoids stalemate and if 69. Kh1? Black easily forces queen exchange via checks on h4 and g5 and then either f6 or h6 depending.

Of course in this case we have to worry about finding shelter for Black's king. It's never really easy.

Apr-03-07  erli: Whoops I missed the puzzle because I forgot which way the pawns were traveling >_>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <monkster: Hi all, i am new to chess. Can someone explain me how come this is a draw?>

From the U. S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess:

Rule 14A: “Stalemate: The game is drawn when the king of the player to move is not in check and that player has no legal move. This type of draw is called stalemate. Providing that the opponent’s previous move is legal, this immediately ends the game. Note that it is incorrect to refer to all drawn games as stalemate. The draws described in 14B through 14J are not stalemates.”

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: With regard to my previous post quoting USCF's stalemate rule (the one most relevant for those who play in tournaments in the USA), the Adams - Dimitrov game, of course, was presumably played under the FIDE Laws of Chess, whose stalemate rule is substantively the same, but worded slightly differently:

Section 5.2 [first paragraph]:

“The game is drawn when the player to move has no legal move and his king is not in check. The game is said to end in ‘stalemate’. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the stalemate position was legal.”

Apr-03-07  outplayer: TrueBlue really seems to be Topalov speaking. :-)
Apr-03-07  YouRang: Pretty obvious that stalemate is the goal, and once you realize that, it's quite simple. Adams was probably sitting there praying that Dimitrov would play 68...e3. :-)

Dimitrov's move (68...?) wasn't as easy. One way to win is 68...Qf6 69. Qxe4+ Qg6 70. Qxg6 Kxg6 (diagram:white to move)

click for larger view

and black can win by having the opposition.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one has two ways to look at it: First,the puzzle. It couldn't have been easier.White is in no position to win and has a seemingly hopeless game. The obvious think to look for would be a stalemate trap. Of course,Qh3+ fits the bill perfectly!

Now,the game. Black seemingly is in the clover. He has a passed pawn to promote and a second pawn to protect the king from perpetual check possibilities,the usual snag of queen and pawn endings. Too late,h3 turns into his Bermuda Triangle. The square allows check,and an attack on his queen. The third factor is that the queen is immune due to a stalemate on the white king (thanks to e3,that closes off the white king's only escape square). However,black must take-or lose the queen and the game-so therefore,STALEMATE.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: According to the Nalimov tablebases
( ), there are nine winning moves for Black in the position after 68. Kg1. The four most efficient choices (win in 28) are 68. ... Qe3, 68. ...Qg3, 68. ... Qf4, and 68. ... Qf6.

Notwithstanding that this position is theoretically 0-1, it was clearly sensible for Adams to continue fighting on given the tricky nature of Queen endings. Positions with even two pawns (and Queen and King) versus just Queen and King can be extremely difficult or even theoretically impossible to win. I was interested to learn, for example (whilst perusing the recently released, new enlarged edition of John Nunn's "Secrets of Practical Chess" [Gambit, 2007]), that according to the tablebases, the ending of Queen plus a- & b- pawns versus Queen "is generally drawn" ("Secrets ...", p. 248).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <gambitfan: I have just created a new "collection" named "STALEMATES" *** >

Here is a game with a fascinating stalemate theme, which you may want to add to your collection:

Janowski vs Gruenfeld, 1925

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: <gambitfan> No stalemate collection is complete without this one, the great-grandpappy of stalemate swindles: Bird vs Englisch, 1883
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Silly Black! He should've won. But at least he provided a puzzle that even I could solve.
Apr-03-07  Themofro: A very easy puzzle, more like a Monday, however it's good to see stalemate problems as we often overlook them OTB. White is obviuosly trying to stalemate and the king only needs one more square taken away to be stalemated, pawn is only peice that does that, and there you go.
Apr-03-07  blair45: Black musta kicked himself around the room twice!
Apr-03-07  newton296: close but no cigar dimitrov, lol! also, Well picked puzzle considering havnt had a stalemate in awhile.
Apr-03-07  aazqua: This is less than a Monday. Just absurdly easy.
Apr-03-07  Chess Classics: <playground player> Well said. Nice change of pace though.


Jan-26-08  jovack: nice save by adams, after butchering his endgame he allows black to march his pawn up just enough to promote a stalemate... this was kind of risky and he is lucky black dropped the ball there at the end
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