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Jonathan Speelman vs Markus Stangl
Altensteig (1994), Altensteig GER
Queen Pawn Game: Zukertort Variation (D02)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<An Englishman> wrote: Good Evening: [snip] I can't help but wonder if Black had an alternative at move 27 that would provide more resistance.>

Toga declares the game variation best play (value 3.03 at 10 ply), and the alternative 27...Rg7 permitting the skewer of Rc8 as grossly inferior (value 12.25 at 10 ply). (I did not see any need to let the computer run longer than 10 ply.)

Get rid of the Be7 preventing Rb4 and place Qh5 on g6 to plug c2, the only escape square for Qb3, both with tempo. Yep, easy, peasy ;>)

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Sunday puzzle solution, Speelman initiates a deep Queen trap combination, beginning with the exchange sacrifice 24. Rxd7!!

The plan behind the combination is not overly complicated. If White can divert the Bishop from the defense of b3 and cover the c2 escape square, then he can play Rb4 trapping the Queen. However, like many good plans, the difficulty in making it work is in putting together and executing the details -- or, in this case, finding the follow-up moves to make the combination work.

The first objective of Speelman's plan involves diverting the Bishop, which the Exchange sacrifice 24. Rxd7!! accomplishes after 24...Rxd7 25. exf6 Bxf6 26. Bxf6 gxf6. The second and more difficult goal, involves creating a threat against the King so White can gain time to cover the c2 escape square and then play the winning Rb4. Speelman accomplishes this with the clever follow-up move 27. Rh4! (not 27. Rg4+? Rg2 28. Rh4 =), which forces 27...Rf8 and allows 28. Qh8! Kf2 29. Qh7+ Ke8 30. Qg6+ Kd8 31. Rb4! .

Now, the objectives are achieved and the plan is complete, as the Black Queen is trapped and White wins!

P.S.: <johnlspuge> Look's like we came up with the same idea in our almost simultaneous posts. Thanks, as always, for your concise summary.

Black's last best chance to hold the game IMO would have been 20...Kf8! = to . It starts to go bad for Black after 20...h5?! 21. Qxh5 .

Aug-24-08  456: Saturday puzzle Aug-23-08 <30 ... ?> J Manion vs Akopian, 1994
Aug-24-08  Salaskan: Why not 27. Rb4?
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<patzer2> wrote: [snip] <johnlspuge> Look's like we came up with the same idea in our almost simultaneous posts. Thanks, as always, for your concise summary. [snip]>

I read your deleted preliminary version, so I am not going to take complete credit for my prescience. To reciprocate, thanks for your complete synthesis. I often use your analyses offline.

I am not sure where <Once> is, but in his absence, I will steal a general observation originally his and express it less eloquently (no doubt) than he would.

As sometimes occurs, the course of the game makes the puzzle theme of Q entrapment easier to see. As early as 13...Qb6 14.Nc3, Black must avoid the capture 14...Qxb2 of a poisoned P, because of 15.Rfb1, trapping the Qb2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<Salaskan> wrote: Why not 27. Rb4?>

The White Q does not yet cover c2 from g6.

Aug-24-08  ToTheKings: <AliMatok> "I get it in 1 billionth of a second! I'm a @#$%ing Genius!"

What he didn't mention was that he was looking at a tic-tac-toe board with X in all 4 corners, O in every other square with a blank middle square.

Also, in his country 1 billionth of a second means under 12 minutes.

Aug-24-08  znprdx: I really enjoyed this - although I missed the immediate Rx[N]d7 which in retrospect was obvious because I'd found the queen trap theme almost immediately - oh well - I hadn't got to my second coffee - and there is a hot tournament in Moscow - excuses- na, lazy - plus my distrust for rambling Sunday puzzles...this one was very clean - a real treat! thanx <CG>
Aug-24-08  Rama: I saw the Q-trap but missed the fact that c2 was open after 24. exf6 ..., etc., which is how I began the combination: 24. exf6 Nxf6, 25. Rxd8+ Rxd8, 26. Bxf6 gxf6, thinking the Bishop cannot leave the diagonal but of course it can because of c2. So yeah, Rook-takes is better.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: There are a few moves in this puzzle continuation that are very tempting to play but do not work.

Both 27 Rg4+ and 27 Qg6+ are stopped by 27… Rg7.

