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John Nunn vs Helmut Pfleger
Bundesliga (1989/90), FRG
Pirc Defense: Austrian Attack (B09)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Fritz 10, 24 plies after 40. Bb6

(.80) 39. d4 h6 40. Bb6 Rc8 41. dxe5 Qe6 42. Bf2 Rc4 43. Qd3 Bg7 44. Bc5 Rc1+ 45. Kg2 Ra1 46. Rf1 Rxf1 47. Kxf1 Bxe5 48. Qe4

With Fritz going for dxe5 just one move later, I don't see any progress being made. Playing ahead to White's 48th, the evals are dropping quickly. I suspect 39...h6 would hold with perfect play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <However, for a move to give White his best winning chances, I still say 39. d4!! is one of the most instructive I've seen in all my years of puzzle solving. The possibility of 39...h6! with a draw for Black IMO makes it all the more fascinating and instructive.>

Black missed 38...h6 which I think was much better than 38...Rd8. I guess it's not surprising 39...h6 holds up well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: As usual for this Web site, the flawed puzzles turn out to be the most interesting. :) So, the final verdict is this position is drawn with best play (39...h6!)?
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Obit> IMHO it's drawn after 39. d4 h6, but I am beginning to think 39. Qc4 is better.
Jan-09-10  butilikefur: first tried 39. Bxe7 Qxe7 (39...Bxe7 40. Rxf7 Qd5 41. Rxh7+ Kg8 42. Rxe7 wins ..e.g. 42...Qxe4 43. dxe4 Rd4 44. Rxd5 Rxb4 45. Kg2) 40. Rh5 Kg8 (40...h6 41. Rxh6+ Kg8 42. Rh5 Rd4 43. Qh7+ Kf8 44. Rg5 Qb7+ 45. Kg1 Ke7 and Black wins here too) 41. Qxh7+ Kf8 42. Rf5 (42. g5 Bg7 and Black is safe) 42...Bg7 43. g5 Rxd3 44. g6 f6 and White has nothing

<39. d4 exd4> 39...Qd5 40. Qxd5 Rxd5 41. dxe5 Rxe5 (41...Bxe5 42. Rxe5) 42. Rxe5 Bxe5 43. Bxe7 and 44. Bc5 and b5 win

<40. Rh5 h6> 40...Kg8 41. Qxh7+ Kf8 42. Rg5 wins

<41. Rxh6+ Kg8 42. Qh7+ Kf8 43. Rf6 Qd5+ 44. Kg1 Ke8 45. Rf5 Qe6 46. Qh8+ Kd7 47. Qxd4+ Kc8 48. Qc3> and White wins.

Jan-09-10  David2009: Saturday's puzzle Nunn vs H Pfleger, 1989 White 39?

Way past my bedtime so only time for a very quick scan. 39 Rh5 leads to a drawish ending after Qd5 or even Qxd3. So instead 39 Bxe7 hoping for 39...Bxe7 40 Rxf7 Qxd3 41 Rxh7+ Kg1 42 Qxd3 Rxd3 42 Rxe7 with a better ending (pawn up). Or alternatively 39...Qxe7 40 Rh5 and Black is in a mating net. Time to check, then go to bed:
Completely wrong. I will look tomorrow (Sunday) to see if/how Crafty busts me defending as Black. Happy solving/ happy weekend/ good night all.

Jan-09-10  butilikefur: Hey <david2009> after 39. Bxe7 Bxe7 40. Rxf7 Qxd3 41. Qxe5+ Black is mated.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Evals are continuing to rise as I slide forward with 39. Qc4. Fritz goes for 39. Qc4 Qe6 40. Qxe6 which surprises me.
Jan-10-10  5hrsolver: I saw the combination as in the game but failed to evaluate that the ending is winning for white. I kept looking for a haymaker which was not there.
Jan-10-10  David2009: Thanks <butilikefur>: <Hey <david2009> after 39. Bxe7 Bxe7 40. Rxf7 Qxd3 41. Qxe5+ Black is mated>. You are absolutely right but 39...Qxe7! instead of 39...Bxe7?? busts my combination and wins for Black, since after 40.Rh5 Kg8 41.Qxh7+ Kf8 the Bf6 prevents the intended 42. Qh8 mate. So my whole combination is unsound.
Jan-10-10  David2009: Nunn's endgame play is most resourceful but according to Crafty Black missed several drawing chances.

