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Alexander Chernin vs Judit Polgar
"Fell from the Cher" (game of the day Mar-04-2022)
New Delhi (1990), New Delhi IND, Dec-??
King's Indian Defense: Makagonov Variation (E71)  ·  0-1



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Given 23 times; par: 25 [what's this?]

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sac: 22...Rxg2+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-31-08  lost in space: had a second look to the puzzle after seeing the game and a few posts. The critical position (after move 23) looks like this:

click for larger view

A: 24. Kg1? Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxc3 26. Rxc3 Qg7+ 27. Kh2 Rg8 28. Nh4 Qxc3

B. 24. Ne4 (seems to be the best) Ne5 (same for this move) 25. Nxe5 (25. Nxf6?? Nxf3 26. Qxf3 Bg4+ and the queen is gone) 25...Bxe5 26. Kg1 (what else?) Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Rg8+ 28. Kf1 f3! 29. Qxf3 (no alternative) Qxc1 and Black is much better.

click for larger view

May-31-08  Terry McCracken: How many of you have seen games switched and all the messages lost?

E Mortensen vs L Karlsson, 1988

May-31-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <Terry McCracken: How many of you have seen games switched and all the messages lost?>

I did. The puzzle got switched at least twice; it was reported in one of the lost messages as having started out as this one, then the one you mentioned (which would be way too easy for Saturday), then back to this one. On chessforum CG says that they were fixing some bugs yesterday that messed up the opening of the day link, so possibly the puzzle was affected as well.

May-31-08  MostlyAverageJoe: After overnight run at 20 plies per move, Hiarcs came up with this line as best for both sides after 24. Kg1

24 ... Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Bxc3 26. Bf5 <now it diverges from the lines proposed by <Alphastar> & <patzer2> > Rd8 27. Qc2 Bxb4 28. Qb2+ Nf6 29. Rg1 Rg8+ 30. Kf1 Rxg1+ 31. Nxg1 a5 32. Qe2 Bc5 33. Qe7 Ng8 34. Qf7 Qg7 35. Qh5 c6

click for larger view

The above evaluates at only (-0.94), with this likely continuation:

36. dxc6 bxc6 37. Nh3 <the rest is less reliable ... Nh6 38. Qe8 Qg8 39. Bd7 Qxe8 40. Bxe8 d5 41. cxd5 cxd5 42. Nxf4 Ng4 43. Nxd5 Nxf2 44. Kg2 Ne4 45. Bc6 Kg7 46. Nf4 Ng5>

A quick analysis forward indicates a possible divergence from that continuation as early as at the 4th ply, with white likely to recover one pawn and threaten another, so the apparent pawn majority that black is enjoying is not likely to last long. The evaluations seem to be drifting towards drawish with further analysis.

        <<< BACKSLIDE >>>

I did a backslide to the divergence point, to see whether <patzer2: 26. ... Rg8+ ...> or <Alphastar: 26. ... Bxb4 ...> lines are better for black. Here's the position after 26. Bf5 (black to move):

click for larger view

At this point, what is needed to win the game for the black is a PLAN, something that engines cannot provide. The above position is another of the engine-killers, where the progress of the analysis becomes very slow.

After sliding back from the mainline shown at the beginning, 26...Qg7+ is considered the best for black (-1.00), with 26...Nb6 second best (-0.95), but this is only after 18 plies of analysis (which took 150 minutes of computer time to calculate).

The line <patzer2: 26. ... Rg8+ 27. Kf1 Bb2 28. Rb1 Ne5 29. Nxe5 Bxe5 30. Qf3 ... > evaluates at about (-0.75)

The line <Alphastar: 26. ... Bxb4 27. Bxd7 Qg7+ 28. Kh2 Qxd7 29. Qd4+ Qg7 30. Qxg7+ Kxg7> contains inaccuracies played by the white and indeed should be winnable by black. Possible improvements for white shown during backslide: 30.Rb1, 29.Ng5 (MUCH better than Qd4+), 28.Kf1 (small improvement).

I'll do a forward slide after 26. ... Bxb4 to see what it leads to.

        <<<BOTTOM LINE>>>

Based on computer analysis only, I am still not sure whether this game could not have been drawn. Engines are not likely to provide a conclusive analysis in reasonable time. Human insight at high playing level (i.e., not mine :-) would be needed.

If anyone would like to verify the above analysis with Rybka, it would be appreciated.

May-31-08  TrueBlue: MAJ, those lines get pretty complicated. That's why I wouldn't believe anyone who said they solved today's puzzle. I like Alphastar's line up to Qxd7. and then 29 Ng5 as you wrote. Possible continuation is: Bc5, Qf3 Bd4, Qh5, Bxf2 . But calculating so many moves ahead is just silly :)
May-31-08  DarthStapler: I got the first move
May-31-08  johnlspouge: <<Marmot PFL> wrote: <johnlspouge> I also missed the power of Ne5, which is the key to the position opening up discovered checks to win the white queen and threatening mates after f3.>

I feel I am in good company, then.

<I am sure the quote about the threat being stronger than the execution goes back at least to Nimzovich if not earlier. Winter says it was used before 1900 in a book by James Mason.>

Then I might have read it in one of Nimzovich's books. I always appreciate correction, gently delivered, so thanks, <Marmot PFL>.

May-31-08  Marmot PFL: Nimzo quote from 1933 article-
Black played 20…Qe7, and Nimzowitsch wrote:

‘This retreat by the strongly-posted queen is an excellent move. The pawn at e5 is now heading for its sad fate. It should be noted that Black has continually operated with the threat of …Qxa2 without executing it (the modern doctrine, which says that the threat is stronger than the execution).’

