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Maxime Vachier-Lagrave vs Ian Nepomniachtchi
Tata Steel Group A (2011), Wijk aan Zee NED, rd 12, Jan-29
Gruenfeld Defense: Three Knights. Burille Variation (D94)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Apr-20-11  kevin86: Funny,two days in a row I had the answer instantly... then,I doubted myself,and came up with inferior moves.
Apr-20-11  TheBish: M Vachier-Lagrave vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2011

White to play (36.?) "Medium/Easy"

This is obviously a mating attack, one that probably wins a rook or queen for rook.

Candidate moves which fail: 36. Rf7 Rh6! (threatening 37...Qd1#) seems to hold down the fort. Also 36. Rxd6 Qxd6 37. Qf7 Qf8! (but not 37...Qe7? 38. Rg8+! Rxg8 39. Qxe7) holds.

36. Rh3! is the right move. Now 36...Rh6 is not possible and queen defenses can be met by Rxd6 (36...Qe7 37. Rxd6 Qxd6 38. Qxh7#).

Other defenses:

A) 36...Re7 37. Rf8+ and mate next (37...Kg7 38. Rxh7# or 37...Qxf7 38. Qxf8#).

B) 36...Rd7 37. Rf7 Rxf7 38. Qxf7 Qd1+ 39. Kh2 Qd6+ 40. g3 and Black can't stop mate (40...Qg6 41. Qxg6).

C) 36...Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Qc7+ 38. g3 Qg7 (to stop Rf8+) 39. Rf7 wins the queen or mates (39...Qg8 40. Rxh7+ Qxh7 41. Qxh7#).

I think that should cover it.

Apr-20-11  TheBish: Didn't even consider 36. Rg7!, nice move. I found a winning move and didn't look further.
Apr-20-11  mworld: Rf7 was the move that won it for me. There were some interesting spite checks that had to be worked out, but otherwise straight forward.
Apr-20-11  mworld: < Patriot: 36.Rg7! Wow I never considered this move. 36.Rf7 looked deadly especially after 36...Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Qh4+ 38.Rh3 but I completely missed the defense, 37...Rh6. If I had seen this defense maybe I would've eventually seen 36.Rg7. But...if I can't find such a killer move in short order then I want to know about it! >

damn, i knew i missed something. ty patriot

Apr-20-11  mworld: <CHESSTTCAMPS: Black has the material advantage of a pawn, but only one of the four pawns shelters the king and it is defended only by the king. That makes h7 the obvious target for white's active major pieces and it is a difficult square to defend. Two moves win: 1. 36.Rf7

A) 36... Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Qh4+ 38.Rh3 wins

B) 36... Rh6 37.Rh3 Qd1+ 38.Kh2 Rxh3+ 39.Qxh3 h5 40.Qf5 wins


ahah, thank you, even after 37....Qd6 it wins also.

feel better now, although I did miss analyzing Qd6 in my original line.

Apr-20-11  cyclon: Slightly surprising 36.Rg7 gets cufflinks immediately in view of 36. -Kxg7 37.Rf7+ and mates next, whereas 36. -Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Qb8+ 38.g3 and Black can ┬┤recede┬┤ from the stage. Ostensibly tempting 36.Rf7 creates a SQUARE for the Black Rook into h6 allowing a defence/counter-attack based on an immediate mating threat by 36. -Rh6 and now either 37.Rd7 Qb6, or 37.Rh3 (Threat was 37. -Qd1X) -Qd1+ (-Rxh3?) 38.Kh2 Qd6+ game is not yet over. For instance, if 39.g3 to avoid a draw there's interesting defence by 39. -Qe6 and this is a "whole new ball-game" since 40.Rxh7+ Kg8/40.Rf8+ Kg7/40.Rxh6 Qxh6+ (41.Kg2/g1 e3) all seems to hold for Black for the MOMENT. But, as mentioned in the beginning; 36.Rg7, over.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: I chumped with 36 Rf7 , as well.

Thanks, Heaven Smile for the lesson!

Immediate resignation is always better than end games or spite checks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  doubledrooks: <Phony Benoni> wrote: <Lots of potential mating threats for White. Now, I do this a bit differently than Kotov recommends. Instead of calculating all my candidate moves deeply, I make quick evaluations and go back later if nothing simple comes up.>

I found 36. Rg7! the same way. I analyzed all possible checks, noticed that none of them worked, then kept searching until Rg7 caught my eye.

