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Anatoly Karpov vs Alexey Shirov
Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2000) (rapid), Monte Carlo MNC, rd 4, Mar-16
Semi-Slav Defense: Quiet Variation (D30)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Feb-07-08  YouRang: The puzzles have been relatively easy so far -- which means tomorrow's will be a doozy. :-O

Our (black) king is nicely out of checking range. White's king, on the other hand, is clearly in a hazardous spot: ...Qf5 would be mate if f5 were not guarded by the queen, and even ...f6 has mating potential if f6 and f4 were guarded.

There is one square where our queen makes both of these mating threats come together by hitting f6, f5 and f4: 50...Qf3!

The immediate threat is 51...f6#, but the white queen can't leave f5 unguarded lest ...Qf5#. The only choice is 51. Qe5.

The only tricky part is to not give up at this point, but to see what happens if 51...f6+ is played anyway. Obviously, 52. Qxf6 must be played -- which puts the queen in the way of the king's escape from 53. Qg4#.

Very nice puzzle. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Agreed, <MAJ>, this seems like payback for Tuesday. Those of you who felt you couldn't take credit for solving the Tuesday puzzle if you couldn't work out that hairy maneuver to hide from the queen checks, here is your Thursday scalp as compensation. :)
Feb-07-08  dzechiel: <Alphastar: The key is that you don't want to look for checks (something patzers usually do), but simply create a mating net with quiet moves, as Qf3 in this case.>

I can't say for sure, but my guess would be that grandmasters also look for checks when examining a position.

Feb-07-08  The beginner: I also think the right way in any position is to always first look at checks.

Even if they dont lead anywhere and can be quickly dismissed they must always be investigated. I am trying to force my self to always use this order in any position.

Positional moves.

Feb-07-08  soberknight: I had Qf3, but didn't bother to analyze to the end.
Feb-07-08  johnlspouge: Today, I did not list any checks among my candidates. Possibly, I analyzed them so fast that I did not write them down before I moved on.

My chess analysis has improved since taking <dzechiel>'s advice to look at most forcing candidates first, for at least two reasons. First, your opponent is not going to consent to a loss, so the move you want is probably forcing. Second, as you analyze forcing moves to get them out of the way, you absorb a position's patterns, for use in subtler combinations. As <YouRang> observed, several elementary combinations together can provide the foundation of a complex combination.

I subscribe to the notion of checking checks, even if apparently I did not check them today.

How many checks could a woodchuck check, if a woodchuck could check checks?

Feb-07-08  mworld: yeh the trick to this puzzles' difficulty was that you had to spin your wheels a bit looking at all the checks before you thought to just set yourself up for the next move.
Feb-07-08  DarthStapler: I didn't see it, but then again I only spent about 30 seconds on this puzzle (I never spend more than 5 minutes)
Feb-07-08  goodevans: 4/4 for me so far this week and I got today's much quicker than Tuesday's!

Not too difficult since white has to defend against 51 ... f6# without giving up the defence of f5 (thus ruling out pinning the f-pawn). This only really leaves 51 Qe5 to which there is a simple mate in 2.

Feb-07-08  wals: A beautiful mate in three.
b7-b6 would have also resulted in a win.
Feb-07-08  YouRang: <wals><b7-b6 would have also resulted in a win.>

True, it would. But then, you wouldn't know that unless you saw the mating posed by ...Qf3.

It makes me wonder then why anyone would opt for 50...b6 -- unless they're into sadistic chess. :-)

Feb-07-08  Lord Osiris: i could be wrong but it seems like white gets himself into the trouble he is in with his move 50.Qc5. while it may seem like any other move for white on move 50 is wrong what about the aggressive move 50.Kf6. black then has the check 50...Qf3+ seeming to win a pawn but after 51.Ke7, if black takes the pawn with Qxf2 the king moves 51...Kf8 and threatens mate next move at g7 which black cannot defend against, thus the hanging pawn on f2 isn't hanging at all after the move 50.Kf6. any feedback to this potential line for Karpov would be appreciated.
Feb-07-08  benjinathan: <I am trying to force my self to always use this order in any position.

