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Efim Geller vs Mikhail Tal
USSR Championship (1959), Tbilisi URS, rd 4, Jan-14
Benoni Defense: Classical Variation. Averbakh-Grivas Attack (A71)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 31...Qa4 Qg4 below, it is interesting to note that black can play any rook move (except Rc1 or Rc6 of course) and all win easily.

click for larger view

For example, black can play 32...Rc2 or 32...Rc3, below...

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...with the idea of Qe4 or f5 after 33 g3.

I guess that means that the bishop was totally unsalvagable after 31...Qa4.

Jun-04-09  zanshin: <Patriot: <zanshin: If I saw <31...Qe2>, does that mean that I actually missed the puzzle?> It means you played like Tal and that ain't bad>

LOL! Thanks - but in my dreams!

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <Babar47> wrote: [snip] haha! revenge is mine! all those failed puzzles! (rants incoherently before passing out) >

Hmm ?:>O

Has <JG27Pyth> adopted a new handle? ;>)

Jun-04-09  Babar47: johnlspouge: i was just completely tripping over solving a thursday that quick. Don't mind me :D
Jun-04-09  njchess: I got this one, though this puzzle is a bit pointless in the sense that Black already has a winning game.

Qe2 or Qa4 are both solid moves, with Qa4 the stronger of the two since it wins the bishop. After the exchange, despite the fact that Black's bishop is not well placed, he has a winning game by virtue of his connected, passed queenside pawns. Which brings me back to my original point; Black already had a winning game.

I suspect Tal missed the somewhat subtle Qa4 because of time pressure, or maybe he instinctively looked to keep his queen on the seventh rank close to the action and found forking the rook and pawn via Qe2. Or maybe, in an already won position, he relaxed a bit too much.

Jun-04-09  Marmot PFL: I also missed Qa4 (as did Tal) and settled for Qc2 with the idea of Rc3 or Qf5 (Tal played Qe2). Easy to get lazy with a winning position I guess.
Jun-04-09  The Rocket: the puzzle should start at move 33.... the first move is usually a killer move so you can get confused. I did see qe2 and it is really the only logical move
Jun-04-09  hedgeh0g: <<hedgeh0g: I got the double attack! ...Qa4! Why do I always miss these moves in my games? :(> Because there's nobody telling you that a killer move is waiting to be found.>

I know that, but that wasn't my point. I tend to find other tactics with relative ease, but I have a tendency to miss non-check Queen forks.

Jun-04-09  MaczynskiPratten: <TheRocket> the first move is a killer move (Qa4) - it's just that Tal didn't spot it!
Jun-04-09  The Rocket: "the first move is a killer move (Qa4) - it's just that Tal didn't spot it!"

HAHA thats right I didnt see it either!:P how strange:

I saw qe5 just like tal but that also wins it seems

Jun-04-09  The Rocket: I mean qe2
Jun-04-09  beenthere240: I was having a hard time with this puzzle until I remembered "queen fork week." 31...Qe2 is not a true queen fork so it can't be the solution.
Jun-04-09  WhiteRook48: I missed Qa4
Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: I found 31...Qa4 with the double attack on the white Bf4 and Rd1.

However, after 32. Qg4 f5 I missed that white can play 33. Qe2, threatening Qe6+ with a fork on the black Rc8.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <JG27Pyth> wrote: omg, the case of the invisible square... How did I miss this?? I literally said to myself, "Well hell, the Rook is loose and the Queen is over there, is there a fork? Let's look at all the Queen's available squares..." and then I looked at all her squares, except a4... bizarre. >

Hi, <JG27Pyth> (right-brained person).

Although I burned some time trying to possess the 7-th rank, once I realized the B+R were precarious and I wanted to fork them, I found a4 rapidly: to fork a B+R with a Q, check the diagonals off the R for intersections with ranks and files off the B. Voila: a4!

It is amazing how an explicit rule really can aid cognitive function.

Brains beat blindness any day :)

Yours sincerely,
<johnlspouge> (slightly envious left-brained person)

Jun-04-09  lzromeu: This week is "How to win with material advantege and without sacrifices"
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, the move 31...Qa4! which Tal missed busts White's pin and initiates a decisive double attack on the now vulnerable Bishop and unprotected Rook.
Jun-04-09  frenchfan: The first time I sat down trying to solve this puzzle, I failed miserably. I took a break from the puzzle, and three hours later I sat down again with the very same puzzle, solving it in a matter of seconds. Aint that funny?
Jun-04-09  smalldreams: Okay so 31...Qc2 is hardly the best move, but at least I'm not the only one who jumped to it I suppose :/
Jun-04-09  xrt999: Geller was even; +6 -6 =25 versus Tal
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 31...Qa4 (fork you!) and now (1) 32.Rc1 Rxc1 33.Bxc1 Qd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxc1 wins; (2) 32.Qg4 f5! (32...Rc4 33.g3 Kh8 34.Re1 with the idea of 34...gxf4 35.Re8 looks murkier) looks crunchtastic, e.g. 33.Qxf5 (what else?) Qxd1+ 34.Kh2 Qxh5+ 35.Kg1 Re8 and White stands up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <doubledrooks> I didn't see 31...Qa4! 32.Qg4 f5! 33.Qe2! either. However, Black still wins with 33...gxf4! 34.Qe6+ Kh8! and now (1) 35.Qxc8 Qxd1+ 36.Kh2 Qxh5+ or (2) 35.Qf6+ Bg7.
Jun-05-09  Fezzik: I just ran the game continuation through Fritz 9.

While 31...Qa4?! does indeed win, there are a few only moves that Black must make. Meanwhile, Tal's choice, 31....Qe2!?, is at least as good. Fritz finds that after three moves Black is down by at least as much as he would be after 31...Qa4.

Tal deserves some credit for not making any comment on this stage of the game in his notes. There are several ways for Black to win, and Geller was almost certainly just making moves until the time control before he resigned.

So those, like myself, who would have played 31...Qa4 may have played more like a computer, but perhaps less accurately than Tal did!

Jun-06-09  Mate Hunter: Which day of the week could this puzzle be solved?
Premium Chessgames Member
  zydeco: Tal very easily gets an advantage with the ....c4, ....Nc5 trick in the Benoni. Surprisingly toothless play by Geller. I don't understand a lot of the moves by both sides towards the end of the game -- neither one seems to have much of a plan.
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