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Paul Keres vs Donald Byrne
San Antonio (1972), San Antonio, TX USA, rd 8, Nov-29
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights. Burille Variation (D94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-14-16  YouRang: Wednesday 32.?

click for larger view

This felt more Mondayish to me. White has enough force parked outside the black king's door to deliver several mates. Thus, white can easily spend an extra rook to unhinge the door via <32.Rxf7>.

click for larger view

This immediately threatens Qh7#, and otherwise nothing will stop Qxg6+ followed by Qg8#.

Dec-14-16  lost in space: Yupps, 32. Rxf7, hitting into the soft belly.
Dec-14-16  stacase: The first reaction is 32 Rxf7 threatening mate and then you notice that Pawn down there in the corner ready to Queen & say check. Oh dear! But what else is there to do? 32 Rxg6+ leads to a reacquaintance with how clumsy Rooks can be. And so maybe a revisit of 32 Rxf7 allowing Black to Queen & say check isn't enough to prevent a Queen and two Rooks from squashing Black's King flat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White is one pawn down.

Black threatens a1=Q+.

The first idea that comes to mind is 32.Rxg6+ fxg6 33.Qxg6+ but the black knight prevents 34.Rf7. Therefore, 32.Rxf7, threatening Qg(h)7#, Qxg6+ and Rxg6+:

A) 32... Kxf7 33.Qxg6+ Kf8 34.Qg7(8)#.

B) 32... Nxf7 33.Rxg6#.

C) 32... a1=Q+ 33.Kg2 Qh8 (else as above or just a spite check) 34.Qxg6+ Qg7 35.Qxg7#.

Dec-14-16  Cheapo by the Dozen: Cute.

Black has a lot of potential Zwischenzuege, but none of them can actually prevent quick mate.

Dec-14-16  AlicesKnight: 32.Rxf7 threatening Qh7#. If...Nxf7, 33.Rxg6 mates.

If ...Kxf7, 33.Qxg6+ Kf8; 34.Qg7/8 mates.

If ....a1=Q+. 33.Kg2 (not 33.Kh2?? Nf5+) and the new queen only delays things (e.g. 33.... Qh8; 34.Qxg6+ etc). It looks as if Black had not seen it when he played 29...a3, but 28....Kg7 might have slowed things up over there.

Dec-14-16  gofer: If the promotion is on b1 the rook sac just doesn't seem to work. But <Keres>, being <Keres>, sees the issue, allows the promotion, but on his terms. He delays Rg5 one move and instead exchanges pawns on a3...

30 bxa3 bxa3
31 Rg5 ...

Now the promotion is on a1, not b1 and the rook sacrifice on f7 works...

Dec-14-16  diagonalley: ...didn't even notice black's QRP on the seventh rank!! (DOH!)
Dec-14-16  Ayaend: Keres had a nice vision here! Because he played 29.Qxh6! And can't stop the black'promotion! But he managed the rocks perfectly and it's mate anyway Very Nice Played!
Dec-14-16  schachfuchs: Yes, that's my point too that Keres must have planned todays puzzle already on move 29.Qxh6.
Dec-14-16  JimNorCal: <Jonathan Sarfati>: "Small point, Donald was "only" IM Byrne, unlike his brother Roger"

You meant "Robert", I believe.

Dec-14-16  thegoodanarchist: I think the pronunciation of the name "Keres" is such that it rhymes with "bear is".
Dec-14-16  Muttley101: <visayanbraindoctor: <notyetagm: Tremendous active rook play by Keres, a la Alekhine of times past.>

Interestingly enough, Alekhine was not entirely before Keres' past from the perspective of Keres himself, although for us AAA must seem ancient. Keres in his youthful heydays fought Alekhine tooth and nail in several memorable battles over the board. These are worth replaying. This one is my favorite Alekhine vs Keres, 1942 (although Keres lost, it was still a good and noble fight).>

Thank you for your post, though at the beginning of 2016, - it's a great game to look at for many reasons.

Regarding Alekhine and Keres being from overlapping epochs- absolutely, and not simply in the occasional tournament as Keres ascended through the chess world and Alekhine struggled to regain former glories at the end of his- AVRO 1938- Keres won, and hoped for a match against (of course) Alekhine, for the world championship, and Alekhine also participated, but unable to keep up with Fine or Keres.

Keres not being able to get his world championship match due to the second world war is on a par with Rubinstein being unable to get his match against Lasker due to the first world war, and being eclipsed by Capablanca after 1917.

