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Dibyendu Barua vs Boris Gulko
"The Incredible Gulk" (game of the day Jan-03-2015)
Biel Interzonal (1993), Biel SUI, rd 7, Jul-23
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-09-13  diagonalley: the first two moves stand out as appealing but they appear to be more a leap of faith... it's very difficult to calculate forward to a guaranteed result... meanwhile... back in chennai...
Premium Chessgames Member
  kbob: If anyone wants a comparative mental reference, as an aging USCF 1900 player, I decided to tax my brain on this one. I was able to work out all the variations and see the position in my mind's eye two moves past the end of the game. I doubted any immediate checkmate but I could tell that by intensifying the f2 pin black was guaranteed to win back the piece with three passers extra and no perpetual. In a tournament I would stop trying to analyze at that point and enter the variation. (Obviously, I would have to be a Gulko to set it up in the first place)
Nov-09-13  morfishine: Two candidates need to be looked at: 30...Nxf4 and 30...Bxf4

<30...Nxf4> Looks promising since the sac cannot be refused due to the threat 30...Ne2#. However, White is safe after 31.gxf4 Bxf4 32.Nf1 as Black no longer has the mating combination starting with Bxh2+. Thus, 30...Nxf4 can be discarded

<30...Bxf4> 31.gxf4 Nxf4 and White cannot prevent 32...Ne2#. If the White Knight moves to allow the White Queen access to e2, then Qg2 #

So, White cannot play 31.gxf4 and Black has won another pawn and is now 2-pawns up.

Best for White appears to be 31.Nf1, but after 31...h4 White cannot play 32.gxf4 due to 32...Nxf4 followed by 33...Qg2# or if 33.Ne3 again we get 33...Ne2#.

White can drift to disaster with 32.g4 Qxg4+ 33.Kh1 h3 or give up his Queen for two minors with 32.Qxg6+ Kxg6 33.gxf4 Qg4+ 34.Kh1 Qxf4 and Black has an easy win with Q+ 3 pawns vs 2 minors

PM: Of course, I naturally missed the White defense starting with 32.Be1. Par for the course for me


Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn ahead.

White threatens 31.Nxd5 and 31.Qa8.

The first moves that come to mind are 30... Bxf4, 30... Nxf4 and 30... h4.

The first one seems to achieve more than three pawns for the bishop after 30... Bxf4 31.gxf4 Nxf4 32.Be1 (32.Nxd5 Qg2#) 32... Ne2+ 33.Kf2 Qh2+ 34.Kf1 (34.Kf3 Ng1#; 34.Ng2 Nf4 recovers the piece) 34... Nf4 35.Bf2 Qh1+ 36.Bg1 Qf3+ 37.Bf2 (37.Ke1 Qe2#) 37... Nd3.


The second also seems to win after 30... Nxf4 31.gxf4 Bxf4 32.Nd1 (32.Be1 Bxe3+ 33.Bf2 Qg3+ 34.Kh1 Qf3+ 35.Kh2 Qxf2+ 36.Kh3 Qf1+ and mate soon) 32... Qg4+ and 33... Qxd1 - + [3P].


In the case of 30... h4:

A) 31.gxh4 Nxf4 32.Be1 Qf3 with the double mate threat 33... Ne2# and 33... Nh3#.

B) 31.g4 Nxf4 32.Be1 Qf3 as in A.

C) 31.f5 Nf4 32.gxf4 Bxf4 33.Qg6+, perpetual.


I think I'd play 30... Bxf4.

Nov-09-13  patzer2: <kbob><as an aging USCF 1900 player> As an aging player who was rated over 1800, I forgot the solution posted nearly 9-years ago. I saw the first two moves, but gave up and peeked to see White's response of 32. Be1 and the rest of the continuation.

However, the variations are now easy enough for me to visualize after having read all the posts from both 2004 and 2013. So perhaps I gave up too soon.

