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Zoltan Almasi vs Viktor Korchnoi
EUCup final (1996), Budapest, rd 2, Nov-27
French Defense: Winawer. Retreat Variation Armenian Line (C18)  ·  1-0



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Apr-21-15  morfishine: <33.Qg7+> forces mate: 33...Rxg7 34.fxg7+ Kg8 35.gxf8=Q/R mate


<whiteshark: Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself> priceless!


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Phony Benoni: Promoting to a queen is definitely best here. Your flag might fall before you found a third rook.>

Quite right. And the trick of turning a queen upside down to represent a rook has never caught on. Which is a shame.

This one took me a bit longer than usual because I was determined to make 33.Bg7+ work. Fritz confirms that it does work, but slowly. Here's one line:

33. Bg7+ Kg8 34. Bxh7+ Nxh7 35. Re8+ Rf8 36. Bxf8+ Ng5 37. Qxg5+ Kf7 38. Qh5+ Kxf6 39. Rf1#

In human mode I didn't quite get that far. After a while it dawned on me that this puzzle was all about pieces that you don't want to move, and men wearing make-up.

I didn't want to move my Re7 because that was blocking the black rooks from connecting with each other and defending along the seventh rank.

I didn't want to move my Bh6 because it was doing a great job of restraining the black king and building a mating net.

So while it was tempting to play Bg7+ and set up a discovered check, I couldn't do much with that bishop after the check other than put it on the h6 square that it was standing on already. 33. Bg7+ Kg8 34. Bxf8+ Kxf8 looked messy. I'm giving away a great attacking piece for a meh defender. White might be winning, but I'm not feeling the love for the position any more.

So if I don't want to move rook or bishop, what is left? The principled move would be to bring the Ra1 into the attack with something like 33.Rae1, but that doesn't feel like a puzzly move.

By a process of elimination, we arrive at a queen move. Mate looks to be near, so we have permission from Blessed Caissa to be outrageous. Looking across the board, what is the glam rock move complete with high heels, sequinned jumpsuit and KISS style demon make-up?

Ah yes, 33. Qg7+. The rook takes, pawn takes, pawn takes. It's a check-check-checkmate. And suddenly we have jumped genres from KISS to David Bowie's ch-ch-changes.

But we are still men wearing make-up. It's a funny old world sometimes.

Apr-21-15  TheaN: Tuesday 21 April 2015 <33.?>

Definitely an easy Tuesday, white abuses the f8-h6 diagonal with a queen sacrifice (make up from yesterday?): <33.Qg7+ Rxg7 34.fxg7+ Kg8 35.gxf8=Q# 1-0>. That said, 33.Bg7+ is probably mate too and 33.Bxf8 should win as well, black's kingside is just busted too much. There are some variations to go wrong, whatsoever.

<Phony Benoni: Promoting to a queen is definitely best here. Your flag might fall before you found a third rook.>

Hah, hadn't looked at it like that. So true.

Apr-21-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has a material advantage of two bishops and a pawn for two knights and is working against a seriously degraded king position. My first thought was simply 33.Bxf8 and black can't recapture, but much more satisfactory is a forced mate: 33.Qg7+! Rxg7 34.fxg7+ Kg8 35.gxf8=Q# but Korchnoi (the greatest 80+ player ever among many other accomplishments) likely resigned before that.
Apr-21-15  mistreaver: Tuesday. White to play. Easy. 33.?
33 Qg7+ Rxg7
34 fxg7+ Kg8
35 gxf8Q mate
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: <Once: By a process of elimination, we arrive at a queen move.>

Pattern-matching made me eliminate the queen move first! ... but I failed, and never reached anything else.

It's not quite a <swinging gate> because it lacks a pawn double-check for a rook entry. Instead, it has a promotion-fork, which I guess counts as a rooklike entry (from off the board, as others have noted). Korchnoi helpfully created <weak back rank>, hanging f8 to defend h7.