Dec-14-16  veerar: < Jonathan Sarfati: Small point, Donald was "only" IM Byrne, unlike his brother Roger who was a good GM who reached the Candidates once.> Robert Byrne,please!
Dec-14-16  Olavi: Olavi: <thegoodanarchist: I think the pronunciation of the name "Keres" is such that it rhymes with "bear is".> No. I'm not an native English speaker, so I just hope this is not too far off. Both "e's" in Keres are like the latter "e" in "fever". Or rather, the first "a" in "many".
Dec-14-16  Olavi: In addition, the "r" in Keres is very strong, such that is not really encountered in the English pronunciation. Perhaps the "r" in "rather" in English English.
Dec-14-16  Marmot PFL: After this win Keres had the great score of 6 wins and 2 draws, but then maybe his health gave out, as he finished with 5 draws and 2 losses to end up in 5th place.

Both these players were dead within four years of this game, Keres in his 50s and Byrne only in his mid-40s.

Dec-14-16  Petrosianic: Well, it's impossible to believe that Keres could lose a game to somebody like Portisch without some major excuse.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: White tears down the black defence with 32.Rxf7! The rook must not be captured (32...Kxf7 33.Qxg6+ Kf8 34.Qg8# or 32...Nxf7 33.Rxg6#), and after 32...a1Q+ 33.Kg2 Black is out of useful checks and cannot cope with the threat of Qh7#:

a) 33...Kxf7 34.Qxg6+ Kf8 35.Qg8#

b) 33...Nxf7 34.Rxg6+ Qg7 35.Qxg7#

c) 33...Qg7 34.Qxg7#

d) 33...Qh8 34.Qxg6+ Qg7 35.Qxg7#


Tim Harding's <Better Chess for the Average Player> features a game with a quite similar finish, the white attack succeeding in spite of a black promotion with check at the queenside:

click for larger view

(1.Rxh6 a1Q+ 2.Kg2 Ra2 3.Rxh7+ Rxh7 4.Rxh7+ Kf8 5.Rh8+ Kg7 6.Rg8#) Does anyone know this game?

Dec-14-16  patzer2: Found today's Wednesday solution 32. Rxf7 easy enough, but did not anticipate the pawn promotion 32...a1Q+ which slightly complicating matters.

Fortunately for me, White still has a forced mate as indicated by <agb2002>'s analysis.

Black's decisive mistake appears to be 28...a4?, allowing 29. Qxh6 . Instead, 29...Kh7 stops the immediate threat and appears to give the second player practical drawing chances.

Earlier, instead of 26...Qc7, 26...Rc7 27. Rf3 Kg7 = would have given Black a level position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <White has enough force parked outside the black king's door to deliver several mates.>

Really nice phrasing.

Dec-14-16  mel gibson: Checked it out with DR4 64 bit.

Black made a big mistake with
28 ... a4 score -3.65 depth 13

He didn't protect the h pawn.

a better move was
28...K-h7 score -0.29 depth 16

otherwise the White Queen will take it.

Dec-15-16  Abdel Irada: ∞

<<+>"All news is local news."<+>>

I cannot improve on my esteemed colleague's analysis (see <chrisowen> above), thoughtfully pre-encrypted lest it fall into the wrong hands, so I think I'll confine my observation to one positional feature of today's puzzle (and many others like it): the isolation of the defender's king. With heavy pieces bearing down, this means that any breakthrough is likely to lead to a mating attack.

But Black has not sat back and let himself get into such danger without playing for his own objectives, and in this case he has an imposing threat of his own: to queen a pawn with check.

Then again, there's no obvious way to prevent that, so what say we assume Paul Keres took this "threat" into account when he calculated this line, and full steam ahead?

The only question, then, is which rook to use. The answer comes through testing and elimination if nothing else.

One of the lines begins with a check (which just might actually even prevent the queening of the pawn), so we may as well begin with it.

< (1) 32. Rxg6+?!, fxg6
33. Qxg6+, Kh8 = >
and White must settle for a perpetual check with 34. Qh6+, Kg8 35. Qg6+, Kh8 36. Qh6+, etc.

"When you have eliminated the impossible," said Sherlock Holmes, "that which remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

"Improbably," then, we allow the pawn to queen without demur.

<<+> (2) 32. Rxf7!, a1=Q+ >

File it under "Why not?"

<<+> 33. Kg2 >

Yes, it really is that simple. The extra queen on a1 does just slightly more for Black's defense than the original one snoozing on c7. He could be *five* queens ahead, but if they were all as helpless as these two, his goose would remain cooked.

White is already threatening 34. Qh7#, and Black can't save the day by accepting the sac, either:

< (2a) 33. ...Nxf7
34. Rxg6+, Qg7
35. Qxg7# >

< (2b) 33. ...Kxf7
34. Qxg6+, Kf8
35. Qg8# >

Dec-17-16  thegoodanarchist: <Olavi: Olavi: <thegoodanarchist: I think the pronunciation of the name "Keres" is such that it rhymes with "bear is".> No. I'm not an native English speaker, so I just hope this is not too far off. Both "e's" in Keres are like the latter "e" in "fever". Or rather, the first "a" in "many".>

So it's like <Care Ess>?

Dec-17-16  zanzibar: <CG>'s bio has an audio for his name, didn't you know?
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