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Rob Bertholee vs Judit Polgar
Amsterdam OHRA-B (1990), Amsterdam NED, rd 3, Aug-01
English Opening: Symmetrical. Two Knights Variation (A35)  ·  0-1



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sac: 35...Rb4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-22-08  Smothered Mate: <White was lost after 43. Rf4?? Qb8!>

As I mentioned earlier, where else will the rook go?
If Ra5 then Qe1+
If Rc5 then Qg1+

Apr-22-08  euripides: <wolfgang> Very interesting.

At move 43 Black threatens 43...Qxf5 with a winning K+P ending, and 43.Rc5 or 43.Ra5 drop the rook to a fork.

The best defence is 43.Kf4 (which saved the game in the Salov-Korchnoi game I mentioned above).

Here Black can try 43...Qxf5+ 44.gxf5 giving a tricky K+P ending.

click for larger view

I think White may be able to draw by holding the opposition here. For instance 44...Kd5 45.Kg3 Kc4 46.Kg4 Kd3 47.Kh3 and I don't see a way through.

However, after 43.Kf4 Black can play 43...Qd3 when I don't see a move for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: to <euripides> <sfm> and others, for drawing chances, how about 34 a4?!

click for larger view

Apr-22-08  euripides: <Jim> If Black plays <34.a4> b3 followed by Rd3 we get something like the rook ending discussed above after 34.Ra5 b3 (as in the game) 35.Rb5 - where I think Black has better winning chances than after 34.axb4.

34. a4 does give Black another possibility with 34...Rd6 when 35.Rb5 Rb6 looks good for Black. But perhaps 35.a5 then holds for White.

Apr-22-08  YouRang: I found it quickly. I thought "black really wants to put his rook behind his passed b-pawn". So I tried it!

It only takes a 2 ply analysis to notice that after the a-pawn takes the rook, that ...b2 make promotion unstoppable. It's just a matter of going over the "hump" to look past the loss of the rook.

In short, black coerces white's a-pawn to work on black's behalf. The final move was kinda funny too. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: 35...Rb4 looks easy here, but I'll bet it was a real shocker on the board. I'm surprised White didn't resign then and there. That move had to be demoralizing.

35...♖b4!! does the trick. White must either take or allow the rook to usher the pawn through at the cost of his own rook-at least. If he takes,then 36...b2 and the pawn will come home to roost.

Apr-22-08  jackpawn: I found the solution immediately. But the story doesn't end there. Queen vs. Rook endings are often far more difficult than you might imagine. If you don't think so try the ending against a good chess engine sometime. More than once I've run out of time in speed games trying to win with the queen.
Apr-22-08  MaczynskiPratten: After 43 Kf4 Qd3 does seem to win the pawn ending after 44 Kg3 Qxf5. But also how about 43...Qe1? Now White's King is trapped! g5 is hopeless, Rc5 loses to Qb4+ so 44 Rb5 seems forced. Now Kd6 and the Rook must stay on the 5th rank to stop Qe5#, but if 45 Rf5, Kc6!! seems to me to be a very attractive Zugzwang! So 45 Kf5 seems forced and now White has been driven out of his fortress and looks to be losing rapidly after Qe2.
Apr-22-08  MaczynskiPratten: The Zugzwang position after 43 Kf4 Qe1! 44 Rb5 Kd6 45 Rf5 Kc6! is:

click for larger view

White to move - unfortunately for him! Even 46 g5 now loses a whole Rook after hxg5 47 Kg4 Qg1+.

Also after 45 Kf5 (instead of Rf5), Qe6+ looks terminal as the Rook on b5 will be picked up next move by a fork on e8 or c4.

Apr-22-08  Marmot PFL: I never solved one in a second or less before, but this one I think I did. Well maybe a couple secs.
Apr-22-08  sfm: <Euripides and others> I don't get it. After
35. Rb5,Rd3
36. Rb7
we have the following position:

click for larger view

White simply threatens to take the black a-pawn for free, and there is no way Black can avoid it, without giving the b-pawn and get the a-pawn instead. Say 36.-,a5 37.a4 (White would like to play Rb5),Rd4 38.Rxb3,Rxa4 39.Rb7.

click for larger view

Black gets nowhere. Any enhancements for him(her!) before this?

Apr-22-08  Marmot PFL: White might draw the final position with a pawn on e4. Than Rd5-f5-d5 looks tough to crack.
Apr-22-08  MiCrooks: Rxa7 is a knee-jerk reaction which simply loses (the pawns are too far advanced for a fortress to be built). However, the position with the extra a-pawn which can be achieved by force may still be won, though you hate to jump to conclusions since so many Rook endings are drawn. Typically the more pawns left the better the chances of winning.

Here Black needs to be a bit careful as Kf4,g5,g6 could give White a lot of play. The strong position of White's rook on the 7th may be enough to hold the draw. May have to wait until we have those 9 piece table bases :)!

