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Alfonso Romero Holmes vs Boris Kantsler
European Club Cup (2002), Halkidiki GRE, rd 7, Sep-28
Modern Defense: King Pawn Fianchetto (B06)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: It was clear that mate was inescapable and that black must sacrifice both rooks and queen to draw by stalemate.

Black just needed a sequence where the sacs couldn't be declined.

Apr-17-09  YouRang: Not hard to find when you know what you're looking for.

White threatens Rh8# and black has little to say about it. However, our king and pawns are all immobile, so the best hope is to jettison all 3 moving pieces with check and take the stalemate draw. (Anyone doing puzzles this weeks could see this coming.)

How? At first I considered 44...Qxg2+, but it loses to 45.Kxg2 Rg3+ 46.Kxg3 47.Re3+ f3!

Then I tried 44...Qe1+ 45.Kh2 Qh1+ 46.Kxh1 Re1 (not ...Rc1, since we need this rook to prevent escape to the 3rd rank) 47.Kh2 Rh1+ 48.Kxh1 ...

Here I sunk into despair when I realized that 48...Rc1+ 49.Kh2 Rh1+ 50.Kg3! Rh3+ 51.Kf4! Rf3+ 52.Ke5! and the king eventually hides from checks at d6. It's no good taking the queen since white still wins easily with K+R.

However, despair was replaced with glee when I tried checking from the other angle: 48...Kh3+!! 49.Kg1 Rh1+ and there's no escape thanks to white's pawns, "protecting" the white king. :-)

Apr-17-09  TheChessGuy: Important considerations: Yes, Black has a rook for three pawns. However, he must act critically, because White has a forced checkmate. Noticing that his king is stalemated and his pawns are immobilized, Black sees that he can swindle half a point via stalemate with a triple heavy piece sacrifice! Such opportunities are rare and should always be savored, especially the look on the recipient's face when they shake your hand.
Apr-17-09  johnlspouge: < <tivrfoa> wrote: hey johnlspouge, let me just correct you in your first sequence >

Hi, <tivrfoa>. Obviously, I was already too focused on the draw when I wrote the variation :>} I keep a corrected version of my posts, so thanks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <Benzol> <...a game (not in the database) between Taimanov (White) and Geller (Black) in the USSR in 1967>

Oops! It appears I stand corrected.

Taimanov vs Geller, 1951 is the game in question in my last post. It looks like Hugh Alexander got his dates mixed up.


Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Finding the stalemate really wasn't all that hard. White's Queen and Rook were poised to kill Black's King, so obviously Black's current move must lead either to a forced stalemate or a win--no other chance to survive.

I did spend a lot of time trying to find a win, but that eluded me.

Apr-17-09  awfulhangover: I knew it's stalemate week. If not, I had searched for a win!
Apr-17-09  hedgeh0g: Although the position looks promising for Black upon a quick first glance as he is a Rook up, it quickly dawns on you that his King is hopelessly trapped, and, if Black's next move isn't a check, will be mated. With the week's stalemate theme in mind, it isn't difficult to spot the combination which salvages a draw for Black: Qe1+ Kh2, Qh1+! Kxh1, Re1+ Kh2, Rh1+ Kxh1, Rh3+ Kg1, Rh1+ Kxh1 draw. Easy to calculate since White's king only has one escape square for each check.

I feel confident I would spot this one in my own games.

Apr-17-09  Big Easy: I didn't get it. I had forgotten that this week the theme is draws by forced stalemate, so I was looking for a win.

It's funny, the last few moves resemble a game of losers chess.

Apr-17-09  njchess: I got this one, even without knowing this week's theme. The tip off was since White has mate in one with Rg8++, Black must check with every move. White must have just stared st the board in disbelief after that ending sequence!
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: I thought there was a win with 44...Qb1+ 42. Kh2 Qb8+ 43. g3 Qxg3+ 44. fxg3 Re2+ 45. Kg1 Rc1+...unfortunately 46. Qf1 spoils the fun. :)
Apr-17-09  pacorrum: Just as a curiosity, were the black rook on b8 instead of e8 it would be a very nice mate for black:

44... Rb1+ 45.Kh2 Rh3+! 46.Kxh3 Rh1+ 47. Kg3 Qg4 ++ ( is also mate).

Apr-17-09  Marmot PFL: I saw this stalemate idea fairly quickly, but it took a while to realize that black had nothing better. I don't recall any other game where the side with more material had to go for stalemate.
Apr-17-09  TheaN: Friday 17 April

The week of draws, so it seems.


