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Evgeny Bareev vs Vladimir Akopian
Dortmund Sparkassen (2000), Dortmund GER, rd 8, Jul-15
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Huebner Variation (E41)  ·  0-1



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Given 9 times; par: 114 [what's this?]

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Jan-16-09  Patriot: Black to play: "Difficult"

If nothing else, black has 69...Qxc5 70.Rxc5 Bxg2 71.Kxg2 going for a draw. This variation is good to keep in mind as the best move so far and to play it if time is low.

I wanted to play 69...Rh1+ 70.Kxh1 Qd7 threatening 71...Qh3+ 72.Kg1 Qxg2# but white can simply reply 71.Kh2. So then I thought, what if I play 69...Qd7 first! Now the immediate threat is 70...Rh1+ 71.Kxh1 Qh3+ 72.Kg1 Qxg2#.

69...Qd7 70.Qf2 (to stop variation above) Qd1 and now 71...Qxh5 and 71...Qh1# cannot both be stopped.

I likely would not have seen this OTB, especially with G/30 +5 sec delay.

Jan-16-09  patzer2: <RandomVisitor: White had an advantage through most of this game, blowing it at 67.Qc5? (Qf3 or Re2 might be better) when 68.Kh3 would be equal.> After 67. Re2 I'd think Black would be fighting for the draw and White has excellent winning chances. However, I don't have a good chess engine handy. What does Rybka 3 suggest White's chances are after 67. Re2 ?
Jan-16-09  Paraconti: Well, the game WAS played by Akopian!
Jan-16-09  euripides: <patzer, random> White seems to make no progress from move 41 onwards. Either Bareev missed a good plan, or Black's fortress is solid enough to hold. I guess the engines will evaluate at about +2 throughout, but I think what one would really need is a good plan for White.
Jan-16-09  JG27Pyth: Qb7 :(
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: I liked 69...Qb7, too. Thought I had a winner until Hiarcs showed me that 70 Re5 draws.
Jan-16-09  xrt999: < Dr. J: Put me down as another member of the "I thought 69...Qg7 works" club. But here's yet another defense: 70 Rg1 Rb2+ 71 Kh3 Bg2+ 72 Rxg2, and I don't think Black can force a win. Still, Black retains some attack, so I think <oxmikey>'s elegant 70 Re5 is best. >

one more for Qb7. [I assume you mean the 69...Qb7 club.] After your 69...Qb7 70.Rg1 Rb2+ 71.Kh3 though, I dont think black would play 71...Bg2+ but 71...Qd7+ , and black is completely winning. The only response is 72.Rf5

Furthermore, after 69...Qb7 70.Rg1 this apparently is black to move and mate in 9 according to my patzer CM engine...SO yes as <oxmike> accordingly says 69...Qb7 70.Re5 is an equal game, so obviously 69...Qb7 is not a solution.

<elegant> - is this another word for <15 ply engine assisted analysis> ?

Jan-16-09  johnlspouge: Friday (Difficult):

Bareev vs Akopian, 2000 (69…?)

Black to play and win.

Material: B for R. The White Kh2 is stalemated. The Black Qc7 pins Pg3 to Kh2, and Rb1 has both the open file and the White back rank. The Black Be4 can capture Rg2, except that White threatens Qxc7, winning the Black Qc7. The Black Qc7 requires activation. To apply <YouRang>’s method of wishful thinking, if Rg2 were removed from the board, Black could play …Rh1#. Thus, Rg2 is pinned to the mate threat at h1. The Black Kg7 is open to …Rh8+ and is vulnerable to back-rank mates.

Candidates (69…): Rh1+, Qxg3+, Qb7

69…Qb7 (threatening 70…Bxg2)

<[Toga says I missed the defense 70.Qd4 Qa8 71.Ra5 Qxa5 72.Qxe4, a dead draw. Judging from the kibitzing, I can take my number in the line.]>

Jan-16-09  Dibbles: Ok….

I feel like I am getting close to this…

The obvious first move that springs to mind is:


Not only does save the queen, it also provides some protection against the white attack Qc8#, and causes a lot of problems for white: He cannot move his king, or rook on g2. Examples:

70. Rg1… Rb2#

70. Rc2 (or any of the squares on the 2nd line)…. Rh1#

Whites attack has been crushed and white must now defend against the following line:

70. … Rh1+
71. Kxh1…Qa3+
72. Kg1…Qxg2#

His only defence here is Qf2 – he MUST provide some protection to the rook on g2 but cannot move to c2 due to the black bishop. The only option is Qf2.

69….. Qd7
70. Qf2…. Qd1

This presents an attack on the white rook on h5 and also threatens mate with Qh1#.

I can’t see any way out of this for white without going a piece down, and losing his valuable rook on h5, simultaneously terminating white’s previous threat of mate along the back line.

Black will end up having his queen on h5 but will go into the end game queen + bishop vs queen. White’s queen is also badly placed though after moving to the critical square Qf2. I think he resigns after Qd1. Usually catastrophically wrong about these later puzzles but I think I am close here… time to look!

Jan-16-09  Dibbles: Holy mary mother of god I got a friday puzzle!!!!!!!!! It took me an hour but I got there! 3/5 this week!!!! Bottle of pinot tonight to celebrate... hoorah!!
Jan-16-09  xrt999: after 69...Qb7 70.Rg1 there are quite a few beautiful forced mates for black.

69...Qb7 70.Rg1 Rb2+ 71.Rg2 Rxg2+ 72.Kh3 Rh2+! 73.Kxh2 Qb2+ 74.Kh3 Bg2+ 75.Kg4 Qe2+ 76.Kf4 Qe4+ 77.Kg5 f6# for example

Jan-16-09  johnlspouge: Hi, <Dibbles>. Congratulations on today's success, and enjoy your pinot tonight. Your chessforum, though brief, is excellent.

