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Yuri S Gusev vs E Auerbach
"Gusev's Immortal" (game of the day Oct-19-2011)
Molniya Sporting Society (1946), Chelyabinsk RUS, rd 5
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation General (B72)  ·  1-0



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Given 11 times; par: 44 [what's this?]

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Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: A great game and a magnificent conception by Gusev but ... (part 3 of 4)

I frankly don't understand why 29...cxb3 30.axb3 allowed Black to draw while 29...a5 30.bxc4 allowed White to win, and try as I can I still don't know.. True, after 30.bx4 White has an extra pawn, but his passed pawns are doubled and isolated, while after 30.axb3 White's passed pawn is (potentially) protected. And in either case Black has control of the a3-f8 diagonal to block both the e-pawn and the c-pawn(s) from advancing. And having an extra pawn in this position doesn't seem to me that it would be the deciding factor.

Position after 29...a5 30.bxc4

click for larger view

Position after 29...cxb3 30.axb3

click for larger view

One difference is that after 29...a5 30.bxc4 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qa3 32.Rf7 Qb2+ 33.Kh3 Qxc3+ 34.Kg4 Black is out of checks, and attempting to get back to the a3-f8 diagonal by 34...Qa3 fails to 35.Rc7, and now 36.Rc8+ is only stoppable by 36...Qf8, and Houdini at d=26 announces mate in 27 after 35.Rc7. Stockfish at d=37 has similar lines with 29...a5 30.bxc4 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qa3 32.Ra7.

And if 29...a5 30.bxc4 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qe8 (maintaining contact with f7) then 32.c4 seals Black's fate since he can't stop all 3 of White's threats; c4-c5-c6-c7-c8=Q+, e6-e7-e8=Q+, and Rf8#.

But there are apparently no general principles which can be applied, it just depends on the specific lines. For example, per Stockfish:

(a) 30.axb3 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qe8 32.Kg3 Qe7 33.c4 Qe8 34.c5 and White wins.

(b) 30.axb3 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qe8 32.Kg3 Qe7 33.c4 and White wins.

(c) 30.axb3 Qe7 31.Kg2 Qe8 32.Kg3 and White wins after 32...Qe7 or 32...g5, but only draws after 32...a5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: A great game and a magnificent conception by Gusev but ... (part 4 of 4)

Still, there were several points that both sides needed to remember:

1. After 29...cxb3 30.axb3 Black's queen is tied to preventing Rf8# as well as the advance of the c- and e-pawns. But White's pieces are equally tied up in threatening mate and preventing Black's Rhh8 from escaping since, if it does, Black's material superiority (Q vs. B) will win. So White's Bh6 is effectively just at immobile as Black's Rh8 (particularly if Black plays ...g5) and White's Rf1 is restricted to moving along the f-file, otherwise ...Kg7 (if the bishop moves) or ...Qxe6 (if the rook moves from the f-file).

2. When Black's queen is on e7 or e8, Rf7 is not an option since the simple ...Qxf7, exf7+, ...Kxf7 will result in a likely won position for Black, and certainly no worse than a draw.

3. In some lines Black must play ...g5 at the appropriate time to block the bishop from defending d2. This allows Black's queen to penetrate by ...Qe7-d6-d2+ or ...Qe7-b4-d2+. And once Black's queen penetrates, then White has to either forego Rf7 and allow a draw by repetition or allow a perpetual check after a king move.

So, as much as I admire Gusev's concept, 24.Qxe5 can perhaps be considered a mild swindle attempt (nothing wrong with that!) since after either 24.Qa3 or 24.Qd4 both Stockfish (d=33) and Houdini (d=28) both consider the position even. But it is not a forced win by White. Still, 24.Qxe5 represents White's best practical chance and does not involve any risk. The odds were that Black would make a mistake somewhere down the line and he did. I wish someone had taken a picture of Black's face after White played 24.Qxe5!

Mar-30-14  zebekias: AylerKupp, I had spent days on this position and I have no doubt white forces the win. I have the main variations at:

The engines can not "see" the forced win immediately after Qxe5. You have to progress a bit down the line, and eventually the evaluation changes from 0 to winning for white.

Premium Chessgames Member
  pikuels: <AylerKupp>, apparently the difference between 29...cxb3 30.axb3 and 29...a5 30.bxc4 is that the latter keeps a white pawn on a2, which prevents the black queen from checking from b3, which seems to be the only check to force a draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  pikuels: Besides, in your first post (1 of 4) if the game continues:

24... fxe5
25.Rf1 a6
26.Bd1 Rc7
27.Bb3 Re7

white wins. All he has to do is get a queenside passed pawn. When it reaches the 7th rank black can't capture it, and then white plays Rf7-Rxe7.

