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Ruslan Ponomariov vs Arseny Alavkin
RUS-Cup6 (1997), Krasnodar, rd 1, Mar-11
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  sfm: Uh-oh. Queens and knight and kings in open. You _know_ something is going to happen! But White's a-pawn still required some thinking.
Nov-21-12  UnsoundHero: White had the better Queen & Knight ending for awhile, but I don't like 47 a5. White needs to get his Q out of the corner with 47 Qe4, then try to get his N back in play (Nf2).
Nov-21-12  Jamboree: This is much harder than a 2-star problem. Not because of the first four moves -- that was easy, the very first thing I analyzed was Nxf4+ to lure the white N to a square from which it could not stop the black pawn from queening. I saw all that pretty immediately, but I rejected the line as not obviously "winning" after seeing that black is a knight down after both pawns queen, and so absolutely must pause the take the remaining white knight -- WITHOUT check. This then leaves the white queen to go on a perpetual check spree, and/or to win the black g-pawn and maybe draw by eliminating enough material.

To solve the problem, you have to see 10-15 moves deep to see that white can't ever take the g-pawn because when he does so it eventually allows black to trade queens (and win the game) by getting to g5 with check, white white can't avoid. AND/OR, one must see that black can run away from the perpetual after about a dozen moves.

3-star problem at least.

Instead, thinking that Nxf4+ might lead to a perpetual, I analyzed an interesting alternate line:

60. ...e2?! 61. Qxe2 Qxh3+!? 63. Kxh3 Nxf4+ 64. Kh2 Nxe2 -- but now both the N and the K are too slow to stop the a-pawn. But it was a fun line while it lasted!

Nov-21-12  Abdel Irada: <<>Arseny and Old Knights<>>

"Going like sixty," Black has a choice: He can lose brilliantly, or brilliantly obtain a two-pawn advantage in a queen ending. Either choice requires a sacrifice.

Just for fun, here's how to lose:

<60. ...e2?
61. Qxe2, Qxh3
62. Kxh3, Nxf4
63. Kh2, Nxe2>

Yes! We've won a piece.

click for larger view

[The position after 63. ...Nxe2]

<64. a7...>

Too bad we've lost the game.

Oh. That's right. We're supposed to be looking for a brilliant way to *win*.

In that case, we'd better lose a piece rather than win one. After all, the simple 60. ...Qd2; 61. Qxd2, exd2 loses to 62. Nf2, taking control of the queening square.

<<>60. ...Nxf4!

61. Nxf4...>

On (a) 61. Kf3/Kg3?, e2 and Black queens; (b) 61. Kh2, Nxh3 and Black has won a piece thanks to the discovered check should White recapture; (c) 61. Kg1/Kh1, Nxh3/Nxh3 and Black has won a piece; (d) 61. Kf1??, Qc1#.

<<>61. ...Qd2

62. Qxd2, exd2>

Now Black queens because the knight can no longer reach a square from which to control d1. However, White queens, too, so this is still not so clear.

<<>63. a7, d1=Q

64. a8=Q, Qxg4

65. Kh1...>

Otherwise Black can take the knight with check.

<<>65. ...Qxf4 >

click for larger view

[The position at the end of the combination]

As the diagram shows, Black is ahead three pawns to one. White can't win the g-pawn, of course, because 66. Qa7/Qb7 is met by 66. ...Qc7, when it is White who must be careful not to check from the wrong square, allowing the interposition ...Qc6.

I cannot rate this position as clearly won, but Black's advantage is solid and should eventually lead to a win.

Nov-21-12  Abdel Irada: <Jamboree>: Actually, I'm pretty sure White has no perpetual. Black's king, helped by queen interpositions as necessary, works his way over to h7 and takes shelter; this is among the advantages conferred by the extra pawns.

I agree with you that the final position in this combination isn't as satisfying a win as one could hope for, but I think it *is* a win. And that, after all, is all we need.

[Edited: Somehow I completely overlooked the check on d5 in my pre-edit post. However, it still appears that White has no perpetual.]

