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Eugenio Torre vs Moulthun Ly
Baku Olympiad (2016), Baku AZE, rd 11, Sep-13
Modern Defense: Queen Pawn Fianchetto (A40)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-13-16  spawn2: So proud of you GM Eugenio " The Living Legend " Torre!
Sep-13-16  kamagong24: yeheeeyyyy!!!!
Sep-13-16  visayanbraindoctor: Torre had to find some tricky moves here. After 32. Qg5, Black had a quite simle plan of Ng6, Ne5, eyeing the f3 and g4 squares, and a pawn push to f4. I doubt if White could have survived such an attack with little time left on his clock.

What about 33. Rxc5 winning a pawn? This may have been Torre's original plan I suspect. But a quick look shows that Black has good counterplay because the Black Rook at c5 can be attacked by the Black DSB with Bd4, after the preliminary move Rd8.

Say 33. Rxc5 Rd8 and then 34... Bd4. Black threatens both the Rook at c5 and Qxg3. White has lost all of his advantage, and can't realistically hope to win.

Instead, Torre found a resource. He pins the Black Knight on f4 by moving his Queen along the c1-h6 diagonal. Not Qd2?? becasue the White Q is left hanging and can be taken by Nh3+ and Qxd2. Torre finds the tricky creeping 33. Qc1!

Suddenly White again has winning chances. He is an exchange up and Black's attack has almost fizzled. White threatens to take the now pinned Black Knight Qxf4.

But young GM Ly (if you look at his player's page, he has already acquired the GM norms) fights back with 33.. Be5. Ly defends his Knight and indirectly hits White's g3 pawn.

If Torre does nothing, h5 and h4, in conjunction with Black's B on e5, hitting his g3 pawn, will kill his King.

Clearly the black B on e5 has to be neutralized. But as mentioned above, the immediate Rxc5 allows Bd4.

So Torre first controls the d4 square with a very good ceeping move 34. Qe3! Black can't play Bd4 immediately because his N is left hanging on f4.

Ly sees that his original plan of hitting the g3 pawn by h5 and h4 is now met with the simple Qxc5, and his attacking Bishop on e5 is now the one attacked. So he switches plans with 43.. Rd8. This prevents White from taking his c5 pawn because he now has Bd4, but White does not need to. All Torre needed was to stop any further plan of Bd4.

With no immediate Black threat, Torre switches to attack mode ASAP by 35. Rb1.

Yikes! Ly must have thought. How the heck does he stop b6? Once White gets his Rook on the 6th rank, which he would after cxb6 and Rbxb6, Black is lost. He is an exchange down with no attack at all.

The answer is he can't. Ly tries the desperate 35... Rd2, but Torre proceeds with ramming in the pawn 36. b6 cxb6 37. Rbxb6

At first opportunity, Torre then simplified into a won Queen + B vs R + N + B endgame.

37. Rbxb6 Rd1 38. Rxh6+ Kg7 39. Rbg6+ Qxg6 40. Rxg6+ Nxg6 41. Qxc5

I think Torre missed a lot of shorter wins in the ensuing endgame, but this is where the game was decided.

GM Ly put up quite a good fight. I think he nearly had a draw, but Torre somehow managed to steer the game into a difficult Q vs R pawnless endgame. This just added to the drama. However, GM Torre, a former Candidate, apparently knows how to win this type of endgame, given the manner into which he went for it and the way he conducted it.

Thanks to GM Torre for producing this marvelous game, right at the end of the Olympiad.

Sep-14-16  spawn2: The suspense I felt while following this game was the same while I was watching Train to Busan.
Sep-14-16  optimal play: <visayanbraindoctor> Some very insightful analysis!

As this game headed towards the 80th move I don't know if both players were aware that Australia had already won this last round (the other three games giving Australia an unassailable lead of 2½-½) but Moulthun Ly remained as determined to hold a draw as Eugenio Torre was to force a win.

After 80...Rxd7 Moulthun Ly just had to shuffle his way around a QvR endgame for another 50 moves, but unfortunately erred soon after at 83...Rb7?? and that's all Eugenio Torre needed to finish it!

But getting back to an earlier part of the game, I don't understand why Moulthun Ly played 26...Rxe6?

The obvious continuation after 26.Ne6 seems to be simply 26...Bxa1 27.Nxf8 Rxf8 28.Qxa1+ Nf6 which isn't too bad.

click for larger view

Instead 26...Rxe6 leaves him down in material and he never recovered from that.

Anyway, taking nothing away from the 64 year old Eugenio Torre who played a tremendous game to finish off a great tournament!

