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Xie Jun vs Corina-Isabela Peptan
Elista Olympiad (Women) (1998), Elista RUS, rd 6, Oct-04
Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Neo-Modern Variation (B67)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-27-12  M.Hassan: "Medium"
White to play 34.?
White is up by a Rook for a Bishop.

34.Qxa8+! Kxa8 forced
So far, a Queen for a Rook and a Bishop and I think it is not too bad. Black has to choose between two squares:

A) 35........Kb7
36.Ra7+ Kxa7
37.Nb5+ A royal fork

B) 35.........Kb8
36.Nb5 Qc4
37.Rxb6+ Kc8
38.Rc6+!! Qxc6
39.Na7+ Royal fork again

Dec-27-12  diagonalley: here in blighty, the update occurs at 0500hrs GMT - which (having just staggered out of the sack) is quite useful in terms of helping to regain awareness of the conscious world.
Dec-27-12  pmukerji: I saw it like <An Englishman>, coming away with the bishop...actual line wins a rook instead so is better but slightly more complex...either way...
Dec-27-12  PeaceRequiresAnarchy: I found the same line as <An Englishman> too: <My variation continued with 35...Kb7; 36.Rda1,Qb8; 37.Ra7+(simplification before snatching the Bishop),Qxa7; 38.Rxa7+,Kxa7; 39.Nc6+ and 40.Nxb4.>.

I also considered <35...Kb8 36.Rda1> and did not see how black could defend. I assumed that <36...Qb7 37.Ra8+ Qxa8 38.Rxa8+ Kxa8 39.cxb4> is winning for white (although it's definitely not easy). Was my assumption correct or can black actually draw that endgame?

I never considered Nb5, which is clearly the best move (and maybe the only move if Rda1 doesn't actually win).

Dec-27-12  Robespierre: Here in MN it's 11pmCT when I get the next day's CG puzzle. And, earlier this evening I 'guessed' (& these predicted moves really were closer to guesses) the first 3 of white's moves. I simply didn't know how Black would continue with his 36th move (& thereafter). Possibly like many of the less experienced CG commenters, I did not foresee White's elegant N fork on the Q & K.
Dec-27-12  morfishine: White to move, is up an exchange. Trading down should win:

<34.Qxa8+ Kxa8 35.Rxa6+ Kb7> Time for White to take stock. Diagram:

click for larger view

The simplest way to win is just that: simplify

(1) <36.Ra7+ Kxa7 37.Nb5+ Kb7 38.Nxc7 Kxc7 39.cxb4> and White is up a rook:

click for larger view

*Note: Also winning is 36.Rda1; If 36...Qc4, White wins with 37.Ra7+ Kc8 38.Ra8+ Kd7 39.R1a7+ Qc7 40.Rxc7+ Kxc7 41.Rxf8

and if 36.Rda1 <36...Ba5> It looks like Black can save a piece by interrupting the rooks; However, its all an allusion as White has the last laugh: 37.Ra7+ Kxa7 38.Nb5+ Kb7 39.Nxc7 Kxc7 40.b4: again, White emerges a rook ahead:

click for larger view

PM: I sure put in a lot of work without considering 35...Kb8!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The game line is certainly the best, but there do seem to be some interesting alternatives.

The first point to notice is that white starts the POTD material up (one exchange) but his queen is threatened. If he can safely extract his queen then he can bank his material advantage.

From the starting position, Fritzie finds no fewer than five moves which give white at least some advantage:

34. Qxa8+ (+6.33)
34. Nb5 (+3.83)
34. Nxe6+ (+2.95)
34. Qa4 (+2.11)
34. Qc6+ (+1.45)

I must admit that in human mode I discounted 34. Qa4 because of 34...Bd3+. But Fritzie quite correctly counts up the bits and declares that white ends up with two rooks against the black queen, which ought to equate to a couple of pawns advantage.