Apr-21-15  zb2cr: Simple. 33. Qg7+, Rxg7 is forced. 34. hxg7+, Kg8 is forced again. And now, 35. gxf8=Q#.
Apr-21-15  morfishine: Yes, the weak back rank sticks out which leads to a 'recognized pattern'
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Well that surprised me. I was going for some 33.Bg7+ Kg8 34.Bxf8 variation, but couldn't find anything.

I saw 33.Qg7+, but didn't see anything past 33...Rxg7 34.fxg7+ Kg8 (didn't see the knight was double attacked).

Apr-21-15  griga262: <Phony Benoni: Promoting to a queen is definitely best here. Your flag might fall before you found a third rook.> LOL!
Apr-21-15  wooden nickel: What are the official rules of promotion, since it's mate, would it not be sufficient just claiming the queen (or rook) instead of actually replacing the pawn? I also heard that if the flag is falling mate would still count?!

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Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I struggled with this one. Rejected 33 Qg7+ for some reason, spent too much time exploring 33 Bg7+ (which seemed to work after ...Kg8 34 Bxh7+) but was certainly too hard for a Tuesday

In desperation, went back to 33 Qg7+ and then, at last, saw the easy 33... Rxg7 34 fxg7+ Kg8 35 gxf8(Q)#

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Queen lost; queen regained;queen mates. the rook acts as a great blocker- keeping away the enemy queen and rook.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <wooden nickel> I think the answer is ...

The laws of chess say that a move is completed when:

"in the case of the promotion of a pawn, when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard and the player's hand has released the new piece after placing it on the promotion square."

Checkmate immediately ends the game - you don't have to press the clock after delivering the mating move.

If I am right, the sequence is ...

1. Push your pawn to the queening square.
2. Replace the pawn with your chosen piece.
3. Take your hand off the new piece.
4. You win as long as you have some time left on your clock. It does not matter if your flag falls after you have completed the mating move (ie after you have removed your paw from the piece).

If your flag falls before you complete the move, your opponent can claim a win on time (or a draw if there isn't enough material) ... and this when you hope that the arbiter is standing nearby to spot exactly when the flag falls.

If I am right, it is the same with most draws (insufficient material, stalemate, etc). The game is drawn the instant that the move is completed (ie taking your hand off the piece) and not when you press the clock.

I think...

Apr-21-15  patzer2: Got the pawn promotion mate 33. Qg7+! Rxg7 34. hxg7+ Kg8 35. gxf8(Q)# easy enough for my Tuesday puzzle solution.

In trying to find an improvement for Black, the most interesting aspect of the game for me was the opening.

In particular, the move 8...a5 (which first appears in the OE database with Black's win in Leko vs Lputian, 1995) is one I find both interesting and puzzling. The computer doesn't find 8...a5 to be bad (i.e. equal evaluations), but it's one of the least popular choices among Masters.

According to the opening explorer data base, there have been 175 games played with the move 8. f4.

Of those 175 games, the reply 8...a5 has been played in only six of those 175 games (3.4%). Much more popular than moving this wing pawn are moves that develop a piece:

8...Bd7, as in Black's win in A Gabrielian vs R Khusnutdinov, 2013, was played in 81 of the 175 games after 8. f4 (46%), with the result being 33% wins for White to 31% wins for Black.

8...Ne7, as in Black's win in Schmittdiel vs A Berelowitsch, 2012, was played in 60 of the 175 games after 8. f4 (34%), with the result being 43% wins for white to 23% wins for Black.

8...Nc6, as in the draw in T Baron vs C Bauer, 2014, was played in 12 of the 175 games after 8. f4 (7%), with the result being six wins for White and one win for Black.

8...Nh6, as in Black's win in Z Almasi vs Hug, 1994, was also played in 12 of the 175 games after 8,. f4 (7%), with the result being four wins for White and three wins for Black.

8...a5, as played in this game, appears in six games in the opening explorer at, with the result being four wins for White and two wins for Black.