Nov-21-12  Dr. J: <Abdel Irada: I'm pretty sure White has no perpetual. Black's king ... works his way over to h7 and takes shelter >

That's what I thought until I saw the game continuation, but now I don't think Black can get there, e.g. after 67 Qb7+

click for larger view

if now 67...Kf8 68 Qa8+! Kf7 69 Qd5+ Kf8 70 Qd8+ and Black must find a different idea.

Nov-21-12  Abdel Irada: <Dr. J>: As my edit remarks, I failed to examine the check on d5 in my original analysis.

However, it was played in the game, and Black still managed to elude the perpetual.

Nov-21-12  ksanat: knight decoy for queening...Nxf4.....
Nov-21-12  gofer: I see one continuation that looks okay, but it seems a little complex for a Wednesday and it seems a little uncertain in the final outcome...

60 ... Nxf4+
61 Nxf4 Qd2+
62 Qxd2 exd2
63 a7 d1=Q
64 a8=Q Qxg4+
65 Kh1 Qxf4

click for larger view

Okay black should be able to trade queens into a winning end game but this is going to be a little bit tricky... this what we were meant to find????


It was, but I wonder what our silicon allies say about black's chances for a win? <Good?>, <Bad?> or <Indifferent?>

Nov-21-12  prbprb2: How would you all appraise the situation at around move 41? Doesn't white have a distinct advantage? Or is it fluff?

Thanks to anyone who can take time to appraise the board a bit earlier.

Best, Philip

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: A pleasant them presents itself: deflect the knight with your own knight-sac, allowing the pawn to Queen. The main concern for Black is white's advanced a-pawn

<60...Nxf4+ 61.Nxf4 Qd2+ 62.Qxd2 exd2 63.a7 d1=Q 64.a8=Q Qxg4+> This move allows Black to recover the piece <65.Kh1 Qxf4> and Black has netted two-pawns;

click for larger view

Almost working, but not quite, is <60...Qc6+> due to <61.Kg1 Qf3 62.a7 Qg3+> (If 62...Qxg4+ 63.Kh2) <63.Qg2 Qe1+ 64.Qf1 Qa5 65.Qd3+ Kc8 66.Qxe3>

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is equal.

White threatens 61.a7, 62.a8=Q.

My first idea 60... e2 61.Qxe2 Qxh3+ 62.Kxh3 Nxf4+ loses miserable to 63.Kh2 Nxe2 64.a7.

Another option is 60... Nxf4+:

A) 61.Nxf4 Qd2+ 62.Qxd2 exd2 63.a7 d1=Q 64.a8=Q Qxg4+ 61.Kh1 Qxf4 - + [2P].

B) 61.Kg3 e2+ and 62... e1=Q with a winning attack.

C) 61.Kh2 Qd2+ 62.Qxd2 exd2 63.a7 d1=Q 64.a8=Q Qe2+ 65.Kg3 (else 65... Nxh3) 65... Qe3+ wins the knight (66.Qf3 Qxf3+ 67.Kxf3 Nxh3).

D) 61.Kh1 e2 wins.

Nov-21-12  Bengambit: 60...e2!! if...61.Qxe2 Qxh3+ 62.Kxh3 Nxf4+ 63.Kg3 Nxe2+ 64.Kf3 Nd4+ 65.Ke4 Nb5 or if 60...e2!! 61.Qa4+ Kd6 62.a7 e1=Q 63.Qa6+ Qcc6+ 64.Qxc6+ Kxc6 65.a8=Q+ Kd7 66.Qa7+ Nc7 67.Qa4+ Kc8 68.Qc2 draw.....or it's so many lines here that one miscalculation can cost you either a win,the game,or get an draw. So let's look at the game and see what my other chessmasters came up with today....
Nov-21-12  Bengambit: Ok,nice finish with a good attack on white's unguarded g4 pawn,and black just dry mopped white's kingside period,and this I do remember from all of my endgames,"Bishop Pawns Are Automatic Queens" nice ending here by far,lesson learned.
Nov-21-12  LoveThatJoker: <60...Q-Q7+ 61. QxQ PxQ 62. P-R7>

