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Gottardo Gottardi vs Robert I Reynolds
15th Correspondence World Championship (1996) (correspondence), ICCF, Nov-01
Sicilian Defense: Alapin Variation. Smith-Morra Declined (B22)  ·  1-0



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sac: 28.Rxd7 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-07-08  Poisonpawns: Beautiful tactics at the end.27.Rxd6,28.Rxd7,29.Rf1 all exploiting backrank problem.
Jul-20-14  celtrusco: First player's name is unforgettable.
Dec-17-16  latebishop: Got the first move for White but would 29.a7 also win?-eg: 29...Rxg2 + 30.Qxg2 Bxg2 31.a8=Q + Bxa8 32. Rxa8+ Kf7 33. Rf8 ++.
Dec-17-16  mel gibson: I didn't see it but the computer found it in under 2 seconds:

28 Rxd7 score +7.60

Dec-17-16  mel gibson: <Dec-17-16 latebishop: Got the first move for White but would 29.a7 also win?-eg: 29...Rxg2 + 30.Qxg2 Bxg2 31.a8=Q + Bxa8 32. Rxa8+ Kf7 33. Rf8 ++.>

No - Black's move does not lead to ++

33 Rf8 K-g6 score = +2.36

Dec-17-16  Wilson: Hi latebishop, I looked at that line as well but after Rxg2+ the g6 square is no longer covered so 33. Rf8 will no longer be mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: In got white's first two moves and thought I was home free, but I was expecting 29...Rf6, which loses outright, instead of 29...Rf8.

But at that point white is a piece up, and I would have seen 30. Rxf3 Rxf3 31. a7. Maybe.

I think 30. Ne5 also wins, though not so easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: spectacular tactics by W, in what appears at first sight a desperate position. Doing it move by move I managed the first 4, but only because it was a puzzle and the moves were more or less forced. Blind spot when looking for the easy one 31 Nb6.

<al wazir> well spotted 30 Ne5, looks a like a nice way to finish

Dec-17-16  latebishop: Thanks to Mel Gibson and Wilson for enlightening me.
Dec-17-16  diagonalley: "very difficult"(?!)... not half... brain damage :-(
Dec-17-16  Geronimo: Beautiful, instructive puzzle. Maybe a touch easy for a Saturday, or maybe all the chess I'm playing lately has me seeing things more tactically: I spotted the back rank weakness for black, and eventual difficulties on the f column, but still didn't find the precise line. Over the board I would certainly miss this, and instead lamely try to defend white's own desperate king. Nicely chosen CG.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has an extra knight and pawn.

Black threatens Bxe2, Rxg2+, Qxc5+ and Nxc5.

White can try to make the most of the advanced a-pawn and Black's weak back rank with 28.Rxd7:

A) 28... Bxe2 29.Rd8+ Kf7 30.Rf8#.

B) 28... Rxg2+ 29.Qxg2 Rxd7 (29... Bxg2 as A) 30.Rf1 Rf7 (39... Bxg2 40.Rf8#) 31.Qg3 wins.

C) 28... Rxd7 29.Rf1 (29.a7 Rxa7 30.Rxa7 Rxg2+ 31.Qxg2 Bxg2 32.Bd4 Bd5 33.Rxg7+ Kf8 -33... Kh8 34.Rg5+ e5 35.Bxe5#- 34.Nc5 Qd1+ 35.Kf2 Qc2+ unclear)

C.1) 29... Bxe2 30.Rf8#.

C.2) 29... Rxg2+ 30.Qxg2 Bxg2 31.Rf8#.

C.3) 29... Rf7 30.Rxf3 Rxf3 (30... Qxf3 31.Qxf3 Rxf3 32.a7 wins) 31.a7 looks winning.

C.4) 29... Qxc5+ 30.Nxc5 Bxe2 31.Rxf7

C.4.a) 31... Kxf7 32.Ne5+ (or 32.a7) 32... Ke7 33.Nxg6+ hxg6 34.a7 wins.

C.4.b) 31... Bxc4 32.Rb7 Bd5 33.Rb8+ Kf7 34.g3 + - [N+P vs B]. Black looks defenseless against a7, etc.

