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Loek van Wely vs Vladimir Kramnik
16th Amber Tournament (Rapid) (2007) (rapid), Monaco, rd 2, Mar-18
Slav Defense: Quiet Variation. Schallopp Defense (D12)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-18-07  percyblakeney: A bit surprising that van Wely didn't take the draw with 33. Qh5+, he didn't have many seconds left by then...
Mar-18-07  Ashram64: yup..should take the draw dumb dumb!
Mar-18-07  Marmot PFL: With that bad B its hard to see how he could hope for more.
Mar-19-07  Kangaroo: Apparently, <21 ... g5> was premature. Black had already equalized and could have continued in a rather quiet way. The game most likely would have ended with a draw, but ... Kramnik took risk and has won. Alas, on the way to his victory he had several dangers to pass. Fortunately, his opponent did not notice the best moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: Van Wely violates the Three Piece Rule, his "attack" goes nowhere.
Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: Position after 32 ... ♔f7:

click for larger view

How does White possibly expect his attack to bear fruit when his dark-squared bishop is completely locked out of the game?

Mistakes like this are worse than tactical oversights because they show a lack of chess understanding.

Just like GM Seirawan says in his patented expression, when attacking you want to <INVITE EVERYONE TO THE PARTY!>

Mar-23-07  crwynn: Maybe he just thought he had time for Bc3-d2 and the sacrifice e4 (or Bc3-e1 and f3). It's not as if the bishop is shut in for all eternity.

And there is no "three-piece rule". Look how many games are won with just Q+R against an exposed king. Q+N sometimes works too. And sometimes even Q+B, though in this situation they cannot get more than a perpetual.

Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: <CRWynn: ... And there is no "three-piece rule". Look how many games are won with just Q+R against an exposed king.>

How do you think the king got exposed? A piece sacrifice probably! That's the <THREE PIECE RULE>: you need three pieces to give mate, one to sacrifice and two to give mate. It's a generalization that is right an overwhelming percentage of the time. See the book "Attacking Chess" by Colin Crouch, Chapter 1, entitled "Three Piece Rule".

With a two piece attack like Van Wely has here, how exactly does he intend to give mate? If he sacrifices his light-squared bishop, then his "attack" will consist solely of his queen, which is powerless by her self. That is the whole point of the Three Piece Rule, that you need -lots- of firepower to take down the enemy king.

Even your vaunted Q+R team can do its job only if the enemy king is exposed and/or undefended, which probably means other pieces have been already been sacrificed to create this position and the Q+R are mopping up. That's the Three Piece Rule again.

So, yes, there -IS- a Three Piece Rule. Don't believe it? Then just keep launching two-piece attacks like Van Wely does in this game and watch -all- of your attacks fail just like Van Wely's.

Mar-23-07  crwynn: Okay, but this "three piece rule" is a really simple logical corrolary of these two facts: usually can't mate even an exposed king with just one piece, and sometimes need a piece sack to expose the enemy king. And only *sometimes* - look at this game; point "2" doesn't even apply here since Kramnik's king is floating about already.

I can actually put together an attack without worrying about some rule that somebody came up with to help sell a book. So can Van Wely; you still haven't answered the point that he probably intended to activate his other bishop and later realized he didn't have time. A bad error of judgment on his part, but he hardly needs to remind himself of some "rule" in order to improve his play.

Mar-23-07  crwynn: For instance I thought this was an okay attack in a CC game, and I never worried about how many pieces I was attacking with: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. d3 Nxc4 7. dxc4 h6 8. Nf3 e4 9. Qe2 Bc5 10. Nfd2 O-O 11. Nb3 Bg4 12. Qd2 e3 13. fxe3 Bxe3 14. Qc3 Bf2+ 15. Kf1 Re8 16. N1d2 Re1+ 17. Kxf2 Rxh1 18. h3 Nh5 19. hxg4 Qh4+ 20. g3 Qh2+ 21. Ke3 Re1+ 22. Kd4 Qf2+ 0-1
Mar-23-07  micartouse: <CRWynn> Sweet game. You might want to think of a better example though, since that hardly contradicts the Three Piece Rule. :)

I actually like the Three Piece Rule since I was dumb enough to violate it in an important game and got burned.

Mar-23-07  euripides: I quite like the idea of the 'three piece rule' but I'm not sure it applies here. In <notyet>'s position if the white bishop were on e2 -not changing the piece count - I think 33.Bh5+ would win - at least it's very close. Of course you could count the f5 pawn as a piece.
Premium Chessgames Member
  notyetagm: <CRWynn: Okay, but this "three piece rule" is a really simple logical corrolary of these two facts:>

If it's so simple, then why did Van Wely violate it and try to attack with just two pieces?

If you attack the enemy king with just two pieces, your "attack" is going to fail over 90% of the time. To mate the enemy king you have to throw the kitchen sink at him.

Mar-24-07  crwynn: You are not listening, are you? First there is Euripides point that if the bishop had been on e2 at move 33, his pathetic little two-piece attack would probably win; it all depends on the position.

Then I have said repeatedly that Van Wely must have intended to activate his other bishop (this was why he played Bc3) but realized too late that Kramnik's counterplay was quite fast. It all depends on analysis and not some silly rule invented to sell books.

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