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Herman Steiner vs Savielly Tartakower
Hastings (1945/46), Hastings ENG, rd 10, Jan-08
French Defense: Classical. Tartakower Variation (C13)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-03-14  gofer: <Coriolis: Is 27... Qa1+ a bad move?>

Nope. It is a good move. It mates white very quickly (i.e. Mate in 4 moves)

27 ... Qa1+

28 Kc2 Qb2+ 29 Kd1 Qd2#
28 Kb3 Qb2+ 29 Kxc4 Qb4#/Rc8#
28 Kxc4 Rc8+ 29 Kb3 Qb1+ 30 Ka3 Qb4#

The only problem is that most people will argue (me included) that the faster line (Mate in 3 moves) is better...

27 ... Qd2+
28 Kb3 Qb2+ (28 Kxc4 Qb4#)
29 Kxc4 Qb4#/Rc8#

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn ahead.

White threatens Kxc4, although it is momentarily impossible due to ... Rc8#.

The quickest mate I can find is 27... Qd2+ 28.Kb3 (28.Kxc4 Qb4#) 28... Qb2+ (or the flashy but innecessary 28... Ba4+ followed by 29... Qb4#) 29.Kxc4 Qb4#.

A bit longer is 27... Qa1+ 28.Kxc4 (28.Kc2 Qb2+ 29.Kd1 Qd2#; 28.Kb3 Qb2+ 29.Kxc4 Qb4#) 28... Rc8+ 29.Kb3 Qb1+ 30.Ka3 Qb4#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: This was one was easy and tricky at the same time.

The easy thing was finding a winning move. Just about anything non-stupid wins for black. The tricky thing was choosing just one.

Fritzie almost drops his sausage at this one. He finds (deep breath)...

Two mates in 3: 27...Qd2+ and 27...Ba4 (my pick).

Six mates in 4: 27...Qe1+, Qa1+, b5, Rc8, b6, Qb1

Five mates in 5: 27...Bb5, Na3, Rf8, Re8, Rb8

And several more mating moves after that. I gave up after 16 lines all starting with a different 27th move for black and all being a forced mate.

As to whether a mate in 4 is not as "good" as a mate in 3, I'm not so sure. A mate is a mate is a mate.

Jun-03-14  dfcx: 27...Qd2+
a) 28. Kxc4 Qb4#
b) 28. Kb3 Qb2+ 29. Kxc4 Qb4#
Jun-03-14  diagonalley: ...interesting... the position is almost like a composition with the key move to be found... not too difficult though.
Jun-03-14  stacase: P...Patzer nailed it, <too many winning moves.>
Jun-03-14  Lambda: I suffered a curious blind spot today where Qb4 only looked like mate if the king was on the a-file. So I imagined 27... Qd2+ 28. Kxc4 Rc8+ 29. Kb3 Ba4+ 30. Kxa4 Qb4#
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: For some reason I thought that Qe1+ followed by a sac of the B on a4 etc might be the ticket as it seemd the most interesting mate. Qe2+ looked to obvious!

Too many mates?
Just the position to go wrong in.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: < Cheapo by the Dozen: As a former member of the Herman Steiner Chess Club, I feel vaguely disloyal working this puzzle. :) That said ... >

I see his name a lot playing Alekhine and I think Tarrasch etc and on here that he started a club in California.

This game is probably not typical of his play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: There was also a Lajos Steiner, I seem to recall.
Jun-03-14  Ashperov1988: If your brain is crying to be tested you will make even simple things a little complex. Not always good doing things the hard way but hey keeps the brain from getting lazy. the Bishop sac mentioned above that's cool too! Qe1
a)Kc4 Qb4++
b)Kc2 Qd2 Kb3 (Kb1 Qb2++) Qb4 Kc2 Qb2 Kd1 Qd2++
c)Kb3 then same as b)
Jun-03-14  morfishine: I stopped looking after realizing Black wins with either 27...Rc8 27...Bb5 or 27...b5

I never even got around to 27...Qd2+ :)


Jun-03-14  zb2cr: 27. ... Qd2+. White has two tries, both inadequate.

1. 28. Kxc4, Qb4#.

2. 28. Kb3, Qb2+. You can imagine Tartakower saying, "Oh but I INSIST you take the Knight!" if you wish. 29. Kxc4, Qb4#.

Jun-03-14  Seaholme: Ok, so i totally missed that it is mate on Qb4 but still calculated mate in all variations, here it goes:

27...Qd2+ 28.Kb3 Qb2+ 29.Kxc4 Rc8 Mate. or
27...Qd2+ 28.Kxc4 Rc8+ 29.Kb3 Qc2+ 30.Ka3 Qa4+ 31.Kb2 Rc2+ 32.Kb1 or 32.Ka1 is both mate to 32...Qxa1.

I guess I made the puzzle to hard by missing that Qb4 is mate :)

Jun-03-14  ajile: < morfishine: I stopped looking after realizing Black wins with either 27...Rc8 27...Bb5 or 27...b5 I never even got around to 27...Qd2+ :) >

Same here. I don't like losing material even if it speeds up mate.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Longview: Pawn checks as a Mating Web are hard to see! Had three different places to move Q to check the WK and saw Qxc4 as forced/logical response saw the Q-b4+ but missed it was mate! a blind spot
Jun-03-14  Coriolis: <Gofer:The only problem is that most people will argue (me included) that the faster line (Mate in 3 moves) is better...>

Thanks for the advice. I agree that it's the best move. I might argue (tongue in cheek) that (for me) my solution is faster because; although it involves an extra move, I came up with it sooner than the other.

Jun-03-14  Sally Simpson: Hi Coriolis,

I'm with you. As long as you see the mate and don't chuck away the win, then OK. This is OTB thinking with a clock ticking.

Here having found one mate you should have looked for a neater or quicker wrap up just to exercise the old brain muscle. It's what these things are for.

However going the long way around is also good because you spotted and held together a longer sequence of moves instead of going the easy way.

There are so many ways to win this we could have a 'Find the longest mate.' competition.

Tartakower gives an interesting and humerous moment in this game.

Here Black to play.

click for larger view

Prins & Kmoch in the tournament say Black played 21...Qb4 here:

click for larger view analysis to show why 21...Qb4 is so good.
(Tartakower actually played 21...Qg5 )

In the Prins/Kmoch booklet White plays 22.Rc4 and the game switches back to the position that appeared on the board with 22...Qd2+

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black forces a quick mate with the queen. He will force white to eat the knight and mate follows at b4.
Jun-03-14  Nick46: In other words Savielly stymied Herman with a takeover bid he couldn't refuse.
Jun-03-14 <Nick64> ... a Tar-takeover ;)
Jun-03-14 It's Hollywood day on Chessgames.
H. Steiner (this puzzle) and Isaac Kashdan (game of the day) were both from LA.
Jun-03-14  PJs Studio: Choice of mate is preference only. Not wrong or right.
Jun-03-14  BOSTER: I guess that if Tartakower played only one game Reti vs Tartakower ,Vienna , 1910 y., one page from " tale of 1001 blunders"
he'd still'd be the legend.
Jun-04-14  brainzugzwang: OK, what am I missing? I first saw 27... Ba4 threatening 28... Qc2#, and if 28.Kxc4, then Rc8.
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