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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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Given 5 times; par: 31 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 1 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Aug-11-07  wolfmaster: Tartakower was still strong even in his old age!
Jun-03-14  Cheapo by the Dozen: As a former member of the Herman Steiner Chess Club, I feel vaguely disloyal working this puzzle. :) That said ...

27 ... Qd2+
28 Kb3 Qb2+
29 Kxc4/Ka4 Qb4#

Jun-03-14  Fish55: Or 28 Kb3 Ba4+
Jun-03-14  Coriolis: Is 27... Qa1+ a bad move?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: Not a good puzzle: too many winning moves (e.g., <27. ... b5> < >, which seems aesthetically most pleasing to me in its thundering quietness, albeit being one move slower than the official solution, Tartakower's <27. ... Qd2+>.
Jun-03-14  TheBish: H Steiner vs Tartakower, 1946

Black to play (27...?) "Easy"

Easy indeed! (I would say very easy, IMHO.)

It's mate in 3 at most:

27...Qd2+! 28. Kb3 (or 28. Kxc4 Qb4#) Qb2+ 29. Kxc4 Qb4#.

When the enemy king is this exposed, it's natural to look for checks leading to mate, even if it means sacrificing a piece or more, as long as the king is driven in the right direction.

Jun-03-14  Granny O Doul: It does look like White to move would still have to resign.
Jun-03-14  M.Hassan: "Easy"
Black to play 27...?
Black is a pawn down


28.Kxc4 Rc8+
29.Kb3 Qc2#


28.Kb3 Qb2+
29.Kxc4 Rc8#

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.


Jun-03-14  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.

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