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Artyom Timofeev vs Elmir Guseinov
European Individual Championship (2007), Dresden GER, rd 9, Apr-12
Sicilian Defense: Hyperaccelerated Dragon (B27)  ·  0-1



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Sep-18-08  Manic: Yep, I had the same trouble <dzechiel> and <TheaN> had because I was so fixated on mating. It took me about 10-15 minutes, before I realised that I could win the rook. This is probably about the right difficulty for a Thursday, because Friday to Sunday I would expect less forcing lines. Almost all the moves here were totally forced. It's just that mental barrier of being able to switch targets from the king to winning the rook.
Sep-18-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I saw 44... g5+ could not be answered by 45. Kxg5 because of the game line. However, I could not find black's response to 45. hxg5, Kg6! 46. g4, h4!....half points today then.
Sep-18-08  elvisbeikos: how about 44...Kh6 with the intention of 45...e6-e5 mate?
Sep-18-08  TrueBlue: very difficult puzzle for me. I had real hard time seeing even the first move :( When I did, after about 20 minutes, everything else fell in place.
Sep-18-08  elvisbeikos: guys do you figure all these variations out in your head or on the board?? how can one improve his analytical thinking??thnx
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The white king's position looks very compromised.

A) 44... e5+ 45.Kg5 seems to worsen black's position.

B) 44... g5+

B.1) 45.hxg5 Kg6 46.g4 h4 and black wins.

B.2) 45.Kxg5

B.2.a) 45... Rg8+ 46.Kf4 Kg6 47.g4 doesn't look satisfactory for black.

B.2.b) 45... Re5+ 46.Kf4 Rf5+ 47.Ke3 d4+ and white loses a rook.

The B) line seems to be the solution. Let's check.

Sep-18-08  lost in space: Missed it today.

In was looking for 44...e5+ and ended somewhere in nowhere. Afterwards I had a closer look at 44...Kh6. I was also looking shortly for 44...g5, but I found no convincing solution.

Time overflow and (time) to check

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: <Once: This is a "what happens if" puzzle.> I prefer to think in terms of "two -or several- weaknesses": if pursuing one of them (the king in danger) doesn't win then try to arrange things to exploit another (the loose rook on b5).
Sep-18-08  VooDooMoves: The white king isn't stalemated, yet he has only two safe squares which means that a check to start is probably the answer, so candidates are 44...e5+ and 44...g5+

1) 44...e5+ 45. Kg5 and there seems no way to proceed.

2) 44...g5+! and now

2a) 45. hxg5 (occupying the 1 safe square the king could run to) e5# and

2b)45. Kxg5 Rg8+ 46. Kf4 and now the king is stalemated so 46...e5#!

It's always nice to mate the king with a pawn :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Needed a board for this one--and still I missed some aspects of the complete solution. First I wasted time on 44...e5+ which does not work because of that pesky escape square g5. So why not just move 44...g5+ and see what happens? Interesting things.

I was sure there would be a mate somewhere, but winning a rook is nice.

Sep-18-08  VooDooMoves: oops! I missed that 44...g5+ 45. Kxg5 Rg8+ 46. Kf4 es+ isn't mate because white can run to f5 :( guess I didn't get it
Sep-18-08  euripides: This must be easy to miss in a game. White turns down a draw by repetition on move 34, then misses Black's combination. Perhaps he overestimated the f6 pawn. It happens to the best people:

Capablanca vs Alekhine, 1927

Sep-18-08  bunkerputt: I saw that g5+ led the win of the rook with d4+ if Kxg5, but on hxg5, I couldn't find Kg6 and h4. Those are really impressive moves to me. Seeing mating nets several moves ahead seems to be one of my visualization weaknesses.
Sep-18-08  eblunt: I missed it - back to first principles - look for unprotected pieces !!
Sep-18-08  YouRang: I feel like I'm in a slump. :-(

I was fixated on ...e5+, and I noticed that 44...Kh6 threatened mate. White has no choice but 45.g4 to create an escape at g3. Now I have 45...e5+ 46.Kg3. So forcing! I made his king retreat! My dangerous central pawns were advancing! I was certain that I had the right idea!

Well, I won't bore you with the lines of analysis that followed, which were so far beyond my board vision that they were passing through the Outer Limits of the Twilight Zone. :-(

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: This ending is like an act where two guys are talking and one picks the other's pocket without the victim even knowing until much later.

I was looking for a mate and missed the winning skewer.(I only saw white escaping and missed that the rook was going to be lost.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Timing is everything.

If white plays g4 on move 44 it looks OK for him.

44 g4 guards the crucial f5 square and creates the escape square on g3.

click for larger view

Sep-18-08  JG27Pyth: Moral of the story... keep the mind flexible! Dang. Brittle minded me determined to find the mate I "know" is there.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: A gouging effort by the craft of Guseinov. 44..g5 on the king what a tool! Guess all black feels is that it should've receded and continually punts away. A try for white shows 44.g4 would work a draw.
Sep-18-08  Kasputin: After looking for awhile for a mating sequence starting with either ...e5+ or ...Kh6, I noticed the following with a different initial move. I just hope that I haven't again missed something elementary here.


White is now faced with a choice: 45. hxg5 or 45. Kxg5

A. 45. hxg5 Kg6
Black now threatens mate next turn with ...e5 and so white has no time for a move like 46. R5b7. A desperate move such as 46. Re7 does not work either. Black can simply capture the e7 rook and again mate is threatened with ...e5 (e.g., 46. Re7 Rxe7; 47. fxe7 e5#). The only move for white looks to be:

46. g4 h4
Mate is now threatened once again with ...e5 and this time white cannot stop it without giving up a rook (e.g., 47. Rxd5). But it is quite hopeless since black can win that rook (47 ...exd5) with an easily won position. Afterall, black has a king that nicely protects the f7 pawn and has a passed pawn on the h-file (another benefit of having moved 46 ...h4) that looks ready to march down the board.

