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David Bronstein vs Alexander Kotov
USSR Championship (1949), Moscow URS, rd 4, Oct-20
Queen's Gambit Declined: Semi-Tarrasch Defense. Pillsbury Variation (D41)  ·  1/2-1/2

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Aug-31-05  Resignation Trap: Botvinnik wrote in his notebook about Bronstein: "[Botvinnik vs Alekhine, 1938 ] with the deviation Botvinnik vs Szabo, 1946 . Mixed things up, offered a pawn in a difficult position. In a complicated battle the advantage changed hands several times. From the notes it would appear that 'Br' saw more, but this is evidently a sham, since the variations were thought up during analysis. Draw agreed on the 24th move in an unclear position!

Bold but confused - likes to go fishing.

Nov-04-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I have a tactics book with a position from this game illustrating a most amazing tactic, but in fact the position didn't occur in this game. I guess this has to do with these notes mentioned by R.T.

Here's the position, White to win


click for larger view

This is the position that would be reached after 24...f5 25.Nh6+ Kh8 26.Bc4 Ne5 27.Be6 Rc6.

The solution given:

28...Rxg7!! 29.Rxe6 (Kxg7 Rxe5 ) Re6 30.Rxe5!! Rxe5 31.Rg8+! Rxg8 32.Bf6+ Rg7 33.Be5

leaving us with this position


click for larger view

And White is obviously winning even though he is down material! (It's funny to imagine White waltzing his king all over the board without a care in the world, isn't it?)

I think this would be a wonderful test position for computers. My computer doesn't even see White's win in the final position much less the start of the combination.

Nov-04-06  Laskerfan82: <Sneaky> I'm sure it's just me, being a patzer, but I don't see it either... would you mind explaining where the White King waltzes to and what the winning plan is? Thanks.
Nov-04-06  Resignation Trap: <Laskerfan82> Simple! White's King eats the d-Pawn, then goes up to f8, then plays Bxg7 mate, and Black can't do anything to stop this!
Jan-26-07  Laskerfan82: <Resignation Trap> How exactly does the White King manage to go up to f8?
Jan-27-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Laskerfan82> Well, there will be a bit of problem with that, unless White convinces Black bishop to cooperate and make it possible.

(White does have a win, however, forcing up a pawn along the f-file.)

Jan-27-07  Resignation Trap: <Laskerfan82> My "winning method" doesn't work without a lot of cooperation by Black. I'm now trying to figure out how White forces a win with a Pawn up the f-file. This position is not my idea of "obviously winning".
Jan-29-07  Laskerfan82: <Gypsy: (White does have a win, however, forcing up a pawn along the f-file.)>

Sorry, but I still don't see a win for White. First of all Black can post a bishop along the b1-h7 diagonal and defend his f-pawn that way. And even supposing that White forces an eventual fxg4 and gets in f4-f5, black can just transfer his bishop to the a2-g8 diagonal, and after f6 play ...Rf7 and if White takes the rook then opposite colored bishop ending will be drawn, and if not he can just sit tight.

So where is the win?

Jan-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Laskerfan82>


click for larger view

Black can not realy save the d-pawn, because soon or later there will be a zugzwang <1...d3 2.Kf1 Bb5 3.Ke1 Bc6 4.g3 Bb5 5.Kd2 Bc4 6.a4 Ba6 7.a5 Bb5 8.f4 Ba6 9.h3 Bc4 10.g4 fxg4 11.hxg4>


click for larger view

<11...Be6> Black can not let the knight retake on f5. White now has several different options. <12.f5 gxf5 13.gxf5 Bc4 14.Kc3> Zugzwang. <14...Ba2 15.Kxd3 Bb3 16.Kd4 Ba2 17.Kc5 Bb3 18.Kd6 Ba2>


click for larger view

The question remains: can Black can hold this on the account of the off-collor bishops? Well, not realy.

<19.Bd4 Bc4>
(19...a6 20.Kc6 Bb3 21.Kb6 Bc4 22.Bc3... zugzwang, eg 22...Bd3 23.f6 Rg6 24.Kc7 Rxh6 25.f7+ Rf6 26.Bxf6#)

<20.f6 Rf7>

(20...Rg6 21.Ke7 Bf7 22.Kxf7 Rxh6 23.Kf8 Rxf6+ 24.Bxf6#) <21.Nxf7+ Bxf7 23.Bxa7 h5 24.Bf2 Bc4 25.Ke7...> and the win is trivial.