D) 28... Qxc5+ 29.Nxc5 Bxe2 30.Rxa7 Bxc4 31.Ra8+ wins.

Dec-17-16  clement41: <agb2002> no, in the lines with 28...Rxg2+ or 29...Bxg2, white no longer mates on f8 due to the fact that the check on g2 vacated g6 for the black king. White would still be winning, though
Dec-17-16  SufferingBruin: Show of hands who would have gotten this OTB? In my case, I would've been blinded by flop sweat.
Dec-17-16  morfishine: <28.Rxd7> is the only move for White, which somewhat lessens the puzzle value of this position

Excellent combination though


Dec-17-16  RandomVisitor: After 5.Nf3

click for larger view


0.00/42 5...d6 6.Bc4 dxe5 7.Nxe5 e6 8.0-0 Be7 9.cxd4 Nc6 10.Qd3 Nb6 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bb3 c5 13.Be3 cxd4 14.Bxd4 Bf6 15.Qb5+ Qd7 16.Qxd7+ Bxd7 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.f3 Ke7 19.Nc3 Rhd8 20.Rac1 f5 21.Rfd1 Rac8 22.Kf2 a5 23.a3 a4 24.Ba2 Bc6 25.h4 Kf6 26.g3 Kg7 27.Kg2 h6 28.h5 Rd7 29.Rxd7 Nxd7 30.Rd1

Dec-17-16  RandomVisitor: Robert I. Reynolds: A talented American "Postal" chess player gives his opinion on computers in correspondence chess, circa 1986-1988

From the NM Alex Dunn correspondence chess column 'The Check is in the Mail' in the <April 1986 Chess Life and Review>

Dr. Robert Reynolds, a master in both postal and over the board play, is a psychologist at Fordham University. In the following letter, he offers a personal view and a challenge to computer programmers: "The question of how strong chess computers might be in correspondence chess may be important to both the development of computers and to the understanding of human chess skill. Thus far, the emphasis has been upon developing main-frame computers which calculate as quickly as possible. This strategy has lifted a few computers as high as 2200 in over the board play. In the case of postal chess, one might suppose that a match between Belle, HI TECH or Cray Blitz and a human would favor the analytical power of the computer. However, we need not worry much about it. Adriaan de Groot showed some 20 years ago that the higher levels of human chess are distinguished by quick sight of the board and analysis of fewer total moves. Search heuristics and general positional evaluation become more and more important for humans at just that level of playing strength where computers emphasize long-winded algorithmic calculation. Until there is a new generation of computers capable of parallel-processing, current computers will rarely be able to calculate far enough ahead (even if given three days) to reach a decisive outcome. I agree with one of my postal opponents, U.S. co-champion Ken Plesset, that 'Chess is 90 percent tactics, but the [other] 10 percent is more important.'

"My prediction is that present-day computers would be no better in a relative sense at correspondence chess. In postal terms, this would be a rating between 1650 and 1750 [JLJ - the postal chess rating system was different at this time]. But if anyone still believes that computers are a threat - or even a possible aid at the higher levels - <I will wager $500 on a match of four games, played under the same rules for human postal correspondence chess>. My opponent may consult books, but he cannot have access to or seek adjustment from auxiliary programs of either the mechanical or human variety. Whatever the result we would certainly learn from such a match." - <Sincerely, Robert I. Reynolds.>

From the <September 1988>, NM Alex Dunne postal chess column 'The Check is in the Mail: The Creative Edge' in <Chess Life and Review> magazine:

"Robert Reynolds is a name the postal world should keep in mind. We will probably be hearing much more about this gentleman from New York City. Robert recently won the 6USCCC with a powerful 13 1/2 - 1/2 score...

"Reynolds further states, 'Over two years ago I made a challenge in this column that I'd play any of the top ranked computers in a correspondence match under standard rules. I have not received an acceptance and probably never will. The challenge is a way of highlighting the relative weakness of computers. One might think that an average of three days per move would favor the computer with its ability to rapidly process large numbers of moves. Not so. Even computers dedicated to chess do not gain much in depth with an extra three days of analysis. The tree of possibilities grows so fast that the gain would amount to only five or six half moves. At the end of its analysis, the computer must stop and evaluate. Unless a decisive position has been reached, nothing much will have been gained.'

