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Lev Psakhis vs Nathan Birnboim
ISR (1995)
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange. Modern Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Late to the party because of a birthday celebration last night (mine).

Ill just pick up on the 30 Rc7 vs. Rd7 thread. 30 Rd7 is dicey because black can play 30Qxb5, below.

click for larger view

Obviously, 31 Qf4 is no good as the d rook is en prise. If white tries 31 Rcc7, then black has a very clever defense, 31Qb1+!. Now, if 32 Kh2, then 32Qf5, protecting f7 and preventing Qf4.

click for larger view

However, white might be able to play 33 Rxf7 here, exchanging his two rooks for the queen and then checking on g5 with the knight So after 33Qxf7 34 Rxf7 Kxf7 35 Ng5+, is white better?

click for larger view

Jun-19-11  Patriot: I cannot claim to solve this since I didn't work out enough lines to prove it works. 30.Ng5 also wins. Houdini wouldn't even consider it after 10 minutes and only after I forced the move it places it as second-best.

Why 30.Ng5? It attacks f7 and after the critical 30...Qxb5 31.Qf3 forks the a8-rook and f7. I'll let you guys explore this.

<VincentL> I like your idea, 30.Qg5, because it certainly stops 30...Qxb5 and hits upon the weakness of the back-rank. After 31.Rd8+, 31...Qe8 is the only way to stop mate and that just loses. 30...Bd5 seems the best way to go.

Jun-19-11  ounos: Woohoo! I don't usually post on puzzles, but I got excited for figuring the correct plan, in a position when nothing really 'jumps out', without staring at this for more than 5-6 minutes. Point is, if Rc7 is followed by QxB, white can pile 4 attackers on f7, while black can only muster 3 defenders.
Jun-19-11  cyrilu: 30.Rd7 Qxb5 31.Rcc7 now what does black play? From here on white wins! So now let's look at blacks options 31...Rf8 loses to 32.Qf4 threatening 33.Rxf7 which black can't immediately defend because 32...f6 33.Qg4 threatening 34.Qxg6 hxg6 35.h7 mate! Or 32...f5 33.Qg5! Still threatening 34.Qxg6 and 35.h7mate! Or 32.Qf4 f6 33.Qg4 g5 34.Nxg5 which is worse. So I strongly believe that after 31.Rcc7 black losses quickly. Correct me if you see something else.
Jun-19-11  D4n: I went with 30. Qd3 with the idea of protecting the Bishop on b5 and setting up a backrow mate. Giving check the following turn Qd8+ Rxd8 followed by Rxd8+ black has to play Qf8 and white plays Rc8.
Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Here is another thought.

What happens if White simply plays 30 Be2? If I had been in a game (without someone telling me this is the puzzle position), I would likely have chosen a simple move to keep the edge. After Be2, Black still has a locked in B on h8, a knight on the rim, an exposed king, a rook without prospect. Certainly all of these should add up to a winning advantage for White. I'll have to see what Dr Fritz says about Be2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has an exchange for two pawns.

Black threatens 30... Qxb5.

Black's weaknesses are the defenseless rook, the back rank and the spot f7. This invites to play 30.Ng5:

A) 30... Qxb5 31.Qf3

A.1) 31... Rf8 32.Rd8 f5 33.Qa8 Qb4 34.Rxf8+ Qxf8 35.Rc8 + -.

A.2) 31... Qe8 32.Rc7

A.2.a) 32... Bd5 33.Rxd5 exd5 34.e6 f5 35.Qxd5 Ba1 36.e7+ Kh8 37.Nf7+ Kg8 38.Nd6+ wins.

A.2.b) 32... Nc4 33.Nxh7

A.2.b.i) 33... Kxh7 34.Rxf7 Bg7 (34...Kg8 35.h7#; 34... Kxh6 35.Qh3+ Kg5 36.f4#) 35.Qf6 looks winning.

A.2.b.ii) 33... Nxe5 34.Nf6+ Bxf6 (34... Kf8 35.Qa3+ Qe7 36.Qxe7#) 35.Qxf6 Qf8 36.Qxe5 and White's attack looks more dangerous than Black's passed pawns.

A.2.c) 32... Bxe5 33.Re7 Qf8 (33... Qxe7 34.Qxa8+ Qf8 35.Rd8) 34.Rxf7 Qe8 35.Rdd7 also looks winning.