Okay, let's follow the 34. Qxa8+ line cos it looks to be the sexiest. It's the only line dressed in spandex and a with a six pack across its tummy. After 34. Qxa8+ Kxa8 35. Ra6+ Kb8 we get to here:

click for larger view

And here again white has a variety of winning methods. The best line is still the line played in the game, but we can also revert to the plan of consolidating the material advantage. Here are the top choices according to the silicon supervillain:

36. Nb5 (+7.31)
36. Ra4 (+5.37)
36. Ra7 (+4.33)
36. Rda1 (+4.33)
36. Nc6+ (+4.29)
36. Kd2 (+4.08) (didn't even consider that one!)

The point is that 36. Nb5 forces the win of the black queen, but that all the other moves maintain the material advantage that white started with. So sure the game line is the gold standard, but all the others should still bring home the point, albeit a bit more slowly.

In human mode, I chose 36. Rda1 after looking at 36. Nb5, reckoning that it was "good enough". There is just one little wrinkle you need to spot to make 36. Rda1 work. After 36...Ba5 ...

click for larger view

you need to play either 37. Ra7 or 37. R1xa5 to keep your advantage.

Interesting puzzle. The game line is the best but there are several other ways which also work. Sort of.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a rook for a bishop.

Black threatens 34... Rxe8.

The first idea that comes to mind is 34.Qxa8+, exploiting the overworked king and eliminating some of Black's best pieces: 34... Kxa8 35.Rxa6+ Kb8 (35... Kb7 36.Ra7+ Kxa7 37.Nb5+ Kb7 38.Nxc7 + - [R]) 36.Nc6+ (36.Rda1 Ba5 37.b4 Qb7 looks problematic):

A) 36... Qxc6 37.Rxb6+ Qxb6 38.Bxb6 + - [R+P vs N].

B) 36... Kb7 37.Ra7+ Kxc6 38.Rxc7+ Kxc7 39.cxb4 + - [R+B vs N].

C) 36... Kc8 37.Ra8+ Kd7 38.Ra7 is similar to B.

Dec-27-12  Abdel Irada: <<•>A clash of agendas<•>>

Of course it is nothing new for both players to bring plans of their own, and the meeting of these plans in practice decides the victor. But here the respective plans are sharply at odds: Black has trapped the queen (since it's subject to discovered attack with check if it retreats to a4), feeling that this refutes White's preceding play; meanwhile, the first player is willing to part with the queen because he's looked a bit deeper and realizes he can win back the material with interest.

It all begins with the removal of the guard:

<<•>34. Qxa8†, Kxa8

35. Rxa6† ...>

As of this moment, material is approximately balanced, with White having two rooks for a queen. But the position is far from balanced, and now Black must decide where to put his king.

<<•>35. ...Kb8>

Of course not (a) 35. ...Qa7? 36. Rxa7†, when White's material advantage wins easily. Also inferior is (b) 35. ...Kb7? 36. Ra7†, Kxa7 37. Nb5†, Kb7 38. Nxc7, and after either (b.1) 38. ...Kxc7 39. cxb4 or (b.2) 38. ...Be7 39. Nb5, White is a full rook ahead.

<<•>36. Nb5!...>

At first, 36. Nc6† looks inviting, because after either (a) 36. ...Qxc6 37. Rxb6† or (b) 36. ...Kc8 37. Ra8†, Kd7 38. Ra7, White wins decisive material. But the quiet move turns out even stronger, as we will see.

Black's queen is attacked, and there is nothing better than to move it to safety. But where, if anywhere, is that to be found?

<(1) 36. ...Qc4>

Black's most aggressive move, this aims to maintain the pin on the c-pawn and threatens the undefended knight, which is pinned to the rook on a6, in addition to checks on e2 or e4. But will Black have time to make any such moves?

<37. Rxb6†, Kc8>

Much worse is 37. ...Ka8?? 38. Ra1†, soon followed by mate.

<38. Rc6†, Qxc6
39. Na7†, Kb7/Kd7
40. Nxc6 >

White is a rook ahead.