I still have to go through your other posts, thanks for your input anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  pikuels: Sorry, in my first post I meant:

"apparently the difference between 29...cxb3 30.axb3 and 29...a5 30.bxc4 is that the latter keeps a white pawn on c3, which prevents the black queen from checking from b3, which seems to be the only check to force a draw."

So the only way for black to draw is to exchange his rook for white's bishop, then place his queen on e7, play cxb3 and move his queen from e7 to a3 and back. It's a narrow road, but black gets a perpetual. All other lines win for white. A spectacular sacrifice, anyway, and the best practical chance white had to get the win. One of my all time favourite games.

There's also a lot of analysis, by myself and some other users, in previous pages.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Edward Winter's chess note, mentioned by <Karpova>, can be found here now: --> <8405. Gusev v Auerbach>
Mar-12-15  FairyPromotion: This is an immortal above immortals. One of the greatest games of all time, underrated mostly because of the name of the winner.

I remember when I first saw this game, I had thought that 33... g5 was the losing move. Later, when I read the analysis for this game, I was amazed to find out that 24. Qxe5 was winning in almost all (some claim all) variations, and the drawing lines suggested in some analysis are extremely difficult to find. Keep in mind this is a game where white sacrificed his queen, when he was already down a whole rook, without any immediate mate or material gain in the cards. But with rook on h8 prisoned, white was able to overload the black queen, and eventually win the game. Amazing!

Nov-18-15  NeverAgain: Worry not, folks: the brilliant queen sacrifice was sound and White wins in <every> variation.

The jump-off position arises after 24.Qxe5!! fxe5 25.Rf1!

click for larger view

Black has several plausible replies - <25...Rc8>, <25...Rc7>, <25...a6>, <25...Qe7> (we can dismiss <25...Rxe6> at once as it leads to mate in three at most after <26.Bc4 any move 27.Bxe6>) - and there are many variations that can spring from them. However, I'm going to demonstrate that whatever Black plays White can always follow a simple winning plan that doesn't require calculating endless variations or even using an engine. Nevertheless, I will provide a few variations backed up by engine evals to point out where AylerKupp's "refutations" fail.

The key idea of this plan involves the transfer of the bishop to b3. Once it's there the threat of <e7> with check or checkmate will always hang over Black's head. Therefore the black rook will have to either blockade the e6 pawn on the e7 square or block the bishop's diagonal (b3-g8). The queen is a poor blockader to begin with, and here it also has to guard the f8 square against <Rf8> with check or checkmate.

In the former case White wins with a pawn breakthrough on the queenside. In the latter he waits until Black runs out of non-commital queenside pawn moves (he may choose to blockade them to speed up the process), plays his king to a different square to avoid checks by the black queen, and then as soon as the queen leaves the e8 square <Rf7> will decide. There are a couple of additional interesting twists there that I'll cover as we go.

I cannot claim the authorship here, most of these ideas were outlined years ago on earlier pages of this thread, in the TalkChess thread linked there and in Vass' post on ChessPub here

Nov-18-15  NeverAgain:

click for larger view

The two main points of AK's analysis are that Black draws after <25...a6> and in the game continuation after <29...cxb3>.

<AK: Stockfish DD at d=45 gives the following line, evaluating the resulting position at [-0.73]: 25...a6 (an interesting move, discouraging the immediate 26.Bd5 and maybe gaining a tempo, but Stockfish evaluates 25...Rc7 and 25...Rc8 at [0.00]) 26.Bd1 Rc7 27.e7>

Two errors here already. First, it is pointless to rely on engines' eval this early into the analysis. Even the last non-Lazy Stockfish dev build (Oct 16) with 6-men Syzygy tablebases (which AK could not take advantage of in 2014) cannot see a win at this point. No, the correct strategy is to do old-fashioned manual analysis yourself, find a win and then work your way backwards with the engine of your choice. Since AK is well familiar with the "forward sliding" technique, I'm surprised he didn't use it here. Anyway, around move 30 the tablebases start to provide a major boost, with engines quickly reaching search depths of 60+ - then SF finally wakes up and smells the juicy aroma of fried chicken emanating from Black's position. All the same, I found time and time again confirmations of how dumb SF is, always seeking drawn deadends, so most of the time I stuck to Houdini 4 Pro in Tactical Mode.

