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Vasilios Kotronias vs Francisco Vallejo Pons
European Championship (2009), Budva MNE, rd 5, Mar-10
Caro-Kann Defense: Classical Variation. Main lines (B18)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-27-15  Infohunter: Once you see that there is an Arabian Mate to be had, the solution comes to you quite naturally.
Jan-27-15  TheBish: Kotronias vs F Vallejo Pons, 2009

White to play (42.?) "Easy"

Before playing 42. Nf6 (which appears to be winning due to the dual threats of Rh7# and Rg8#), first you must make sure Black doesn't have an immediate threat. It doesn't take long to realize Black is threatening 42...Rc1#, so 42. Nf6 would fail miserably! So we need to find a forcing move; in other words, a check.

42. Rh7+! Kxh7 43. Nf6+ Kh8 44. Rg8#.

Jan-27-15  TheBish: Interesting that at one point, White had four pawn islands against Black's two. But White triumphed thanks to the strength of the d-pawn combined with superior piece activity.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Black makes a decisive blunder with 41...Rd1?? and White pounces on it for mate-in-three with 42. Rh7+! Kxh7 43. Nf6+ Kh8 44. Rg8#.

Instead Black could have held with 41...R2d6!

Fritz 12 assesses it as equal after 41...R2d6! 42.Rxb7 R6d7 43.Rxd7 Rxd7 44.Rg2 Bg7+ 45.Nxg7 Rxg7 46.Rf2 Rh7 47.Kc4 Kg7 48.Kxc5 Kf6 49.Kd5 Kf5 50.Rh2 Rh8 51.Rh4 h5 52.Kc5 Rh7 53.Kd6 Rh6+ 54.Kd5 = (+0.18 @ 23 depth).

Jan-27-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has bishop plus pawn for a knight and threatens 42... Rc1#! However, black's king is even more vulnerable, trapped in the corner. White can finish with a tempo-gaining rook sac: 42.Rh7+! Kxh7 43.Nf6+ Kh8 44.Rg8#. No credit for 42.Rg8+!
Jan-27-15  M.Hassan: "Easy"
White to play 42.?
White is a pawn down but has three forcing moves to win the game:

42.Rh7+ Kxh7(forced)
43.Nf6+ Kh8 (forced)

Jan-27-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: Black threatens mate in one, so White should do something forcing. Fortunately, Rh7+ is mate in three for him.
Jan-27-15  Cheapo by the Dozen: Nice. The d6 pawn really helped White's kingside attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Earlier Fritz finds the improvement 25...Qh6! (diagram below)

click for larger view

when play might go 26. f4 Nb6 27. Nc3 Bf6 28. d6 Nc4 29. Qd5 Nxd6 30. Qxc5 b6 31. Qd5 Bxc3 32. bxc3 Qf6 (diagram below)

click for larger view

with good end game prospects for Black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a knight for a bishop and a pawn.

Black threatens 42... Rc1#.

White can deliver mate in three with 42.Rh7+ Kxh7 43.Nf6+ Kh8 44.Rg8#.

Jan-27-15  zb2cr: White achieves a completely forced mate in 3, with 42. Rh7+, Kxh7; 43. Nf6+, Kh8; 44.Rg8#. This is an Arabian mate pattern.
Jan-27-15  morfishine: Once one realizes White has no time for the leisurely 42.Nf6 due to 42... Rc1#, this urgency necessitates finding a check and/or series of checks, which ideally, end in mate

42.Rh7+ Kxh7 43.Nf6+ Kh8 44.Rg8#


Jan-27-15  stacase: White has to either defend against the threat of mate or attack by saying check, and there are two ways to say check. One works and the other doesn't.

I probably wouldn't have seen this one over the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <42.Rh7+!>, and that's it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: As soon as I saw this puzzle, I was thinking of mate on g8 or h7, but that would not be wise to go with right now. Or would it? Yes, as give check on h7, then f6 and g8. Done.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: <Cheapo>, you took the words right out of my mouth. As soon as I realized that White had to have something forcing, the moves were obvious.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Man walks into a pub.

And straight away you can tell that he doesn't belong. Maybe it's the expensive black frock coat or the mahogany walking stick topped with an ivory skull. Perhaps it's his long long fingers. A piano player's fingers. Just a shade too long. Unnatural, alien.

Or maybe it's his dark eyes. Eyes that feel like falling into an endless black hole. Eyes to drown in.

He walks over to where two friends are playing chess. By a strange coincidence, they are staring at this position...

click for larger view

The stranger stares for a while. "Excuse me, for asking. But what is this game?"

