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Victor Bologan vs Thomas Luther
Aeroflot Open (2007), Moscow RUS, rd 7, Feb-20
French Defense: Steinitz. Boleslavsky Variation (C11)  ·  0-1



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sac: 23...Rxf4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-25-14  david ne: well, what about K, any move, Nxc3, and black is a piece up?
Apr-25-14  TheBish: Bologan vs T Luther, 2007

Black to play (23...?) "Difficult".

White is up a pawn, but his king is uncastled. It seems that his last move, Nf4, gains a key tempo by attacking Black's queen, buying him time to castle next move after which he will have good winning chances. But Black can disrupt those plans at the small cost of an exchange.

23...Rxf4! 24. Bxf4 Bxd4 25. Rxd4 (or 25. Bxe5 Bc6!) Bc6 26. Rd5

If instead 26. Qf1 Nf3+ and 27...Nxd4.

26...Qf7 27. 0-0 (or 27. c4 Nxc4 and the rook is lost anyway) Qxd5 and Black has won a piece.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: That's a cute little combination - the sort of floppy-eared puppy that is so eager to please that it accidentally puddles on the carpet.

click for larger view

From the opening position, the cautious souls will notice that black's queen is attacked. We need to do something about that - either moving her majesty to safer quarters or - seeing as this is a puzzle and all - doing something striking somewhere somehow.

The more aggressive souls will not notice her maj in peril. Instead they will be rubbing their hands in anticipation of an uncastled white king parked opposite a black rook with only a handful of pieces to defend him. And that suggests we need to pull those pieces away to get as his maj.

Hmm. Defend our queen or attack his king? Dr Jekyll or Mr Hide? Too many choices. If life is like a box of chocolates than the biggest dilemma is surely knowing which one to choose, not as Forrest Gump reckoned knowing what you're gonna get. And when it comes to chocolate the Once rule is that the hard centres are usually the ones with teeth marks.

That's when we notice that 23... Rxf4 appeals to both aggression and caution. It removes one of the defenders of the white position and it stops the Sir Lancelot from making inappropriate advances towards the missus.

There's an added bonus to 23... Rxf4. White cannot recapture with 24. gxf4 because his undefended queen would fall. This is starting to tell us that we are on the right track. Moves that force our opponent into one or two replies are generally better than those with lots of possible responses.

After 24...Bxf4 we get to here, and it's a new puzzle. We are starting from scratch with the only difference that the Friday POTD has been distilled into a Wednesday. It's black to play and win.

click for larger view

Several things to notice here. The white Be2 would be pinned if the Ne5 moved. This means that Nf3+ or Nd3+ could be possible at some point. Can't do it yet because the queen and Nd4, so file it away for now.

The long white diagonal is tempting if only the Nd4 wasn't there. Then we could play Bc6 and win at least the exchange by hitting the Qg1 and Rh1.

Hang on a minute. That's twice that we have mentioned the Nd4. This excellent defender is doing too many jobs. It is defending against Bc6, Nf3+ and (coincidently) Qxc2. So let's chop it off and see what happens. Let's look at 24. Bxd4 Nxd4

click for larger view

Now it's a new puzzle, downgraded from a Wednesday to a Tuesday. Time to think again. And it's here that we notice that 25...Bc6 does more than win the exchange. White can't play Qh2 or Qg1 to defend the rook because then 26...Nf3+ forks king and queen exploiting the pinned Be2. And if 26. Qf1 Nf3+ wins the rook on d4.

There's just one other white defence to spot. If 26. Rd5 (as in the game), the only white move to secure the win is 26...Qf7 hitting and winning the pinned rook for free.

Cute. Can't claim to have solved all of it in human mode, so I won't.

Apr-25-14  patzer2: Today's Friday solution 23...Rxf4! combines the decoy, deflection, pin, clearance, Knight fork (supported by the pin), and overloading on a pinned piece tactic(s) to win a piece.

The combination as played is pretty clear, but a few options are worth noting:

If 24. gxf4??, then 24...Qxg2 .

If 26. Qf1 or 26. Qf2, then 26...Nf3+! 27. Kd1 Nxd4 .

If 27. Bf3, then 27...Nxf3+ 28. Kf2 Qxd5 .