As Eugene Znosko-Borovsky said, "It is not a move, even the best move, that you must seek, but a realisable plan." (

Tonight, I will teach my children (8 and 11 years old) the obvious lesson about life I took from your chessforum ;>)

Many thanks!

Jan-16-09  njchess: Black's queen is en prise so it must move or be captured. Qb7 has a nice look to it because it allows the queen to protect his bishop and rook. But, it really is a passive, non-threatening move that just seems to waste the initiative. Moreover, Qb7 moves the queen out of the center away from Black's king. I didn't analyze it too deeply, but it seems drawish to me. I also drop Qb8 for similar reasons.

Qd7 keeps the queen in the center near the king and it threatens Qd1!, while preventing White's king from moving. Qd7 is preferred over Qd8 because it controls more space and it keeps Black's queen on light colored squares.

As I look at White's possible responses, I note that Qd7 nicely prevents White's checkmating sequence of Re5, Re8+, Qh5++. White can't move his second rank rook or Black checkmates with Rh1++. Therefore, he must move his queen. 69. ... Qd7 70. Qf2(best) Qd1! 71. Rg1 Qxh5 72. Rxb1 Bxb1 gives Black a winning endgame. After an exhausting 70 some odd moves, I suspect White resigns before the sequence is played out since I doubt he has any desire to play out a losing endgame.

Time to check.

Jan-16-09  Dibbles: <johnlspouge:> Hi, <Dibbles>.

Hello! I extend my thanks to you also for your kind words.

I recently bought a cheap chess board for the office to help me do these puzzles at work during lunch; it’s finally given me that bit of confidence and visualisation necessary to offer my own Kibitz among you chess giants!

Although a long way off coming close to the weekend problems, these puzzles combined with commentary such as yours are improving my game exponentially. Till Monday! =)

Jan-16-09  Ladolcevita: <dibbles>
congratulations to you!
Jan-16-09  YouRang: Darn it. I was quickly attracted to 69...Qb7 and followed it as far as getting white into an "almost-zugzwang", and then trying to trap the h5 rook with f6 ang g6, and yada yada yada.

It seemed so promising, but it went nowhere. I looked at the answer to see what "brilliancy" that I missed. Ah, there it is! By moving my queen 1 square to the right instead of left, it all boils down to a rather simple winning double-threat with Qe1. :-|

Why didn't I at least look at that? *bangs head* :-(

Jan-16-09  akapovsky: <YouRang> same here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Astonishing.

69...Qd7 threatens 70...Rh1+ 71. Kxh1 Qh3+ 72. Kg1 Qxg2#

White defends with 70. Qf2 and then black wins with 70...Qd1 which threatens both 71...Qh1# and 71...Qxh5. White cannot defend both threats at the same time.

None of which I saw until I read the kibitzing. Ah well, Friday's glass of white tastes good ...

Jan-16-09  dukesterdog2: Only half credit for me. I had 69...Qd7, protecting the back rank and threatening 70...Rh1+ with checkmate to follow. However, I did not look at the 70.Qf2 defense.

After missing the last 2, I was happy to get partial credit.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: After 67...Bxe4 black has mate in 1 threat.

click for larger view

One correct response to this threat, as <RandomVisitor> indicated, is 68 Kh3.

click for larger view

Now, if 68...Rh1+, then 69 Rh2 stops it.

White ignores the threat and plays 68 Rxh5+ instead, vacating the d file. Now after 68…Kg8, white believes he can still stop the mate threat with 69 Rg2, but black follows with the winning 69…Qd7.

(68 Rg2 looks like it stops black as well).

Jan-16-09  GreenArrow: I wouldn't even call this a puzzle. More just 'black to play and make an obvious move that wins'. Other than ...Qd7 and ...Qb7 I can't possibly see any plausible moves
Jan-16-09  SamAtoms1980: Ding-ding-ding-ding!!
Jan-16-09  fosca: I see a draw with the obvious 69...QxQ, 70. RxQ, BxR, so there must be a win.

Looking for checks yields nothing (Qxg3+, Rh1+), if BxR, then QxQ for white. The Queen is under attack, what else to do?

69...Qb7 threatening to win the rook. The Queen can't help directly:

70. Qf2 Bxg2
71. Qxg2 Rb2 and white loses the Queen.

The only white rook move that does not lead to Rh1# is:

70. Rg1 Rb2+
(71. Rg2 Rxg2+)
71. Kh3 Bg2+ with three alternatives:

72. Kg4 Qf3+
73. Kg5 f6+
74. Kg6 Qg4+
75. Rg5 Be4+
76. Qf5 Bxf5#
or 72. Rxg2 Qxg2#
or 72. Kh2 Bf1 discovered check with Qxg2# to follow)

but, what about creating a mate threat?

70. Qe5 Qc6 seems to maintain the threats and hold off mate

70. Qd6 Qa8 does the trick...I think.

I have been looking at this awhile. I am violating the maxim of find a good move, then find a better one, but I am going with the quiet Qb7.


I had the general themes right, but I predicted my own demise - find a better move....doh!

Maybe the comments will prove my move adequate...? Maybe?

Premium Chessgames Member
  eternaloptimist: Akopian is amazing. In the Olympiad last year he got 5 wins, 6 draws & didn't lose a single game! He is ranked 32nd in the world w/ a 2700 rating. He finished the Olympiad w/ a performance rating of over 2800! Needless to say, he is a VERY difficult guy to beat...a genius of the chessboard. It's worth checking out his Olympiad games @:
Dec-07-19  amadeus: eternal optimist....
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