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Nikolai Viktorovich Vlassov vs Anatoly Terekhin
St Petersburg op2 (1994), St Petersburg RUS
Scandinavian Defense: Modern Variation (B01)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-09-12  LoveThatJoker: <21...Qxh2+! 22. Kxh2 Rh5+ 23. Kg2 Bh3+ 24. any Bxf1#>


Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: A double pattern. The Anastasia Mate with ...Qxh2+ and ...Rh5# is familiar, except that White has a flight square on g2. No problem, as the maneuver with ...Bh3+ and ...Bxf1# is also familiar. The bishop giveth, and the bishop taketh away.

Just a matter of putting them together.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: 21 g3 blocks an escape square for the white king and allows black's white square bishop to invade the kingside. Still, I doubt that white could have done anything to save the game by this point.
Oct-09-12  xthred: I think 21...Qxg3 yields the same result.
Oct-09-12  Kinghunt: 21...Qxg3 is only the same if white captures. As it turns out, white doesn't have to capture, and can play 22. Ne7+, completely ruining the whole combination and leaving white with a fine game.
Oct-09-12  vinidivici: Good puzzle...
Oct-09-12  Patriot: 21...Qxh2+! 22.Kxh2 Rh5+ 23.Kg2 Bh3+ 24.Kh1 Bxf1#
Oct-09-12  goldfarbdj: Unlike yesterday, today the obvious queen-takes-pawn-check does work; it requires only a little calculation to verify it.

<xthred: I think 21...Qxg3 yields the same result.> It does if white takes the queen; but other moves such as Bf4 muddy the issue. Qxh2+ is absolutely forcing, so there's no need to look at anything else.

Oct-09-12  M.Hassan: "Easy"
Black to play 21...?
Materials equal.

Four of Black's forces are either looking at the White's King camp or can easily attack there. They are both Bishops, Queen and Rook:

22.Kxh2(forced) Rh5+
23.Kg2 Bh3+
24.Kh1 Bxf1#

Oct-09-12  M.Hassan: 21.....Qxg3 does not hold same result if Queen sac is declined:

22.Ne7+ Kf8
<if...Rxe7 hxg3>
23.Qd2 Qh4
24.Nxc8 Rxc8
25.Qh6+ Qxh6
26.Bxh6+ Kg8

Black gains a pawn but the attack on King is completely aborted.

Oct-09-12  stst: 21...... Qxh2+
22.Kxh2 Rh5+
23.Kg2 Bh3+
24.Kh2 Bxf1 dis+ #
Oct-09-12  TheBish: N Vlassov vs A Terekhin, 1994

Black to play (21...) "Easy"

This is on the medium side of easy, but it's a fairly straight-forward mate in 4 and it's quite natural to look for a queen sac, especially on a puzzle page!

21...Qxh2+! 22. Kxh2 Rh5+ 23. Kg2 Bh3+ 24. Kh1/h2 Bxf1#.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 21...Qxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Rh5+ 23.Kg2 Bh3+ 24.Kh1/h2 Bxf1#.
Oct-09-12  bachbeet: Got it. Very interesting use of the bishops.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <21...Qxh2+ 22.Kxh2 Rh5+ 23.Kg2 Bh3+ 24.Kh1/2 Bxf1 mate>

Black's early eccentric moves with his WSB were offset by the odd White Queen maneuver: <7.Qe2> & <8.Qd3>

<17.Nf4> was highly questionable if not downright 'Bloop-Worthy' leaving <d4> open

Oct-09-12  Abdel Irada: <Countdown to Vlassov<<<<>>>>>

It's T minus four moves and counting:

<21. ...♕xh2
22. ♔xh2 ▢, ♖h5
23. ♔g2 ▢, ♗h3
24. ♔h2/♔h1, ♗xf1#<>>

Oct-09-12  Arcturus: Going through this game . . . . . oddest opening moves I've seen in a while
Oct-09-12  Abdel Irada: Am I the only one who has a hard time believing in the soundness of 8. ♕d3, which looks about as natural as maraschino cherry-flavored transmission fluid?
Oct-09-12  dzechiel: Black to move (21...?). White is up a pawn. "Easy."

