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Theo Daniel van Scheltinga vs Gideon Stahlberg
Amsterdam (1950), Amsterdam NED, rd 11, Nov-25
Tarrasch Defense: Swedish Variation, Central Break (D33)  ·  0-1



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sac: 39...Rxd5 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i got the first 3 moves..

40...Rxd5 41.Rxd5 Qb7 pinning the hapless white's King.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Wednesday (Medium/Easy)

T Van Scheltinga vs Stahlberg, 1950 (39...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: N+P for B. The White Kh1 has 2 legal moves and is secured from check. The White Bd5 pins Ne6 to Kg8, while Re5 pins Ne6 to Qe7. The White Bd5 guards the a8-h1 diagonal leading to Kh1, however, suggesting replacement of the guard Bd5 with a more vulnerable defender.

Candidates (39...): Rxd5

22Rxd5 23.Rxd5 [else, drop a B]

23Qb7 (threatening 24Qxd5+)

24.Qg2 [Qa5 Nc7 wins Rd5]

(Note: in the variation, 24Nc7 is much better than its dual, 24Nf5, because it restricts checks by Qa5.)

24Nf4 (forking Rd5 and Qg2, and winning Rd5)

My board vision missed <dzechiel>'s zwischenzug. Very nice!

Mar-17-10  desiobu: Again, I didn't consider the game defense (Qa5), but found the way after Qg2, namely that Nf4 directly doesn't quite work.
Mar-17-10  ChocolateCakeLover: Puzzle of the day,Black to move 39...?

Tactical theme: Pin

After 39.Bd5? the knight is en prise but my chess vision is aiming for

39...Rxd5! putting white in a state of shock.

40.Rxd5 Qb7!

At this point white could resign.

The rook could not be saved e.g. 41.Qg2 Qb1+ (41...Nf4? Rd8+)

42.Qg1 Qe4+

43.Qg2 Qxg2+!

44.Kxg2 Nf4+ and the rook falls or 41.Qa5 Nc7 (Not 41...Nf4 because of 42.Qa8+)

Corrections are very much appreciated.

Let's see how this game goes.


Mar-17-10  ChocolateCakeLover: The game went...

41.Qa5 and 41...Nc7 is more direct than 41...Qb1+ avoiding any complications.

Mar-17-10  Nut: Am I the only one who chose 39...Qf6 forking the rook and mate threat at f1? If 40.Qe2 then 40...d3!, or 40.Bxc6+ Kg7 41. Qe2 d3.

The black d-pawn looks to take a pretty powerful role after 39...Qf6.

I'm very new to the study of the game, so could someone tell me what I'm missing here? Is it nothing more than the rook pin combination is cleaner for black? Thanks in advance!

Mar-17-10  Nut: I think I see now. 41. Re1 looks to defend my 39...Qf6 line nicely.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Easy as pie to me. Black sacrificed the exchange to reverse the pressure-and pick up the rook as a result. The extra piece should win easily.
Mar-17-10  Shah Mat: <Nut> Yeah you pretty much saw it yourself. 39...Qf6 loses the knight after 40.Bxe6 Kg7 41. Re1 and black is in big trouble.
Mar-17-10  YouRang: Got it! :-)
Answer a pin with a pin and win.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 39..Rxd5 steps up without a hitch. Shuttle the queen straining d5.. 40.Rxd5 Qb7 does rack it in line pinning the rook 41.Qa5 Nc7. White's tunnel vision 39.Bd5? I'm gobsmacked, it is a bad mint to swallow. Tale of the tape do not look to cramp in the bishop when monarch is exposed. Tres bon nice finish, bon nuit.
Mar-17-10  turbo231: I got the first 2 moves right, then i played the fork and lost. I can't think that far ahead. I treated this puzzle as a monday puzzzle, big mistake. What is the trick to think more than 3 moves in advance? This puzzle is a 6 mover twice my limit. I need to find a drill to increase my ability to visualize the board beyond 3 moves. Someone please help me, if that is possible.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <turbo231> wrote: [snip] I can't think that far ahead. [snip] What is the trick to think more than 3 moves in advance? [snip] I need to find a drill to increase my ability to visualize the board beyond 3 moves. >

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

To improve your board vision, just keep doing the puzzles without a board. Once your board vision is good enough, try to write down your variations systematically. There are usually a few variations on Tuesday, to begin.

