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Rudolf Spielmann vs Ernst Gruenfeld
Karlsbad (1929), Karlsbad CSR, rd 1, Jul-31
Queen's Gambit Declined: Queen's Knight Variation (D31)  ·  1-0



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Given 21 times; par: 35 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-29-07  zb2cr: For some reason I found this one easy. But that's because I didn't consider the innovative defense 20. ... e4.
Nov-29-07  carelessfills: Nice little combo.

White sacrifices the only piece directly attacking Black's King, and still is able to mate quickly with just Pawn and Queen with the Knight powerless to protect any of the key black squares.

Nov-29-07  CaptGeorge: Good puzzle. The kingside attack seemed obvious with h5 and Bis sac. However, I initially thought black might survive by not taking the bis.
Nov-29-07  stupidiot21: yes 20. ...e4 is the best, the white king will be running for his life.
Nov-29-07  JG27Pyth: JG27Pyth: Darn. I "got" this one: solving is only .5 credit IMO.

To get full credit you have to NOT solve because you found black's best defense: 20...e5 and decided 2 pawns wasn't enough for a Thursday puzzle solution. (Btw After 30 minutes of evaluation TheKing.exe gave both 20...Bxe4 and 20...e5, a score of roughly +2 pawns for white)


Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Missed it! Darn! I had the pawn push,but missed the bishop sac at g7! Quite elegant!
Nov-29-07  YouRang: Well, seeing both white bishops zeroing in on black's king position, I correctly deduced that this would be a king assault.

With the most glaring black weakness at g7, I also correctly decided that the first move was the simple 20. h5, chasing the knight from its defensive posture (and adding the pawn as an attacker).

Then I went a bit astray, deciding that after 20...Ne7 to go with 21. Qg5 (threat: Qxg7# and Qxe7).

Black must play 21...f6 to thwart both threats, but then I have 22. Bxe6+ Kh8, followed by 22. h6!! My queen is safe since 22...fxg5 is met by 23. hxg7#.

I thought this was so pretty that it HAD to be the solution, even though I couldn't see a clear way to win after 22...Ng6. :-(

Of course, that's when I looked at the game and saw that 21. Bxg7! was much stronger. Oh well, you can't solve them all (or, to be more precise, I can't.)

Nov-29-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <dzechiel: <MAJ> Can you tell me if 20...e5 holds out better than the mainline here?>

It sure holds (but the optimal line follows one of your footnotes, not the mainline:).

The three best defensive lines for the black after 20.h5 (analysis by Hiarcs 11.2MP, 21-ply deep, 4CPU hours of runtime) are:

(+2.73) 20... Bxe4 21. hxg6 hxg6 22. f3 Bd5 23. Bxd5 exd5 24. Qe5 f6 25. Qe6 Qf7 26. Qxf7 Rxf7

(+2.90) 20... e5 21. hxg6 exd4 22. Bxf7 Kh8 23. Rxd4 h6 24. Rad1 a5 25. Kg2 Be8 26. Bd5 Bc6

(+3.33) 20... a5 21. hxg6 hxg6 22. Bc2 Rfe8 23. Rab1 e5 24. Bc5 Qc7 25. Bd6 Qa7 26. Qxa7 Rxa7

Interesting: 20...Ne7 is not even one of the best 8 moves. Apparently black should've just written off the knight and putter on, hoping for a reverse blunder.

Without sliding analysis, it is not clear whether Bxe4 is indeed better than e5. IMHO, e5 is more of a 'human' move than Bxe4.

Nov-29-07  patzer2: With the deflection 20. h5! Ne7 followed by the decoy 21. Bxg7 Kxg7, Spielmann begins a mating attack against the weakened Black castled position. This is a good combination for teaching visualization of the movement of pawns and pieces in calculation. An essential key to today's puzzle solution, for example, is getting a mental picture of the position after 22. Qg4+ Ng6 -- enabling one to see how 23. h6+ deflects the King and allows 24. Qf6 with mate to follow.

P.S.: For some reason it's often more difficult for me to visualize pawn moves than it is piece moves.

Nov-29-07  MostlyAverageJoe: Analysis of the second inaccuracy in black's play:

Instead of losing to forced mate after 21...Kxg7, the following line prolongs the game (while still losing miserably, evals at +8.45):

21 ... f6 22. Qh6 Nd5 23. Bxf8 Rxf8

There are no other playable moves for the black after Bxg7.

Nov-29-07  YouRang: <patzer2><P.S.: For some reason it's often more difficult for me to visualize pawn moves than it is piece moves.>

For me too. (And as far as piece moves go, I think knights moves are harder to visualize than rooks & bishops and queens.)

I suspect that it has to do with complexity. The rook, bishop and queen are each far more powerful than a pawn, but their movements are actually much easier to describe and comprehend than those of a pawn.

Unlike other pieces, a pawn:

-- Travels asymmetrically (only move/attack in the forward direction).

-- Doesn't capture the same as it moves.