Apr-20-11  TheBish: Oops... forgot to include the line 36. Rh3 Rd1+ 37. Kh2 Qe7 38. Rf7 and now 38...Qe5+ 39. Qxe5+ Rxe5 40. Rhxh7+, which still wins (but not as nicely as 36. Rg7!) after 40...Kg8 41. Rfg7+ Kf8 42. Rxb7 Kg8 43. Rbg7+ Kf8 44. Rxa7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  pittpanther: I acknowledge that 36. Rg7 is the best move but it seems that 36 Rh3 also wins. If black plays 36..Rd1 37. Kh2 Qe7 then 38. Re6 wins at least a rook. If 37. ...Qc7 then 38. g3 and black will lose to Rf7 or if black plays Qe5 white wins with Rf8 or if black plays Kg8 then Qg4 wins a rook. Now, winning a rook is not as good as mating in a couple of moves but is still a clear win. Is there a black resource after 36. Rh3?
Apr-20-11  ZUGZWANG67: <<agb2002>: I didn't see 37... Qf8 defending the rook and the squares f6 and g7. I must to do something with retreat moves...>

Idem for me!

Apr-20-11  stst: Focal point is h7, waiting to be crushed by Qxh7. But W has to wait just one move ahead: 36.Rf7, then either Bk R or Q going to 7th rank does not help, and Bk Qh4 to guard h3 will be rebuffed by Rh3. The only last struggle is to give a check by Rd1+, then 37.Kh2 Qh4+
38.Rh3 then either Bk loses the Q (no protection, as f4P blocks) or mate next move. see if it's all wrong?!
Apr-20-11  Maatalkko: Sweet, they took my advice and made it a Wednesday puzzle!

I can't say how hard or easy this was, since MVL is my favorite player and I was watching live. He played Rg7 instantly, giving me no time to spot it. MVL had the tactic planned in advance before 34. Re3 was played, if not sooner.

Apr-20-11  cyclon: <pittpanther:> No, except that White is not playing after (36.Rh3) 36. -Rd1+ 37.Kh2 Qc7+ 38.g3 Kg8 39.Qg4+?(-Qg7 40.Qxd1 Qxf6), but 39.Rg6+ hxg6 40.Qxg6+ Qg7 (-Kf8 41.Rh8+ Ke7 42.Rxe8+ Kd7 43.Qe6X) 41.Qxe8+ Qf8 42.Rh8+ wins.
Apr-20-11  gauer: Out of curiosity, is 36 Rg7 tactically considered to be a Grimshaw interference with respect to the f6 square? Or does the mating idea surface earlier out of a more complicated motif, from the composer's view of the puzzle?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I saw that the f rook was double-attacked so something had to be done about it. I saw that 36 Rh3 protects the rook because of the mate in one threat, so I went with that.

click for larger view

It turns out that black has a clever defense to limit the damage to two pawns, but white should still win the endgame.

Apr-20-11  WhiteRook48: dang it, I settled for 36 Rf7 instead
Apr-20-11  DarthStapler: Got it
Apr-20-11  njchess: Got this one pretty quickly. Black's weak 7th rank was the best clue for me. The fact that Black has no counterplay and his king is cornered didn't hurt either... Nice puzzle because there were a lot of strong moves for White.
Apr-20-11  alachabre: Looked around for candidate moves, I liked Rf7 because of the interfering action, but aside from one reply (Rg6), it doesn't work out. So then I looked at another crazy rook move.

36. Rg7 Kxg7
37. Rf7+ Kh6
38. Rxh7#

37. ... Kg8 or Kh8
38. Qxh7#

Then I checked the result with Ruffian and found out there are annoyance checks and piece yard sale give-aways that turn the position into a mate in seven. For the record, I was aware of the threats against the back rank, that's one of the reasons looking for interfering action in this position is important. This one was fun, a nice challenge.

Apr-20-11  TuxedoKnight: hello fellas,

I need to tell you that my website is looking awesome.

I just bought a new template, and added few games and puzzles...

oh and now you can see the pieces moving! (instead of jumping from point x to y)

thank you!

Apr-22-11  LIFE Master AJ: GM M. Vachier Lagrave (2715) -
GM I. Nepomniachtchi (2733) [D94]
73rd Tata Steel; GM "A" Group
Wijk aan Zee, NED; (Round # 12) / 29,01,2011.

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White: Kg1, Qf5, Rf6 & g3; White Pawns - a2, f2, and g2. Black: Kh8, Qd8, Rd6, & e8; Black Pawns - a7, b7, e4, and h7.

WHITE to move: 36. '?'

Apr-22-11  LIFE Master AJ: I did the above because I added this game to one of my game collections ...
Jul-30-16  whiteshark:

click for larger view

<35.> ?

Intro puzzle to MVL's master class @ Biel 2016 (3:07~7:27)

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