Dec-17-16  wtpy: I thought I had found a defensive resource with 28 Qe5. Black can't take the queen with the knight because he gets mated.if he takes on e5 with the queen,white holds easily after Ne5,so the only other move is of course Rg2+, which I thought could be answered by Kf1,not seeing that after Rg2+ the black knight can take the queen because Rd8+ Kf7 Rf8+ is no longer mate because the king can go to g6. Clearly I was barking up the wrong tree.
Dec-17-16  YouRang: Saturday 28.?

click for larger view

Not too hard once you notice two things: (1) white is already up a N+P, and (2) black is vulnerable to the rook & bishop mating pattern hitting the f8 square.

White instigates the mate threat with <28.Rxd7!>, putting white up by two pieces. After this, it's mainly a matter if proving that black can't fend of mate AND recover lost material.

click for larger view

White's immediate threat is 29.Rd8+ Kf7 30.Rf8#.

How can black remedy this threat? Obviously taking the queen or giving check on g2 is no good.


- Take the attacking rook: <28...Rxd7 29.Rf1!>, so white's other rook renews the mating threat on f8 from a different angle. This angle puts a pin-and-win on black's attacking Bf3. Black can try to counter-pin this rook with <29...Rd1!?>

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but then <30.Rxd1!> again renews the threat of Rd8+ and Rf8# (not 30.Qxd1? Rxg2+ ).


- Guard the back rank: <28...Ra8 29.Qd2!> renews the Rd8+ threat. <29...Rxg2+ 30.Qxg2 Bxb2>

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If white plays 31.Kxg2, he becomes open to Qg4+ forking the N or threatening perpetual check. Much better is <31.Bd4!> which shields the Nc4 and threatens Rxg7+, which defends the g-file and creates new mating threats following Rf1+.


- Create an escape: <28...h3 29.Rd8+ Kh7>

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Here <30.Qd3!> pins the rook. Black can still create a discovered attack with <30...Bxg2>, but then <31.Ne5!> threatens the attacking-but-pinned rook.

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If black takes the knight, <31...Qxe5>, white can dissolve black's attack with the deflection: <32.Rh8+! Kxh8 33.Qxg6>. White will have successfully defended while maintaining the material advantage.

Very good puzzle!

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Good puzzle. I saw RxN quickly (but not the follow-up), then I got distracted looking at 28. Rxe6: if ...BxQ, 29. Re8 or if 28....Rxg2, then 29. Qxg2..bxQ, 30. Re8, or if 28. RxRe6, then QxR+ with mate to follow. Anyway, the game line looks more forcing, I have to admit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: Aha, in the last variation I gave the black queen can come back to f7 and block the check, QxQ+ KxQ and it only wins the black bishop on g3. Also, in the second variation, 30. Re8 is impossible because the black queen is covering the diagonal, so the game line is clearly much better (I apologize for brutally correcting myself and hope I will not be offended :-)
Dec-17-16  RandomVisitor: After 11.Bb3,11...Nb6 appears to prevent 12.a4

click for larger view


+0.26/36 11...Nb6 12.Bf4 Nc6 13.Nd2 Be7 14.N4f3 Na5 15.Ne4 Nxb3 16.axb3 0-0 17.Bg3 Kh8 18.Nd4 Rfc8 19.f3 Qd8 20.Nd6 Bxd6 21.exd6 f6 22.Qd3 Rc5 23.Bf2 Rac8 24.Nc2 Rd5 25.Qe2 Rxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Kg8 27.Ra1 Nd5 28.g3 e5 29.Kg2 g6 30.c4 Nb6 31.cxb5 axb5 32.Ra7 Bd5 33.Bxb6 Qxb6

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <clement41: <agb2002> no, in the lines with 28...Rxg2+ or 29...Bxg2, white no longer mates on f8 due to the fact that the check on g2 vacated g6 for the black king. White would still be winning, though>

I noticed this when the white piece checks along Black's back rank but after Rf1 a subsequent Rf8 is mate because the black king is on g8.

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