B) 30... Rf8 31.Qf3

B.1) 31... Qxb5 32.Rd8 transposes to A.1.

B.2) 31... Bd5 32.Rxd5 exd5 33.e6 fxe6 (33... f5 34.e7) 34.Bd7

B.2.a) 34... Rxf3 35.Rc8+ Rf8 36.Bxe6#.

B.2.b) 34... Qe7 35.Qxf8+ Kxf8 (35... Qxf8 36.Bxe6+ Qf7 37.Rc8#) 36.Rc8+ Qd8 37.Rxd8+ Ke7 38.Rxh8 Kxd7 39.Rxh7+ wins.

I've considered other moves like 30.Rc7, 30.Rd7 and 30.Bd7 but 30.Ng5 seems to be more effective.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Sevenseamen,

Here is how it goes:

(One is 'Larry', 2 is 'Edge', 5 is 'Adam', 10 is 'Bono')

One and 2 go first - 2 minutes

One goes back- 1 more minute, 3 total.

5 and 10 go - 10 minutes - 13 total

2 goes back - 2 minutes, 15 total.

Then 1 and 2 go - 2 more minutes, 17 in total.

Jun-19-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has an exchange for two pawns, but the big advantage lies in the contrast between the poor position of black's minor pieces (especially the trapped Bh8) and the outstanding position of white's rooks. The ability of the rooks to get to the 7th suggests an all-out assault on f7, especially with the LSB unable to protect that square. If white takes a tempo to protect the Bb5, black has 30... Bd5 keeping a rook out. At first I liked 30.Rb7 followed by 31.Qf4 but I found an alternate entry path for the WQ that creates additional threats. Therefore, I chose


The most efficient way to deploy the rooks. The bishop is a cheap price to pay for the fall of the f-pawn.

A) 30... Qxb5 31.Rc7 Rf8? 32.Qa3! Be5 33.Qxf8+ Kf8 34.Rc8#

A.1) 31... Nc6 (most active defense) 32.Rxf7 Nxe5 33.Rg7+! (Rxh7?? Qb1+! 34.Kh2 Ng4+) Bxg7 34.Rxg7+ Kf8 35.Qf4+ Ke8 36.Nxe5 wins.

A.1.1) 32... Rf8? 33.Rxf8+ Kxf8 34.Qf4+ forces mate.

A.1.2) 32... Bxe5 33.Nxe5 Qxe5 34.Qxe5 Nxe5 35.Rg7+ Kf8 Rxh7 forces mate.

A.1.3) 32... Bd5 (and others) 33.Qf4! (threatening 34.Rg7+ Bxg7 35.Qf7+) Qb1+ (Nd8 34.Rg7+ forces mate) 34.Kh2 Qf5 35.Rxf5 followed by Rxc6 is winning.

A.1.4) 34... Kh8 35.Nxe5 (Qxe5 probably a won endgame, but harder) Rf8 36.Qg3!! with a winning double threat of 37.Rxh7+! and 37.Nf7+ Rxf7 38.Qb8+ forcing mate.

There are more paths to cover, but I think this outlines the winning approach. Time for review...

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Sunday solution, 30. Rc7!! initiates a winning attack against the now helpless King position.

If 30...Qxb5, then 31. Qf4! .

If 30...Bd5, then 31. Rxd5! exd5 32. e6! .

After the game continuation 30...Rf8, in addition to the move played White can also win with 31. Nd4! a6 32. Qf4! .

I figured the first move had to be 30. Rc7!!, but calculating all the possibilities was overwhelming and I suspect I would have lost in the complications of some of those lines. The continuation that initially baffled me was the 30...Bd5 line.

I had to consult the computer to figure it out, and with apologies to the Beatles, I get by with a little help from my fritz.

Jun-19-11  Patriot: <patzer2> <I had to consult the computer to figure it out, and with apologies to the Beatles, I get by with a little help from my fritz.>

No offense, but that was pathetic man...LOL! It's almost as bad as my sense of humor.

