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Louis Paulsen vs Joseph Henry Blackburne
"If Rooks Could Kill" (game of the day Dec-10-2004)
Vienna (1873), Vienna AUH, rd 1, Jul-22
Scandinavian Defense: Main Lines (B01)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-10-04  Calli: Maybe 55...Kf3 56.Rf5+ Kg4 57.Rf8 Rb7 is better?
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  mahmoudkubba: This game reminds me of Kasparov vs the rest of the world just for a little seen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  mahmoudkubba: any how for what moves is the addresing of today game of the day??
Dec-10-04  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka> Indeed, 10. Nxc7+! is dangerous and full of traps White must avoid, but, in spite of these pitfalls, it is still a winning move:

10. ♘xc7+!

[also winning is 10. Bxh6! Bxf3 (10...Bxh6 11. Nxc7+ Kd7 12. Nxa8 Rxa8 13. d4 Bf4 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Qxf3 Qxf3 16. gxf3 ) 11. Qxf3 Qxf3 12. gxf3 Bxh6 13. Nxc7+ Kd7 14. Nxa8 Rxa8 15. d4 ]

10. ♘xc7+! ♔d7 11. ♗xh6!

[not 11. Nxa8?? Nd4!, when (as you noted) White is in big trouble (one fun line here is 11. Nxa8?? Nd4! 12. Bc3 Nxf3 13. gxf3 Bxf3 14. Nb6+ axb6 15. Qxf3 Qxf3 16. Bxg7 Nf5 17. Bxh8 Nh4 18. Bd5 Qxd5 19. f3 Qg5+ 20. Kf2 Qd2+ 21. Kg3 Qg2+ 22. Kxh4 h6 23. Bf6 (23. Rg1 Qxh2+ 24. Kg4 f5#; 23. Rh1 g5+ 24. Kh5 Qh3#; 23. f4 Qxh2+ 24. Kg4 Qg2+ 25. Kh4 f5 26. Rf3 Qg4#) 23...exf6 24. f4 f5 25. h3 g5+ 26. Kh5 Qxh3#]

Dec-10-04  patzer2: 10. ♘xc7+! ♔d7 11. ♗xh6! ♘e5

[11...Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Qxf3 13. gxf3 Bxh6 14. Nxa8 Rxa8 15. d4 (transposing to the alternative winning line 10. Bxh6! )]

[11...Bxh6+ 12. Nxe5+ Qxe5 13. Qxg4+ Kxc7 14. Qxg4+ Kxc7 15. Qc4+ Kd8 (15..Kb8 16. Qb5 Qc7 17. Bxf7 ) 16. Rae1 Qd6 17. Bxf7 ]

10. ♘xc7+! ♔d7 11. ♗xh6! ♘e5 12. ♗d5!

[12. Bxg7? Nxf3+ 13. gxf3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 Qxf3 15. Bd5 Qg4+ 16. Bg2 Kxc7 17. Bxh8 Rxh8 ]

10. ♘xc7+! ♔d7 11. ♗xh6! ♘e5 12. ♗d5! ♘xf3+

[12...Bxh6 13. Nxe5+ Qxe5 14. Qxg4+ Kxc7 15. Qc4+ Kd8 (15...Kb8 16. Qb5 Qc7 17. Bxf7 ) 16. Rae1 Qd6 17. Bxf7+ ]

10. ♘xc7+! ♔d7 11. ♗xh6! ♘e5 12. ♗d5! ♘xf3+ 13. ♗xf3 ♗xf3 14. ♕xf3 ♕xf3 15. gxf3 ♗xh6 16. ♘xa8 ♖xa8