It looks like a forced mate-in-four, starting with...

21...Qxh2+ 22 Kxh2 Rh5+ 23 Kg2 Bh3+ 25 Kh2

White could try 25 Kh1, but it's no different.


A pretty combination. If you didn't see it quickly, spend a little more time examining moves that give check, they leave the opponent with far fewer replies.

Oct-09-12  captainandrewwiggins: I went with Qxg3 instead and then followed the main line. that still works yes?

I don't know why i didn't see qxh2. i guess i must work that out, for that is the essence of chess: to practice seeing things such that it becomes second nature.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: White's moves in this game are perhaps not so odd when you work out what he is trying to do.

Black is playing the "modern" variation of the Scandinavian defence. The idea for black is not to rush to recover the pawn that he gave away with his very first move. Instead, he uses the fact that there isn't a white pawn on e4 to allow his pieces to develop freely. Well, relatively freely. Black presumes that he will either win the new d5 pawn eventually or get enough counterplay that he doesn't need to win it back.

White has a couple of choices against this strategy. He can try to hold his d5 pawn or he can ignore it altogether.

In today's POTD, white uses a strategy that stronger players often use against lower graded opposition (white is 2425 to black's 2330). He tries to hold on to the extra pawn figuring that his better technique will win in the end.

Hence the artificial-looking Qe2-Qd3. Hold the pawn, swap pieces, grind out a win in the endgame. Funnily enough, Fritz doesn't see a problem with 8. Qd3. It might look odd to us humans, but the silicon monster reckons it's okay. It ranks around the same as moves which ignore the pawn, such as 8. d4.

In fact, white seems to be comfortably ahead (according to Fritz) until we get to 11. Ne4. Whilst it might be tempting to exchange off a pair of knights, Fritzie says that the game is roughly level after that.

The losing move seems to be 19. Nxd5. White has been trying all game to keep hold of his d5 pawn and possibly because of that he doesn't notice that this move allows Qh4 and Re5 (in either order).

I've played on both sides on the scandinavian - it used to be very popular a few years back. And the jury was out on whether white should try to hold the d5 pawn or let it go. I long ago came to the conclusion that abandoning the pawn was the safest course for white, but I've also seen games where white successfully hangs on to it for the entire game.

The fact that white loses in this game doesn't invalidate that approach, although it does demonstrate the inherent risks.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <captainandrewwiggins: I went with Qxg3 instead and then followed the main line. that still works yes?>

I'm afraid not. Fritzie offers this line: 21...Qxg3 Nf6+ 22. Kg7 Qb4

click for larger view

White defends against the mate and the black queen is hanging. Fritzie calls this roughly equal.

True, 21...Qxg3 transposes back to the game line if white plays 22. hxg3? But he doesn't have to recapture.

The problem with Qxg3 when compared to Qxh2+ is that it isn't forcing. It isn't check. Qxh2+ gives white only one response. That's why most strong players will home in on Qxh2+ immediately, find the mate, and then stop their analysis. They won't even glance at Qxg3.

Oct-09-12  Abdel Irada: <Once>: I submit that if Fritz likes 8. ♕d3, it proves that this is the kind of position that engines don't evaluate well. White is already behind in development, and to impair his ability to bring out his queenside pieces by blocking the advance of his d-pawn is not only artificial, but likely to prove costly when he finds himself unable to hold off a counterattack on the kingside.

Because there are no immediate, concrete targets or objectives, engines may tend to evaluate such moves as sound, but most really strong human players would look at them askance. (Granted: Vlassov is rated 2400, which means at least one reasonably strong senior master did consider the idea playable, but I think this makes him the proverbial exception that proves the rule.)

Oct-09-12  zb2cr: 21. ... Qxh2+ and it's mate in four, all forced.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black is a pawn down.

White threatens 22.gxh4.

The rook on e5 and the bishop pair can control a number of squares near the white king. This suggests 21... Qxh2+, opening the h-file for that rook: 22.Kxh2 Rh5+ 23.Kg2 Bh3+ 24.Kh1(2) Bxf1#.

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