Starting from the puzzle position, after 39 d4! as played by Nunn Crafty defending follows the game line 39 ... exd4 40.Rh5 Kg8 41.Qxh7+ Kf8 42.Rg5 Qc6+ 43.Kg1 Ke8 44.Rg8+ Kd7 45.Qf5+ Qe6 46.Qxe6+ fxe6 47.Rxd8+ Kxd8 48.Kf2 e5 49.Kf3 Kc7 50.b5 axb5 to reach (Nunn v Pfleger 1989 51?)

click for larger view

but now replies to 51 Ke4 with 51...e6! and White cannot break through.

Even after the game continuation 51 ...Kc6 51.Ke4 Kc6 52.Bb4 Bg5 Black can still draw. We reach (Nunn v Pfleger 1989 53?)

click for larger view

White played 53.Be1 and the game ended 53...Kc5? 54.h4 Bf4 55.g5 b4 56.Bxb4+ Kxb4 57.a6 1-0. Instead Black can still draw with 53...Bc1 e.g. 54.h4 Ba3 55.g5 b4 56.Bxb4 Bxb4 57.g6 d3 = .

click for larger view

White to play has nothing better than 58.Kxd3 e4+ 59.Kxe4 allowing ...Bc3 and draws.

Crafty link to the position at move 53 (White to play)::

Crafty link to the puzzle position:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: As has been noted by many, this puzzle position appears to be a draw.

Fritz 12 confirms the suggested drawing line leads to an equal position: 39.d4 h6! 40.dxe5 Qe6 41.b5 Qb3 42.Qg2 Rd3 45.Kh2 Bh4 44.bxa6 Bg3 45.Kg1 Qc3 46.Bb6 Bxe5, with the likely continuations, 47.a7 Rd1+, or 47.Qe2 Qc1+.

<OhioChessFan> Your Fritz 10 analysis showed: (.80) (24 ply) 39.d4 h6! 40.Bb6 Rc8 41.dxe5 Qe6. At this point Fritz 12 preferred: (1.02) (22 ply) 42.Bc5 Kg8 43.Qd4 Bg7 44.Kg1 Rf8 45.Kf2 Re8 46.Kf3 Rc8, (1.02) (20 ply) 47.Kg3 Rb8 48.Kg2. While 40.Bb6 may be an improvement over 40.dxe5, Fritz was unable improve White's position, and a draw in this line seems likely.

Another suggested improvement is 39.Qc4. After 39.Qc4, Fritz indicates: (.99) (26 ply) 39...Ra8 40.Kh2 Kg8 41.Be3 Rd8 42.Qxa6 e4 43.dxe4 Qc7+ 44.e5 Bxe5+ 45.Kg2 Qc2+, (.96) (22 ply) 46.Rf2 Qe4+ 47.Rf3 Qxb4 48.Qb6, (.92) (24 ply) 48...Rd2+ (better than 48...Qxb6) 49.Bxd2 Qxd2 50.Qf2 Qxa5 51.Rxf7 Bf6 52.Rxf6 exf6 53.Qxf6 Qd2+.

This position is probably a draw. In "Basic Chess Endings", Fine states that in queen and pawn endings, with all the pawns on one wing, advantages of two vs one pawn, or three vs two pawns are practically hopeless draws.

<David2009> You have provided some interesting analysis for this ending. You indicate that Black could have drawn with 51...e6.

Fritz indicates that 51...e6 is a very good try, but White will be able to win by: (1.51) (25 ply) 51...e6 52.Bb4 Bg5 53.Be1, (2.46) (27 ply) 53...Be7 54.Kxe5 Bc5 55.a6 b4 56.Bxb4 Bxb4 57.a7 Kb7 58.Kxd4, or 53...Bf6 54.h4 Be7 55.Kxe5 Bc5 56.a6 b4 57.Bxb4 Bxb4 58.Kxd4.

You also indicated a draw for Black with 53...Bc1. Fritz indicates a win for White after 53...Bc1: (5.47) (24 ply) 54.h4 Ba3 55.g5 e6, (10.82) (22 ply) 56.g6 Bf8 57.h5 d3 58.a6 b4 59.Bxb4 Bxb4 60.a7 Kb7 61.g7.