B. 44 ...g5+
45. Kxg5 Re5+
46. Kf4 Rf5+
47. Ke3 d4+
And black wins the b5 rook next move with 48...Rxb5. Once again the black king is on a nice defensive square (g6), the f7 pawn is protected from white's remaining rook, and black should have no trouble with the rest of the game.

Nice puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Thursday (Medium): A Timofeev vs E Guseinov, 2007 (44?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Even. The White Kf4 is confined to dark squares by the opposing Ps and has 1 legal move, suggesting a mating net revolving around the g5 square. The Re8 requires activation. White threatens Rxf7+, which requires a response.

Candidates (44): Kh6, e5+, g5+


I found good lines from 44...g5+, but missed the follow-up 45...Re5+. I went for 45...Kg6, but I see I have good company :)

Sep-18-08  ruzon: <elvisbeikos: guys do you figure all these variations out in your head or on the board?? how can one improve his analytical thinking??thnx>

Most of us try to do it in our heads.

I have found the best way to improve my analytical thinking is (1) keep coming here, (2) discover in very concrete ways how much better most of these people are at analytical thinking than I am, and (3) realize that there isn't too much stopping me from thinking more like they do.

For instance, I never seriously considered 44...g5+ because it drops a pawn immediately, and I hate losing material immediately.

Sep-18-08  Kasputin: <elvisbeikos: guys do you figure all these variations out in your head or on the board?? how can one improve his analytical thinking??thnx>

Yes, I saw all of this by just looking at the puzzle diagram (and jotting down the variations in Wordpad and pasting it here) - the most other kibitizers do the same kind of thing.

The answer re. "improvement in analytical thinking" is the same answer as you get to the question: "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The answer is: practice. Practicing getting these kinds of puzzles, practice other kinds of positions, play over games, play your own games and then study them, etc...

In Andrew Soltis's book "The Inner Game of Chess," the author cites studies where top players and amateurs were shown various chess positions. The really good players could reconstruct from memory the positions shown to them very quickly and accurately. But these were typical kinds of chess positions. When presented with very atypical positions (i.e., that would never really occur in a real game), the good players were no better than the other players. That is because the positions made no sense - the position of the pieces and pawns had no chess-logical relation to one another - there were no typical patterns and much of chess skill lies in pattern recognition. But pattern recognition is largely an unconscious skill that is acquired over time. We look at the way the pieces are gathered around each other and then bing! something registers consciously in terms of what we should play. Those bings! happen more frequently and more accurately the longer we have been exposed to the game.

Yesterday I thought I had come up with a pretty good initial move but in reality it was a bad blunder. I think these kinds of instances of "chess blindness" happen to everyone - on occasion even strong players. But I think they happen a lot more to a player like me (average tournament strength) in comparison to a better player. Why? Because they are quicker when it comes to calculation, can see further, and are more accurate. And that is really because of practice and hard work on their part over a long period of time (combined to some degree with their natural abilities in the game).

Today's puzzle has a few elements to it that potentially can cause difficulty. The first is that 44 ...g5+ looks counter-intuitive. I mean why give away material? Well for one thing, it gives the black king a nice square to sit on (assuming white plays 45. hxg5) that also tightens the mating net around the white king. But it also diverts the white king away for the e5 square (assuming white takes the pawn with the king) and allows the rook to land on the e5 square with a check. And so while it may be counter-inituitive, especially to players with less experience, ...g4+ is actually quite a forcing move (as most checks are in comparison to other types of moves). White has only two possible replies and after each of those replies, further moves are also fairly forced. So relatively speaking, it does not require all that much in terms of visualization of future moves because we aren't talking about a lot of possibilities here. So in that respect, the puzzle is relatively easy in comparison to other positions in which the number of possible moves and possible responses is great.

The other thing that makes this puzzle tough however, and something I have noticed at other times as well is how the end objective can switch around. Reading the comments, it certainly looks like a lot of others were trying to find way to trap the white king and force mate. Certainly the position of the white king recommends this kind of thinking. But it wasn't until I gave up the idea that it was absolutely the goal to checkmate the white king that I noticed how black could win the b5 rook (in the line where white captures the g5 pawn with the king). In fact I noticed this before even thinking about the line where white captures with the pawn instead. Ironically in that line I initially thought about how the black h-pawn could make it down to h1 and queen before I again had to switch back to the "okay, can we checkmate the king?" question.

My point in mentioning all of this is that there are lots of different ways to approach thinking about a positon. With yesterday's puzzle, lots of people got the answer right away, but I was completely off-track. Today, for whatever reasons, I think I had a bit of an easier time then several others.

Personally, I find that by the time these puzzles get to Sat./Sun. that things are just too complicated for me. The time that I can invest in those kinds of puzzles is better spend working on other aspects of chess. Speaking of which, I think I will now retire from chessgames puzzles for the week and come back on Monday.

Sep-18-08  Kasputin: Another oops when I said <black wins the b5 rook next move with 48...Rxb5. Once again the black king is on a nice defensive square (g6), the f7 pawn is protected from white's remaining rook.> White can win the f7 pawn of course, then black can move ...Kg6. But it makes no difference in the final outcome of the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Black's checks have finally forced the king into a position allowing a discovered attack which picks up a rook.
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