29 Qh5+ is stopped by 29…Ke7. (If 30 Qc5+ then 30…Ke8.)

Aug-24-08  TrueBlue: I like something like:
24. exf6 Nxf6 25. Bxf6 Rxd1+
26. Qxd1 Qxd1+ 27. Nxd1 Bxf6 28. Rxa4 Rd8

and white is a full pawn up :)

Aug-24-08  TrueBlue: silly me, of course the knight has to be removed first!!!!!!!!!!
Aug-24-08  PuzzleMaster: Sun 2008.08.24 (White to play. 24. ?)

Candidates: 24. exf6, 24. Bxf6

How silly of me, I completely missed the candidate move. I guess I'm not such a PuzzleMaster after all. (sighs)

Aug-24-08  Slurpeeman: Any feedback on 24. Bh6 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<Slurpeeman> wrote: Any feedback on 24. Bh6 ?>

The usual Mom-and-Pop Toga II 1.3.1 evaluation gives

[ply 15/57 time 05:18 value +0.36]

24.<Bh6> Nxe5 25.Rxd8+ Rxd8 26.Rxe5 fxe5 27.Qg6 Bf8 28.Ne4 Kh8 29.Ng5 Qd3 30.Nf7+ Kg8 31.Qxe6 Qb1+ 32.Kh2 Ra8 33.Be3 Kh7 34.Ng5+ Kh8 35.Qxe5 Qc2 36.Ne6 Kg8

Your move pulls but does not rock.

My chessforum has detailed instructions on downloading and using Toga, which is <free>. As an oracle, Toga is a useful tool for answering chess questions like yours, because they come up everywhere, not just on

As an aside, you might improve faster if you focus on why a GM chose the game line, rather than on why the game line did not follow your move.

"Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative," as that noted chess player Johnny Mercer pointed out (0 games in the CG database ;>)

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Respect for all who figured out the full line. I never could imagine that <29.Qh7+ / 30.Qg6+> is not only for check but also for covering the last flight square of ♕b3.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <johnlspouge - I am not sure where <Once> is>

Keeping a very low profile because I totally and utterly failed to spot the solution today!

Had I spotted it, this is the sort of logic that might have led me there. I want to play Rb4, but the bishop on e7 stops me. To get rid of the bishop on e7, I need to play ef. But I can't do that straight away because the d7 knight covers f6. So first I have to eliminate the d7 knight.

And then to make sure that Rb4 truly traps the queen, I need to get my queen onto the long diagonal to cover c2.

But you are exactly right - the threat of queen entrapment has been in the air for some time. Qb6 and Qb3 don't look natural and white has twice left his b pawn hanging. The motifs should have been clearer for the players than for us.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: This seems less difficult than the typical insane-level position. I saw the Queen trap idea at once, but couldn't find a way to implement it - it needs a Queen on the h7/b1 diagonal plus removal of the e7 bishop. With hindsight, removing the Nd7 first is the obvious route.

I assume Speelman saw it all. He tends to, even now.

Aug-24-08  Slurpeeman: Hi, johnlspouge

I opened the CG website last night, after being mentally exhausted bysolvinga "hard" level sudoku. Thought Rh4 was winning (well, I had many lines in mind, but they all dealt with Kingside attack and had nothing to do with trapping the Queen. That's how the idea of Bh6 came to me.

P.S. I'm not trying to get an answer to "why the game didn't follow as I did?" as I look through the game and see the win. Overall, It wasn't that hard. I should've waited for today morning and solve it with my mind clear =) but thankx anyway for caring so much about my calculative abilities =))

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Ojuuuhh <Domdaniel: ... I assume Speelman saw it all. He tends to, even now.> of cccccource he (-Le Speelman) knows it all. :D)
Aug-24-08  soberknight: Wow, that's really cool!

I saw that the first three moves looked promising, but terminated my analysis there, not seeing anything in Qg6+ Rg7. I would never have imagined that an attack on the king culminating with Qg6+ would leave the queen stranded on the other end of the board!

It's noteworthy that earlier in the game black declined to take the queen's knight pawn because white set up a queen trap if he did. How these themes repeat themselves enhances the humor effect of the finishing combination.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: sssssssssorryyy ssssobeer [N}:whtaaa dfiddm yyyou say ????????????????????????
Aug-24-08  zb2cr: I looked at the first two moves in the winning sequence, but couldn't find the appropriate follow-up. Oh well, Monday's coming.
Aug-25-08  jovack: Pretty awesome once you realize the queen is trapped, you just need to get rid of some defenders. I dont think I would have played those moves in time constraints though.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The key to this one was the removal of the knight at d7-then the pawn at f6 went...and with it,the game.
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