If 53...Bc1 54.h4 Ba3 55.g5 b4 56.Bxb4 Bxb4 57.g6 d3 58.Ke3 e4 59.g7 wins. White also wins after 53...Bc1 54. h4 Ba3 55.g5 b4 56.Bxb4 Bxb4 57.g6 d3 58.Kxd3 e4+ 59.Kxe4 Bc3 60.Kf5. Black will be unable to prevent the promotion of all the White pawns.

Jan-11-10  LIFE Master AJ: <David2009> "but now replies to 51 Ke4 with 51...e6! and White cannot break through."

I found a win, I checked it with Fritz 11 ...

Jan-17-10  VargPOD: Been away, doing these afterwards.

Tried 39.Bxf7, but did not get anywhere. 39.d4 Qd5 did not look promising, should have calculated all the way.

Total 3/6.

Feb-26-22  Brenin: The more obvious moves seem to get nowhere, e.g. 39 Rh4 Qxd3 40 Rxh7+ Kg8, so by elimination that leaves 39 d4, the main line being 39 ... exd4 40 Rh4 and now Black can't play Qd5 or Qxd3, so 40 ... Kg8 41 Qxh7+ Kf8 42 Rg5 Qc6+ (42 ... Bxg5 43 Qh8 mate) 43 Kg1 Ke8 44 Rg8+ Kd7 45 Qf5+ Qe6 (45 ... Kc7 46 Bb6+ winning the R) 46 Qxe6+ fxe6 47 Rxd8+ Kxd8 48 Kf2, with a better endgame based on the passed g- and h-pawns and the potential for a passed a-pawn. That rough outline will have to do: the experts treated this one in great detail years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajk68: Saw the necessity of the pawn push 39. d4 in order to transfer the rook and get the attack going. Yet, the brilliancy of this game is in the accurate endgame play.

50. b5 is absolutely critical. For example the move Ke4?? gives up the win.

53. Be1 is also accurate. Other moves also give up the win.

Feb-26-22  mel gibson: I wasn't sure.

Stockfish 14 has a different solution:

39. Bb6

(39. Bb6 (♗c5-b6 ♖d8-g8 d3-d4 ♗f6-g7 d4xe5 ♕d7-e6 ♖f5-f3 h7-h6 ♖f3-d3 ♗g7xe5 ♖d3-d5 ♗e5-c3 ♕e4xe6 f7xe6 ♖d5-h5 ♔h8-g7 b4-b5 a6xb5 ♖h5xb5 e6-e5 ♔h1-g2 ♖g8-a8 ♖b5-b3 ♗c3-d4 ♔g2-f3 h6-h5 g4xh5 ♔g7-h6 ♔f3-e4 ♔h6xh5 ♔e4-d5 ♔h5-g5 ♔d5-c6 ♔g5-f4 ♖b3-b4 ♔f4-f5 h3-h4 e7-e6 ♖b4-b1 ♔f5-g4 ♔c6-b7 ♖a8-h8 a5-a6 ♗d4xb6 ♖b1xb6) +1.30/42 495)

score for White +1.30 depth 42.

When I force Stockfish to take the game line it's only slightly losing for Black but close to a draw:

39. d4 h6

(39. .. h6 (h7-h6 d4xe5 ♕d7-e6 ♗c5-f2 ♗f6-g7 ♔h1-g2 ♖d8-d5 ♗f2-c5 ♔h8-g8 ♗c5-e3 ♖d5-d8 ♗e3-f2 ♖d8-d5 h3-h4 ♖d5-d8 h4-h5 ♖d8-d5 ♗f2-e3 ♔g8-h8 ♗e3-d4 ♔h8-g8 ♗d4-f2 ♖d5-d8 ♔g2-h3 ♖d8-d1 ♗f2-g3 ♖d1-c1 ♖f5-f3 ♖c1-c4 ♕e4-f5 ♖c4xb4 ♕f5xe6 f7xe6 ♖f3-c3 ♖b4-b5 ♖c3-c6 ♖b5xa5 ♖c6xe6 ♔g8-f7 ♖e6-c6 ♖a5-a3 ♔h3-g2) -0.41/36 133)

score for Black -0.41 depth 36.