And pawns are further complicated by other odd rules:

-- Pawns have different rules for moving (1 or 2 squares on 1st move, but 1 afterwards).

-- Pawns can be captured without being replaced by the capturing piece (i.e. en passant capture).

-- Pawns can be promoted!

So really, pawns are the most complicated things on the board. :-)

Nov-29-07  YouRang: This is one of those positions where the meaning of "best move" comes into debate.

I see some discussion pointing out that 20. Ne7 (saving the knight) was not technically the best move for black, if "best move" means prolonging the game (even if not changing the outcome).

And yet, if black had noticed that his "best move" required him to surrender the knight, he'd probably resign on the spot. So, in another sense, the "best move" would be the one that forces your opponent to demonstrate the winning technique if you choose NOT to surrender the decisive material -- which IMO is the point of the puzzle.

Nov-29-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <YouRang> I disagree with your last post (but then again I prompted you to it by my inaccurate statement about writing off the knight).

Look at the 20...e5 line. It does not give up the knight, it exchanges the knight for a bishop, and leaves black in much less messy postion than 20...Ne7.

The 'give up the knight' line (20...Bxe4) might or might not be better. I'd have to do a deep analysis on it.

Nov-29-07  nimzo knight: <Black's pawn push f7-f6 prevents mate if the bishop is not sacked first.> How about the line I mentioned before.
<22. Bxe6+ Kh8 23. h6 now if 23..fxg5 24.hxg7#.>
Nov-29-07  YouRang: <MostlyAverageJoe> I see your point, although I'm sure so sure that you really disagree with me. :-)

My point was simply that there are some positions where the meaning of "best move" becomes blurry, and this game might be an example of such if, for instance, 20...Bxe4 (giving up the knight) is indeed "better" (in the sense of prolonging the game) than 20...Ne7 (preventing the immediate loss of decisive material).

For this game, I do think that 20...e4 is the most attractive move for white (I regret not seeing it myself), as it salvages material AND prolongs the game. Of course, it seems to give white some huge positional advantages, including some terrifying passed pawns and a potent rook battery on the d-file.

Nov-29-07  fernando rodenas: h5 ? e5 and the atack is down
Premium Chessgames Member
  benveniste: <xrt999>, After 20. h5 Bxe4, 21. hxg6 hxg6, white can just play 22. f3. If 22. ... Bxf3?, 23. Qe5 gets pretty ugly for black.

Instead, black plays 22. ... Bd5 and I don't see anything better for white than exchanging white bishops and consolidating the advantage.

BTW, The game of the day pun left me "Steam"ing.

Nov-29-07  DukeAlba: I'm surprised to have solved Thursday considering that I failed to solve Tuesday and Wednesday. While I am not exactly proud of solving the uber-easy Monday puzzle I am proud that I am 2-2 on my first week of puzzle solving!

And regardless of whether or not black should have played 20. e5 is irrelevant in my opinion (if not for the purpose of analyzing alternatives) because in the end black either goes down a knight or loses the game.

I agree with <MostlyAverage Joe> when he says <Interesting: 20...Ne7 is not even one of the best 8 moves. Apparently black should've just written off the knight and putter on, hoping for a reverse blunder>

Nov-29-07  YouRang: <MostlyAverageJoe> *sigh* typo corrections:

<although I'm sure so sure that you really disagree with me.>

should be

<although I'm <not> so sure that you really disagree with me.>


<For this game, I do think that 20...e4 is the most attractive move for white>

should be:

<For this game, I do think that 20...e4 is the most attractive move for <black>>

Nov-29-07  ruzon: <You Rang> You mean it should be (and you're not the only one):

<For this game, I do think that 20...<e5> is the most attractive move for <black>>.

I did not see 20. ... e5 myself, which is worse than typing <e4>. In fact, I couldn't even see that 23. ... h6+ was a ton better than hxg6. Visualizing pawn moves is hard for me too.

I was also distracted by the potential Bh1 after 20. ... Bxe4, since it threatens Qg2#, but that threat is blunted by Kf1.

Nov-29-07  MostlyAverageJoe: < YouRang: typo corrections> Curiously, I noticed the typos only after you pointed them out. The corrections agree with what I thought you wrote :-)
Nov-29-07  YouRang: <ruzon> Oh good, I made TWO typos in the same sentence -- far more efficient that way. :-(

Yes, I noticed black's threat of ...Bf1 also, but it seems that white can maintain enough offensive pressure (without opening the a8-h1 diagonal) such that black won't have time to go there.

Nov-29-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <YouRang: threat of ...Bf1>

You mean Bh1, right :-)

Nov-29-07  YouRang: Aaauugh!
Nov-29-07  DarthStapler: I looked at 21. Bxg7 but I didn't see the continuation, I kept looking at 21. Qg5 f6 Bxe6+ but I couldn't find anything afterwards.

I saw the first move at least and the theme (sort of), so I give myself 1/4 of a point

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