Apr-25-14  Nick46: Lex Luther slowly but surely makes mincemeat of Viktor B.
Apr-25-14  diagonalley: very pretty... even though the exchange sacrifice suggests itself, an accurate continuation is required...good friday puzzle
Apr-25-14  newzild: I agree with <diagonally> - I found this to be a good Friday puzzle, and a tricky one. I spotted the main ideas quickly enough but it took me several minutes to find the refutation to the main line, which is 23...Rxf4 24. Bxf4 Bxd4 25. Qd5+!
Apr-25-14  morfishine: Black has a positional advantage due to White's King rook which is passive [ie: Black is ahead in development by exactly 1-piece]. Correct policy in such positions is to inititate trades, forcing exchanges which obliges the opponent to recapture to avoid outright loss of material

<23...Rxf4> This simple, forcing move is best (since it removes one of White's developed pieces, specifically the one attacking the Black Queen)

<24.Bxf4 Bxd4> Black continues to liquidate pieces with a view to converting a positional advantage into a local tactical advantage (based on having more force at the point of attack)

<25.Rxd4> This is where I became visually "stuck in the mud".

The question being "Can White interpolate 25.Qd5+ postponing restoring the material balance?"

Position after 25.Qd5+:

click for larger view


Apr-25-14  moodini: I was starting to congratulate myself on solving it when I scrolled down and saw the 25.Qd5+ suggestion of <newzild> and <morfishine>, which I had not even considered. Oops!

What does black play? 25..Kh8 and then continue with Bc6 when white plays Rxd4? I think black can come out a piece up but the bank rank looks a little weak.

Apr-25-14  newzild: <Moodini> I think so - at least 25...Kh8!! was my "refutation", as other attempts don't seem to work. I spent quite a lot of time on variations setting up a check on f3, e.g., 25...Qf7? 26. Qxd4? Nf3+, but in every line Black seems to have a defence, e.g. 25...Qf7? 26. Rxd4!.

After 25...Kh8!!, Black can meet 26. Rxd4 with 26...Bc6 (spearing the Rh8) and 26. Qxd4 with the thematic 26...Nf3+.

There may be a refutation to this refutation, but if there is I can't see it!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: That's a fascinating little sideline that I had not considered. Here's the position after 25. Qd5+ Kh8

click for larger view

And now bizarrely Fritz says that white can't recapture any of the black pieces.

If 26. Rxd4 Bc6 and the rook on h1 can't be defended.

If 26. Qxd4 Nf3+

If 26. Bxe5 Bxe5 27. Qxd7 Qxg3+ and black has a forced mate.

It feels a little odd that the refutation to 25. Qd5+ is the calm 25... Kh8 (Fritzie says that 25...Nhf7 also works). It seems that black has so many threats against the white position that his en prise pieces are perfectly safe.

This is turning out to be a more complicated Friday than it first appeared.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: The first thing I noticed was the name Viktor Bologan. By coincidence I picked up his best games 1985-2004 for 5.00 a few weeks ago at the Edinburgh Congress.

First thought was to play out the game, spot the shot and post on here and be the clever fellah. Alas this game was played in 2007.

Quarter of the way through the book, good read, not yet hit a warm glow game but I'm sure I will.

The solution. Saw the first move Rxf4, things got clatty after that. Rejected first move....went back to first move...more unclear clat.

Decided move order was wrong, therefore postion was wrong and will have to wait till I pick up Bologan's best games 2005-2015 in a 5.00 box to see what really happened.

Made mental note to send message to the owners of this site that today's puzzle is flawed (because I could solve it....)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This one is too deep for me- but I do understand that black's knights are stronger than white's bishops.
Apr-25-14  JimNorCal: <SallyS>: Heh.

I'm pretty sure that no matter which "Best Games Bologan" book you obtain, this one won't be in it :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: I correctly guessed 23...Rxf4 24.Bxf4 Bxd4 25.Rxd4. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is one pawn down.

White threatens 24.Nxg6.

The white threat, the position of the white king and the weak a8-h1 diagonal suggest 23... Rxf4 24.Bxf4 (24.gxf4 Qxg2) 24... Bxd4, threatening 25... Bc6:

A) 25.Rxd4 Bc6

A.1) 26.Qh2(g1) Nf3+ wins the quen.

A.2) 26.Qf1(2) Nf3+ followed by 26... Nxd4 wins a piece.

A.3) 26.Rd5 Qf7 (26... Qe6 27.Rxe5) seems to win a piece.

A.4) 26.Bf3 Nxf3+ wins.

B) 25.Bxe5 Bc6 (25... Bxe5 26.Rxd7)

B.1) 26.Qh2(f1) Bxe5 - + [N+B vs R+P] with multiple threats (27... Bxh1, 27... B(Q)xg3+, 27... Bxb2, etc.).