While it's difficult to fault 8...a5 with concrete analysis, my own preference would be to go for one of the more frequently played piece developing moves (i.e. 8...Bd7, 8...Ne7, 8...Nc7 or 8...Nh6) over 8...a5.

However, Deep Fritz 14 finds 8...a5 to be just fine, and doesn't find fault with Black's play until <15...f6> is played.

Instead Deep Fritz 14 recommends 15...Rc8 (+0.36 @ 27 depth) as an improvement:

15...Rc8 16.Qf2 Be8 17.Bxf5 exf5 18.0-0 g6 19.Nxd4 Nd7 20.Be3 Qc3 21.Rfd1 Nc5 22.Ne2 Qc4 23.Bxc5 Rxc5 24.Nd4 Qb4 25.Rdb1 Qc3 26.Rd1 Rc4 27.Nb3 Qxc2 28.Qxc2 Rxc2 (+ 0.36 @ 27 depth)

P.S.: Of course one could take the route of most Masters playing the French and avoid these complications altogether with 5...Bxc3+ as played in 3,207 of 3,782 games (85%) in the opening explorer data base.

Apr-21-15  wooden nickel: <Once: I think the answer is ...> Thanks for the thorough explanation, that sounds reasonable, thanks!
Apr-21-15  Howard: On another subject regarding Victor, whom did he play around 2004 when his opponent a won position ?
Apr-21-15  Russ123: <In a casual speed game, I once sequestered all the pieces an opponent could promote to. He responded by promoting his pawn to an ashtray.>

I hope he smoked you. *grin*

Apr-21-15  Geronimo: This is a rich and instructive puzzle, more sophisticated, if not formally more difficult, than other Tuesdays' puzzles. I think what makes it challenging is the viability (gut feeling and chessical soundness) of 33. Bg7. There are a few other nice looking moves to get through before finding the right move too. Thanks chessgames for a good one. I only get a half point for deciding that the queen move was 'probably the right one' without thinking it all the way through.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Been thinking about this puzzle. What I think is happening here is that we have two plausible moves which feel like a puzzle solution.

The immediate 33. Bg7+ feels really good because (a) it's a forcing move and (b) we compel Black to walk into the cross hairs of a bishop-queen gun. Clearly 33...Rxg7 is not much of a defence.

This means that 33.Bg7+ feels solutiony. And if that isn't a word yet it darned well ought to be. It's a forcing move, it has a defence that doesn't work, it sets Black up for a bishop-queen battery. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and is served with plum sauce and not enough pancakes then it's a ...

Oh no, it isn't. 33.Qg7+ is better but it's a harder move to spot because it does something unusual. It gives up a queen in order to create a pawn fork. Ordinarily, queen sacrifices don't lead to pawn forks - because what could a pawn fork that would be worth more than a queen?

What makes this particular pawn fork work is that the Black king is already mostly in a mating net and the pawn fork leads to a queening/ rooking promotion which gives mate.

Clever stuff. I agree with Geronimo - a rich and instructive puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: I went down the Bg7+ path and thought I was creating the most forceful alternative. I agree with <Once>, a very instructive puzzle. I saw the Queen move but dismissed it as hazardous and a sacrifice without the full reward. I overlooked the pawn's participation! Broader deeper views bring better results!
Apr-21-15  sorokahdeen: A pretty illustration of geometry and time.

The white rook that black has covered and threatens to capture screens the zig-zagging f-pawn for the one move it has to exist on g7 before it captures the knight to give mate on promotion.


Apr-21-15  BOSTER: Lasker said that such moves like 33.Qg7+, 34.fxg7+,35. gxf8+ =Q, or R are banal matters, or routine, a fixed program, but idea is the field of art.

White to play 23.

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Apr-21-15  Pirandus: NOT EASY!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Bubo bubo: White mates with help of the Resurrection-of-the-queen theme: 33.Qg7+ Rxg7 34.fxg7+ Kg8 35.gxf8Q#
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