If you practice, your board vision will improve, and meantime you will realize (which many do not) that nailing down detailed variations is a lot trickier than guessing the initial move of a correct combination.

Mar-17-10  turbo231: <johnlspouge: To improve your board vision, just keep doing the puzzles without a board.>

Thank you very much (just keep doing the puzzles without a board) i'm trying to wrap my brain around that sentence. I guess i need even more help.

Mar-17-10  wals: The h1-a8 diagonal showed me the way.
Mar-17-10  TheaN: Wednesday 17 March


Target: 2:10;000
Taken: in total a bit more

Material: Black up, ♙+♘ / ♗

Candidates: <[Rxd5]>

The strong Bishop on d5, neutralizing all pieces and threatening to win the Knight on e6 suggest only one move:

<39....Rxd5> and as such does not deserve a !. However, what's the verdict?

<40.Rxd5> I don't really see any point in letting Black keep the Rook.

<40....Qb7> now the fun starts. Black pins the Rook on d5, where the Bishop was not to be pinned. White has to defend his Rook in order to keep the material advantage or equality. The Knight that was so powerless becomes the strongest piece on the board with the Bishop gone, he defends d4 to begin with. So White has two options. The seemingly most logical one, breaking the pin and setting up a discovered attack, fails to a nice forking combination.

<41.Qg2 Qb1> take note that trying to double attack the Rook with Nc7 or Nf4 fails on the account of 42.Rd8, the move Nf4 will prove to be important though.

<42.Qg1 Qe4 43.Qg2> the same position, now with the Black Queen behind the Rook due to a hook maneuver. This allows the forking trade:

<43....Qxg2 44.Kxg2 Nf4 > winning the Rook and the game. So, White should defend outside the pin and has only one other option.

<41.Qa5> this stumped me for a while. The combination in A does not work here. However, because there is no discovered attack, Black is free to attack the Rook twice. Trying to win by a fork does not work here: 41....Qb1? 42.Kg2 Nf4 43.Kf3 Nxd5 44.Qd8= probably draws. How does Black make the double attack?

<41....Nc7> denies White access to d8 from a5. This threatens the simple 42....Qxd5 winning the Rook going up the Knight, with a Queen trade. White can only prevent this by moving Queen or King. As moving the Queen still allows Qxd5 with Queens still on the board:

<42.Kg1> seems way more logical. The Black Queen cannot leave the Knight's defense, so Black is forced now to play:

<42....Nxd5> but any counterattack is just artificial.

<43.Qd8 Kf7 > and the Queen ending with a strong Knight should be over soon. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <turbo231> This may or may not help...

Many long combinations are actually a number of quite short and easy tactics one after the other. In today's puzzle, especially the longer line which never happened, white doesn't do anything fancy. Just pins, checks, captures and a fork at the end.

The difficult bit is visualising what the board looks like after each bit of the sequence. Try this:

click for larger view

Here's our starting position. Notice how white controls the long diagonal from a8 to h1 and also pins the Ne6. Now visualise the rest of the moves without playing them. Don't worry about thinking of moves for yourself - this is just a visualisation exercise.

39...Rxd5 40. Rxd5

You need to be able to "see" the resulting position. The black rook and white bishop have disappeared and the white rook is now sitting at d5. In your imagination, you ought to be able to see which squares the rook can hit, and the fact that it is sitting on the same long diagonal as the king.

40...Qb7 41. Qb2

A new position to visualise. All the pieces except the black knight and king are now on the long diagonal. Again, when you've fixed that picture in your mind, try to look at what each piece can do.

41...Qb1+ 42. Qg1

Again, we need to be able to picture this clearly. Now we have a line of black queen, white queen and white king on the first rank. That doomed rook is still sitting at d5. If you lose the picture in your mind and have to rewind, don't worry. Try to build the picture until you are happy with it.