Nov-09-13  11thHeaven: Can't 30...Bxf4 be answered by 31.Nxd5 Bxg3 32.Nxf6+ with either perpetual or the win of a piece?

My idea was 30...Nxf4, with 31.gf4 Bf4 32.Nf1 Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qf3+ 34.Kg1 h4.

Nov-09-13  gofer: Black can force white into a very very limited position.

<30 ... Bxf4>
<31 gxf4 Nxf4>
<32 Be1 ...> (forced due to the threat of Ne2#)

click for larger view

White now has very little choice;

a) Ne3 cannot move due to Qg2#
b) Qe8 cannot leave the e file due to Qxe3+
c) Qe8 cannot come to the defence of its king
d) Be1 must stay on the e1-h4 diagonal to prevent Qg3+ mating

I think black can quite happily play Kh6 and Kg5 (cementing black's powerful position) and then g6 h4 etc starting a very powerful pawn storm. White's pawn storm is going nowhere (i.e. 1 ... b3 2 b5 bxc4 3 bxc4)...

<32 ... Kh6>

The only possible move is for the black king to try to escape is via f2 and f3...

33 Kf2 Qh2+
34 Kf3 Kg5

Game over!


Okay, I missed the nice continuation that Gulko found - which is a pity - but the rest I can claim I saw...

Nov-09-13  gofer: <<11thHeaven:> Can't 30...Bxf4 be answered by 31.Nxd5 Bxg3 32.Nxf6+ with either perpetual or the win of a piece? >

Do you mean...?

31 Nxd5 Bxg3
32 Nxf6 gxf6
33 Qf7+ Kh6
34 Be3+ Bf4
35 Bxf4 Nxf4
36 Qxf6+ Ng6

I don't see a perpetual check anywhere in sight? I only see a vunerable white king and black up a whole knight...

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: The first two moves were obvious, but I didn't see what to do after 32.Be1. Very nice game by Gulko. It's always impressive to see Black dismantle an Exchange French. See also, e.g., S Tatai vs Korchnoi, 1978; M Gurevich vs Short, 1990; G Marco vs Blackburne, 1892; Tartakower vs Botvinnik, 1946; W Winter vs Alekhine, 1936; M Kuerschner vs Tarrasch, 1890
Nov-09-13  Alphastar: <morfishine> I missed it too, dont feel too bad!
Nov-09-13  brazil chess: how about
37.Bf2 Nd3
38.Ng4... if hxg4 39.Qh5+... then 40.Qh2
and if 38.... Qxg4 39.Qe2
Of course white will be down 3 pawns so I guess it really does not matter much.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Missed this one-I was looking at a bishop sacfrifice. :(
Nov-09-13  BOSTER:

click for larger view

This is the half move before POTD. White to play move 30. He should play Nxd5 to overprotect f4 pawn and giving more movement to Qe8.

Nov-09-13  morfishine: <Alphastar> The problem of problem solving: Finding the best moves for both sides


Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I never get the WHOLE puzzle, but the first few moves (30...Bxf4 31.gxf4 Nxf4) are good enough for me.
Nov-09-13  nariga: How does 35. Bg3 look? followed by 36. Qd7? White gives up his Bishop but can later try to grab a pawn or two to restore some balance. Does he not survive a bit?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <nariga> Here's the position after <35.Bg3 Qxg3>

click for larger view

Now <36.Qd7> just loses the knight, but that's not relevant since Black has a forced mate anyway: <36...Qf3+ 37.Kg1 Ne2+ 38.Kh2 Qg3+ 39.Kh1 Qg1#>. And even on other moves White can't do much against the mate threat.

Other interesting defensive ideas have been mentioned today, but essentially they all boil down to White giving back the sacrificed piece and remaining three pawns down in the ending. Black will have to be a bit careful to avoid possible perpetuals, but there shouldn't be much difficulty in winning. For instance, if White spends time chasing pawns Black can resume his attack or just push his h-pawn down the board.

