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Sergey Volkov vs Yifan Hou
Aeroflot Open (2008), Moscow RUS, rd 9, Feb-22
Nimzo-Indian Defense: Kmoch Variation (E20)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-03-08  notyetagm: White to play: 61 ?

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Here the Black c6-rook must meet the threat of the White c7-pawn promoting on c8 by <DEFENDING> the c8-promotion square, so the Black c6-rook cannot leave the c-file. That is, the <OBLIGATION> of the Black c6-rook to meet the threat of c7-c8=♕+ <RESTRICTS> the <MOBILITY> of the Black c6-rook to the c-file, i.e., the Black c6-rook does not control -ANY- squares along the 6th rank.

Now consider the White a6-pawn. Is it threatening to do anything? <<<Yes, it is!>>>. The White a6-pawn is threatening to advance to the a7-square, in which case the White a7- and c7-passers would simply overwhelm the Black c6-rook. How is Black meeting this threat, the threat of a6-a7? Is Black <PINNING> the White a6-pawn? No. Is Black <DEFENDING> the a7-square, like he is <DEFENDING> the c8-square to prevent the advance of the White c7-pawn? No. <<<Black is meeting the threat of the advance of the White a6-pawn -ONLY- by <BLOCKADING> it with his own Black a6-pawn!>>>. For the Black a7-pawn to <BLOCKADE> the White a6-pawn to prevent its advance, the Black a7-pawn must stay on the a7-square. Hence the <OBLIGATION> of the Black a7-pawn to meet the threat of a6-a7 <RESTRICTS> the <MOBILITY> of the Black a7-pawn to the a7-blockading square, i.e., the Black a7-pawn -CANNOT- move at all.

<<<Now, if the Black c6-rook cannot leave the c-file because it must <DEFEND> the c8-promotion square, and if the Black a7-pawn must stay on the a7-square to <BLOCKADE> the White a6-pawn, then neither the Black c6-rook nor Black a7-pawn <DEFENDS> the b6-square, right?>>>

So what can we conclude about the number of defenders of the b6-square? There are -ZERO- defenders of the b6-square. Why? Because both the Black a7-pawn and Black c6-rook have other threats to meet (<OBLIGATION RESTRICTS MOBILITY!>).

Hence Volkov (White) played 61 ♘d5-b6! and Hou Yifan resigned immediately.

Position after 61 ♘f5-b6! 1-0

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The White b6-knight has <GAINED CONTROL OF THE PROMOTION SQUARE> (c8-square) of the White c7-passer. Black will then be forced to give up her rook the pawn.

61 ♘d5-b6! is a lovely tactical shot the wins the game on the spot, based on the tactical point that both the Black a7-pawn and c6-rook are <OVERWORKED> so that neither <DEFENDS> the b6-square.

Jun-03-08  syracrophy: 61.♘b6!!
Jun-16-08  notyetagm: White to play: 61 ?

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<syracrophy: 61.Nb6!!>

Yes, a great move, winning on the spot.

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Jan-07-09  notyetagm: Boy how I do love Volkov's 61 ♘d5-b6! move.
Mar-05-09  notyetagm: Game Collection: Blockaders do not defend squares

S Volkov vs Yifan Hou, 2008
61 ?

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61 ♘d5-b6! 1-0

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Apr-22-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: Blockaders do not defend squares
Apr-22-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: !! --: A square only appears multiply defended
Apr-24-11  notyetagm: Game Collection: BLOCKADERS DO *NOT* PROTECT SQUARES!!!

Spassky vs Larsen, 1969 67 Qc8xRe6! 1-0

S Volkov vs Yifan Hou, 2008 61 Nd5-b6! 1-0

Topalov vs S Zhigalko, 2008 39 Rd1xd5!!

May-24-11  cyclemath: Black is probably lost even with best play at White's 46th, but after 46 ... Re7, the response 47 Re2 would surely have secured instant resignation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  wood n tempo: Volkov Cocktail
Oct-10-19  Cheapo by the Dozen: I deviated at Move 56 with Rh8, which according to the engine wins a little less thumpingly than the game move, which in turn is a little less crushing than the engine's favorite, Bd6.

Anyhow, the basic idea of sacrificing the exchange, oops it's a sham sacrifice because White forks another piece, oops it's a real sacrifice again because White has a piece en prise, oops White wins big anyway because of his advanced pass pawn -- well, that part was really easy to find. :)

Oct-10-19  Walter Glattke: 53.Rd8+ Kf7 54.Bf4 Rec3 55.Nb4 Rxa5 56.Nd5 Rc1 57.Ne3 Ke6 58.Nxf5 gxf5 59.Rxc8 seems to be more easy
Oct-10-19  Walter Glattke: 57.-Be6!
Oct-10-19  saturn2: I saw 53. Rxf5 gxf5 54. Rd8+ Kf7 55. Rxc8 Rac3 like in the game and then

56. Bf2 (to block the c file by Bc5)
Re8 57. Rd8 Rc6 58. Bxa7 Rxa6 59.Bb6. This should win.

Oct-10-19  karik: <notyet> really seems to have had multiple orgasms with 61.Nd5-b6
Oct-10-19  mel gibson: This was a tough one - so many things to consider.

Stockfish 10 agrees with the text move.