When Black resigns it's mate in 18:

57. .. Kc3 (♔b4-c3 a6-a7 d4-d3 a7-a8♕ d3-d2
♕a8-a4 ♔c3-b2 ♔e4-d3 e5-e4+ ♔d3xe4 ♔b2-c1 ♔e4xf4 d2-d1♕ ♕a4xd1+ ♔c1xd1 g5-g6 ♔d1-c2 g6-g7 ♔c2-d3 g7-g8♕ ♔d3-d4 ♕g8-e6 ♔d4-d3 ♕e6xe7 ♔d3-d4 ♕e7-b4+ ♔d4-d5 ♔f4-f5 ♔d5-c6 ♔f5-e6 ♔c6-c7 ♕b4-b5 ♔c7-c8 ♔e6-d6 ♔c8-d8 ♕b5-d7+) -M18/56 142

black loses - mate in 18.

Premium Chessgames Member
  raymondhow: I thought 39.Bxe7 was the thing, seeing Qxe7 40.Rh5 Kg8 41.Qxh7+ Kf8 42.Rg5, but missed that 42...Qb7+ gives the black king an outlet square. No solve for me, but I did pick up on the Rg5 idea that was part of the actual solution.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Thaw bishop eunuch pd4 pay fab ado no hoof vim thaw bishop eunuch flap jaff jap pal lap paul maul meg gem ogre baroque rib van watch second danny u z vim fish jerk a cull lot gm nub bump z way juniper ah of daddy dined fed jolene dithery evict vim hag ji lid din les am talk dace afflect pet led dj ho add ben any nash back biff other cc fang ablight add hub ab v cervix evict luck ebb awe blubber vet bow rent tn gi v c ged feel grip bum c ed elf a con dj c hnd md clue foot c led feed grief co evict dt did c tod pod tic hound jut me help reg fell hut mo nn hun jen mut hell ref pg v green flump evict het lu jo nn u peg chi v fase pd4 axe!
Feb-26-22  Whitehat1963: I got the first four moves, so they must have been obvious. I could not calculate beyond that with any real accuracy without seeing the board change.
Feb-26-22  Brenin: Like many others, both now, in 2010 and in the original game, but unlike <mel gibson>'s Stockfish, I missed the defence 39 ... h6 to 39 d4: see the analysis by <Pawn and Two>, for example. The other interesting feature of this game is the excellence of Nunn's endgame play, having obtained a small positional advantage from the tactics in moves 39 to 48.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black threatens Qxd3 and Qd5.

These threats and the weaknesses on f7 and h7 suggest Bxe7 and g5.

In the case of 39.g5 Bg7 40.Rxf7:

A) 40... Qxd3 41.Qxd3 Rxd3 42.Rxe7

A.1) 42... Rxh3+ 43.Kg2 Rh5 44.Re8+ Bf8 45.Rxf8+ wins the bishop.

A.2) 42... Bf8 43.Re8 wins the bishop.

A.3) 42... Kg8 43.Kg2 followed by Ra7 wins the a-pawn.

B) 40... Re8 41.g6 h6 (41... hxg6 42.Qxg6 wins).


In the case of 39.Bxe7:

A) 39... Bxe7 40.Rxf7

A.1) 40... Qxd3 41.Rxh7+ Kg8 42.Qxd3 Rxd3 43.Rxe7 Rxh3+ 44.Kg2 with an extra pawn. For example, 44... Rb3 45.Rb7 Kf8 46.b5 axb5 47.a6 Ra3 48.a7, followed by Rb8+ and a8=Q, wins.

A.2) 40... Qd5 41.Rxh7+ Kg8 42.Qxd5, as in A.1, is much better for White.

B) 39... Qxe7 40.Rh5 Kg8 41.Qxh7+ Kf8 42.g5 Bg7 (42... Bxg5 43.Qh8#) and the attack vanishes.


I'd play 39.g5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I overlooked 40... Qxh3+. Better luck tomorrow.
Feb-26-22  DarthStapler: I found the right plan but not the right way to implement it.
Feb-26-22  billbarstool: Bb6 looks strong too
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