Jan-30-07  Fisheremon: <all> Pls go to Bronstein vs Kotov, 1949 with others' comments. I should think it was a virtual analysis, since in the range 24...f5 25.Nh6+ Kh8 26.Bc4 Ne5 27.Be6 Rc6 28.Rxg7 Rxe6 you can mark every move with ?! (as noted by many people there). So let's take the position after 28...Rxe6?? It could be a nice puzzle with solution 29.Re7 (but not 29.Re5 leading to a drawn position). I'm not sure that was the analysis of famous Bronstein, perhaps that was just his note for fun.
Jan-30-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Fisheremon> The point of the discussion here was to settle the lingering question whether the endgame in "<Sneaky> position" was indeed a win for White! <Laskerfan82> proposed a stuborn defense for Black.

The fantasy variation of your link was used as a Sunday puzzle to crown the Bronstein Tribute week, when the great guy went to play chess in the skies. I suspect <Sneaky> from arranging the surprise puzzle.

Feb-01-07  Laskerfan82: <Gypsy> You've presented a strong case, but I'm not convinced. I still think Black should be able to draw...

What if Black can try to prevent the optimal advance of White's kingside pawns by harrassing the h-pawn as soon as it moves to h3?

What I mean is, let him push his pawn to d3 and tie down the king on d2. And then the moment White plays f3-f4 (or g2-g3), Black transfers his bishop to the long diagonal (e.g., Bb5-c6) and hits the g2 pawn (or the f3 pawn, as the case may be). White's pawns will then be on h2, g3, and f4. His goal is to play h2-h3 and g2-g4 and crash through on the kingside... But White can't continue with h2-h3 because the bishop will immediately jump to g2 and force h3-h4, which would ruin White's whole plan. White can try to control the g2-square with his king by putting his bishop on c3 (trying to stop ...d3-d2) and then move his king to f2, but the bishop on c3 doesn't REALLY stop the advance of the d-pawn, since if the bishop ever takes on d2 it frees the black rook. So in that case Black would just wait for h2-h3, answer it with ...d3-d2 (forcing Ke2) and then again ...Bg2 harrassing the h-pawn.

This was long-winded, but I hope you're able to follow it all the same. Here's a sample line illustrating the idea:

1...d3, 2.Kf1 Bc6, 3.f3 Bd5, 4.Ke1 Be6, 5.Kd2 Bc4, 6.f4 Bd5!, 7.g3 Be4! and Black is ready to play ...Bg2 in answer to h2-h3, whenever it comes.

Let me know what you think.

Feb-02-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Laskerfan82> I think that Black is in a zugzwang.


click for larger view

White will procrastinate till Black completely exhausts his pawn moves, eg, <1.Bf6...>.

