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Sergey Kudrin vs Albert Charles Chow
90th US Open (1989), Chicago, IL USA, rd 5, Aug-09
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Chistyakov Defense Modern Line (C07)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Not as easy as usual for a Monday:

White mates in three due to the rook sac:27 ♖xh7+ ♔xh7 28 ♕xg6+ ♔h8 28 ♕h7#. The rook is sacrificed and not the usual queen.

Apr-20-09  johnlspouge: < <johnlspouge> wrote: [snip] The Black Kh8 is stalemated, so White wants to check. [snip] >

I am not much for dogma, but here is my personal rule: any serious assessment of a chess position starts (implicitly or explicitly) with (1) the material count and then (2) the flight squares of the opposing K.

< <Manic> wrote: [snip] Quite weird that a fair number of people did not see [g8] was covered. >

I make lots of mistakes, but I rarely miss a stalemated K in an initial puzzle position.

""Habit is either the best of servants or the worst of masters."

Apr-20-09  Hy0gA: 25... Rf7 or Qf7 looks good for me. Anyone see the problem?
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Glad I wasn't the only one who found this not as "Easy" as it looked. I did find the right move, but I suspect I might have missed it OTB.
Apr-20-09  MiCrooks: On Rf7, Qf7, both moves survive, but after Bb3 White is going to have R+2P vs B+N in a position where his pieces are much more active. I certainly am not good enough to say definitively that the endgame is lost for Black, but I would guess that it is and would certainly prefer to be playing White!

I think I would rather play the pawn down endgame with Rxd7 (instead of Bc8) that I mentioned in my previous post.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Hy0gA: 25... Rf7 or Qf7 looks good for me. Anyone see the problem?>

Both moves seem to be playable. For that matter, so does 25...Kh8 provided that black doesn't fall for 26...Bc8.

Apr-20-09  Milesdei: Five seconds. Having felt tactically challenged lately in both my approach to puzzles and in my games, it felt good to see this without effort. But then again, it's only Monday....I may be less happy with myself by Friday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Kg8 has been puzzling me all day. How come several experienced kibitzers didn't spot that the white queen covered the g8 square?

Here's the theories I came up with...

Theory 1: we want to move the queen because she is attacked. From the starting position, white's queen is indirectly attacked by the black Bc8. When we move the Rd7 away, our queen is directly attacked. We are all conditioned to protect her majesty from attacks, so we our instinct is to move the queen away from the attack.

Theory 2: we are blinded by the strength of the b1-h7 diagonal. The winning combination strongly emphasises this diagonal, with three moves in a row onto the diagonal Rh7, Qxg6+ and Qh7#. This burns an image of the diagonal onto our brains, so that we assume that the variation after Kg8 also involves a move onto the long diagonal ... Qxg6+.

Theory 3: we are fooled into thinking that the queen is only looking to her left. The pattern of Bc8-Rd7-Qe6 leads our eyes away from the kingside, to create an optical illusion that the white queen can only move to the left.

Theory 4: 27...Kg8? 28. Qxg6# is a mating pattern imprinted on our pattern recognition memories, so we instinctively play for it. This temporarily blinds us to the fact that 27...Kg8 is illegal.

Looks like we need to add this position to that select band of moves that are often overlooked, including "bishops moving backwards", "zwischenzugs in the middle of a sequences of exchanges", "attacked rooks being able to castle" and "pinned pieces cannot move".

Apr-20-09  YoungEd: I got this one, though like many others I needed a little more time than usual for a Monday. Of <Once's> interesting ideas, I think that #1 applied most to me.
Apr-20-09  DarthStapler: Got it
Apr-20-09  dzechiel: <Once: Theory 4: 27...Kg8? 28. Qxg6# is a mating pattern imprinted on our pattern recognition memories, so we instinctively play for it. This temporarily blinds us to the fact that 27...Kg8 is illegal.>

Theory 4 is the closest to my case. My thinking went as follows:

"OK, 27 Rxh7+ seems to be the move. White can't take the rook without allowing a quick checkmate via 28 Qxg6+ and 29 Qxh7#. Wait, what if black refuses the sacrifice? Nope, if 27...Kg8 then 28 Qxg6# is an even quicker mate, no need to examine that move any longer."