<(2) 36. ...Qd7>

If the queen retreats to a passive square, such as d8 or e7, White can, if nothing else, pick up another piece with cxb4, when he has two rooks and a piece for a queen. And on (a) 36. ...Qc6 37. Rxb6† or (b) 36. ...Qb7 37. Rxb6, White wins queen for rook.

<37. Rxb6†, Kc8>

Not 37. ...Ka8?? 38. Ra1†, mating in two.

<38. Ra1! >

Also good is the simple cxb4, with two rooks and a bishop for a queen. But the threat of 39. Ra8† is murderous, and Black has no productive defense.

click for larger view

[The final position in line (2)]

As always, both players bring agendas to the position, but when the agendas meet on the battlefield, we see which is meritorious and which merely meretricious.

Dec-27-12  Abdel Irada: <BOSTER: And I remember how <Abdel Irada> complained that he can't outstrip <PB> to send comment before him. And if you read <AI's> mind , you will not believe what you see :< I think this is not the first time you beat me to get the honor of first kibitzer of the day>.>

I should point out that I was making a facetious remark, not complaining.

As it happens, I live on the West Coast, where the puzzle appears at 9 p.m. (not 8:00, as you said of <dzechiel>, unless the latter lives in Alaska), so <Phony Benoni> isn't likely to see it before me. And I am, of course, aware that we have different posting styles: As an old hand, he sticks to a few pithy comments, while I tend toward exhaustive analysis (with the consequent exhausting posts).

I think <PB> is among the first posters because he's so accustomed to the schedule that he's ready to start work as soon as the puzzle appears, and because he confines himself to a few notes on the position rather than posting a full analysis. And I am not in the least envious or annoyed by this: There is no real "honor" in posting first, and I have no intention of altering my practices in a pointless quest for that distinction.

Dec-27-12  Abdel Irada: N.B.: In my solution post, read "she" for "he" throughout.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: White gets a winning material advantage with 34.Qxa8+ Kxa8 35.Rxa6+ Kb8 (35...Kb7 36.Ra7+ Kxa7 37.Nb5+) and now White can choose between 36.Nb5, which is complicated and probably good, and 36.Nc6+ Qxc6 (otherwise 37.Nxb4 ) 37.Rxb6+ Qxb6 38.Bxb6 and White is an exchange up in a won ending.
Dec-27-12  James D Flynn: White is the exchange up but his Q is under attack. The Q can be exchanged for R and B by 34.Qxa8+ Kxa8 35.Rxa6+ now Kb7 leads to 36.Ra7+ Kxa7 37.Nb5+ Kb7 38.Nxc7 and each side has a piece under attack and each has escape squares so White emerges the exchange up. Black can instead play 35….Kb8 when 36.Nb5 Qc8(if Qc4 37.Rxb6+ Kc8(if Ka8 38.Ra1+ and Ba3 or Ba5 only avoids mate for one move) 38.Rc6+ Qxc6 39.Na7+ Kc7 40.Nxc6 Kxc6 41.cxb4 and White is a pawn and the exchange up with an easy win)37.Rxb6+ Ka8 38.Ra1+ now Black can delay mate for 2 moves Ba3 or Ba5 39.RxB+ Qa6 40.Rza6#.
Dec-27-12  Patriot: <Actually line B.1 wins a piece--not just a pawn. I had a little problem counting material on this.> I was right the first time--it wins a pawn. It's just that white started out being up the exchange so he ends up with a pawn plus the exchange.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Oxspawn: Here in the UK we actually post our solutions before the puzzle appears, rather than afterwards. However, I think I may have got in a little muddle in my earlier exhaustive post. For pawn read bishop throughout. For black read white alternately. For "0-0-0" read, "The six best ways to castle," by Kasparov and for "check!" read "resigns!" Otherwise I think I more or less cracked it - although the outcome in my game was a win for black. I confidently predict that next Monday's position will be a tad easier. Cheers.
Dec-27-12  Patriot: <morf> <PM: I sure put in a lot of work without considering 35...Kb8!> That move had me stumped for a while and even thought it may refute everything.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Ox: Here in the UK we actually post our solutions before the puzzle appears, rather than afterwards. >

That is a great idea. How about next Monday, everyone write up their solution before the puzzle is posted? I'll do mine now:

"Good old Monday puzzles. You can always count on a Queen sac. So the game will continue 38. Qg8+ Rxg8 39. Nf7++"

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <BOSTER> I should point out that I live in the same time zone as The Guys In Florida, so I see the POTD at midnight. And that's one reason my comments tend to be short: having a real job, I need to go to bed.