Jun-19-11  DarthStapler: I didn't get it
Jun-19-11  stst: An Insane Day! A long work day!
Almost bed time, just a glance and one or two starters - not much clue, and not many promising lines. (A)Rd7
Thought (A) followed by Re7 (after QxB) could make a threat... too tired to continue...
Jun-19-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: <<Jimfromprovidence:> So after 33Qxf7 34 Rxf7 Kxf7 35 Ng5+, is white better?>

Regarding the line 30.Rd7!?, you pose a key question and present it well. Indeed, your line is the defense chosen by Crafty EGT against my line of play. My glib answer to your question would be "Definitely yes, because the h6 pawn is worth a piece." However, the demonstration of an actual win from your third position is more difficult and it requires some finesse. The best defense is EGT's continuation 35... Kg8, giving the following position:

click for larger view

On my 1st attempt I tried 36.f4, but Crafty was able to set up a blockade, though perhaps my play can be improved. On my 2nd attempt I found 36.Qa3! and this resulted in a win after another failure:

36... Bxe5+ 37.Kh3 Bf6 (Ba2 moves 38.Qe7 wins) 38.Qxa2 Bxg5 39.Qxe6+ Kf8

click for larger view


The point - black can't drop the rook to Qh8+

40... Rd8

Now after 41.Qxg5, black can set up a difficult blockade with 41... Rd7. So instead I tried 41.Qh8+! Kf7 42.Qxh7+ Ke6 43.Qxg6+ Kf6 44.g4 Ke7 45.g5 Ba1 and I went on to win from here by pushing the f-pawn.

click for larger view

However, I will not claim that 30.Rd7 is just as good as 30.Rc7.

Jun-19-11  wals: Rybka 4 x 64

Looking good 20.Qd2 0.00.

20...Rfc8, +1.09. Best, exd5, = 0.00.
Shortfall, 1.09.

21.e5, -0.25. Best, Nd4, +1.21.
Shortfall, 1.46.

28...Bxa2, +1.78. Best, a6, +0.77.
Shortfall, 1.01.

29....Qb4, +3.27. Best, a6, +2.30.
Shortfall, 0.97.

31...Bd5, +5.86. Best, Bb3, +3.01.
Shortfall, 2.85.

32...exd5, +6.68. Best, a6, +5.17.
Shortfall, 1.51.

33...Bf6, +#17. Best, Qe4, +7.78.

34.e7, +9.53.( Best, exf7, +#17.) & Black resigned.

BLACK 7.43
WHITE 1.46.
NET 5.97.

Jun-19-11  stst: Oh, mean to say Rc7....
Jun-19-11  stst: <After a heavy binge, 4 members of the rock band U2 woke up late on the wrong side of a river. They were to join a concert on the other bank.

Nice puzz awakes sleep -

1. LE go in slower 2 min
2. L goes back in 1 min, leaving E
3. A,B go in slowest 10 min, joining E\
4. E goes back, in 2 to join L
5. L,E again go in slower 2 min.
Now add up 2,1,10,2,2 = exactly 17 to make it.
((Step 3 is crucial, to optimize the worst situation.)) If anybody got 16 or less, will try be v glad to learn!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  NM JRousselle: Dr Fritz agrees with me regarding the simple 30 Be2. While this move may not be as spectacular as doubling rooks on the 7th, it leads to a clean win. White wins rather easily by doubling rooks on the c file and invading the 7th rank.
Jun-19-11  CHESSTTCAMPS: <David2009:> Apologies, I did not realize until reading through the earlier posts that I'd revisited much of the same ground that you covered in analyzing the Crafty EGT Defense to 30.Rd7.

Thus the only new ground that I covered was 41.Qh8+ followed by the elimination of the K-side pawns. BTW, the line should have read 43... Bf6, not Kf6, obviously.

