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Anna Ushenina vs Olga Girya
Women Grand Prix Geneva (2013), Geneva SUI, rd 4, May-06
Slav Defense: Modern Line (D11)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jul-12-13  Nerwal: <Do you think Hou Yifan cannot mate with B+N???>

I have no idea, but I know You Yifan can lose a rook endgame with extra pawn : Xiu Deshun vs Yifan Hou, 2013

Let's not be too harsh with a particular player or a particular game. Failing a ♗+♘ mate is spectacular and embarrassing, but not so uncommon and it's a marginally useful endgame to know. The real problem is a wider one, and that's the level and culture of chess players in endgames which are rather low, even amongst GMs, and modern time controls make things just worse.

Aug-12-13  notyetagm: <FSR: ... When does she lose her world championship? It can't happen soon enough.>

In September.

The title goes back to its rightful holder, <HOU YIFAN>, who lost it in those ridiculous two-game knockout matches.

Aug-12-13  dx9293: <notyetagm> I guess you forgot that Hou GOT her title "in those ridiculous two-game knockout matches."

Anyway, I look forward to the match. It will be interesting.

Aug-12-13  Doniez: It's so embarrassing to watch this endgame...I have to re-learn several times openings and known endgames, but a World Champion should play this endgame and win in exactly 24 moves as predicted by Nalimov tb's. or in a few more moves, but anyway she should win!
Aug-12-13  notyetagm: <dx9293: <notyetagm> I guess you forgot that Hou GOT her title "in those ridiculous two-game knockout matches.">

I'm a Hou Yifan groupie. Leave me alone!


Aug-23-13  Karpova: <dehanne: Judit Polgar once pulled off this mate blind folded, IIRC.>

The game in question: Ljubojevic vs Judit Polgar, 1994

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Hi <Sequoia>. How long did it take you to learn it, and how much time do you need to take to keep the technique fresh in your mind? Is that a sensible investment for a hobby player ("any player")? As for Judit Polgar playing it blindfold, I am just dumbstruck with admiration!
Aug-23-13  Shams: <Dionysius1> You didn't ask me but I'll answer. It takes a few hours to learn it for sure, plus maybe an hour a year to refresh. Silman doesn't teach it: he's probably right that most players will never need it. But I am of the camp that says you should learn it anyway because the technique will help your game in other ways.

Isn't it marvelous how Bishop and Knight cooperate to take away so many squares from the enemy King?

click for larger view

Personally I find the methodical "three triangles" method easier to remember:

...but the old 'W' method (the one Ushenina blows in this game) is also instructive.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: Hi and thanks <Shams>. That's not too long, given its additional value. And sometimes as a hobbyist, it's nice to visit what might be a by way as far as more focussed tournament players are concerned. I think I'll have a go at learning this. I've joined a chess club in a nearby town - it might be fun to be able to demonstrate this some time (and give them a temporarily excessive assessment of my abilities ;-) )
Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: I watched the three triangles instructional video. I use the the big W method as Tarrasch teaches in "The Game of Chess". I find that easier since both K ( always on the 6th rank ) and N ( the big W except final mate preparation ) moves are predetermined and only the B maneuvers have to be learned and a little bit flexible depending on the opponent's moves. However, the triangle method is useful to illustrate the incredible blocking power of just a B and N properly placed.

Obviously the technique to drive the opposing K from the wrong corner across to the necessary B color corner has to learned, but one must also pay attention to working out the technique to drive the enemy K from the center to the corner in the first place. I practice about 3 to 4 times a week against the computer from random positions to make sure I can do the whole process within the 50 move rule, which easily can be a factor if you accidentally let the K escape and have to start the process over. Usually I mate in about in 30 to 32 moves, where the absolutely efficient table bases might do it in 26 or 27.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Dionysius1: The more I hear, the more I want to learn this. Darn, are there tournaments where one can show off this kind of thing - like dressage events for horses?
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Dionysius1: The more I hear, the more I want to learn this. Darn, are there tournaments where one can show off this kind of thing - like dressage events for horses?>

I don't know about tournaments, but you can practice the endgame here:

Sep-18-13  offramp: It's under a big W, I tells ya. An it's been there for fifteen years! An it's all yours; you've just gotta go down there and dig it up!
Sep-19-13  dehanne: Someone was cruel enough to make a video of the checkmate fail:
Sep-19-13  BobbieM: She's about to lose the championship
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheAlchemist: She could have made it just in time:

click for larger view

107.Ng4 Kg2 108.Bc4 Kf3 109.Bd3 Kg3 110.Be4 Kh3 111.Kf4 Kh4 112.Bg6 Kh3 113.Ne3 Kh4 114.Ng2+ Kh3 115.Kf3 Kh2 116.Kf2 Kh3 117.Bf5+ Kh2 118.Ne3 Kh1 119.Bg4 Kh2 120.Nf1+ Kh1 121.Bf3#

49 moves. Now that would have been a "buzzer-beater" of sorts.

Sep-19-13  DrAttitude: Practice. Practice. Practice. Once daily (until one has mastered the technique). Then once weekly.

Excellent sites already posted :

< >

< >

The bishop + knight mate is among one of the most difficult endgames to play.

Queen versus rook is another.