So I'm sitting at the computer at midnight, refreshing the screen every minute or so. This is literally the last thing I do at night.

Another reason for pithiness is that I don't enjoy doing detailed analysis. (Twenty years of being a Games Editor will do that to you.) As <Abdel Irada> points out, we all have our styles. I'm satisfied just to make some quick remark pointing out an interesting feature of the position. There are many others who can provide better and more detailed analysis than I could in any event, so why should I bother? I'll stick to what I enjoy doing.

I can't deny having some pleasure when I'm the first poster, but I don't obsess over it. If I did, I wouldn't take the time to update my GOTD and POTD indexes before looking at the position.

Dec-27-12  crocodile27: I think that the biggest mistake for black was actually at probably 30/31 not doing 30/31.....Bxa6. From there an exchange of the Bishops and Rook would have followed, the Black King would have still been under pressure but at least with a pieces count in balance.
Dec-27-12  Patriot: <Phony Benoni> Good answer! One thing funny about the whole thing is that, other than an inconvenient time, the time zone shouldn't matter when it comes to when the POTD gets posted. If I can stay up until midnight hitting refresh, <dzechiel> may be doing the same thing on the west coast at 8pm and has the same opportunity to post a comment before I do.

<BOSTER>, why should the time zone matter? I didn't think distance mattered on the internet! And from the complaints, you seem to have posted the first comment this time...LOL. And I might add, a very lengthy comment. When I saw that I had to wonder, "Were you set up?" Did <Phony Benoni> delete his first comment to make yours #1? Or did you write up your comment well in advance and then submit it as soon as the new POTD came up? Sorry, with all due respect the whole thing is very comical.

Dec-27-12  BOSTER: <Oxspawn> <Here in UK we actually post our solutions before the puzzle appear>.

Maybe you have the possibility to hypnotize <CG> and encourage them to choose the Puzzle which is already on your desk. In reality this is possible.

Dec-27-12  LIFE Master AJ: I saw 34.Qxa8+ right away, however, (initially) I wnt with Ra1 instead of Nb5.
Dec-28-12  Abdel Irada: <OhioChessFan: "Good old Monday puzzles. You can always count on a Queen sac. So the game will continue 38. Qg8+ Rxg8 39. Nf7++">

I hate to break it to you, but 39. Nf7††?? will be met by 39. ...Rxg1 (unfortunately, that would be White's king). Fortunately, the puzzle will be "Black to win," so this won't matter.

Dec-28-12  TheBish: Xie Jun vs C Peptan, 1998

White to play (34.?) "Medium", White is up an Exchange (rook for bishop).

This was a fairly challenging position, but not too hard. I figured the "exchange" sacrifice of the queen for rook and bishop was winning, but for some reason took the "safe" route once I saw that 34. Nb5 was easily winning. I forgot to post my analysis earlier (part suprise, part disappointment I didn't spend more time looking at 34. Qxa8+!. Anyway, posting it now partly to bookmark this page for later. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At first glance, it looks like White's queen is trapped (34. Qa4 Bd3+ wins the queen), but there is a way out.

34. Nb5! Counterattack! ...Rxe8

Or 34...Qc4 35. Qxf7+, and any other queen move allows a trade of queens with an easy simplification. Also if 34...Bxb5? 35. Qxa8#.

35. Nxc7 Kxc7 36. Rxa6 Bc5 37. Bxc5 bxc5 38. Ra7+ Kc6 39. Rxf7. Very resignable!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The queen sac takes down black's position like a house of cards-and white DOES get the queen back!
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