Dec-10-04  patzer2: 51. g4! and the followup are a nice use of the pin and the skewer to win a decisive passed pawn. While the move may look obvious, the followup moves are subtle and demonstrate Paulsen's excellent endgame technique.
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  Honza Cervenka: <patzer2> Well, 10.Nxc7+ Kd7 11.Bxh6 is an improvement in comparison to 11.Nxa8, but it works thanks to the fact that 11...Bxh6 12.Nxa8 Nd4 fails to 13.Ne5+. But what about 10.Nxc7+ Kd8 as <dbulger> suggested? 11.Nxa8 Nd4 looks still bad for white: 12.Bf4 Nxf3+ 13.gxf3 Bxf3 14.Qe1 Qg4+ 15.Bg3 Qh3 16.Qa5+ (I was afraid of that and that is why I have thought that 10...Kd7 is better than 10...Kd8) 16...b6 17.Bc7+ Ke8 18.Qg5 Ng4! and black wins. With the King on d8 11.Bxh6 is not so useful as black can play here 11...Be5 and 11...Bxh6 12.Nxa8 Nd4 is playable too. After that white has hardly anything better than 13.Nxd4 Bxd1 14.Raxd1 Kd7 and Rxa8 which is not clear, although white can be there a little bit better.
Dec-10-04  CHEG: Black's threat after 10 Nxc7+ Kf8 11 Bxh6 Bxh6 12 ... Nd4 13 ... Nxf3 14 gxf3 15 Bf4! and black soon wins.

White's two unforced moves may spoil black's plan but I can't figure out any moves that would. Any good variations? Comments?

Dec-10-04  aw1988: Grab the popcorn! Honza and patzer2 do an analysis duel! :)
Dec-10-04  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka> Thanks for going throught the long analysis on 10. Nxc7+ Kd7. I'll take a look at <dbulger's> 10.Nxc7+ Kd8 suggestion and post my analysis in the next few days. My initial reaction is that 11. Bxh6 Be5 12. h3 should give White an advantage, but I'll need more time than I have at the moment to go through the variations in depth. For now, I've got to go on a road trip to visit my daughter and attend my son-in-laws graduation from Graduate School.
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  catlover: As usual, by the time I log on, everything worthwhile that could be said, has been said (and then some!)

Seriously, super job on the analysis of 10. Nxc7+

What I'm trying to figure out is, where did black go wrong in what appeared to my layman's eyes to be a fairly even rook and pawn ending until about move 50.

Dec-10-04  drukenknight: at move 60 I was thinking 60...Rc8 might be a reasonable try, because then white might kick the K back over to where he can do some good. Also trying to pull the R back to the back rank so he can effectively bring check on the K. There is a formula, having to do with the positoin of the K and the R and how far they are from the pawn, but I forget what the hell it is. AJ probably has it..

It's a difficult puzzle to solve, the K is out of position yes, but is the R as well? Hmmm.

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  catlover: <drukenknight> I don't know...still seems pretty grim for black. If 60...Rc8, 61. Ka6 and if ...Rb8, 62.Ka7 because if 62...Rxb4, 63. Rh4+ picks up the rook.
Dec-10-04  who: 8.Nd5 (preventing the queen from coming across) would have worked much better. 8.Nd5 0-0 9.b4 Nxb4 10.Bd2 winning a piece.
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  Sneaky: <pogo5: ... Move the black king on c8 in the final position and it is a win for white> No silly, not the final position, my post was about the position at move 60. If the black king was on c8 at move 60 it would be a draw (regardless of who has the move).
Dec-10-04  who: <patzer2> I think you are overrating 51.g4 51.g4 Kf4 52.gxf5 Kg4 53.Rh6 Kg5 54.Rb6 Re5 and I think white has nothing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <drukenknight>:
<at move 60 I was thinking 60...Rc8 might be a reasonable try>

As <Sneaky> mentioned, this kind of position is in Nalimov tablebase. It says White has mate in 27 after 60...♖c8 61. ♔b6.

A free Nalimov tablebase site is, and you can get an explanation of the FEN notation at

Dec-10-04  drukenknight: yes bg. I am aware of sneakys comment and the table base. Look I am not going to work out mates in 29. It was just somethign off the top of my head. It's a game played in real time, and I was lookign for a way to complicate things nothing more. but okay,the game was lost, and it is good to pt. this out, for the record. No problem there of course.

