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Kenneth Rogoff vs Lajos Portisch
Biel Interzonal (1976), Biel SUI, rd 12, Jul-26
English Opening: King's English. Four Knights Variation Fianchetto Lines (A29)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Curious the way the mind works, or in my case today doesnt work. One of the first moves I thought of was 31 ... h4, but soon decided it was probably too slow (32 Rcxc7 etc) and I pursued 31 ... fxg3 at first thinking if W goes 32 Rxg3 then he cant play Rcxc7.

Then I thought I'd found an immediate win with 32 ... Rxc2 and I forgot all about ... h4.

It's a measure of Portisch excellence that he fitted the pieces together so precisely OTB

Oct-08-11  sevenseaman: Thats the beauty of chess. If you get first one or two moves right you have the whole abundance of riches in front of your eyes.

If you go wrong, all doors remain bleakly closed. Almost all games this week have carried that 'watermark'.

Oct-08-11  morfishine: <sevenseaman> Thats the difference between a:

Grandmaster...and a

"Planned Disaster"

Oct-08-11  sevenseaman: Ha...ha ha ha! <morf> Today you are in the 'guffaws dole out' mode. After a long time I had a genuinely great laff. 'Planned' disaster, eh?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <sevenseaman> The song is considerably older than the video, so we can't really draw an inference from one to the other.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sastre: <al wazir: If 31...fxg3 32. Rxg3 h4 33. Rxg6 Rxg6+ 34. Bg2 Rxg2+ 35. Kh1 Rgxf1 36. Rxg7+! Kxg7 37. Qe7+, it's by no means obvious that black can avoid perpetual check>

One way of escaping the checks after 37.Qe7+ is 37...Kg6 38.Qe4+ Kf7 39.Qh7+ Ke8 40.Qh5+ Kd7 41.Qh7+ Kc8.

Oct-08-11  kevin86: Funny conclusion:black puts his queen into a sui-pin,but it is WHITE who is lost.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <Sastre>: Thanks. It was worth a try.
Oct-08-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: White's position needs stimulus - activity is too stagnant. Unfortunately for white, black is on the move. With the doubled rooks on the f-file and f1 a juicy target (thanks to the horribly placed bishop on h1), it only makes sense to open the file.

31... fg! gives white no satisfactory way to recapture with black's major pieces in control. But there is a neat trap:

A) 32.Rxg3 a4! (Originally I thought 32... Rxf2? did the trick, but I found 33.Rxg7+! - perhaps the trap that Rogoff relied on - Kxg7 34.Rxg6+ Kxg6 35.Qxf2 Rxf2 36.Kxf2 and the endgame should be drawn.) 33.Rxg6 Rxg6+ 34.Bg2 Rxg2+ 35.Kh1 Rgxf2 36.Rxg7+ Kxg7 37.Qe7+ Kg6 and white, out of useful checks, can resign.

A.1) 33.Rxg7+ Kxg7 34.Qe7+ (Rxg6+ Rxg6+ transposes to the main line) R8f7 wins.

B) 32.fg? Rf1+ 33.Qxf1 Rxf1#

C) 32.hg Rxf2 33.Qe4 (otherwise 33... Rf1+ wins the WQ) Rf1+ 34.Kh2 R8f2+ 35.Kxh3 Qg4+! (or Rxh1+) 36.Qxg4 Rxh1#

C.1) 33.Bg2 Rxg2+ finishes quickly.

C.2) 33.R(B)f3 Rf8xf3 wins a piece with no counterplay for white.

C.3) 35.Bg2 Qxe4 36.Rxe4 Bxg2 and white can't stop the double threat of 37... Bxe4 and 37... Bf3+ 38.kH3 rh1#.

D) 33.f3/f4 g2 wins.

E) 33.(other) gf2#

Time for game review...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: In the line 31...fxg3 32. Rxg3 h4 33. Rxg6 Rxg6+ 34. Bg2 Rxg2+ 35. Kh1, here is the position.

click for larger view

Here white threatens either 36 f3 or 36 Re8 to bust up black's plans, so black comes up a winner with the very nice (and seemingly only winning move) 35...Rgxf2.

click for larger view

This is a bit of a gutsy move because now white has 36. Qg1 (threatening mate in one). Black now wins after 36...Rf1 37 Rxg7+ Kh8.

click for larger view

White has to give up the queen and black will be a piece ahead.

Oct-08-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: The error 32... Rxf2? (instead of Portisch's precise 32... a4) runs into 33.Rxg7+!, a trap that was more thoroughly explained by <TheBish>. This position deserves a couple of diagrams:

click for larger view

Black can avoid the obvious draw that follows 33... Kxg7 34.Rxg6+ Kxg6 35.Qxf2, by trying 33... Kh8! instead. But 34.Rg8+! (not 34.Qxf2?? Qb1+), as alertly noted by <TheBish> keeps the balance:

click for larger view

Still a tricky position - have fun!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: In bag of trick it is aid for notice black his structure good and healthy it double in trouble dcolumn join 15.a4 to 30.Rc3 rook file dominate fcolumn plant re7 in Aldous hustle it was cypher devine press in g3 h4 and thats a rap.
Oct-08-11  sevenseaman: <kevin86: Funny conclusion:black puts his queen into a sui-pin,but it is WHITE who is lost.>

Its my first and perhaps a very rare game where the winner prays his Q be taken as quickly as possible. The delay does not suit him at all as it can lead to a draw.