Premium Chessgames Member
  LucB: I have a question concerning this situation. Let's say you are faced with this endgame and in your attempts at getting the king in the appropriate corner you mess up and the lone king escapes.. Now you have to start all over again... Can you give a spite check to re-set the 50-move counter or do you only get 50 moves from the moment there are no more pawns/other pieces on the board?

Thanks in advance!

Sep-20-14  dx9293: You get 50 consecutive moves without a pawn move or capture: checks do not reset the count, only a pawn move or capture. Of course, with KBNvK there are no pawns and the capture of one of the pieces would result in an immediate draw.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LucB: Thanks <dx9293>, much appreciated!

I've just been practising this one and it's fun!

Oct-06-14  bigmell: for what its worth fritz showed a mate in 12 on move 85 Anna Ushenina - Olga Girya, Women Grand Prix Geneva 2013

click for larger view

Analysis by Fritz 13:

1. (#19): 85...Ke1 86.Ke3 Kd1 87.Bf5 Ke1 88.Nc3 Kf1 89.Ne4 Ke1 90.Bg4 Kf1 91.Ng3+ Kg1 92.Bd7 Kh2 93.Ne2 Kg2 94.Bg4 Kh2 95.Bc8 Kg2 96.Be6 Kf1 97.Nf4 Ke1 98.Nd3+ Kf1 99.Bh3+ Kg1 100.Kf3 2. (#12): 85...Kf1 86.Ke3 Kg2 87.Be6 Kf1 88.Nf4 Ke1 89.Nd3+ Kf1 90.Bh3+ Kg1 91.Kf3 Kh2 92.Nf4 Kg1 93.Kg3 Kh1 94.Bg2+ Kg1 95.Ne2#

(, 06.10.2014)

Mar-06-15  dumbgai: <Catholic Bishop: Asking a chess player to execute the BN checkmate on the spot is like asking a pianist to play the Chopin opus 10#2 on the spot. Just a train-wreck waiting to happen unless you've put in some serious practice.>

Nah, more like asking a pianist to play Fur Elise. Many amateurs would be utterly incapable, but any professional who fails should rightfully be mocked. You really think a pianist that is the equivalent of a 1400 level chess player could learn Chopin's harder Etudes after a bit of practice?

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: This rare minor piece ending should not be taught to beginners as some books attempt. It could overwhelm and discourage beginners; why take that chance? Patient intermediate players should have no problem learning the correct procedure if willing to do a bit of practice over the course of a week or two.

First, learn how to conduct the finish phase w/the lone king already on the edge of the board. The way to practice this forced mate is to put the lone king in the wrong corner opposite the color of the bishop (position from move 77) and force the lone king along the edge to the mating corner... same color as the bishop (the h1 square in this case). Generally, the bishop trails and prevents a backward escape as in this game, and the knight leads (but blundered in this game). Sometimes it is necessary to make a waiting move with the bishop to force the lone king to choose a direction and then prevent his retreat.

<FSR> is correct, as usual, that 82.Ne2! wins for White. See his notes for the correct finish above.

After one knows how to routinely force the lone king from the wrong corner to the mating corner -- same color as the bishop -- then one broadens the picture. Now learn how to occupy the center using the opposition and form a minor piece barrier to force the lone king out of the middle onto the edge of the board and keep him there. The knight needs to cover the color complex opposite of the bishop, which cannot change colors. So, in forming a barrier involving a light-squared bishop, the knight will be on a light square to take away dark squares from the lone king.

Rehearsing this minor piece mating pattern is a good warm-up drill to do by yourself (just make any legal move for the lone king), or w/a buddy serving as a sparring partner. It can take up to 30 moves to accomplish this mate, but once you learn the pattern and continue to practice it a dozen more times, it's not that difficult to repeat. This minor piece mate is rare; it pops up about once every 500-1000 blitz games. It has never occurred over-the-board at my tournament games.

I learned this "W" mating technique from The Macmillan Handbook of Chess by I.A. Horowitz and Fred Reinfeld. Later, I confirmed it from The ABC's of Chess by Bruce Pandolfini. (Horowitz is an excellent endgame instructor using descriptive notation. Pandolfini uses algebraic notation adequately but some of his books contain a few proof reading errors and silly fluff words, although ABCs of Chess can be recommended as one of his better books as are his endgame books in general.)

The Macmillan Handbook of Chess contains a list of tips and examples for all three phases of the game and famous GM games. I remember the first time I saw Lasker's double bishop sacrifice against Bauer -- WOW! -- was from this handbook. It's published as a hardback book in descriptive notation, long out-of-print but available used for a minimal cost. If you like this descriptive book, follow up with Chess the Easy Way by Reuben Fine, which is not that easy but somewhat similar in approach. (Chess For Teenagers by Reuben Fine is the "easiest" of the three descriptive books, but one probably should start with First Book of Chess by Horowitz and Reinfeld.) Some of Reuben Fine's books have been reprinted in algebraic edition, so know which version you are ordering before purchasing.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Messiah: I can't finish this game today (stuck at calculating 42. ♘xe2 ♔f8), and I am sad to learn it will end up in a controversial endgame. However, the middlegame is interesting!
Premium Chessgames Member
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