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Maxim Turov vs Evgeny Postny
Balatonlelle GM (2003), rd 7, Jun-21
Italian Game: Evans Gambit. Stone-Ware Variation (C51)  ·  0-1



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sac: 31...Qxe1+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: < *** this is a Monday - right?>

Not to split hairs, but technically today is Wednesday.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: I just checked the Opening Explorer. There are 33 games in the database with the position after 5. ... Bd6, and Black has a plus score(!), i.e., +13 -12 =8, which equates to 51.5%. Remarkably, this move (5. ... Bd6) receives no coverage in Italian Game and Evans Gambit, by Jan Pinski (Everyman 2005).
Aug-15-07  YouRang: Wow, 31...c1=Q looked so easy. It threatens mate and guards Ph6, ultimately leaving black with with no sustainable counterplay. I worried that I had to be missing something.

My worries seemed to be confirmed when I saw that the "answer" was 31...Qxe1!?

I had to find out what was wrong with 31...c1=Q. I fired up the computer and found out that the computer agreed with me in a big way, lol.

Funny Wednesday puzzle!

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: Got c1=Q without any help from a computer.
Aug-15-07  Wilsonia: I went for Rxa7 yesterday so I learned from that and went for Qxe1+ here. I think it is simpler as it deflects the queen to a passive square and all white has after that is one harmless knight check.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Got c1=Q without any help from a computer.>

From the given puzzle position, 31. ... c1=Q is an obvious candidate move. That move also (A) looks extremely strong; but (B) was not the "official" solution to today's puzzle. I tried on my own to see if there was something wrong with the move (31. ... c1=Q), as would be the case, for example, if a White pawn at f4 were added to the position. (With the c1-h6 diagonal blocked, 31. ... c1=Q?? would allow perpetual check starting with 32. Qg6+), but the diagonal is open and 31. ... c1=Q defends h6.

Maybe I am a wimp, but in such a circumstance, I feel compelled to double-check my analysis with a computer. (Legion have been the times that Fritz has busted one of my proposed "alternative solutions" to's puzzles of the day.) So, although I certainly did not need a computer to find 31. … c1=Q, I did not feel certain it was a winning move before running the position through Fritz.

Aug-15-07  aazqua: I thought this was fairly trivial but I'm always glad when the puzzles deviate from the sacrifice mate theme.
Aug-15-07  soberknight: I couldn't see anything wrong with c1Q because the queen holds h6, preventing a perpetual check. I was kind of annoyed because I thought I got it wrong. Admittedly, I didn't see Ne2 as a follow-up to Qxe1.
Aug-15-07  kevin86: I saw about three solutions to this one:31...♖fe8 32 ♘xe8 ♖xe8 33 ♖g1 ♘e2 threatens mate and queen---it probably doesn't work,but is sure exciting!

31...c1=♕,the easiest
31...♕xe1+ 32 ♕xe1 ♘e2--but that gives up two queens for a queen and rook!

Aug-15-07  kevin86: OOPS,my first solution fails to 32 ♕g6+ ♔h8 33 ♘f7#
Aug-15-07  Monkey King: c1=Q seems to be easy enough.
Aug-15-07  xKinGKooLx: I saw 31. c1=Q almost immediately but rejected it shortly after - I didn't notice the new queen covered h6 to prevent the perpetual. I need to improve my observational skills! Maybe I should get half a point? :)
Aug-15-07  LuckyBlunder: <Kevin86: OOPS,my first solution fails to 32 Qg6+ Kh8 33 Nf7#>

I don't think its checkmate:

33 Nf7+ Rxf7, with still backrank weakness on the white side. Am I missing something ?

Aug-15-07  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, Postny's 31...Qxe1+! initiates a Queening combination with the pseudo-sacrifice of the Black Queen. The follow-up 32...Ne2 offers the Black Knight as a second sham sacrifice so the pawn on c7 can promote with decisive advantage.
Aug-15-07  newton296: I found the text move and find it more elequent than c1 but a win is a win I guess. maybe I like the text move better as it drags white's Q away from the open g file and eliminates any perp + hopes for white, even though there arn't any in this position as the new Q covers h6
Aug-15-07  Crowaholic: The medium part in Medium/Easy for me was noticing that Black had a queenable pawn on c2. It's easy to overlook these little pieces. ;-)

Once that difficulty was overcome, I quickly established that White has no defense whatsoever against c1=Q - the Qg6+ and Nxf8+ threats are not enough to mate, and not even enough to deliver perpetual check. The extremely well-placed black rooks, plus the new queen's coverage of the h6 square, nicely thwart all attempts in this direction. The Spike 1.1 engine agrees with me and gives c1=Q as the best move with a crushing score of "-#13". Example line:

31. ..c1=Q 32. Qg6+ Kh8 33. Qxh6+ Qxh6 34. Rxd1 Nf3 35. gxf3 Qh3 36. Nxf8 Qxf3+ 37. Kg1 Rxf8 38. Ne4 Qxe4 39. Kf2 Re8 40. h3 Qxf5+ 41. Kg3 Rg8+ 42. Kh2 Qf2+ 43. Kh1 Qg2#

<MostlyAverageJoe: (-mate 14) 31... c1=Q 32. Qg6+ Kh8 33. Qxh6+ Qxh6 34. Rxd1 Nf3 35. gxf3 Qe3 36. Ne5 fxe5 37. h4 Qxf3+ 38. Kh2 Qxd1 39. a3 Qxd6 40. Kg2 Rxf5 41. Kh3 Qd3+>

It seems 41. ..Qd3+ delays by one, and ..Rg8 is better. Hence the difference in the length of the mate. (Chess engines often find a longer mate at first, when they have not examined the best move(s) yet.)

