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Maria Velcheva vs Heini Puuska
European Team Championship (Women) (2007), Heraklion GRE, rd 1, Oct-28
French Defense: Tarrasch. Morozevich Variation (C03)  ·  1-0



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Given 12 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-15-17  TheBish: M Velcheva vs H Puuska, 2007

White to play (26.?) "Medium/Easy"

With White being ahead a bishop for a pawn, you could argue that White is already winning, so what's the point? The point is to finish the game as quickly and accurately as possible. The solution jumped out at me right away.

26. Qxe4! fxe4 27. Bg5!

The point of White's last two moves is to open the f-file, simultaneously threatening mate and winning the queen. Black can trade off his last rook, but still be faced with mate and the loss of his queen. The white bishop effectively prevents Black's queen from defending the back rank via retreat on the h4-d8 diagonal, while Black's own f5 pawn - clumsy oaf! - prevents her lateral movement to b4, which would defend the f8 square.

Mar-15-17  groog: Actually, I found today's puzzle relatively easy. Certainly shorter than yesterdays.
Mar-15-17  TheBish: I see now that many of us have been here before... at least I have! (Posted on Wednesday, Aug-26-09.) It wasn't fresh in my memory bank for sure, as I didn't remember seeing this before, but I guess it was easy enough (as others have expressed) for the solution to be obvious, based on the common theme of the weak back rank.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Very pretty. A hanging white bishop and black's own pawn block the defensive paths.
Mar-15-17  zb2cr: Nice final position after 25. Qxe4, fxe4; 26. Bg5. Black can't stop the back-rank mate because, as <Fusilli> pointed out, White's Bishop prevents ... Qe7, and Black's Pawn blocks ... Qb4. So Black has to give up her Queen to stop mate.
Mar-15-17  ruzon: <ruzon: Like <zooter> and <DarthStapler>, I too failed to see that the pawn blocks the Black Queen's otherwise saving move to b4, so I went with 27.♗e6? which fails because Black can just slide the rook out of the way.>

Eight years later, I saw where the pawn went. Justice has been served!

Mar-15-17  agb2002: Recycled.
Mar-15-17  YouRang: Wednesday 26.?

click for larger view

White is already up a bishop, but still needs to finish.

White can finish with a pretty combination here, which isn't terribly hard to find due to (1) black's back-rank mate vulnerability, and (2) white's Rf8 that would hit that vulnerability if only we could displace black's Pf5.

So naturally, we start by displacing black's Pf5! <26.Qxe4 fxe4>

click for larger view

And now comes the discovered mate threat which also attack's black's queen: <27.Bg5!>

click for larger view

White has no time to save the queen with Rxf8# looming.

What makes this pretty is that normally black could escape by capturing with check 27...Rxf1+, but white just reloads the f-file with <28.Rxf1>, and the Rf8# threat remains.

Mar-15-17  gofer: <25 Qxb7 ...> was simply baiting the trap. After <25 ... Re4> black has no option but to start knawing off its own limb to find some release... ... <26 Qxe4 fxe4 27 Bg5 Rxf1+ 28 Rxf1> and the leg (queen) is going to have to come off...
Mar-15-17  AlicesKnight: 26.Qxe4 does it - ...fxe4 is answered by 27.Bg5, preventing the Q from covering the back rank (even the displaced Black P matters as it blocks the route to b4 for the Q). The R exchange makes no difference. Neat.
Mar-15-17  Abdel Irada: ∞

This was a very intuitive, "positional" sort of tactical puzzle.

It's immediately apparent that to create threats against Black's great weakness, his back rank, we must open a line with gain of tempo. There's only one way to do that, and then, to make the sac serve any purpose, we have to move our piece *gainfully* off the f-file.

<<+> 26. Qxe4! ... >

Opens the file.

<<+> 26. ...fxe4
27. Bg5 >

Black can exchange if he wishes on f1, but the back-rank mate threat is still there. Also, his queen is under attack and can't get back to e7 or d8.

White wins a rook.

Mar-15-17  morfishine: Very nice combination leaving White up a rook + minor


Mar-15-17  thegoodanarchist: I got it exactly right and then talked myself into a wrong line. Darn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  beenthere240: Black is a piece down anyway after a silly sac in the opening.
Mar-15-17  BOSTER: The idea is very simple, the weakness of the Black back rank after opening the "f"file. What created the mess in my mind that
black queen can't jump to b4 through
invisible black pawn on e4.
Mar-15-17  BOSTER: < Abdel Irada :This was a very intuitive puzzle>. That means to understand something without using reason, or any direct evidence. But here it was clear that rook f8 was pinned, and black king had no luft. So, I'd say that enough reasons to play combo without intuition.
Mar-15-17  john barleycorn: < Abdel Irada: ∞

This was a very intuitive, "positional" sort of tactical puzzle. ... ∞>


Mar-15-17  psmith: Strange chess blindness -- I saw the combination but thought Black could play 27... Qb4.
Mar-15-17  john barleycorn: < psmith: Strange chess blindness --...>

I have the ordinary blindness. Can't recognize white pieces on white squares and black pieces on dark squares.

Mar-15-17  swclark25: I tried these moves backwards. Attack Black Queen first with 26)Bg3 (or Bg5) Qxg3 then sac Queen and move f-pawn with 27)Qxe4 fxe4

Does that also work?

Mar-15-17  BOSTER: <psmith: 27...Qb4>. GM Krogius termed it as a "retained image" error. This is mistake in <visualization>.
Mar-15-17  YouRang: <swclark25: I tried these moves backwards. Attack Black Queen first with 26)Bg3 (or Bg5) Qxg3 then sac Queen and move f-pawn with 27)Qxe4 fxe4 Does that also work?>

Not *really* because it isn't forcing.

After <26.Bg3>, black doesn't need to take the bishop. He can play <26...Qg4> and now the Q is guarding the rook.

click for larger view

So now the Qxe4 queen-sac isn't an option.

White is still winning, but missed the chance to deliver the crushing rook-winning blow. Of course, white has to be careful to not drop the bishop too.

Mar-15-17  morfishine: Of course, White started this combo up a minor
Mar-15-17  dfcx: I thought it was Monday - been away for a while and tried the queen sac - 26.Qxe4

And it works!

Though the variations are more complicated than a Monday POTD, but not much different.

Mar-16-17  clement41: Very nice 27 Bg5!! attack. Trading on f1 with 27...Rxf1+ doesn't relieve black just like in Karpov vs Judit Polgar, 1994 after 19 Qxb6 ab 20 Bc5! Rxa1 doesn't help
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