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Elena Sedina vs Michael Hoffmann
Gibraltar (2010), Catalan Bay GIB, rd 2, Jan-27
Sicilian Defense: Hyperaccelerated Dragon (B27)  ·  0-1



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Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Move 41, black to play is the LA Times puzzle for today.

I don't get this game. Black misses the pretty obvious 39...Rxh3+, winning easily, but finds the difficult 42...Qb6.

Go figure.

Mar-13-10  RandomVisitor: 40...Rxg3 also wins, even 38...Rxh3
Mar-13-10  dzechiel: Black to play (41...?). Material even. "Very Difficult."

The material is even, but the position is decidedly unbalanced. White has two passed pawns on the queen's side of the board, and black has an attack on the white king underway.

My first thoughts concerned getting the black queen to the 8th rank and coming in behind the white king to deliver checkmate. Something like...

41...Rxg3 42 fxg3

Not 42 Rxg3 h4 winning the pinned rook.


Threatening 43...Qg1#. I think white must now play

43 g4

Playing 43 Rh4 does white no good after 43...Qg1+ 44 Kh3 Qh1#.

43...Qg1+ 44 Kg3 Ra3+ 45 Kf4

Not 45 Kh4 g5+ 46 Kxh5 Qb1 and white can't stop the queen from delivering mate on g6 or h7.

45 Qd4+ Qe4 46 g5+ Kf5 47 Qd7+

and it's all over but the shouting. I think this is it, time to check.


I have some slightly different moves at the end, but the result is the same.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: I took about a half hour to decide what move I'd play OTB. The move I decided on is 41...Kf8. This move looks a little too strange to be the right answer, but here is my line of thinking:

First, I decided White has almost no moves in this position. Neither rook can move, nor the king. At the beginning of my analysis, I was trying to see if there is a way to set up a zugzwang, but I couldn't find one.

Then the idea of maneuvering the g4 rook to the back rank started to look interesting. So, I was thinking 41...Rxb4 followed by ...Rbb1. This works spectacularly well in the continuation 41...Rxb4 42. a7 Rbb1! 43. axb8=Q Rh1#. But, alas, after 41...Rxb4 42. Qxh5 is very annoying, since after 42...Rbb1 42. Qh6+ White mates first.

So, that's how I decided on 41...Kf8 -- I can't let White escape with that Qxh5 trick. With the king on f8, White has no useful checks or mating threats. From here, the moves I considered for White were:

a. 42. Qf3 Rxb4 43. a7 (43. Qxf6 Rbb1! 44. Qh8+ Ke7) Rxh7. Unfortunately, after 43. h7 Black can't play ...Rbb1 immediately because the pawn promotes with check. However, since White can't do anything active, I think Black can grab the pawns and then return the rooks to the first rank.

b. 42. f3 Rxb4 43. a7 Rxh7 should work the same as line a.

c. 42. a7 Rxa7 again should work like line a, with Black lining up his rooks on the first rank while White can't do anything constructive.

d. 42. b5 Rb4! 43. a7 Rxa7 44. Rxh5. If there is a line where White escapes by taking the h-pawn, this has to be it. But, it clearly doesn't work: 44...gxh5 45. Qxh5 Qxb5 leaves Black a rook up.

e. 42. Qb2 Rxa6 43. b5 (Quite fortuitously, 42...Rxa6 also prevents Qxf6.) Raa4, planning ...Rgb4 to get the rooks to the first rank.

So, that's my admittedly weird plan. I'm very curious to see what really happened.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Yeh, the game continuation confirms my suspicion that 41...Kf8 is overly creative. Looking at my analysis out of OTB mode, my line e has a clear problem in that 43...Raa4 can be met by 44. Qxf6, but OTB I'm sure I'd play something different if the game got to this position, for example 43...Re6. This actually sets up ...h4 as a new winning threat.

Well, the game continuation may be the simplest, but I'm not convinced 41...Kf8 doesn't also win. I'll look it over tomorrow, or if you guys with 2800+ strength computers would like to analyze it for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. :)

Mar-13-10  Quentinc: I'd already seen this puzzle in the LA Times, and didn't get it then. I wanted to play 41...Qc7 with the idea of bringing the queen to c1 while maintaining the pin on the g3 rook. If White plays Qe3 if d2 to block this, then ...h4. If 42. b5 then h4 43. Qxg4 Qc1.
Mar-13-10  wierba: 47.... Qb1 winning too
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Well, I never went to sleep. Studying this position more, the refutation to 41...Kf8 appears to be 42. Qe3! In my OTB analysis, I was thinking that any moves by the White queen had to involve an attack on one of the Black rooks, else Black would play ...h4. However, 42. Qe3 h4 can be met by 43. Qh6+ Kg8 44. Rxh4. Also, 42. Qe3 Rxb4 allows 43. Qh6+ Kg8 44. Rxh5.

