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Nick de Firmian vs Michael Rohde
"The Long and Winding Rohde" (game of the day Feb-09-2014)
Pan Pacific International (1987), San Francisco, CA USA, Sep-??
French Defense: Winawer. Advance Variation General (C16)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: OK, but if the title is intended as homage to the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, how about using a song from that time, not one from seven years later?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <al wazir: There must have been many quicker ways to win, such as 50...Qe4 followed by 51...Kg4>

50...Qe4 51.Qc3 Kg4 52.Qg3+ Kh5 53.Qc3 repeats, but 51...a3 or 53...a3 does look strong.

<or 60...Qe3+ 61. Kc2/Kd1 Ke4>

60...Qe3+ is illegal. 61...Qe3+ 62.Kc2 Ke4 63.Qa6 is similar to the game.

<or 93...Qc3+, the obvious finisher.>

True. I don't know if Rohde was so exhausted he didn't see that, or was just screwing around. But since DeFirmian resigned after his move, it didn't make much difference.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <OBIT> I didn't intend it as such an homage, but I suppose you're probably right that did.
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Qc3, the supposed finisher, is answered by Kb1
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: The note by Mr Rousselle is an unusual and clever stalemate motif, well worth remembering.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: A favorite period of chess for me: The 1980's

I could hardly wait to receive my copy of Chess Life to see the games and read about Alburt, Benjamin, Browne, Christiansen, Dlugy, DeFirmian, Gulko, Rohde, Kreiman, Seirawan, etc. And on top of that, we had the K-K matches.

We had our chess club on Saturdays, and then we had the "Late Night Club" almost every night after work, playing til the early morning hours, chasing mate after we'd given up chasing girls.

I remember we'd ponder "You know, its still not too late for Fischer to come back..."

Those were the days



Feb-09-14  sfm: Now we have Nalimov and can answer questions like:
Did Black ever allow White to draw ever since White had only the Queen left, and did White miss it?

We wouldn't expect it, would we? Two passed pawns. And right, there was never a draw. In fact, most of the time the players played the strongest move, an impressing fact.

The closest draw may have been after 91.Qa3+:

click for larger view

Now, Black may want to gain some time on the clock and continue 91.-,Qb3 92.Qc5+,Qc4 93.Qa3+,Kd4. Any harm in that?

Yes, because Nalimov says its 91.-,Qb3?? draw. Not that easy to see, is it?

- - -

Playing a bit around in Nalimov, like here
gives an excellent demonstration of how impossible chess really is.

Queen++ vs Queen was always hard. I recall we had Cheron's excellent endgame encyclopedias in the club with lots of examples and strategies. But I am sure I could have studied those endgames all my life and never come close to finding the single winning black move in this position.

click for larger view

Feb-09-14  sfm: - or realize why it is, that if you in the last position below move the White king from c1 to c2, there is no win anymore.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Astute comments by <NM JRousselle> and <sfm>. I remember reading a few years back that the computers had proved that some QPP v. Q position with connected passed pawns on the rook and knight files was, quite unexpectedly to humans, a theoretical draw.

For example, I just plugged this position into the Nalimov database:

click for larger view

With either player to move, it's a draw!

This is a draw too, again with either player to move:

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <FSR> This probably explains, at least partly, why we see players pressing crazily for a win: to avoid these almost unfair drawing positions
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Here is the QPP v. Q ending, per the Nalimov tablebases (

click for larger view

<76.Qg7+> (second-best, losing in 32; 77.Kc1! holds out 2 moves longer) <Ke4> (only move) <77.Qg4+> (77.Qh7+! holds out a move longer) <Ke3> (77...Kd3! wins a move faster) <78.Qg1+! Kd3! 79.Qd1+! Kc3! 80.Qe1+! Kb3> (actually the weakest move, but it wins only 3 moves more slowly than the best, 80...Qd2!) <81.Qg3+!> (MUCH stronger than all alternatives) <Qc3> (81...Ka4! won 2 moves faster) <82.Qb8+! Qb4!> (82...Ka3?? draws) <83.Qg3+! Ka4+! 84.Kc2! Qc4+! 85.Kb2! d4> (85...Qe2+! wins 4 moves faster) <86.Qg8> (86.Qf3! held out 7 moves longer) <Qe2+! 87.Kc1! Kb3! 88.Qb8+! Kc3! 89.Qc8+! Qc4! 90.Qf8! d3> (90...Kb3! won a move faster) <91.Qa3+ Kd4!> (only) (as <sfm> noted, 91...Qb3?? draws!) <92.Kb1> (92.Kb2! holds out 5 moves more) <Qc2+> (92...d2! wins 7 moves faster) <93.Ka1> (only legal move) <Qc5!>(as <NM JRousselles> noted, 93...Qc3+ 94.Kb1! Qxa3?? is stalemate) 0-1??

click for larger view

Here White either resigned or flagged. This was the only really bad move played by either side in the queen and two pawns versus queen ending! White should have played on with <94.Kb1!> (anyway) <d2! 95.Qa4+> (95.Qxc5+? gives Black a winning pawn ending, since his K gets the opposition in front of his pawn) <Ke3 96.Qb3+ Ke2 97.Qxe6+> (now White only has one pawn, but he's still winning) <Qe3 98.Qg4+ Qf3!> (only winning move!) <99.Qe6+ Kf2 100.Qb6+ Qe3 101.Qb2 Ke2 102.Ka1 Qc5 103.Qc2!> (another stalemate trick) <Qd4+ 104.Ka2 Ke1 105.Qc6 d1(Q) 106.Qh1+ Kd2 107.Qh6+ Kc3 108.Qh3+ Q1d3 109.Qc8+ Q(either)c4+> and wins. Piece of cake, right?

Feb-09-14  Ferro: Rocambole
Feb-09-14  Ferro: Rectitud y Prudencia
Feb-09-14  Howard: Didn't Rhode win a brilliancy prize for this game ? I seem to vaguely remember reading that in the mid-to-late 1980's, Rhode won three brilliancy prizes in U.S. Championships.

His first championship was in 1986 (lost a good game to Benjamin, as I recall), and then he was a regular for several years afterwards.

Feb-09-14  RedShield: Yoko Ono sat through this game looking miserable.
Feb-09-14  sfm: Thanks to all for very interesting comments and analysis. Reg. <FSR>'s two drawn positions. The second draw is maybe not so surprising, as the pawns have walked "loose" too far. But that the first is a draw - wow. Unfair!

A pity that White didn't try 94.Kb1, after fighting so long. But he probably didn't notice that option.

Feb-10-14  SChesshevsky: Would've 34. Rb8 caused Black more trouble?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Beatles' song: on the 50th anniversary of their first appearance here. Great job!
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: A Beatles song more to the point would be 'Help!'
Feb-11-14  Jim Bartle: At least it's better than "Why Don't We Do It In The Rohde?"
Feb-11-14  PJs Studio: Hah!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: How about Rhode kill?
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
Someday I'm going to make her mine, oh yeah,
Someday I'm going to make her mine."
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Jim Bartle> Ha Ha!
Feb-15-14  PJs Studio: The game is aptly titled as it was A very long and winding road...

Just my $.02

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