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Yuri Balashov vs Ulf Andersson
Hoogovens (1973), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 7, Jan-23
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation Paulsen Variation (B85)  ·  1-0



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Given 19 times; par: 22 [what's this?]

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sac: 19.Qh3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Too many correct solutions to this puzzle; a real challenge would have consisted of finding all the wins. Even so, still an excellent victory for Balashov.
Sep-25-20  nalinw: Is it really Friday??
Sep-25-20  Steve.Patzer: Strange, I thought Rxh7+ was faster.
Sep-25-20  Steve.Patzer: Stockfish agrees, after 23. e6 Bg5 24.exd7 Bh6 25.dxe8=Q Rxe8 26.Rxf5 Bxd5 27.Rxd5 Be3+ 28.Kf1 Rf8+ 29.Ke1 Nf6 30.Rxd6 Kg7 31.Rxa6 Bf4 32.Qh4 Be3 33.Ra7+ Rf7 34.Qg3+ Kf8 35.Ra8+ Ne8 36.Bxb5 Bf2+ 37.Qxf2 Rxf2 38.Rxe8+ Kf7 39.Kxf2 d3 40.cxd3 Kg6 41.Rf1 h6 42.Re6+ Kg7
Sep-25-20  Walter Glattke: 23.Rxh7+ Kg8 24.Rh8+ Kg7 (f7) 25.Qh7#
We like Mondays.
Sep-25-20  Walter Glattke: But 24.-Kf7 25.Qh7+ escape to e6, so better close that square with e6, I propose then 23.Rxh7+ Kg8 24.e6 seems to be better than 23.e6
Sep-25-20  WorstPlayerEver: 23. Rxh7+ Kg8 24. Qh5 (Nxe5 25. Rh8+ Kg7 26. Qh7#) Bf6 25. Nxf6+ Rxf6 26. Rh8+ Kg7 27. Qh7#
Sep-25-20  Brenin: The promising-looking K-hunt I had in mind doesn't quite lead to mate, but it still wins: 23 Rxh7+ Kg8 24 Rh8+ Kf2 25 Qh5+ Ke3 26 Nf4+ Kxe5 (Kf7 27 Qg6#) 27 Ng6+ (27 Re1+? Ne3) Kd5 28 Nxf8 Rxf8 (Bxf8 29 Bxf5) 29 Rxf8 Rxf8 30 Bxf5 (forking Q and N) Nf6 31 Qg5 Qg7 32 Be4+ Ke6 (Kxe4 33 Re1#, Kc4 33 Bd3#) 33 Qxg7 Bxg7 34 Bxb7, and White is the exchange and a P ahead with an easy endgame win.
Sep-25-20  sfm: The engine claims that 16.-,gxf5?? totally lost (with 17.Nd5! being even stronger than 17.Qh6). If Black instead had played 16.-,e5 he is about equal.
Sep-25-20  areknames: < What kind of problem is this? 23.Rxh7+ Kg8 24.e6, or 23.e6 immediately, looks easy enough.> Also my initial thoughts. How do you parry 23.Rxh7+ followed by Qh5 ? Once you are told Black's last move was f7-f5 even 23.exf6 shoud win easily!
Sep-25-20  malt: Went for 23.R:h7+ Kg8 24.Qh5 Bf6

(24...N:e5 25.Rh8+ Kg7 26.Qh7# )

25.Nf6+ R:f6 26.Rh8+ Kg7 27.Qh7#

Premium Chessgames Member
  Predrag3141: In the puzzle position before move 23, Black's king has a clear path to safety via e6 and d5. This concerned me so I looked at 23 e6 and had trouble seeing what could possibly go wrong ... nothing, as it turns out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bishoprick: What is the matter with the simple Rxh7-Kg8, Rh8-Kg7, Qh7 ++??
Sep-25-20  Cellist: I saw the possibility of Rxh7+ with the Rh8+ and Qh5+ follow-up, which seemed to win clearly, but I thought that would be too easy for a Friday. I then settled for 23. Bxf5, which also wins, although less directly. According to SF, Black needs to exchange the Q against the B on f5. It rates the position as +3.47 for White, but there is still some work to do, given that White starts out with a piece less. 23. e6 (or 24. e6 in some of the variations above) is clever.
Sep-25-20  mel gibson: The solution is wrong.

Stockfish 12 says:

23. Rxh7

(23. Rxh7+ (♖h5xh7+ ♔h8-g8 ♕h3-h5 ♗e7-f6
♘d5xf6+ ♘g4xf6 ♕h5-g6+ ♕d7-g7 ♕g6xg7+) +M5/170 12)

mate in 5.

Sep-25-20  Brenin: Objectively, the line 23 Rxh7+ Kg8 24 Qh5 is best, leading to mate in 5 as <mel gibson> says. However, it gives Black a wide choice of responses for his 24th move, all of which lead to mate but have to be checked. The game line 23 e6 does not force mate, but it leads (even after the best defence 23 ... Bg5 and 24 ... h6) to massive and immediate material gain, with little calculation required by White. Indeed, it forced the ideal response! OTB I think it was the best choice.
Sep-25-20  KevinDenelsbeck: I like how Stockfish's 2nd best move is for the e-pawn to take the f-pawn e.p., a subtlety easily overlooked if you come into the puzzle diagram cold without peeking at the last move.
Sep-25-20  cormier: 11...NxNd4 is kind of weak .....
Sep-25-20  vonKrolock: <20...Qd7>

click for larger view

Balashov's next move is the most impressive. A brilliant coup, considerably more effective than taking the Knight with check. The threat, after 21.e5 is R check and mate next move, so the Knight in d5 is an untouchable treat.

Sep-25-20  WorstPlayerEver: Bala Shuffle
Sep-25-20  Nullifidian: Evidently I overslept the entire weekend because it seems to be Monday today.

23. ♖xh7+ ♔g8 24. ♕h5 (Δ ♕g6#) ♗f6 25. ♘xf6+

If 25... ♘xf6, then 26. ♕g6+ ♕g7 27. ♕xg7#

If 25... ♖xf6, then 26. ♖h8+ ♔g7 27. ♕h7#

At move 24, other moves by black result in mate in two, at best, or even mate in one. For example, if you were to play 24... ♘xe5 to cover the g6 square, then 25. ♖h8+ ♔g7 26. ♕h7#. Ditto 24... ♕e6 25. ♖h8+ ♔g7 26. ♕h7#.

Sep-25-20  TheBish: White to play (23.?) "Difficult"

White wins the queen or mates after 23. Rxh7+ Kg8 24. e6! (to block the black king's escape via f7 and/or e6). Now, whether Black plays 24...Qxe6 or moves the queen elsewhere (24...Qc6), the reply is 25. Rh8+ followed by 26. Qh7#. It seems that the immediate 23. e6! is just as effective, as it is likely to transpose. The only way to stave off immediate mate is to give up the queen, which is clearly losing.

Sep-25-20  Patriot: I don't understand why people are spending time on 24...Bf6? Clearly that's a loser...
Sep-28-20  Nullifidian: <Patriot: I don't understand why people are spending time on 24...Bf6? Clearly that's a loser...>

Because it's mate in 5 only if you play 24... ♗f6 and all other moves lose even faster.

Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Like how Balashov refuses to take the knight on g4 in consecutive moves, instead pressing home his attack with 20. Nd5 and 21. e5.
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