Good of you to paste that tablebase link. I had lost it in my computer changeover.

Hey bg, what did you finally come to on that euwe/alekhine game we were doing. The one where I put the K on d5 was it? did you have any more thoughts on it?

Dec-11-04  pogo5: <sneaky> my apologies, I will delete my post
Dec-11-04  drukenknight: calli had a pt. w/ 55...Kf3
Dec-11-04  patzer2: <who> Good catch on 53...Kg5! (not 53...Kxf5?? as in the game), which at least holds the draw for Black. Perhaps this game says more about Blackburne's endgame technique than it does Paulsen's.
Dec-14-04  patzer2: <Honza Cervenka>
After 9...Bg5??, it appears White's winning move is 10. Bxh6+! (eliminating complications while preparing for Nxc8+)as analyzed in my post above as an alternative to 10. Nxc7+.

I'll have to concede that after 10. Nxc7+!? Kd8!, as suggested by <dbulger> that Black seems to have decent survival chances in a very complex position. However, according to Fritz 8, White maintains a small but clear advantage after 10. Nxc7+!? Kd8! 11. Bxh6! After a 17 hour analysis, to 19/59 depth & 1249kN/s, Fritz 8 gives the following results.

(0.75) 10. ♘xc7+ ♔d8 11. ♗xh6 ♗e5 12. h3 ♗xf3 13. ♕xf3 ♕xf3 14. gxf3 ♔xc7 15. c3 e6 16. d4 ♗d6 17. ♖fe1 ♖hg8 18. ♗g5

Indeed White looks better in this variation and may be able to win with the extra pawn and the two Bishops. However, this analysis (leading to only a small plus for White) may be a moot point since 10. Bxh6+! seems to provide White a clear and decisive advantage.

Nov-16-07  nimh: Rybka 2.4 mp, AMD X2 2.01GHz, 10 min per move, threshold 0.33.

Paulsen 7 mistakes:
8.Bd2 0.92 (8.Nd5 1.88)
10.Nf4 0.17 (10.Nxc7+ 0.78)
14.Qe4 -0.69 (14.Bxb7+ 0.58)
15.c3 0.00 (15.Bxb7+ 0.51)
26.Rxe4 0.26 (26.Rcd1 0.99)
28.Rxe8+ 0.40 (28.Rc8+ 1.00)
31.Rb5 0.05 (31.Kxf4 0.55)

Blackburne 10 mistakes:
7...Nh6 1.88 (7...Nf6 0.44)
14...e5 0.51 (14...Qxe4 -0.69)
24...dxe4 0.99 (24...Rg8 0.43)
26...Rg8 0.78 (26...h6 0.26)
29...Ke7 0.82 (29...Kf8 0.40)
41...f5 0.56 (41...Ke6 0.10)
55...h5 1.62 (55...Rf7 0.35)
57...Rd7+ 3.55 (57...Rb7 1.46)
58...Ke4 4.44 (58...Rc7+ 2.17)
60...Kd4 5.94 (60...Kf3 4.32)

Feb-27-16  zanzibar: <CG> mistake, 0-ply

56.f3 should be 56.f3+

Does it matter? Well, why is 54.Rh5+ there then?

(It does matter if comparing two versions of the PGN from different sources for consistency/correctness)

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click for larger view

Paulsen laid a trap: 56 f3+ and Blackburn succumbed to it. After 56..Kxf3? 57 Rxh5 Black loses because his King is cut off along a rank.

Instead 56..Kh4! refusing the bait holds the draw. Eg 57 b4 Rh7 58 Ke3 Kg3 59 Rg5+ Kh2! 60 b5 h4 61 b6 Rb7 62 Rg6 h3 63 Kd4 Kh1 64 Kc5 h2 65 f4 Rg7 66 f5 Rf7 67 f6 Rc7+ =

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