Feb-02-07  Laskerfan82: <gypsy> Of course. I don't know how I forgot about that simple detail. It seems you are correct, so I yield!
Feb-02-07  Fisheremon: <Gypsy: Black can not realy save the d-pawn, because soon or later there will be a zugzwang <1...d3 2.Kf1 Bb5 3.Ke1 Bc6 4.g3 Bb5 5.Kd2 Bc4 6.a4 Ba6 7.a5 Bb5 8.f4 Ba6 9.h3 Bc4 10.g4 fxg4 11.hxg4>> How about 2...Bc6 ?
Feb-02-07  Fisheremon: <Gypsy: Black can not realy save the d-pawn, because soon or later there will be a zugzwang <1...d3 2.Kf1 Bb5 3.Ke1 Bc6 4.g3 Bb5 5.Kd2 Bc4 6.a4 Ba6 7.a5 Bb5 8.f4 Ba6 9.h3 Bc4 10.g4 fxg4 11.hxg4>> In your line a series of moves by Black Bishop could be marked with (?), e.g. after 8...Ba6 White could win easily without h3: 9.g4 fxg4 10.f5 Bc4 11.f6 Rf7 12.a6 g5 13.Bd4. Black could have a lot of chances with better defense, e.g. after 4.g3 Bg2 also Black shouldn't let White's pawn a go so far, etc.
Feb-02-07  Fisheremon: <Laskerfan82: 1...d3, 2.Kf1 Bc6, 3.f3 Bd5, 4.Ke1 Be6, 5.Kd2 Bc4, 6.f4 Bd5!, 7.g3 Be4! and Black is ready to play ...Bg2 in answer to h2-h3, whenever it comes.> I agree with your idea, but 4...Be6 too passive. Instead 4...a5, e.g. 5.Kd2 Bc4 6.f4 Bb5. The point is that White can't threat an ending with opposite Bishops, but with pawn a6, e.g. 7.g4 fxg4 8.f5 Bc4 9.f6 Rf7 etc. The only plan for White now is related with h3-g4, but here Black has enough resources. Let's see what could be an improvement for White.
Feb-02-07  Fisheremon: I've a clear plan for Black to draw: 32...d3 33.Kf1 Bc6 34.f3 Bd7 35.Kd2 f4
Feb-02-07  Laskerfan82: <Fisheremon> I won't respond to the last comment because there's a typo there and I want to be sure what you mean. (35.Kd2 is illegal, and do you mean ...f4 for Black?)

But in your previous comment, although I'm glad someone is attempting to resurrect a draw for Black, I'm now with Gypsy in thinking White must win this.

You give 1...d3, 2.Kf1 Bc6, 3.f3 Bd5, 4.Ke1 a5 with the idea 5.Kd2 Bc4, 6.f4 Bb5.

So far so good, but instead of 7.g4 White should stick to his guns and play 7.h3, and I think he's winning, e.g.:

7.h3 Bc6, 8.g4 fxg4, 9.hxg4 Be4, 10.f5 gxf5, 11.gxf5 Bd5, 12.Kxd3 and wins (since White wins Black's a-pawn by zugzwang).

I don't agree that Black has enough resources against the h3-g4 plan, because all he can really do is move his bishop around. Everything else is tied.

Do you have an improvement for Black?

Feb-02-07  Fisheremon: <Laskerfan82: <Fisheremon> I won't respond to the last comment because there's a typo there and I want to be sure what you mean. (35.Kd2 is illegal, and do you mean ...f4 for Black?)> Sorry for the typo! should be 32...d3 33.Kf1 Bc6 34.f3 Bd7 35.Ke1 f4

<7.h3 Bc6, 8.g4 fxg4, 9.hxg4 Be4, 10.f5 gxf5, 11.gxf5 Bd5, 12.Kxd3 and wins (since White wins Black's a-pawn by zugzwang).> I agree that the promising plan with h3-g4 perhaps the only way to win in this line, but let's have some time more for a thorough analysis.

Feb-02-07  Laskerfan82: <Fisheremon> Good work, this is a very interesting idea indeed. Perhaps White needs to get f4 in before Black does. One way to achieve this is to play 34.g3 instead of 34.f3. Of course this allows 34...Bf3, but I'm not sure that this really helps Black, because of an eventual zugzwang. One possible line would be:

32...d3, 33.Kf1 Bc6, 34.g3 Bf3, 35.Bd4 (biding time), and now if 35...Be2 then 36.h3 with the typical plan, and if 35...Bd5 then 36.Kd2 Be4 37.Be5 and Black is in zugzwang.

Feb-02-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Fisheremon> (1) The winning method I gave was not optimized for the number of moves, but rather for minimizing the number of special cases I had to explain.

(2) I fail to see how your proposal prevents White from following the already given winning method. (With some minor adjustments, of course.)

<should be 32...d3 33.Kf1 Bc6 34.f3> (34.g3 also wins per <Laskerfan82> method) <34...Bd7 35.Ke1 f4> Well, do not stop now: White goes <36.Kd2>, how do you plan to organize Black defense?

Feb-03-07  Fisheremon: <Laskerfan82><Gypsy> My idea seemed not sufficient. White still has a narrow way to win (try to find it). So together with Bronstein's plan detailized by <Gypsy> and <Laskerfan82> I'd be convinced that the position is lost for Black.

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