The text line is aesthetic, but seemingly not the best solution, so I'm not too disappointed for having missed it.

Aug-15-07  newton296: the difference between the 2 moves c1 and QxR Is largely pschological. A computer would play c1 leaving white counter play and some hope having calculated that it is actually hopless.

But the text makes it clear there is no hope and therfore a better move as i'm sure anybody playing white would resign after seeing ne2! white is going down a Q with no counter play to speak of.

better to simpify in general as I have been burned with the perp check to many times to count.

Aug-15-07  Fezzik: What are people thinking, that 31.c1(Q) is simplest? Why give White any hope of counterplay with 31...Qg6+ when 31.Qxe1 ends the game immediately? I really don't understand why there's so much controversy over the best move here.
Aug-15-07  MostlyAverageJoe: <Fezzik: What are people thinking, that 31.c1(Q) is simplest? >

Of course it is, just look 5 plies ahead or so (see my first post comparing the two). I am not sure why white would have any any hope of counterplay, as you (or Creg) imply.

Qxe1 results in hopeless N+N against N+R+R

c1=Q results in hopeless N+N+R against N+R+R+Q

Given the additional R-versus-Q disparity in the second variant (and rook about to get forked after Nf3 gxf3 Qxf3 in the diagram I have shown), I think the second one is way more forcing.

And, BTW, this was my conclusion BEFORE using any software.

Furthermore, c1=Q is, to just about anyone, THE obvious move with which to start any analysis. All you need to notice is that h6 is protected by the newly promoted queen, and you're done.

As mentioned already, I do agree that Qxe1 is much prettier.

Actually, I wish that neither c1=Q nor Qxe1 were feasible, as Ne6 is quite interesting and also winning. Or, at least, that c1=Q was not feasible, as then I would know whether or not I am capable of finding a gem like Qxe1.

<Creg: ... The resulting end-game is pointless for a master level player to continue fighting> Agreed. But aren't you contradicting here your own arguments about lower rated players (who, by the way, are frequently encouraged to play until mate, no matter what).

Aug-15-07  nahsaab: Not a very good puzzle because there are two winning moves (31. ... c1Q en 31. ... Qxe1+). Are equally good.
Aug-15-07  Crowaholic: <Fezzik: What are people thinking, that 31.c1(Q) is simplest?>

Who, except maybe <psmith>, claimed that it was simplest? It's best, that's something else entirely. Very often, the best move is not the simplest and vice versa.

<Fezzik: Why give White any hope of counterplay with 31...Qg6+>

This "counterplay" is going nowhere and that's not hard to see. Black threatens a quick mate with Qxe1+, so to quote John Nunn, any counter-play that White comes up with should "better be with checks". But the f8 rook prevents White from mating unless White makes a NON-CHECKING MOVE, but this causes BLACK to deliver mate, so that's simply not an option. Nxf8+ is possible, but ..Rxf8 restores the protection of the f7 square - that's why I said that the rooks are so well-placed. This leaves White with no choice but to exchange queens as in the computer-generated shortest mate I have posted. This leaves Black up ♕ for ♘, while the Black king is still protected and the White king is still threatened with a backrank mate.

<newton296: the difference between the 2 moves c1 and QxR Is largely pschological.>

If someone had played c1=Q on me, I would have resigned after looking for any salvatory moves and finding nothing better than Qg6+ followed by Qxh6+.

Personally, I don't believe in playing theoretically inferior moves just because they might cause the opponent to resign more quickly. On the contrary, I think in the mid and long term, playing the theoretically best move is psychologically stronger. Even if the opponent plays on for a few moves, the position will soon look all the more hopeless for him (provided you didn't miscalculate).

Furthermore, I also like to play against a variety of computer opponents. Some of them will never resign, and others will resign only when they're in really really deep trouble. c1=Q would cause them to resign more quickly, or force mate more quickly, and thus speed up the game.

<newton296: better to simpify in general as I have been burned with the perp check to many times to count.>

This is a better reason for playing Qxe1+, but on the other hand, I have also managed to hang pieces in won endgames, so in my eyes, it's not a bad idea to invest more time into double-checking an absolutely crushing move like c1=Q if this allows you to bypass the endgame entirely.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: Black has two winning lines & it is just a matter of choice with which one he would like to give a K.O. The first line is 31...c1=Q 32.Nxf8+ Rxf8 [ not ...Kh8 then 33.Nf7# ] 33.Qg6+ Kh8 34.Nf7+ Rxf7 The second line is sweet & simple 31...Qxe1+ 32.Qxe1 Ne2 & so my choice is the second one.
Premium Chessgames Member If you come up with a winning move, you can give yourself credit for solving the puzzle. True, one line is easier to understand than the other line, because it's more forcing and therefore there are less variations to work out, but in a case like this we wouldn't take anything away from somebody who zeroed in on what seems to be the more complex solution.
Aug-15-07  Skylark: I saw the Qxe1 line first believe it or not. Merely because I was looking for a sac. In a real game I probably would have played c1=Q, although Qxe1 leads to such a simply won endgame that I don't think it really matters either way (ie Qxe1 Qxe1 Ne2 Nxf8 c1=Q Qxc1 Nxc1 being an exchange up and having another passed c-pawn that will rapidly queen).

But I like flashy things and queen sacrifices are fun :)

Aug-15-07  Reisswolf: Got this one. Funnily enough, a position with the same essential elements as this one had arisen in one of my recent games, and I was happy to have found the solution over the board.
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