53. Rxf5

(53. Rxf5 (♖d5xf5 g6xf5 ♖d2-d8+
♔g8-f7 ♖d8xc8 ♖a3-c3 ♗g3-d6 ♖c3-c6 ♖c8-f8+ ♔f7-g6 ♖f8-g8+ ♔g6-f7 c7-c8♕ ♖c6xc8 ♖g8xc8 ♖e3-e4 ♖c8-c7+ ♔f7-f6 ♔h2-g3 ♖e4-d4 ♗d6-e7+ ♔f6-e5 ♖c7xa7 f5-f4+ ♔g3-h2 ♖d4-d2 ♗e7-g5 ♖d2-b2 ♘a6-c5 ♔e5-d5 ♘c5-d3 ♖b2-b8 ♘d3xf4+ ♔d5-c6 ♘f4xh5 ♖b8-b2 ♘h5-g7 ♖b2-b5 ♗g5-f4 ♖b5-b2 ♗f4-e5 ♖b2-b4 ♗e5-g3 ♖b4-b3 ♘g7-e6) +13.69/42 304)

score for White +13.69 depth 42

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I had <Cheapo's> 56. Rh8 line.
Oct-10-19  Whitehat1963: Nope! Just nope. Not even close.
Oct-10-19  malt: Went for 53.R:f5 gf5 54.Rd8+ Kf7 55.R:c8 Rac3 56.Ra8 and if ...R:g3 57.c8/Q

Nice finish 61.Nb6!

Oct-10-19  TheaN: This defender munching is a clear candidates, and by proxy, the only real one. White can probably turn it around with 53.Rd8+ first, but <53.Rxf5!> forces Black's hand.

A) 53....Rxg3, counterattacking is flawed here, 54.Rd8+ Kg7 55.Rxc8 and with just the rooks on the board Black has no claim whatsoever: 55....gxf5 (what else?) 56.Rg8+ Kxg8 57.c8=Q+ +- should be an easy convert for White.

B) 53....Ne7, the only reasonable move to keep enough tabs on c8 (Nb6 axb6, Nd6 Bxd6) but now the bishop speaks: 54.Rd8+ Kg7 (Kh7 55.Rf7+ Kh6 56.Rh8#) 55.Be5+ Rxe5 (K 56.Rh8#) 56.Rxe5 +- and demise.

C) So, 53....gxf5 54.Rd8+ Kf7 (no reason to go to the corner or a dark sqaure and this defends e8) 55.Rxc8. Now, 55....Rxg3? still runs into 56.Rf8+ +- at least, so 55....Rac3.

At this point, I acknowledged +- and stopped. Though perhaps a move too soon, a lot of White moves win here, the pieces are incredibly strong and the Black rooks are just spectators. 56.Rd8, Rh8, Ra8, Bd6, Bf2!? are all +- with an advantage of at least +5. Even 56.Nc5?! wins. Done deal, pieces in the box.

Oct-10-19  patzer2: In attempting today's Thursday puzzle (53. ?), I got the first four moves of the game continuation (i.e. 53. Rxf5 gxf5 54. Rd8+ Kf7 55. Rxc8 Rac3 56. Rd8 +-).

However, after 56...Rd8 I had a Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy moment (see, thinking "this is another nice mess you've gotten us into" as I struggled to find a winning continuation for White.

I wished I had found the clever game continuation 57. Nb4! +- (+10.64 @ 33 ply, Stockfish 10) or the computer best move 57. Bd6 +- (+11.06 @ 33 ply, Stockfish 10).

Instead, the best I could do was 57. Bf2 +- (+9.00 @ 32 ply, Stockfish 10) which fortunately for me is still winning.

P.S.: Black's game went bad early in this game with 17...Qd7?, allowing 18. e6! ± to +- (+1.63 @ 33 ply, Stockfish 10).

Instead, 17...Qe7= (+0.09 @ 33 ply, Stockfish 10) would've held the game level.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has an extra pawn.

Black threatens Rxg3.

The black bishop controls the promotion square of the c-pawn. This suggests 53.Rxf5:

A) 53... gxf5 54.Rd8+

A.1) 54... Kf7 55.Rxc8

A.1.a) 55... Rxg3 56.Rf8+ Kxf8 (else 57.c8=Q wins) 57.c8=Q+ Ke(f,g)7 58.Qc7+ followed by 59.Qxg3 ends up a knight ahead.

A.1.b) 55... Rac3 56.Rd8 followed by c8=Q wins decisive material.

A.1.c) 55... Rxa5 56.Rf8+ followed by c8=Q wins decisive material.

A.2) 54... Kg(h)7 55.Rxc8 Rxg3 (else as above) 56.Rg(h)8+ Kxg(h)8 57.c8=Q+ Kh7 (else as above) 58.Qxf5+

A.2.a) 58... Kg7 59.Qe5+ followed by 60.Qxg3 as in A.1.a.

A.2.b) 58... Kh6 59.Qf4+ followed by 60.Qxg3 as in A.1.a.

A.2.c) 58... Kh8 59.Qxh5+ wins decisive material.

A.2.d) 58... Rg6 59.Qxh5+ as above.

B) 53... Rxg3 54.Rd8+ Kg7 (54... Kh7 55.Rf5+ Kh6 56.Rh8#) 55.Rxc8 gxf5 56.Rg8+ transposes to A.2.

Oct-10-19  Chesgambit: amazing
Oct-10-19  TheBish: Got the solution (which was pretty easy) and the improvement of 56. Bd6! (also the engine's choice), which is a cleaner and easier win.
Oct-10-19  NBZ: <TheBish>: 56. Bd6! is indeed nice. I am glad White did not play it though, because we then got treated to the corking 61. Nb6!! later.

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