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Alexey Shirov vs Hikaru Nakamura
Zurich Chess Challenge (2016) (rapid), Zurich SUI, rd 2, Feb-13
French Defense: Advance. Lputian Variation (C02)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: i had h2; Kxh2 Qh6+; Kg3 Rxg4+; Kf2 Qh4+; Kf1 Qh1+; Kf2 Rg2#
Aug-23-17  stst: P@h3 is treasure, Qh6 eyeing for WQ:
38........ h2
39.Kxh2 (what else? leaving P-->Q? or Kg2? sameO) Qh6+ 40.Kg3 (if Kg2 or g1, worse when Rxg4+) Rg4+
41.KxR QxQ... W can resign
Aug-23-17  stacase: Push the Pawn! If White takes the Pawn it's instant uglyness from her majesty. If White's King moves 39. Kg2 Black Queens the Pawn and says "Check". Then 40. Kxh1 followed by 40... Qh6+ 41. Kg1 or g2 and 41... Rxg4+ It ends up badly for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a rook for a bishop.

White threatens to push the queen side pawns while neither 39.Qxf4 (39... Qxf4+ 40.Kxf4 h2 - +) nor 39.Kxh3 (39... Qh6+ 40.Kg2(3) Rxg4+ 41.Kf2 Rg2+, winning the queen) are real threats.

This last detail suggests 38... h2 39.Kxh2 Qh6+, winning as above.

Aug-23-17  leRevenant: I got it, sort of intuitively.
Aug-23-17  gofer: Well, like most, I found the "trick" of trying to win the queen and felt my job was done. But its not...

<38 ... h2>
<39 Qc1! ...>

I completely missed this defence and it is a good defence! But unfortunately for white it is not good enough!

<39 ... Qh6>

<40 Qh1 Ra4/Rb4/Rd4>

<41 Qxh2 Qxh2+>

<42 Kxh2 Ra2/Rb2/Rd2> -+

Aug-23-17  Coriolis: I didn't get this one. Is 38. ... Rxg4+ 39. Kxh3 d4 a sound line? what does uncle silicon think? (Thanks in advance)
Aug-23-17  groog: Not too difficult for a Wednesday.
Aug-23-17  cocker: As <gofer> says, quite a lot of play left after 39 Qc1.
Aug-23-17  leRevenant: Good on you gofer; you wrong-footed us all.
Aug-23-17  Lambda: There's a lot to consider today, and we need to use the power of a pawn one square away from queening in many ways. After 39. Qc1 we play 39... Qh6. So we need to check that 40. Qxc5 doesn't threaten perpetual check and we can really queen our pawn in response. Then after 40. Qh1 Ra4, we have to see the eventual threat of a pin from a2 if white takes the h pawn.

And white doesn't even need to do that. So we look at how things like Ra1 are threats. The queen can't leave h1, and if the bishop interposes we just take it off. So 41. Bf1 Ra1, white still can't take the pawn or he loses his bishop, so 42. Kf2 or Kg2. And now 42... Qd2+ and you can see an end goal, we attack the bishop with both pieces, and even if it's defended by both queen and king, we queen our pawn in the end, and just take the bishop if the pawn is ever taken. You just need to worry about perpetual from a queen starting on h2, so if the king goes to h3, it gets in the way (and the queen can come to f2), and if it goes to g3, Qe1 is check and we take the bishop before the pawn can be taken.

So I think the line of most resistance goes 39. Qc1 Qh6 40. Qh1 Ra4 41. Bf1 Ra1 42. Kg2 Qd2+ 43. Kg3 Qe1+ 44. Kg2 Qxf1+ 45. Qxf1 Rxf1

click for larger view

Aug-23-17  Cheapo by the Dozen: Fun one. Black's rook is poisoned, because Black's kingside pawn is hard to stop. White's queenside pawns are hard to stop in some lines. Black's center pawns are less relevant than one might think.

38 ... Qh6 fails for Black because White can just barricade with 39 Kh2. That raises the possibility of an immediate 38 ... h2 -- which turns out to work.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <38...h2!>, and that's it.

♖f4 is taboo due to the weakness of its defender.

♙h2 is taboo due to LPDO.

Aug-23-17  patzer2: In a well played French Defense game, it's level for 35 moves, with strong play on both sides.