I had based my whole line on the hope White would jump for the bait. Then I thought what if he didn't?

Thats when an early h4 came into view - to force White to take the Q or lose his R to the P. Funnily, Black cannot himself sac his Q at g3 - for it closes an open file.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I did not notice that I had piggybacked on the analysis of <TheBish>. My bad.

Anyway, in the continuation of the position we purported, how does black force both of white's rooks off of the board after 38 Rg5, below?

click for larger view

Oct-08-11  SuperPatzer77: <Jimfromprovidence: I did not notice that I had piggybacked on the analysis of <TheBish>. My bad.>

click for larger view

<JimfromProvidence> Yes, 38. Rg5 (threatening 39. Rh5#) but 38...Rxg1+, 39. Kxg1 (39. Rxg1 Rf1! ) Rg8! (forcing the rook trade and leaving Black one bishop up)


Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <superPatzer77>

<Yes, 38. Rg5 (threatening 39. Rh5#) but 38...Rxg1+, 39. Kxg1 (39. Rxg1 Rf1! ) Rg8! (forcing the rook trade and leaving Black one bishop up)>

You found a solution, 38...Rxg1+ 39. Rxg1 Rf1, that I completely missed. I got excited about something more subtle than 39...Rf1. I'll leave the other solution open for now.

BTW, white should not play 39 Kxg1 because of 39...Rf1#.

Oct-08-11  henri5: 31. Re7 was an outright blunder. White could have held on with various moves, the best one being simply f3.

Analysis based on Houdini 23 moves deep on Deep Fritz 12.

Oct-08-11  SuperPatzer77: <JimFromProvidence> Thanks for correcting me on that.

You're absolutely right, <JimFromProvidence> - White cannot play 39. Kxg1 because of 39...Rf1#. White's better move is 39. Rxg1 but Black's strong move is 39...Rf1! forcing the rook trade and leaving Black one bishop up.


Oct-08-11  morfishine: Good Evening <Once>! That was thoroughly enjoyable, Ernie "The Fastest Milkman in the West".

Benny Hill is one of my top 5 favorite comedian/entertainers...A real treasure to us all. Coming from America, I wish we had more humor like that. Another I really admire is Dave Allen. Hilarious are those skits with him being in front of a firing squad...

Thanks for that! Really went a long way toward easing the pain of being off lately! Best, Morf

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <SuperPatzer77> <White's better move is 39. Rxg1 but Black's strong move is 39...Rf1! forcing the rook trade and leaving Black one bishop up.>

You hit the nail right on the head.

The original move I saw was 39...Kh7!

click for larger view

This buys black an extra tempo and forces white into a kind of zugzwang, where his best move is to move his rook along the first rank.

So something like 40 Rc1 Rf1+ 41 Rxf1 Bxf1 could occur, where black's king has a head start on white's queenside pawns.

click for larger view

Your solution is much clearer.

Oct-08-11  SuperPatzer77: <JimfromProvidence> I didn't see 39...Kh7! - what an amusing move!!

You're damn right about the tempo by Black. It looks like Black suffocates White with 39...Kh7!


Oct-08-11  sevenseaman: < henri5: 31. Re7 was an outright blunder. White could have held on with various moves, the best one being simply f3.

Analysis based on Houdini 23 moves deep on Deep Fritz 12.>

31. f3 apparently works and looks to be a remarkable suggestion. If the move is based on adequate analysis and stands up then <Rogoff> has only himself to blame.

The trap he set with 31. Re7 must have been very tempting but proved short-sighted.

I have thoroughly enjoyed some very good analysis of this (Saturday) POTD through the loud thinking of quite a few enthusiastic regulars of the site as well as some new visitors.

Oct-09-11  SuperPatzer77:

click for larger view

White resigns in lieu of 34. Rxg6+ Rxg6+, 35. Bg2 Rxg2+, 36. Kh1 Rgxf2! (much safer than Rfxf2?)

click for larger view

37. Qe7+ Kg6!, 38. Qe4+ Kf7, 39. Qh7+ Ke8, 40. Qh5+ Kd7! (not 40...Kd8??, 41. Qxh4+ leads to an unclear game), 41. Qh7+ R8f7 or 41...Kc8! --> White has run out of the queen checks so, he can resign.

Either one of two final positions would be as follows:

click for larger view


click for larger view

Very instructive game by Lajos Portisch!!


Oct-10-11  SuperPatzer77: In addition to my analysis:

click for larger view

Instead of 37. Qe7+, 37. Qg1+ Kh8! (putting White into zugzwang and forcing quick mate), 38. b5 Rf1, 39. bxa6 bxa6, 40. Qxf1 (forced) Rxf1# 0-1

After 37...Kh8! White cannot check Black King with Qa1 because the White pawn is on the d4 square. White has no defense against the inevitable mate.


Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: As with so many games between strong players, the pyrotechnics of this game are largely confined to those possibilities which went unplayed. Unheard melodies and all that, don't you know.

This game likely provided a measure of satisfaction to Portisch on his rollercoaster ride towards qualifying for the candidates matches in this cycle and was certainly retribution for Portisch vs K Rogoff, 1976, played the previous spring.

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