[62. N-B2 NxP+ 63. K-B1 (63. K-B3 is the same) 63...N-Q6! 64. P-R7 (64. K-K2 NxN ; 64. NxN P-Q8=Q+ ) 64...NxN 65. P-R8=Q P-Q8=Q+ 66. KxN QxP ]

<62...P-Q8=Q 63. P-R8=Q QxP+>


Nov-21-12  LoveThatJoker: No points for me today.

Stockfish confirms that Black obtains no advantage - just an equal game - from my line.

62. N-B2 NxP+ 63. K-B3 N-Q6 N-Q1 is its totally logical improvement.


Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Easy piece deflection. I guess the player who hasn't resigned is thinking "please-don't-see-it...Please-don't-see-it!"
Nov-21-12  TheTamale: Hmm, I got the right series of moves, but I didn't see it through to what happens after White queens as well, so I give myself 3/4.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Either these puzzles are getting harder or I'm getting dumber. My first impulse was 60...e2? 61.Qxe2 Qxh3+?? 62.Kxh3 Nxf4+. Then it dawned on me that 63.Kh2 Nxe2 64.a7 wins for <White>.

My next thought was 60...Qd2+ 61.Qxd2 exd2, but White stops the pawn with 62.Nf2. Black can grab a pawn with 62...Nxf4+, then immediately bring the knight back to stop the pawn. But that doesn't look like a win for Black either.

My last and best(?) thought: 60...Nxf4+! 61.Nxf4 Qd2+ 62.Qxd2 exd2 63.a7 d1(Q) 63.a8(Q) Qxg4+ 64.Kh1 Qxf4. Black is two pawns up. I'm not certain this is a win, since White has a lot of checks. But it looks to be Black's best chance.

Nov-21-12  standardwisdom: <Jamboree: This is much harder than a 2-star problem> Indeed! I failed to see that white queen will need to be exchanged if it ever takes the pawn at g7. Obviously then, I failed to see that the ensuing end game is won for black as white's h pawn will fall without any compensation and the g and h pawns will then have a stroll in the park.

I didn't solve the problem obviously, but I had the first 4-5 moves correct.

Nov-21-12  doubledrooks: After 60...Nxf4+ 61. Nxf4 Qd2+ 62. Qxd2 exd2 63. a7 d1=Q 64. a8=Q Qxg4+ 65. Kh1 66. Qxf4 Qd5+ I assumed that the Black king could find shelter on h7, but a perpetual is lurking.

Lesson: calculate, instead of assuming.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I'm forked fume an chew in flat out at steal a march in the races in

energy it foible in 60...Nxf4+ armouring ah space free pawn once in

feed him headed a 61.Nxf4 Qd2+ its not a phd required to see a queen

can bandy it together in 62.Qxd2+ in slider it hostile e3 way finds

a path in d2 d1 for queens to 62...exd2 63.a7 fate agile in

pageantry stop again either d1 in a8 both pawns having

equidistant relations to each other in select white in herald got

63...d1=q 64.a8=q Qxg4+ king liberty, in either good to give spar

kingff2 and h1 prefer 65...Qxf4 far as put in black too pawns up and

can in effect also defend g7 bidding for g5, in mind also good game

queen and beo - wolf knight it donkey up honour in f4!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I was curious as to why white could not play 68 Qxg7 afer the text 67...Ke6 below.

click for larger view

It turns out that black can force an exchange of queens after the sequence 68 Qxg7 Qh4+ 69 Kg2 Qg5+.

click for larger view

Now he can capture the h pawn and win easily.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black exchanges queens-both sides queen and black wins three for one in the pawn department.
Nov-21-12  King Sacrificer: 2-star puzzle? This game is not over until the queens are exchanged and nobody was able to post the full solution. Even the best kibitzers..
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