Jun-19-11  LIFE Master AJ: Psakhis,Lev (2625) - Birnboim,Nathan (2405) [D85] Israel 1995 [A.J.G.]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Rb1 0-0 9.Be2 e6 10.0-0 b6 11.Bg5 Qd6 12.Qd2 Bb7 13.Qe3 cxd4 14.cxd4 Nc6 15.Rfd1 Rac8 16.h4 Na5 17.h5 Rc2 18.h6 Bh8 19.d5 Rc3 20.Qd2 Rfc8 21.e5 Qxd5 22.Qe1 Qc6 23.Bb5 Qc5 24.Bd7 Ra8 25.Be7 Qxe7 26.Qxc3 Bd5 27.Bb5 Qf8 28.Qe3 Bxa2 29.Rbc1 Qb4 30.Rc7!! [RR30.Be2 Qe7 31.Rd2 Bd5 32.Rdc2 Rf8 33.Rc7 ] 30...Rf8 [30...Qxb5 31.Qf4 Rf8 32.Rd8 Qb1+ 33.Kh2 f5 34.Qg5 Qb4 35.Qxg6+ hxg6 36.h7#] 31.Rdd7 Bd5 ; (Best.) [31...Qxb5 32.Qa3 Bc4 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 34.Rc8#; 31...Bc4 32.Qf4 Qb1+ 33.Kh2 Qf5 34.Qxf5 exf5 35.Bxc4 Nxc4 36.Rxc4 ; 31...Nb3 32.Qg5 a5 33.Bd3 Bg7 34.Bxg6 hxg6 35.Qxg6 Qe1+ 36.Nxe1 fxg6 37.Rxg7+ Kh8 38.Rh7+ Kg8 39.Rcg7#] 32.Rxd5! exd5 33.e6! Bf6!? ; ('?') [¹33...Qb1+ 34.Kh2 Qe4 35.e7 Qxe3 36.fxe3 Bf6 37.e8Q Rxe8 38.Bxe8 ] 34.e7?! [Best was: 34.exf7+! Kh8T 35.Qe6 Bb2!? (¹35...Bg7 36.hxg7+ Kxg7 37.Qe5+ Kh6 38.Ng5 ) 36.Ne5 Qe1+ 37.Bf1 ] 1-0

Jun-19-11  LIFE Master AJ: Apparently, White's last move was far from being the best ...
Jun-20-11  goodevans: <David2009: Psakhis vs N Birnboim, 1995 postscript: <sevenseaman, Ghuzultyy, goodevans:> thanks for the excellent analysis of 30 Rc7 Bd5 31 Rxd5! against Crafty EGT. The EGT's defence (offering up the B then not recapturing) makes no sense chesswise, but is presumably an 'event horizon' blunder ...>

I've been giving this some thought and I have an alternative explanation.

When you're losing a game do you look for the objectively best move (i.e. the one that minimises your disadvantage against best play) or do you look for the move that maximises your opponents chances of going wrong?

Most computers would go for the former, but having played Crafty a few times now it wouldn't surprise me if it's software was optimised to look for the latter. In that case <30 ... Bd5> would indeed make sense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <goodevans> Now that's one of my favourite topics and one I have ... ahem... lots of experience of - what to do when you're losing. ;-)

I think it depends on the opponent, the position OTB and the clock.

If you have lots of time and your opponent is short of time, then playing the best move might be the best ploy. It gives him more to think about.

But it depends. If the best move is to exchange down into a cheerless and lost pawn endgame, we may do better to keep more pieces on the board and increase the swindleability factor.

If time is less of an issue and I'm playing against a human, then I will often play for a mad counter-attack even if it's not the best move. Throw material in order to get at the enemy king. Give him lots of choices to make. There is a chance that he will go wrong and allow some stunning tactic. And if he doesn't you get the perverse satisfaction of dying with your boots on and a sword in your hand.

But that doesn't usually work against computers who aren't so easily flustered or bluffed. Then I usually play tight and defensive, hoping that the computer won't be able to break through.

Or hit the takeback button. That usually works too.

Jun-20-11  Dr. J: A little late to the party, but here is the easiest way to beat the EGT:

30 Rc7 Bd5 31 Rxd5 a6 32 Bf1 exd5 33 e6 f6 34 e7 Qe4 35 Bxa6 Qxe3 36 fxe3 Re8 37 Bb5 Rxe7 38 Rxe7 and White will win the Bishop, too. Mate follows in less than 20 moves in the lines I tried.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <David2009> < I try <detrius>'s move 30.Rd7 met by Qxb5! and the best I could do with a quick first look was 31.Rcc7 Qb1+ 32.Kh2 Qf5 33.Rxf7 Qxf7 34.Rxf7 Kxf7 35.Ng5+ Kg8 36.Qa3 Bxe5+ 37.Kh3 Bf6 38.Qxa2 Bxg5 39.Qxe6+ Kf8 40.Qd5 Re8 41.Qxg5 Re7>

I overlooked this earlier analysis when I composed my initial post.

Kudos to <CHESSTTCAMPS> for pointing this out and deepening the dialogue of the variation 30 Rd7.

Another way to go is 36 Kh3 directly to avoid 36Bxe5+and the loss of his well-placed knight.

click for larger view

Now white has a mate threat if he can get his queen to the 7th rank, by f3 or a3, for example. This position looks very bleak for black.

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