Apr-22-08  euripides: <sfm> you're quite right. After <35.Rb5 Rd3 36.Rb7 a5 37.a4 Rc3> for some reason I had only thought about 38.Ra7 - which loses to Rc4 - rather than the switchback 38.Rb5, which leads to the endgame you had in mind.
Apr-22-08  TheaN: 2/2

Polgar strikes against Dutchman Rob Bertholee, whom I know, well, kind of personally.

35....Rb4 is a beautiful shot once you know it's an Easy CG puzzle, but these sacs are actually common when the pawn has reached the third rank, as the enemy rook has no time coming safely to the last rank after the pawn progresses (if it's on the file next to the pawn, of course), making a Rook sac possible on the rank the pawn is on.

36.axb4 b2 with b1=Q

36.Re7 b2 and the Rook is too late as well, which in either case is a clear win for Black.

Apr-22-08  wals: So easy, only a fool would miss it. I did

As is its wont, Fritz differs from the given text.

Rob Bertholee - Judit Polgar, Amsterdam Euwe-mem

Analysis by Fritz 11: Depth 27 Time 8min 4sec

1. (-5.27): 35...Rd4-b4 36.a3xb4 b3-b2 37.Ra7-a8+ Kg8-h7 38.Ra8-e8 b2-b1Q 39.Re8-e4 f6-f5 40.g4xf5 Qb1-g1+ 41.Kg3-f4 Qg1-g5+ 42.Kf4-e5 Qg5xh5 43.Re4-f4 Qh5-e8+ 44.Ke5-d5 Qe8-e3 45.Rf4-e4 Qe3-g5 46.Kd5-e5 Qg5-f6+ 47.Ke5-f4 g7-g5+ 48.Kf4-e3 h6-h5 49.f3-f4 g5-g4 50.Re4-e5

2. = (0.00): 35...f6-f5 36.Ra7-b7 f5-f4+ 37.Kg3-h4 Rd4-d2 38.g4-g5 Rd2-h2+ 39.Kh4-g4 Rh2-g2+ 40.Kg4xf4 Rg2xg5 41.Rb7xb3 Rg5xh5 42.Rb3-b4 Kg8-f7 43.Rb4-b7+ Kf7-f6 44.Rb7-b6+ Kf6-f7 45.Rb6-b7+

(, 23.04.2008)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Ah, too easy, IMO. 35...Rb4 is the first move you should look at. Rooks belong behind passed pawns!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: The queen vs rook ending is actually pretty instructive. Remove the White h-pawn and Black g-pawn, as could happen after 40...g6? 41. hxg6+ Kxg6, and you essentially have the position reached in the Salov/Korchnoi game mentioned earlier. In the Salov/Korchnoi game, the player with the rook was able to draw by keeping his rook on the fifth rook, where f5 and h5 were both secure squares. In the Bertholee/Polgar game, however, the extra set of pawns takes away one of the rook's useful squares, and 42...Qb1! practically wins on the spot. After the relatively best 43. Kf4, either 43...Qd3 <euripedes> or 43...Qe1 <Maczynski> produce zugzwangs, and you can add 43...Qc2 to the list.
Apr-22-08  Smothered Mate: MaczynskiPratten <The Zugzwang position after 43 Kf4 Qe1! 44 Rb5 Kd6 45 Rf5 Kc6! is:>

As pointed out earlier by euripides, 43... Qd3 is simpler.

Apr-22-08  MaczynskiPratten: MaczynskiPratten: <Smothered Mate: As pointed out earlier by euripides, 43... Qd3 is simpler.> Fair point, Qd3 and Qc2 exchange into a Pawn ending after 44 Kg3 Qxf5 45 gxf5 Kxf5 which will win in a few moves after 46 f4. However, 43..Qe1 wins White's Rook quickly in most lines; or after 44 Rb5 Kd6 45 Kf5 Kc6 46 g5 hxg5+ 47 Kg4, rather than my original suggestion of Qg1+, Qh4# seems superior! White's best resource seems to be 45 g5 creating an escape square, but fxg5+ 46 Kg4 Qg1+ 47 Kf5 Qe3 (threat Qe6#) seems decisive.
Apr-22-08  234: Monday puzzle <16. ...?> Apr-21-08 R Pert vs C Ward, 2005
Apr-27-08  patzer2: For the Tuesday, April 22, 2008 puzzle solution, Judit Polgar creates a winning passed pawn with the Rook pseudo sacrifice 35...Rb4!
Dec-18-15  Mating Net: The technique exhibited by 35...Rb4! is in the category of "must know" for the endgame tactician.
Sep-06-17  notyetagm: Game Collection: PASSED PAWN VERSUS ROOK TRICK: ADJ FILE
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