One of them looks up. "It's chess. Ain't you never seen chess?"

"Don't reckon I have," says the man, drawing up a chair. "It looks pretty dull. Nothing happening."

"It's my turn to move. I'm thinking about what move to play."

"You only get one move?"

The chess player looks at the man with a deep disapproving stare. "Yeah. One move. Them's the rules. I play a move. He plays a move. It's chess."

The stranger taps his index finger against his lips. And you can't help noticing the long fingernail. Like a claw, a shark's tooth, a bone knife.

"Why not play three moves?"

Both players look up from their game. "Huh?" asks one.

"Three moves. Don't give him a chance. A snick and a snack and snook."

The player with the white pieces sticks out an unshaved jaw. "Listen, bud. We're trying to play a game here. Don't need no wise-ass commentators. You can't play three moves at once. Ain't allowed in the rules."

"I bet I can." This is said so softly that you might have heard an angel cry.

"And I betcha can't."

And with that, the stranger flicks his weirdly long hand towards the board. And moving only the white pieces, this is what he played ... 42. Rh7+, 43. Nf6+, 44. Rg8#

The stranger smiles a rattlesnake smile. "You lose. And now the forfeit ..."

Jan-27-15  TheaN: 27 January 2015 <42.?>

White decoys the black king onto a square where the knight can come in to assist with the mate. <42.Rh7+! Kxh7 43.Nf6+ Kh8 44.Rg8# 1-0>. White cannot delay it (Nf6??) due to the threat of Rc1#.

Jan-27-15  lost in space: How nice.

42. Rh7+ Kxh7 (only move) 43. Nf6+ Kh8 (only move) 44. Rg8#

Jan-27-15  YetAnotherAmateur: To quote George R.R. Martin: You win or you die.

Specifically, white faces immediate death with Rc1#, and if he tries a defensive play like Rg2 or Kc4 he'll eventually lose to the queenside pawn majority. So he must win now by attack rather than defense. That leaves only 2 possible moves: Rg8+ and Rh7+. 42. Rg8+? Kxg8 doesn't help, because now white can't check again without losing the other rook, and then has nothing left. That leaves the winning line:

42. Rh7+ Kxh7
43. Nf6+ Kh8
44. Rh7#

Very neatly forced the entire way.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Once> Enjoyed your allegory illustrating how a forced mate combination is like being allowed to break the rules of Chess, go out of turn, and get extra moves.

A few weeks back when I was playing my five-year-old grandson a game, I took a short break and came back to the game. We were playing in infinite analysis mode on Fritz 12, with the analysis window hidden, so we could have the computer assist with the analysis afterwards.

After I returned from the break, my Grandson informed me that in my absence he had "analyzed the game," played my moves for me, and won the game.

Out of curiosity, I went over the moves he had made for me. Not surprisingly, they were really bad moves. On at least two of the moves, he had me moving a Queen and a Rook where they could be captured.

We both had a good laugh at his attempt at "analysis," as I explained to him that in Chess the objective is to gain the better position so your opponent is forced to make bad moves that allow you to win material or mate. However, you can't go out of turn and make moves for your opponent -- especially bad moves.

Yet this puzzle position, and your story here, made me realize that a forced mate combination is like being allowed to break the rules and make your opponent's losing moves for him. In this case, as <notyetagm>'s diagrams from 2009 illustrate, both of Black's moves in the three move mate combination (starting with 42. Rh7+! Kxh7) are forced by White.

So whether it's a dark stranger in a bar kibitzing and winning a bet that he can make three forced moves in a row, or a young Grandson going out of turn and making bad moves for Grandpa, finding a forcing combination is indeed like being given the right to break the rules of Chess, go out of turn, and make extra moves.

Jan-27-15  BOSTER: <Coleman: Poor Pons, I have always liked watching his games>.

This is the pos. Black to play 28...

click for larger view

No doubt that Pons knows that <Pawns> like to stay united on the same rank, when they are performing like a team.

The leaving pawn "b7" behind pawns on the adjacent files created a weakness.

And this is the pos. after 28...b5.

click for larger view

My guess is black is better.

Jan-27-15  BOSTER: I'd say <Pawns vs Pons>.
Jan-27-15  wooden nickel: <Once> Nice comment!
Jan-27-15  BOSTER: The couple moves before POTD pos. Black could play 38...Bg7 with tempo, and with black bishop on a1-h8 diagonal the idea of <arabian mate > disappered like a dream.
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