Second, <27.e7> is an exceedingly dumb move that throws a linchpin pawn for no good reason, so there is no point in analyzing it in detail.

<AK: If instead 27.Bb3, 27...Re7 and White again can't break through the blockade on the 7th rank. At d=42 Stockfish gives 28.Kg2 a5 29.Bd5 a4 30.Bc6 Qb8 31.Bd5 Qe8 and a draw by repetition.>

Well, if you see SF start playing moves like <30.Bc6> and <31.Bd5> it can mean it's out of ideas, not that the position is a draw. I've seen quite a few games where the winning side repeats moves a few times in time trouble to gain time on the clock. Guess what: after the first repetition both SF and Komodo will give the = (0.00) eval, even if one side has a crushing advantage.

The winning continuation runs as follows:

25...a6 26.Bd1 Rc7 (<26...Rc8>, <26...Rc4> or <26...b5> will transpose into the game continuation) 27.Bb3 Re7 28.Bd5!

click for larger view

And now whatever Black plays, it always comes down to the same thing. Note that the e7 Rook immobile - if it moves, it's checkmate in two at most - so Black only has moves by the queenside pawns or the queen at his disposal.

a) 28...a5 29.a4!
Now Black can only move the queen along the eighth rank

<29...Qc8 30.Rf7> and Black has only one check.

30.Rf7 Qe8 31.Rxe7 Qxe7 32.Kh1!
This must be the move that fell beyond Stockfish's horizon when it evaluated 25...a6 as "=". Anyway, at this point SF sheepishly acknowledges that it's mate in six.

b) 28...b5 29.Kg2 a5 30.a3 a4 31.Rf3

Suddenly SF sees mate in eight. Since queen moves along the back rank fail the same way as in a), it goes for broke just to postpone the inevitable

31...b4 32.cxb4 Qc8 33.Rf7 Qc2+ 34.Kg3 Qd3+ 35.Rf3

The checks come to an end, and a retreat by the queen is out of the question because of <36.Rf8#>, so

b1) 35...Qb3 36.Bxb3 Re8 37.Rf8+ Rxf8 38.e7+ axb3 39.exf8Q#

b2) 35...Qxf3+ 36.Kxf3 g5▢ 37.Kg4 and mate in two.

c) 28...Qd8 (or 28...Qb8) 29.Rf7 Qe8 30.Rxe7 and White wins like in a)

d) 28...Qc8 29.Rf7 Qc5+ 30.Kh1 is mate in four.

As you see, the same basic winning plan works for any variation where Black attempts to blockade the e7 pawn with the rook.

Nov-18-15  NeverAgain: Now let's turn to AK's claim that the game continuation <25...Rc8> draws. He cites <29...cxb3> as a critical improvement and I won't argue there, because White, in his turn, can improve earlier with <28.a4!>, as Vass of ChessPub discovered in 2011.

The text position after 27...b5:

click for larger view

28.a4! a6▢ 29.axb5 axb5▢ and now White can play 30.Ba2! straight away:

a) 30...Qa8 31.b4 Qa7+ 32.Rf2 and SF finally arrives at the eval

a1) 32...Qa8 33.e7 is mate in two

a2) 32...g5 (you can tell SF is out of ideas again) 33.Kg2 and SF sees nothing better than going into a lost ending:

a21) 33...Qa8 34.Bxc4 Qxe4+ 35.Kg1 Qg4+ 36.Rg2 Qd1+ (<36...Qxg2+ 37.Kxg2 bxc4 38.b5> and White mates in three) 37.Bf1 and 38.Rxg5+

a22) 33...Qg7 34.Bxg7 Kxg7 35.Rf7+ Kg6 36.Bxc4 bxc4 37.Rf5

b) 30...Qe7 31.b4 and now

b1) 31...Qa7+ and White wins as in a)

b2) 31...Qe8 32.Bxc4 bxc4 33.b5 and mate in 13

b3) 31...Rc7 32.Rf8+ Qxf8 33.e7+ and mate next move

b4) 32...Rc8 32.Rf7 breaking the blockade of the e6 pawn and forcing mate in 10.

So, following the queen sacrifice White wins in all variations. QED.