Sep-14-16  visayanbraindoctor: <optimal play: But getting back to an earlier part of the game, I don't understand why Moulthun Ly played 26...Rxe6?>

In the position above, the Black c7 pawn looks like an obvious weakness. I think Torre can hit it immediately with Qe5, Ra1, Ra7. The unfortunate position of the Black N on f6 does not give Black the tempo to challenge control of the a file. Ly may have been avoiding this possibility, and thought that an exchange sac would give him better chances.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: "Can you win with a queen vs a rook? Don't be so sure – even the best players on the planet can run into problems when confronted with this endgame."

Postion after 80…Rxd7

click for larger view

Bobby Ang: "This is a theoretical win, but notoriously difficult to play. This is already the 11th round and Eugene is already exhausted from non-stop playing. Also, both players had run out of time and were surviving on the 30-second increment. Can Eugene do it?"

In order to win White must drive the black king to the edge of the board. Torre handled the task flawlessly:

81. Qa8+ Ke5 82. Qe8+ Kd6 83. Kc4 Rb7 84. Qg6+ Kc7 85. Kc5 Kb8 86. Qe4 Kc7 87. Qf3 Rb1 <A tougher defense is 87…Ra7> 88. Qf4+ Kd8 89. Qg5+ Kc7 90. Qe5+

click for larger view

Here Moulthun Ly resigned. Torre wins the rook in the next move (or in two moves in case of 90…Kd8 91.Qh8+ Kd7 92.Qh7+).

It might be interesting to see how Torre would have met a tougher defense (87…Ra7 instead of 87…Rb1)

click for larger view

87…Ra7 88.Qc6+ Kb8 89.Qe4 Rb7 90.Kc6 Ka8 91.Qe8+ Ka7 92.Qd8

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Philidor demonstrated that this position is a forced win, as long ago as 1777! Starting from a near-terminal position, it is normally easy for White to force "Philidor position", and therefore reach a known win.

Sep-15-16  optimal play: Yes, the Black c7 pawn does look like an obvious weakness, although Ly might have mitigated that somewhat if 29.Qe5 Qd6 30.Qxd6 cxd6 and his position is arguably preferable to the option he took.

Black's best move after 83.Kc4 is 83...Re7

White has until move 130 to mate and according to engine analysis, best play on both sides is mate at move 108.

Even knowing this should be a forced win, and with 20-odd moves to spare, counting down the available moves, coupled with time pressure, can result in the player with the Queen fumble it more often than the player with the Rook.

Under extreme pressure it was Moulthun Ly who cracked and the experienced Eugenio Torre who kept his cool to wrap it up.

Sep-15-16  Pinkerton: Torre played accurately throughout his 11 games in this Olympiad. Amazing. It will be a treat to see him play in Batumi Olympiad 2018.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jonathan Sarfati: A most impressive performance by the 64yo veteran in this game against the strong Aussie GM-elect Ly, and in this entire Olympiad.
Sep-22-16  wordfunph: Pinkerton, well said.

Torre to 2018 Batumi!

Sep-24-16  Virgil A: with magnificence in all 10 rounds. 90 moves. in round 11. And win!


Sep-25-16  Virgil A: GM Torre paid the most attention to the N , I see, as his K treaded to the Qside.

Eventhough he can exchange his B with the N on move 57, I think his K is too far for his c-pawn to make the c7 square.

Perhaps 76...Nd7 is a mistake. 76...Ba6 may hold longer. But I know GM Torre knows endgame.

Sep-26-16  epistle: While I was watching this and AFGM began checking with his Queen I couldn't see how he could make any progress if black just moved his King here and there like 47...Kh6 instead of 47....Ng6.
Dec-19-21  stridergene: This Baku Olympiad (2016) is the record breaking 23rd Olympiad, as a player, for The Magnificent Rook of Philippine Chess. He played on each Chess Olympiad since 1970 except in Dresden in 2008.
Dec-19-21  stridergene: Andrei Volokitin of Ukraine, playing as a reserve player, won the individual gold medal overall, scoring 8.5 out of 9 with a rating performance of 2992. Baadur Jobava of Georgia on board one scored 8 out of 10 and a rating performance of 2926, Vladimir Kramnik of Russia on board two who scored 6.5 out of 8 with a rating performance of 2903, Wesley So of the United States on board three with 8.5 out of 10 and a rating performance of 2896, and Laurent Fressinet of France who scored 7 out of 8 with a rating performance of 2809. However, the best point scorer in the Open section was 64-year old Eugenio Torre scored 10 out of 11 with a rating performance of 2836 and the bronze medal on board three.

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