By the way, to those wondering why Hoffmann missed easier wins a few moves earlier, only to find the relatively difficult winning combination: I'm guessing the time control must have been at move 40 and Hoffmann had to make a few quick moves to reach the time control. At move 41, Hoffmann picked up another hour on his clock and so had much more time to find a win.

Mar-13-10  scormus: Sharp position with the WK stalemated, a WR pinned, B has massive pressure but W's has advanced a-pawn.

41 ... a4 looks tempting but W is fine after 42 Qxg4.

Therefore 41 ...Rxg3, a killer.

If 42 a7 then ... Rxh3++ 43 Kxh3 Rh1#

If 42 fxg3 then ... Qa7 and W is defenceless against Qb1

If 42 Rxg3 then ... h4 43 a7 hxg3+ 44 Kh3 Qh8+ 45 Kxg3 or 43 Kh3 hxg3. W has other tries but I cannot see a way to avoid dropping at least a R.

At first sight this looks simpler than yesterday, but these positions often hide hide something. Now to check if I missed anything

Mar-13-10  scormus: Hmmmm, overlooked the delaying move 43 g4 and the entrapment sequence. Now to play through the whole game
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: i was thinking 41...h4 too difficult for my 1600 rating.:-)
Mar-13-10  timothee3331: I really don't understand what's even medium
What I found was 41...Rxg3 42.fxg3 Qb6 43.g4 and I just stopped here because I thought it was so simple that I missed something. I was wrong, it was just to simple.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Yeah, this was an easy task. It sems that 'my project' pays off! <Skill comes with practice.> :D

--> Game Collection: 03_Heavy pieces in action: pure QRR middlegames

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The material is even. White would probably be interested in trading his queen side pawns for at least on black pawn to achieve an almost surely drawn ending.

However, White's back rank is too weak. This suggests 41... Rxb4 42.Qxh5 (threatens 43.Qh6+ Kg8 44.Qh8#; 42.a7 Rbb1 - +)

A) 42... Qxg3+ 43.Rxg3 (43.h(K)xg3 gxh5 - + [R+P]) Rbb1 44.Rxg6+ (otherwise 44... Rh1 mates or recovers the queen with a rook up) fxg6 45.Qe2 with probable draw.

B) 42... Kf8 43.Qh8+ (43.Qc5+ Kg7(8) 44.Qh5 repeats moves) Ke7 44.Qxb8 Rxb8 45.Ra3

B.1) 45... Rxa3 46.Rxa3 and the white king will march to the center creating the double threat of supporting the passed pawn and invading Black's king side.

B.2) 45... Rf1 46.a7 Ra8 47.Rhb3 Re1 48.Rb8 Re8 49.Rxe8 + -.

B.3) 45... Re1 46.Rhe3 (47.a7 Ra8 47.Rhb3 Re7) Rd1 (46... Rxe3 47.Rxe3 is similar to B.1) 47.a7 Ra8 48.Re7 followed by Rb(c)3 and Rb(c)7 with advantage.

A much better option is 41... Rxg3 42.fxg3 (42.Rxg3 h4 - +) Qb6 43.g4 (43.Rh4 Qg1+ 44.Kh3 Qh1#) h4 44.Rxh4 Qg1+ 45.Kg3 (45.Kh3 Ra3+ 46.Qf3 Rxf3+ 47.gxf3 Qf1+ 48.Kg3 Qxa6 - +) Ra3+ 46.Kf4 (46.Qf3+ Rxf3+ 47.Kxf3 Qf1+) Qd4+ 47.Qe4 g5+ 48.Kf5 Qd7+ 49.Qe6 Qxe6#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I saw 43... Qg1+ but forgot it when I suddenly found 43... h4, which is met with 44.Re3. Modern life, rushing even at siesta time...
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult)

E Sedina vs M Hoffmann, 2010 (41...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Even. The White Kh2 is stalemated. The Black Qb8 pins Rg3 to Kh2. The White Qe2 attacks Rg4, a burden, because otherwise Ph5 could advance and play hxg3. Alternative support for Rg4 by 41f5 42.Qb2+ (winning Ra1) is not immediately available. White handily wins the endgame with Q and Rs because of his connected passed Pa6 and Pb4. The Black is secured from check.