May-31-08  johnlspouge: <<Marmot PFL> wrote: Nimzo quote from 1933 article- [snip] (the modern doctrine, which says that the threat is stronger than the execution).>

It's a dull old day when you don't learn something. So, you have established Nimzovich used the phrase as early as 1933, although it might go back earlier than 1900. I checked with Bartlett's and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, but the 'net was more helpful than they were this time.

"Nothing new under the sun..." as my neighbor Charlie used to say. (Relax - the origin of that one I do know ;>)

Incidentally, as long as we are "chatting", in a previous forum I asked whether your avatar indicates you are a climber, but you might have missed the question...

In any case, thanks, <Marmot PFL>.

May-31-08  234: Friday puzzle <29. ?> May-30-08 Hebden vs E Prie, 1984
May-31-08  Marmot PFL: < johnlspouge> Love mountains, but haven't done any climbing in years, and that at beginner level. Drawback of living in the Midwest.

I had a flag avatar for a while, but the Armenians demanded that I change it.

May-31-08  Terry McCracken: <MostlyAverageJoe> Thanks for letting me know what happened.


May-31-08  Octal: I saw the rook sac as I noticed the g-pawn was holding the h-pawn, which is threatened with heavy pieces. I was thinking about 1. ... Rxg2+ 2. Rxg2 (everything else quickly mates) 2. ... Qxh3+, but didn't know here to go from there.
May-31-08  patzer2: <MostlyAverageJoe> Thanks for taking the time to do the analysis. Positions like today's puzzle (22. ?) stretch the limits of human and computer Chess analysis, and I appreciate your diligent efforts today in trying to discern whether it's really winnable. I also appreciate your good comments and insight on what it would take to win such a position.
May-31-08  zenpharaohs: Wow. I spent well over an hour on this. And, depite this having been a very bad week for me, I am feeling quite vindicated by that. I couldn't find anything better than Rxg2+, but this move is very far from decisive. In the game line, the opponent makes mistake after mistake to make Rxg2+ look strong.

But Rxg2+ is just the best move, and the game is very far from over.

22 ... Rxg2+
23 Rxg2 Bxh3

24 Kh1 or Kg1

24 ... Bxg2+
25 Kxg2

click for larger view

Rybka values this as -0.77 at 20 ply depth.

Of interest is that it took Rybka over a minute and a half to find

22 ... Rxg2+

when I finally handed the problem to her. This is much longer than usual, certainly the longest I remember for these problems. Typically Rybka has the answer in less than a second.

Aug-05-08  newzild: In an earlier post I said I couldn't believe a player as good as Chernin would exchange his dark-squared bishop for a mere knight and pawn in a Kings Indian.

After consulting the "book", it apears that black starts getting the upper hand as early as 8.Be3 Nh5, which is good for black. (47 per cent wins, 31 per cent draws and 22 per cent losses for black, according to the free openings database at

White coulda played 8.Bg5, which results in 54 per cent wins for white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Gallagher after 14..Nc5: " For a pawn White has forfeited his right to castle, parted company with his important dark-squared bishop and opened files on the kingside for the Black rooks; a heavy price by anyone's standards. In addition, with the extra pawn defending his king it will only be in the ending that he can hope to derive any benefit from it. The odds are heavily stacked against him arriving there with the rest of his army intact." 9 Nh2 was a standard move at the time but it seems vulnerable to the type of sacrificial attack that Polgar used here.
Sep-01-15  Travis Bickle: Beautiful attacking game by Judit!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <jls....Like anyone who actually calculated some lines, it was obvious to me that the position is very delicate, with transpositions fatal and many trails of breadcrumbs leading to a loss. Polgar's ability to thread past all the dangers over the board is amazing.>

Judit Polgar's tactical vision was astonishing indeed; bit surprising really that a strong GM gave her such latitude.

Mar-04-22  Brenin: What a great attack by Black. 22 ... Rxg2+ was a Friday POTD back in 2008. It is not hard to see 23 Kxg2 Bxh3, but analysis beyond that looks fiendishly difficult, from the earlier postings.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: This is a good game. Judit herself considers it her first real win over a great player where she played well in all phases of the game. ('How I beat Fischer's Record' Quality Chess, page 271-276 ) where this game is analysed in detail with the perfect match, revealing text and brief analysis.

I see it has been used for POTD in the past starting with Black having to find 22...Rxg2(!! from Judit)

Judit also gives her 24th move 24...Ne5!! adding this quiet move forced Chernin to use up 12 of his remaining 14 minutes.

The game features a rather unique setting, Black has the choice of two discovered checks.

click for larger view

Two Dive Bombers! (a wonderful term used by Fine to describe how strong a discovered check can be.)

If I saw a position like that coming then I'd just go for it without further analysis, 'surely it wins' and dig out the win (if it is there) when the position arises. Judit admits looking at one line very briefly as it just wins. (adding jokingly she did not see the computer variation giving mate in 14!)

Sometimes one Dive Bomber may miss a target, but having the choice of two! Wow! The only down side there would be deciding which one to take.

One of the best chess books I have is that one by Judit. Some wonderful games, honest revealing notes and it's all parcelled together by Quality Chess.

I've never seen three discovered checks sitting on a board waiting to be played (anyone?) a squadron of Dive Bombers!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Just noticed that Chernin was born in Kharkiv. I trust nobody will read dark signficance into that.
Mar-04-22  Knightmare07: For the second time, one of my most recent submissions (less than a week to be precise) was selected faster, and again, a very fascinating game.

Chernin definitely <Fell from the Cher> after watching 22...Rxg2+!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: I prefer the whole selection process remains a black box (eeny, meeny, miny, moe), but there's no doubt that <Knightmare07> is doing better than most.
Mar-07-22  Knightmare07: <MissScarlett> maybe you were right...
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