Positional moves.>

I think you are forgetting something:

his checks
his captures
his positional moves

then your list. : ).

Feb-07-08  Eyal: <Lord Osiris> Yeah, after 50.Kf6 Qf3+(?) 51.Ke7 Qxf2?? 52.Kf8 White is winning. The only move which doesn't lose quickly for Black in this line is 51...Kg8, though after 52.Qc5 White still has an edge. So best for Black is to play the more defensive 50...Qd7, which maintains the balance. As I've already mentioned in a previous post, 50.Kf6 is one of two moves which can save White from a loss - the other one is Kf4.
Feb-07-08  Lord Osiris: I've been looking at my line and it seems to me that after white plays 50. Kf6, not only is the game at least a draw for white but black will be playing catch up for the rest of the game either until a draw is assured or white wins by the aggressiveness of his king
Feb-07-08  Lord Osiris: ya, Kf4 works also but i don't think it is as good as Kf6. black didn't win this game. white simply lost it. perhaps a lapse in concentration on Karpov's end
Feb-07-08  Eyal: 50.Kf6 is better than Kf4 in the sense that it gives Black more chances to go wrong, but with accurate play by Black it's still a draw, because White's king is also too exposed for him to manage anything really "aggressive" - e.g. 50.Kf6 Qd7 51.f4 Kg8 52.f5 Qd8+ and that's a perpetual: 53.Qe7 Qd4+ 54.Kg5 Qd2+ etc.
Feb-07-08  Lord Osiris: I'm not convinced it is a draw with this line although a more in depth analysis would be needed to be assured of whites victory in this case but here is what i have so far:

50.Kf6 ...Qf3 51.Ke7

if 51 ...Kg8 (51...Kg7 is losing after Qf8+ and queen trade to follow with Qxf7) 52.Qb8+ ...Kh7
black can not take any pawns from here that don't give white the game (if Qxf2, Qe5 is winning, and if Qa3+, Kxf7 threatens mate in 2 with Qg8+. any other move and white will move Qe8 which is also devastating to blacks position. I believe can win from here.

if 51. Qa3+ the black queen is tethered to that diagonal when white plays ...Ke8. as soon as the Q moves from that diagonal, Kf8 is devastating not to mention after whites next move no matter what it is, white plays Qe7 and the game is all but over.

if 50...Qd7 as in Eyal's example, then not f4 but 51.Qe7 and blacks f pawn is doomed or the queens trade and white is winning either way. if 51...Qd4+ then Kxf7 threatens a discovered check next move black is dead.

if there is anything i missed let me know

Feb-07-08  Lord Osiris: sorry, for the last scenario after Kxf7 and Qxf2, Qf6 is the winning move for white.
Feb-07-08  Eyal: <Lord Osiris: if 50.[Kf6] Qd7 as in Eyal's example, then not f4 but 51.Qe7 and blacks f pawn is doomed or the queens trade and white is winning either way.> After 51.Qe7?? White is mated by 51...Qf5... that's a good illustration of how the exposed position of White's king limits his play, since the queen has to stay close to it.
Feb-07-08  HannibalSchlecter: What the heck was Karpov doing running his king up the middle of the board with queens on? Geez dude, you wonder why you lose!
Feb-07-08  just a kid: I easily found 50...Qf3.All you had to do is to find the move that threatens mate in 2 places.The white Queen is overloaded in guarding 2 places.<HannibalSchlecter>You're right.What the heck was Karpov thinking?
Feb-07-08  minasina: Looking for puzzles of yesterdays? See my profile page (click on my name).
Feb-07-08  znprdx: Nice 'Tuesday' problem 50...Black to play (I thought I'd posted this earlier today)

....hilarious really in that Black had nothing else to do but win....Maybe Shirov blundered into it only protecting f7 and b7 waiting for the draw :) <ruinme:>

This is why we love Chess - sometimes it plays itself - even grandmaster's are vulnerable to the consequences of its unpredictable synergy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Thursday Feb 7, 2008 puzzle solution, Shirov's 50...Qf3! sets up a mate-in-three after 52. Qxf6 Qg4#.
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