Candidates (41...): Rxg3

41Rxg3 42.fxg3 [Rxg3 h4, winning Rg3]

42Qb6 (threatening 43Qg1#)

(1) 43.Rxh5 Qg1+ 44.Kh3 Qh1+ 45.Kg4 Qxh5+, winning Qe2

(2) 43.g4 [Rh4 Qg1+ 44.Kh3 Qh1#]

43Qg1+ 44.Kg3 Ra3+

(2.1) 45.Kf4 Qd4+ 46.Qe4 g5+ 47.Kf5 Qd7+ 48.Qe6 Qxe6#

(2.2) 45.Kh4 g5+ 46.Kh5 Rxh3+ 47.gxh3 Qg3

White cannot prevent .Qh4#.

Mar-13-10  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle solution, Black plays 41...Rxg3!! which forces 42. fxg3 due to the threat of a decisive pin after 42. Rxg3?? h4!

This forced capture and reply (i.e. 41...Rxg3!! 42. fxg3) allows Black to play 42...Qb6! with a winning pursuit and mate combination.

The sequence that follows is practically forced through 44...Ra3+, and if White tries to vary with 45. Kf4 then it's mate-in-three after 45...Qd4+ 46. Qd6+ Qe5 47. Qxe5#.

P.S.: The combination that appears to turn the game almost decisively in Black's favor is the double pawn positional sham sacrifice 33...a5! 34. bxa4 b4! to .

One possible improvement for White is 32. Rfe3!, since 32...Rxc3? 33. R3e6 to is practically winning and other tries seem to give White easy equality. Also, better than 33. Qe4?! is 33. Rg6 =.

Black missed or passed over four earlier opportunities to convert his winning advantage, including 37...Rxh3!, 38...Rxh3!, 39...Rxh3! and 40...Rxg3!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I spent an hour on this puzzle when the Times published it a couple of Sundays ago. I simply missed the fact that the b8-g1 diagonal opens up right after 42 fxg3.

BTW, 42...Qxb4 also wins decisively, although not as impressively; it's fun to play out.

click for larger view

Mar-13-10  tacticalmonster: 1) White had two queenside connected passers. But they were weak because they were not supported by the major pieces. White a7 push could come in handy with the idea of deflecting the b8-h2 pin and the back rank threat.

2) white was temporarily " down " two rooks. The g3 rook was pinned. The h3 rook was stuck on the h-file hammered in by the white king and the other rook. The h3 rook did have an prophylactic measure of preventing h4 push and supporting the mating threat of Qxh5 if the g4 rook moved.

3) White king was stalemated while black king was safe hiding behind the kingside pawns wall. The doubled f-pawn helped with the defense but creating passed pawn out of them was a difficult task.

4) black could maybe lose the momenteum by capturing the b4 pawn

5) black would really like to put more pressure on the pin with h4 push if possible. He also wanted to double rooks along the eighth rank when both the white rooks were still tied down

6) Black could try mobilizing his kingside pawns to create further weaknesses in white camp. They could also help in the king hunt.

candidate: Rxg3

1 Rxg3 2 hxg3 Qa7 3 g4 Qb8+ 4 g3 Qa7 5 Qg2 Qxa6 6 b5 Qa5 7 Qe4 Qa2+ 8 Qg2 Qb1- black would win the queen

Mar-13-10  Jack Kerouac: Sweet.This is a theme I'm enmeshed with right now with my Novag computer. Remember Novag?
Mar-13-10  dufferps: Hmmm.
I thought maybe white might boldly 43. Rxh5, but it would be to no avail. 43. ... Qh1+
44. Kg4 Qxh5+
45. Kf4 Qxe2
amd it's all over for white, though advancing a pawn one square will delay the checkmate a move or two.
Mar-13-10  Marmot PFL: Very simple really - 41...Rxg3 42 fg3 (Rxg3 h4) Qb6 and wins. Maybe that's why I missed it and decided on 41...Ra3(?). I was worried about Qb2 for some reason so just let that rook hit the pinned one...White's game is so bad that I think it still wins, as if b5 Ra4 protecting Rg4 and now h4 is decisive. It also looks like black misses several faster wins before move 40, probably time pressure.
Mar-13-10  Bronsteinmaniac: Jack Kerouac, I've got a Novag Supernova since 1991, when I buyed it and it still beats me a lot of times!!! I hope you to excuse my english. I'm spanish and I'm learning to speak english and I make a lot of mistakes.
Mar-13-10  patzer2: <Jack Kerouac> <Bronsteinmaniac> Thought you might be interested in the link, which reported on the playing strength of a number of dedicated chess computers in 1993, including several Novag models whose ratings ranged from 1777 to 2201.
Jun-04-10  Bronsteinmaniac: Thanks a lot, patzer2!! Pitty I cannot accede. I'm very sorry for delaying my replay. I didn't notice you had answered me. My apologizes and sorry for my bad english. Well, I hope improve more in this than I have ever done in chess!
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