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Nigel Short vs Andrew J Muir
Gibraltar Masters (2004), Catalan Bay ENG, rd 2, Jan-28
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Classical Variation (B63)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The trick to today's puzzle is spotting the role played by the white Bd5, the white f5 pawn and the black g7 pawn. These three pieces block off the g8, g7 and g6 squares.

It's as if there is an invisible wall along the g file. The black king is one of those pavement mime artists waving his hands around like a demented table tennis player who has accidentally mislaid his bat. At least for the time being he is stuck on the h file. And nasty things happen on the h file when there is a full moon and the clock strikes twelve. And you've lost your table tennis bat.

What we have here, my friends, is a back rank mate position where the board has been turned through ninety degrees. Instead of mating against the back rank, we are mating against the side wall.

Let's call it a slow comfortable mate against a wall - a tasty cocktail ... for white at least.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: <Once>
<a slow comfortable mate against a wall>

By a rook?
With a King?

Do you think that is legal in Gibraltar?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: You mean, between a rock and a hard place?
Jul-24-12  dragon player: This puzzle contains some nice sacs:

35.Qxh7+ Nxh7
36.Rxh7+ Kxh7
37.Rh1+ Bh4

Time to check.


yes, right.


Jul-24-12  Memethecat: Like a coalition soldier with an Afghani family in his sights you don't have to think about this one, just keep firing at h7.

35.Qxh7+ Nxh7 36.Rxh7+ Kxh7 37.Rh1+ Bh4 38.Rxh4#

Jul-24-12  paire: Ahh :) Nice q sac... it would feel so great to win a game with a combination like that!
Jul-24-12  Cibator: A nice example of Greco's Mate, where the rook delivers the death-blow down the h-file with the White LSB covering the flight square at g8.

<Phony Benoni: There's a legend about a guy who played a similar sacrificial combination, reached for a rook to deliver the mate, and found he had run out.>

Not a legend, Phony, though I've never been able to track down the full score of the game. It happened to A E Post at Coburg in 1904 - see my comment on the subject under that player's profile.

Jul-24-12  zb2cr: Saw this in perhaps 5 seconds. 35. Qxh7+, Nxh7; 36. Rxh7+, Kxh7+; 37. Rh1+ and Black has one useless interposition left before mate.
Jul-24-12  pedro123: routine for a Tuesday
Jul-24-12  KingV93: Nice sac by Nigel but Black played into White's hands a little. You'd think the Rooks and Queen on open files would have set off the fire alarm but I guess not..
Jul-24-12  Marmot PFL: I don't see what else black could have done at that point. By move 25 it already looks lost.
Jul-24-12  LittleBrain: Hello to all. Great plaisur to be here with you.
Really Easy, and I'm realy surprised by the position at the final. Big players, and well play. so: Queen sac pawn h7
Nxh7 Rxh7 Kxh7 and final Rh1 checkmat.
but quickly, i see others possibility.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheTamale: Hello, <LittleBrain>, and welcome. You may have a little brain but it appears big enough for!
Jul-24-12  Herma48852: Easier than Monday. Mucho action on h7: 35. Qxh7+ Nxh7 36. Rxh7+ Kxh7 37. Rh1+ Bh4 38. Rxh4#
Jul-24-12  TheaN: Tuesday 24 July 2012


Material: hadn't really checked but I believe Black is a ♘+♙ vs ♗ up

Candidates: <[Qxh7]> yet had some trouble with the conclusion

The first notion in this puzzle is that heavy pieces and the h-file don't match, at least not for the defending side. White's scope is huge here, and the pawns in front of the Black king are just a tiny shield to cope.

Hitting on h7 is really the only way White has to break, as breaching g7, a critical square unavailable to the Black king, opens without much compensation for White to hold. Also, the f6 Bishop comes into play, and it was just nicely inactive for White.

<35.Qxh7 Nxh7> of course a player should see the followup before playing something like this, though it was only now I noticed the g-file is completely shut. The d5 bishop (g8), the Black pawn on g7 (g7) and the pawn on f5 (g6) make sure that strafing to the right is not an option for Black, after which:

<36.Rxh7 Kxh7 37.Rh1 Bh4> this can hardly be called activity but we should give the f6 bishop, he did move.

<38.Rxh4 1-0> and the case is closed. Literally.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White can give up queen and rook for one resounding check!
Jul-24-12  zakkzheng: good puzzle and game by short
Jul-24-12  BOSTER: According to A.Soltis you don't have to look far in your own games.

"It is resonable that two-and-a-half moves is good enough to play at the level of respectable amateur".

But why Muir didn't see this 2 and 1/2 moves?

(Bh4 doesn't change the situation).

The explanation is very easy.
When playing chess you can see the dazzle, tease of the sun and hear the tender splash waves in the blue sea, (Gibraltar!) of course you can't see mate in 2 and 1/2 moves.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Heading off kings escape lsb in d5 bored it through in 35.qxh7+ nxh7

36.rxh7 kxh7 37.rh1+ in cement it is trouble for black it tease in

clod hopper h7 for pry it trespass namesake flow a backdrop in for

now sacrifice upon you flinging h7 for queen hoister in pearl of

wisdom open lines kingside among it twice in h7 long may your big

jib draw.

Jul-24-12  Castleinthesky: Smash down the ramparts!
Jul-24-12  Tired Tim: <Memethecat: Like a coalition soldier with an Afghani family in his sights you don't have to think about this one, just keep firing at h7.>

Please withdraw this truly nasty statement

Jul-24-12  Tired Tim: I'm puzzled by the comments of thos who seem to think that Muir didn't see this coming - e.g. <BOSTER: According to A.Soltis you don't have to look far in your own games. "It is resonable that two-and-a-half moves is good enough to play at the level of respectable amateur". But why Muir didn't see this 2 and 1/2 moves?>

I'm sure he saw it looming towards him ... just as Short had the plan - amongst others - from around move 28.

But what else could he do? He could resign - but why should he. Charitably you can suggest that he was giving the spectators a treat. Less charitably, he was hoping that Nigel's phone might have rung.

Jul-24-12  stst: QxP+ NxQ
RxN+ KxR
Rh1+ Bh4
(By Brute force, the only way!)
Jul-24-12  Patriot: 35.Qxh7+ Nxh7 36.Rxh7+ Kxh7 37.Rh1+ Bh4 38.Rxh4#
Jul-24-12  ForeverYoung: Mr. Muir didn't stand a ghost of a chance once he got into that position!
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