Then, suddenly, White loses patience and tries to force the issue and make something happened with the really bad exchange sacrifice 36. Rxc5?? bxc5 -+ (-4.03 @ 30 depth, Stockfish 8.)

Instead, White can maintain equality with 36.a5 h3+ 37.Kg3 Ra4 38.Kxh3 Rxa5 39.Qg5 = (0.00 @ 32 depth, Stockfish 8.)

As for today's Wednesday puzzle (38...?,) I quickly found the old Chess maxim "passed pawns must be pushed" is true in this case as 38... h2! -+ (-12.90 @ 31 depth, Stockfish 8) wins easily.

P.S.: The Stockfish 8 best play line goes 38...h2 39.Qc1 (39.Kxh2 Qh6+ 40.Kg2 Rxg4+ 41.fxg4 Qxe3 -+) 39...Qh8 40.Kg2 Qxe5 41.Qf1 Ra4 42.b6 Ra1 43. Bd1 axb6 44. a6 Qd4 -+ (Mate in 18, Stockfish 8 @ 52 depth.)

Aug-23-17  Marmot PFL: took a couple minutes but 38...h2 39 Kxh2 Qh6 and 40...Rxg4+ wins in all lines. The only other try is 39 Qc1 but Qh8 still wins.

36 Rxc5? is an example of why strong players often enjoy playing aggressive opponents. You don't need to take risks to win as your opponent will do that for you.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Okay, so it would never happen, but ...

38. ... h2 39. Qxf4 h1=N+!

Gave me a giggle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A fine finish, with an underpromotion variation.
Aug-23-17  DarthStapler: Got it
Aug-23-17  ChatGrognon: Pawns have to advance : )
Aug-23-17  saturn2: I saw the main lines: <38..h2> followed by Qh6 and the discovered attack on the queen. For some minutes I did not know what happens after <39 Qc1> but I think 39.. Qh8 40 Qh1 Qxe5 is winning for black.
Aug-23-17  Lambda: I forgot to include one other thing white can try, which is to guard h1 a second time to allow himself to take on a1, which is again thwarted by the position of his bishop. So that line should go 39. Qc1 Qh6 40. Qh1 Ra4 41. Kg2 Ra2 42. Kf2 Ra1 43. Bf1 Qd2+ 44. Kg3 Qe1+ 45. Kg2 Qxf1+ 46. Qxf1 Rxf1

Well, 42... Qd2 is easier actually. But it's not as pretty, I like the way black has a pawn rammed in white's throat whilst queen and rook snipe from opposite corners until white is totally tied up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  drollere: why didn't white play 38. Kh2?
Aug-23-17  The Kings Domain: Nice puzzle and a delightful game. A somewhat messy game for both sides, black's last move was a bolt out of the blue.
Aug-23-17  RandomVisitor: After 18.0-0 what if black tried 18...fxe5:

click for larger view

Stockfish_17081107_x64_modern: <6.5 hours computer time, 8 cores>

<-1.40/50 18...fxe5 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Rc8> 21.Nb1 Kd8 22.a4 h5 23.Kh1 hxg4 24.Bxg4 Qa5 25.Qd2 Qb4 26.Qxb4 Bxb4 27.Nd2 Bxd2 28.Rxd2 Rc4 29.Ra1 Rg5 30.Re2 Kc7 31.Ra3 Kb6 32.Re1 Kc5 33.Ra2 Kb4 34.Kh2 Ka5 35.Bd1 Rd4 36.Rb2 Rg7 37.Rf1 Rb4 38.Ra2 Rf4 39.Rc2 Be8 40.Rg1 Rxg1 41.Kxg1 Rc4 42.Rd2 Kb6 43.Kf1 Rb4 44.Kg2 Re4 45.Bc2 Rf4 46.Bd1 Rb4 47.Bg4 Bd7 48.Ra2 Re4

Aug-23-17  newzild: I didn't get this.

I suspected the key was either 38...h2 or 38...Qh6.

After 38...h2, I couldn't find a clear winning continuation after 39. Qc1 Qh6 40. Qh1.

After the alternative move order 38...Qh6 (threatening both 39...h2 and 39...Rxg4+), it seemed to me that 39. Kh2 was an adequate defence.

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