42...Qe4+ 43. Qg2

We are back to the long diagonal again, but now the black queen is on the other side of the rook. Can you see the line of pieces from d5, e4, g1 to h1?

43...Qxg2+ 44. Kxg2

This one should be a little easier. As pieces disappear from the board the remaining pieces are (usually) easier to place. The white rook is still on d5, the white king is now on g2 and the only other piece we need to worry about is the Ne6, which hasn't moved the whole combination.


Even when you know the moves of a combination, it is still worth playing them out in your head to improve visualisation. In fact, it is probably better to practice visualisation this way, as you don't have to worry about thinking up moves for yourself.

When you have cracked that, pick any of the alternative lines offered by the kibitzers and try to follow that by visualisation. As <johnlspouge> quite rightly says, it does come with practice.

Mar-17-10  ruzon: I could see that 39...Rxd5 40. Rxd5 Qb7 41. Qg2 Nf4?? was wrong, but I could not see the proper continuation. If it wasn't a puzzle, I would have given up on 39...Rxd5.
Mar-17-10  David2009: <patzer2: The move 39. Bd5? was clearly the decisive mistake. Instead, 39. Qe1! Rd6 40. Bd5 Kf7 41. g5! leaves White with a strong and lasting advantage [snip] Fritz 10 indicates play could continue 41...d3 42. Qe3 h6 43. h4 hxg5 44. hxg5 Qe8 45. Kg1 d2 46. Qxa7+ Kf8 47. Qf2+ Kg7 48. Qxd2 Qa4 49. Rxe6 Qg4+ 50. Kf2 Qf5+ 51. Kg3 Rxe6 52. Bxe6 Qxe6> Crafty playing Black using the link below agrees with Fritz (transposing two moves) up till move 41 but then continues 41...Rb6 instead of 41...d3. I cannot yet find a win for White: a draw by perpetual check after regaining the pawn is the best I can do.

I have set the position up at move 38 using on-line Crafty: You are white, drag and drop the move you want to make. You can try the game line 38 Re5 (to which Crafty replies 38...Nxe6 as in the game) and also 38 Qa5 which leads to interesting play and (in one line) to a slightly better Rook ending for White. Enjoy finding this out!

Mar-17-10  turbo231: <Once>

Thank you for helping me. I have a lot of work to do. I'm going to start doing visualization exercises. Someone said talent is 99% work.

Mar-17-10  Kangaroo: <<ruzon>: I could see that <39...Rxd5 40. Rxd5 Qb7 41. Qg2 Nf4??> was wrong, but I could not see the proper continuation. If it wasn't a puzzle, I would have given up on 39...Rxd5.>

It is simple! After <39...Rxd5 40. Rxd5 Qb7 41. Qg2> Black will continue <41... Qb1+ 42. Qg1 <easy to see this is the unique move> Qe4+ 43. Qg2 Qxg2+ 44. Kxg2 Nf4+> and then <45...Nxd5>!

Mar-17-10  sfm: <Someone said talent is 99% work.> I wouldn't agree to that one, though. But it is definitely true that the best talents are also those who work hard.
Mar-17-10  turbo231: <sfm>

You are right of coarse. What i should have said was without work talent dies on the vine.

Mar-17-10  James Bowman: @Kangaroo thats the continuation I found as well. Nice work
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <David2009> I'm not so sure but that the line that Fritz 10 came up with, Queen endgame with a pawn advantage, might not be a draw with best play.

However, even if it is a draw, two things in White's favor are:

1. 39. Qe1! is in no danger of losing. So it is an improvement.

2. 39. Qe1! gives White a lot of winning chances, as potential drawing moves are difficult for Black to find.

P.S.: One of the problems with this endgame is in trying to get it down to six pieces, so an endgame tablebase can help. And to be honest, even after the end of the Fritz 10 line, it was taking too much time for me to try and figure out a forced win in the Queen endgame with the extra pawn.

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