Material: -/♖ vs 3♙\(!) w: ♕ + ♖ + 5♙ b: ♕ + 2♖ + 2♙ (ENDGAME)

Candidates: Rc1†, <[Qe1†]>

Target: 6:00
Taken: 1:24(!)
Par: by far

I found this one so quickly because I have seen a similar position, or maybe the same position. Black, although up a Rook for three Pawns, is in a bind and cannot 'defend' against the mate on h8. However, with a stalemated king and pawns, one would imagine that there MIGHT be a stalemate possibility. In this position, it is not just a possibility. Black will, completely forced, throw all his major pieces on the White King and draw.

<44....Qe1† 45.Kh2 Qh1† 46.Kxh1 Re1† 47.Kh2 Rh1† 48.Kxh1 Rh3† 49.Kg1 (49.gxh3 stalemate 1/2) 49....Rh1† 50.Kxh1 stalemate 1/2>

Quite beautiful, nonetheless.

Apr-17-09  TheaN: 4/4 (with Thursday delayed)

Yep, nice resource here. I obtained a draw yesterday against a stronger opponent, but that was in a probably winning position >_>; we both evaluated that wrong in the first place: a completely different draw if you ask me. Still, I was happy with it.

Apr-17-09  CHESSTTCAMPS: <keypusher:> wrote <I thought there was a win with 44...Qb1+ 42. Kh2 Qb8+ 43. g3 Qxg3+ 44. fxg3 Re2+ 45. Kg1 Rc1+...unfortunately 46. Qf1 spoils the fun. :)>

In this line, white can simply play 45.Kh3 and save the queen. Black can no longer force stalemate because he runs out of useful checks, e.g. 45...Rxg3+ 46.Kxg3 Rg2+ 47.Kf4 Rf2+ 48.Ke5 Re2+ 49.Kd6 Re6+ 50.Qxe6+

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <CHESSTTCAMPS> Oops, right you are.

<pacorrum> Very nice!

Apr-17-09  Mammothrib: <tivrfoa> Well, shows how much I know :/ Thank you.
Apr-17-09  5hrsolver: It took me a while to get this one. I saw that if black can give up all the heavy pieces it would be stalemate. But how to give up material without allowing the white king to walk up the board is the problem. It is tempting to give up the rooks first before the queen. It took me a while to find the stalemating idea. It is amazing that all white's pieces were given up on the h1 square.
Apr-17-09  xrt999: I forgeted the theme was stalemate
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Friday puzzle, Black avoids mate after a clever defensive stalemate combination which begins with 44...Qe1+!
Apr-17-09  waustad: I'm impressed. I hadn't a clue where to start here.
Apr-17-09  zooter: <YouRang:>

Same thoughts as me...except that my despair was not replaced by glee till I checked the game score

Apr-17-09  TheBish: A Romero Holmes vs B Kantsler, 2002

Black to play (44...?) "Difficult"

This is definitely draw week! If this keeps up, Sunday's problem won't be "insane", but merely difficult at best. Of course, CG will probably throw us a loop and give us an option of a draw, with a harder-to-find win! (You heard it here first.)

Black is ahead in material, up a rook and three pawns, but is faced with mate in one (Rh8). So, Black is playing defense, since there is no forced win. In fact, it looks like he only has a few spite checks before impending doom. Black can't even sacrifice his queen to prevent mate, since 44...Qh7? 45. Rxh7 Kxh7 46. Qf7+ drops a rook as well, leading to an easy win for White. But with Black's pawns all blockaded, a stalemate opportunity presents itself, if Black can manage to give away all his pieces...

44...Qe1+ 45. Kh2 Qh1+! (or Qg1+!) 46. Kxh1 Re1+ 47. Kh2 Rh1+! 48. Kxh1 Rh3+! 49. Kg1 Rh1+ 50. Kxh1 (forced) stalemate!

Note that Black loses after 48...Rc1+?? (instead of 48...Rh3+!) 49. Kh2 Rh1+ 50. Kg3 Rh3+ 51. Kf4 Rf3+ 52. Ke5 (or Kg5 Rg3+ 53. Kxh5 Rg5+ 54. Qxg5+) Re3+ 53. Kxd5 Re5+ 54. Qxe5! and Black's king has a move.

May-18-09  WhiteRook48: clever forcing
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