B.2) 26.Bf3 Rxe5+

B.2.a) 27.Kf1 Bb5+ 28.Rd3 Bxd3+ 29.cxd3 Qxd3+ 30.Qe2 (30.Be2 Qb1+ 31.Bd1 Qxd1#) 30... Rxe2, etc.

B.2.b) 27.Kd2 Qg5+ 28.Kd3 Qe3+ 29.Kc4 Bb5+ 30.Kb4 a5#.

C) 25.Qd5+ Nf7

C.1) 26.Qxd4 Nf3+ 27.Kf2 Nxd4 28.Rxd4 Qxb2 - + [Q+N vs R+B].

C.2) 26.Rxd4 Bc6 wins a piece.

C.3) 26.Bxe5 Bc6 27.Qxd4 Nxe5 28.Rf1 (28.Qg1 Nf3+; 28.0-0 Qxg3#) 28... Nf3+ 29.Rxf3 Bxf3 30.Rd2 Qxg3+ 31.Kd1 (31.Kf1 Qg2+ 32.Ke1 Rxe2+ and mate next) 31... Qxh3 and it seems that Black will win either by direct attack or the pawn ending after material exchanges.

Apr-25-14  PJs Studio: Thanks Once for hitting the nail on the head. I thought the Qd5+ at any one point would ruin blacks combinations after ...Rxf4 & ...Bxd4 but it doesn't. Never be afraid to sac the exchange as long as you get some play for it.
Apr-25-14  solver43: The moves were predictable until 26 Rd5
I considered 26...Qxc2 with the threat
of Nd4 check

I got lost in the jungle of variations
after that but I wonder if anyone else
considered this line

Apr-25-14  Patriot: Black is down a pawn. White threatens Nxg6.

This is a very mesmerizing position in complexity. Since 24.Nxg6 is the threat, I'm looking at 23...Rxf4 primarily.

23...Rxf4 24.Bxf4 Bxd4 25.Qd4+ Kh8 26.Qxd4 Nf3+

23...Rxf4 24.Bxf4 Bxd4 25.Qd4+ Kh8 26.Rxd4 Bc6

23...Rxf4 24.gxf4 Qxg2 25.fxe5

23...Rxf4 24.Bc4+ Nxc4 25.Qd5+ Qf7

23...Rxf4 24.Qd5+ Rf7

Apr-25-14  solver43: Nd3 check not Nd4 check
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: The game is over after move 27. White should have resigned there.
Apr-26-14  cyclon: Pretty complex position, but I'd view 'something like' ; 23. -Rxf4 24. Bxf4 ( 24. Bh5 Qxh5 25. gxf4 Nf3+ 26. Qxf3 [26. Kf2 Nxd4 / 26. Nxf3 Rxe3+] -Qxf3 27. Nxf3 Rxe3+ should nail the coffin ) -Bxd4 and now ;

a) [after 24. -Bxd4]; 25. Bxe5 Bc6 26. Bf3 ( 26. Q- Bxe5 and not 26. -Bxh1 Black's got a winning game ) -Rxe5+ 27. Kf1 ( on 27. Kd2 comes -Qg5+ 28. Kd3 Qe3+ 29. Kc4 Bb5+ 30. Kb4 a5X ) - Bb5+ ( 27. -Bxf3 28. Qxf3 Rf5 is also possible ) 28. Be2 ( 28. Rd3 Bxd3+ 29. cxd3 Qxd3+ 30. Be2 Qb1+ wins immediately ) - Bxe2+ 29. Qxe2 Qf5+ 30. Ke1 Rxe2+ 31. Kxe2 Qe4+ mating.

b) [after 24. -Bxd4]; 25. Rxd4 Bc6 and either 26. Q- Nf3+ followed by 27. -Nxd4, or 26. Rd5 simply -Qe6 sort of 'triple-pinning' along the h1-a8 diagonal in both cases achieving a win-entailing advantage.

But, never knows - let's see!

Apr-26-14  cyclon: My careless 26. -Qe6? was an oversight due to 27. Rxe5 where Black loses his advantage instead of an ACCURATE game-move 26. -Qf7! By the way, what chips might suggest after crazy 26. -Nf5, or even 26. -Qxc2? Or are they just plain stupid? Post most welcome!
Apr-26-14  knight knight: Just to add, after 23...Rxf4 24. Bxf4 Bxd4 25. Qd5+ Kh8 26. Bxh6, black continues 26...Qxg3+ 27. Kd2 Bxb2! 28. Bxg7+ Qxg7 with a winning position.
May-07-14  LIFE Master AJ: I'm not sure, but I may have ben the one that submitted this game ... I saw it (first) in TWIC.
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