Nov-09-13  LIFE Master AJ: I spent close to 30 minutes on this one, although I am not sure what I was thinking about all that time ... football on TV (TX vs. WVU); maybe I was a bit distracted. (Or maybe I was analyzing pretty clearly, the time certainly seemed to zip by.)

I got the key move right away, anyone who knows beans about chess knows that the most powerful combination of pieces is the Queen plus a Knight. [Many times in my own game(s), I sack to get this team of pieces and the game plays itself.]

I came up with the following line ...

Barua - Gulko; Biel Interzonal, 1993.
(One of the prettiest games I have seen in a long time, Gulko's play is nearly perfect!)

click for larger view

Black is a Pawn up, with a great position ... White's last move was a bad error, probably played when White was short of time. (This game was analyzed in Informant # 58.)

30...Bxf4!; 31.gxf4 Nxf4;

click for larger view

Now Black has powerful threats on the light squares near the WK ... and even threatens to play ...♘e2#.

32.Be1 Ne2+!; 33.Kf2 Qh2+!; 34.Kf1 Nf4!;

click for larger view

Black now threatens ...♕e2+! (Winning the WB on e1, it's what I call, "a split fork.") If the WN moves away, then ...♕g2#.

35.Bf2▢; ("Box.")
White has no choice, to give back the piece and be (multiple) pawns down is not an option.

35...Qh1+!; 36.Bg1 Qf3+!; White Resigns.

click for larger view

[ It is an obvious loss.

36...Qf3+; 37.Bf2 Qe2+; 38.Kg1 Nh3+; 39.Kg2 Nxf2; 40.Kg3, (Forced?) In my book, White has no choice, otherwise Black plays ...Nd1+; winning the WN ... ... ... and the game.

40...Ne4+; 41.Kf4 Qf2#.

Maybe White could avoid the mate by playing "give-away," ... the engines will do this, but a human player would probably resign first. ]


Nov-10-13  M.Hassan: "Very difficult"
Black to play 30...?
Black is a pawn up.

31.gxf4 Nxf4 threatening mate by jumping to e2
<if 32.Nxd5 Qg2#>
32.Be1 Ne2+
33.Kf2 Qh2+
<if 34.Kf3 Ng1#>
34.Kf1 Nf4
Note that the White Queen is out of play and can not do a little help in the battlefield.

35.Bf2 Qh1+
36.Bg1 Qf3+
37.Bf2 Qe2+
38.Kg1 Nh3+
39.Kg2 Nxf2
Black has now a marked advantage and is a total of 3 pawns up. Game may proceed as below:
40.Kg1 Nh3+
41.Kh1 h4
42.Qb8 Qxe3
Black's win is imminent now.


Nov-10-13  Patriot: 30...Bxf4 31.gxf4 Nxf4 32.Be1 looks interesting although I'm not sure how to proceed.

32...Ne2+ 33.Kf2 Qh2+ 34.Ng2 Qg1+ 35.Kxe2 Qxg2+ 36.Bf2 doesn't look sufficient.

32...Qf3 looks pretty good although I'm not sure what that does since 33...Ne2+ 34.Kh2 doesn't look sufficient.

32...Ne6 33.Kf2 Ng6 threatening 34...Qf3+ 35.Kg1 Qe2 36.Bf2 Nh3+ 37.Kg2 Nxf2

I could easily be wrong since my visualization has not been up to par lately.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hmm. It's past noon and no kibitzing today. Rather everything that could be said about this game has been said, or this must be a really bad GOTD...
Jan-03-15  paramount: hahaha you know what the pun is better than the game.

hahaha GULK???

this just classic. makes my Saturday cheerful!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black sneaks into white's gut with a big result.
Jan-03-15  Conrad93: Nice to see players punished for weak moves like 5. h3?
Jan-03-15  catlover: "The Incredible Gulk." In this game he wins. When he loses, he turns green and trashes the place.
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