Nov-28-15  NeverAgain: Also see this post on Talkchess and the next two.
Jan-14-16  scholes: this game is work of art
Jan-14-16  talwnbe4: I checked this with Stockfish.. it can't make sense of this one.. this is one of those great positions and looking at Neveragain's lines checking with Stockfish it seems to me it's a forced win after 24.Qxe5!! I'm using a Core 2 quad 2.4 GHz. My engine suggested 25.. Rc7 which runs into the Bd1 line, a move that Stockfish can't find. e.g, 25..Rc7 26. Bd1 b5 27. a4 Rg7 28. Bb3 bxa4 29. Bd5 Qe7 30. Kg2 a6 31. c4 g5 32. c5 winning or.. 25..Rc7 26. Bd1 b5 27. a4 Rg7 28. Bb3 bxa4 29. Bd5 Re7 30. Kg2 a3 31. bxa3 a6 32. c4! Qb8 33. c5 even here SF has problems spotting 32. c4

or.. 25..Rc7 26. Bd1 b5 27. a4 Rg7 28. Bb3 bxa4 29. Bd5 Re7 30. Kg2 a5 31. c4 Qb8 32. c5 (same idea) Qe8 33. c6 winning

Jan-14-16  talwnbe4: after 25..Rc7 26. Bd1 b5 27. a4 Rg7 28. Bb3 bxa4 29. Bd5 Re7 30. Kg2 a5 SF5 can't find 31. c4 after 11 minutes and using 3 cores of a Core 2 quad 2.4 Ghz.. it suggests 31. Rf2? d=51 1.7 billion nodes
Jan-14-16  talwnbe4: talwnbe4: Stockfish 7 fares a bit better, but again is confused by the same kind of position.
Sep-07-16  clement41: delightful to watch; reminds me of the unknown crazy promotion game C Lelievre vs M Francois, 2015
Sep-07-16  Delboy: clement41: The unknown game you refer to is a beauty. Thanks for unearthing it.
Mar-01-17  EvanTheTerrible: Simon Williams gives a short analysis of this game:
Jul-30-17  singate: Is there a win after 29...cxb3 30.axb3 a5? If so, I have been unable to find it on a real board or with the computer. Some posts here and on the linked threads indicate white wins in all variations after the queen sac but this line has me stumped.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: REQUEST ANALYSIS

click for larger view

Black to move

1) +3.44 (31 ply) <18...Kf8> 19.Qb3 h6 20.gxf6 Bxf6 21.Bb5 Qd8 22.Qa3 Kg7 23.Bd4 Rh7 24.Qxa7 Ra8 25.Qb7 Rb8 26.Qa6 Bg5 27.Rad1 Kh8 28.a4 h5 29.Kh1 Nh6 30.Nxb6 Bf6 31.a5 Qg8 32.Bc4 Nxc4 33.Qxc4 Ng4 34.a6 Ne5 35.Qc7 Rf8 36.a7

6.0 minute analysis by Stockfish 8 v270317

Feb-26-18  NeverAgain: <singate: Is there a win after 29...cxb3 30.axb3 a5? If so, I have been unable to find it on a real board or with the computer.>

The information you are looking for is eight posts up from your post, on the same page even:

Y Gusev vs E Auerbach, 1946 (kibitz #144)

Feb-24-19  qqdos: <NeverAgain> I note you have not posted since last September, so I write in the hope that you may spot this message. Like you I feel that computers have a difficulty in unravelling deep positions where zugzwang plays a part in the "solution" perhaps several moves in - as you demonstrated above. Have you thought of running your slide-rule over #6 of Carlsen vs Caruana, 2018 where Sesse did manage to find the beautiful "forced" mate in 3 dozen or so moves based on Zugzwang motifs - 68...Bh4!! Perhaps, at the same time, Mr.Sesse might like to take a look at this game. All the best.
Feb-28-20  SkySports: Do we know anything about the black player (Auerbach)? On some other dabases he's reported as Averbakh (the famous GM?)...
Jun-02-20  Chesgambit: Both sides made mistakes but this game is amazing Qxe5!! ıf 30...Qc8 31. a4 g5 32.Kg2 Qa8 33.Kf3 Qe8 34.Ke3 g4 35. Rf5 g3 36. hxg3 Qd8 37.Rg5+ Qxg5+ 38.Bxg5 Kg7 39.c5 h6 40.Be7 Re8 41. Bd641...Kf6 42. e7 Rg8 43.Kd3 Kc4 and passed pawn finish game black try create passed pawn but white have simple move 43...Rxg3+ 44. Kc4 Rg8 45. Kd5 h5 46. c6 h4 47.c7 h3 48.Bxe5 Kxe7 49.Kc6 Ke6 50.Bf4 Kf6 51. Kb7 Kg6 52. c8=Q Rxc8 53. Kxc8 white clearly winning
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