As soon as I noticed the faster mate, I didn't think anything more about the legality of the move. It was only when I was reviewing the other posts that I saw John Spouge mention that the king was stalemated. Checking back I saw my error. I was tempted to delete my original message and post a corrected version, but decided just to post my own "Gotcha!" message instead.

Apr-20-09  TheBish: Kudrin vs A Chow, 1989

White to play (27.?) "Very Easy"

It took me about 10-15 seconds to see it, but it's all forced:

27. Rxh7+! Kxh7 28. Qxg6+ Kh8 29. Qh7 mate.

Apr-20-09  ruzon: I need to understand this variation of the French better. Why did Black not play 7...e5 or 8...e5 to save the d-pawn?
Apr-20-09  hms123: <ruzon> If <7....e5> then <8.Nxe5 Qxe5 9.Re1>

If <8....e5> then <9.Nxe5> etc. still works.

Apr-20-09  YouRang: Took me a minute or so since there were a number of credible things to try. But the forcing rook sac to set up the Q+B battery and mate wasn't too hard to spot. :-)
Apr-20-09  grasser: <A.G. Argent> Personal attacks can be very helpful. If someone had been kind enough to let me know I was a complete idiot for studying chess at the expense of all my other studies, maybe now, years later, I would not now be living in a shack eating crackers for breakfast wondering how many more months I can survive.
Apr-20-09  Jim Bartle: And of course there's not much room to move around in the shack, seeing how half of it is taken up by chess books in boxes.
Apr-20-09  WhiteRook48: how stupid of me
Apr-20-09  number 23 NBer: I don't know why, but I couldn't make heads or tales of this puzzle, so I visited the Nakamura page. When I came back, 27 ♖xh7+! ♔xh7 28 ♕xg6+ ♔h8 29 ♕h7# jumped out at me. Perhaps its something about that page...
Apr-20-09  Everett: "Chow Down"
Apr-20-09  jmi: it took me a while to get this.

Once's theories are interesting.

I was first bogged down for 2-3 minutes by figuring out any potential combinations to see if there was any way to make Rxd8 work but I couldn't.

I next focused my attention of trying to find a way to get my Queen on the a2-g8 diagonal to lead to a mating combination but that turned fruitless as well.

I then looked at the position again and realised the weaknesses lie in the White squares around the Black king. Once I saw that, the Rook sac and mate came naturally.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Mulyahnto> <Is it really a sacrifice, or just a nice combination that wins a pawn.> You make a good point there. The only situation where "the extra pawn" gets a bit unclear is if Black answers 25. Qxe6+ with 25...Rf7 and play continues 26. Bb3 etc. as in my post on page one of the kibitzing here, where the "extra pawn" is based on White having two extra pawns but Black has two minor pieces and a Rook as compensation (see diagram in my post on page 1 of kibitzing here).

However, it's not worth quibbling over as the material count and an objective assessment of the position give White a clear pawn plus with all the winning chances.

So, I'm agreeing with you, and will reclassify 24. Nxe6!! as a combination to win a pawn with advantage.

Apr-20-09  Sicilian Dragon: Saw Rxh7 almost instantly because it is a nice discovered check to get out of the pin. After the king takes back i noticed how our bishop is conveniently sitting on c2. Qxg6, Kh8, Qh7#, Solved!
Apr-20-09  muralman: I finally got a Monday puzzle right. My record on Sundays is much better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Sicilian Dragon: Saw Rxh7 almost instantly because it is a nice discovered check to get out of the pin.> I like your thought, but 27. Rxh7+ is not technically a discovered check (see definition at, which defines <Discovered check: A particularly potent double attack, when one piece moves out of the way, revealing another piece checking the opponent's king.>

You are correct that White breaks the pin with 27. Rxh7+ to initiate a mating attack. However, the check comes from the decoy sham sacrifice of the Rook -- whose purpose is to force the Black King to h7 so White can complete the mate in two more moves.

Using your wording, I understood you to mean
"Saw Rxh7+ almost instantly because it initiates mate-in-three to break Black's illusory pin."

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