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Stumbled upon this subvariation while preparing the latest White Belt. White to move and not resign.

Great stuff. Almost as good as the Cambiasso goal in Argentina's 6-0 demolition of Serbia & Montenegro. (Hendriks-Spanton, Hastings Masters 2006 with 11..Kh8 instead of 11..Rxf7 as played.)


1.Qg3! Rxf7 2.Qg5!?
Posted by: Kenilworthian at June 16, 2006 18:08

Posted by: acirce at June 16, 2006 18:17

Well, I'll probably just show my ignorance here, but if 1. Qg3 as suggested, why not 1..,Nxg3. Then what for white??
Posted by: vxqtl at June 16, 2006 18:47

1. Qg3 Nxg3 2. Ng6+ hxg6 3. hxg3 with mate
Posted by: macuga at June 16, 2006 18:53

2. Ng6+ hg
3. hg+
Posted by: cynical at June 16, 2006 18:54

What's wrong with the fairly straightforwars:
1. Qf3,Qxe5 2. Qxh5
Then, g6 won't do anything because just Bxg6
Still don't like white's position, but at least no immediate resignation.
Posted by: vxqtl at June 16, 2006 18:59

1. Qf3 Qe5 2. Qxh5 Qxb2
Posted by: macuga at June 16, 2006 19:02

Then, after the suggested:
1.Qg3! Rxf7 2.Qg5

why not 2..., Qxg5
Posted by: vxqtl at June 16, 2006 19:05

Oh, duh, after 2. ,Qxg5 3. Nxf7+. Ok, now I finally get it.
Posted by: vxqtl at June 16, 2006 19:15

I don't see why the immediate 2.Nxf7+ isn't possible though, not that 2.Qg5 isn't pretty.... :) Black doesn't have to play 2..Qxg5. The question was not how to win, but how to avoid losing.
Posted by: acirce at June 17, 2006 05:53

I was instantly reminded of the motif from the following game which is set to appear in a future issue of Chess Life. (See the position after Black's 25th move): 1. e4 c5 2. d3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qd7 5. Be3 e5 6. f4 exf4 7. Bxf4 Be7 8.Nf3 Nf6 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nc6 11. Ne5 Nxe5 12. Bxe5 b5 13. Qg5 Ne8 14. Qg3 f6 15. Bf4 b4 16. Ne4 Qd5 17. b3 f5 18. Ng5 Qd4 19. Re1 Bf6 20. Be5 Qd8 21. Nf3 Bb7 22. d4 cxd4 23. Bc4+ Kh8 24. Nxd4 Bh4 25. Ne6 Bxg3 {THIS POSITION} 26. hxg3 Nf6 27. Nxd8 Raxd8... eventually ending in a draw.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 17, 2006 10:53

The puzzle was very nice, but still Cambiasso's goal was much better (Viva Argentina!) ...
Posted by: Pascual at June 17, 2006 20:58

BTW, About Aerosvit tournament, I rememberred to have talked about it two weeks ago, mentioning it in this blog (during the chess Olympiad, when I mention about the attention the whole incident involving Gormally received distracting the attention of chess news).

But it seems that Ukrainian chess stars are not quite interested in soccer, so they preferred to be in full activity instead (perhaps this indiference towards soccer may explain the poor performance of the Ukrainian soccer team).
Posted by: Pascual at June 17, 2006 21:06

I guess Mig forgot to analyze the whole variation. After Qg3 Rxf7 Qg5 the simple Nf6 and black is easily winning.
Posted by: Hikaru Nakamura at June 17, 2006 23:37

Yo. That's similar to the game line, although queens were exchanged there. Two center pawns and rook for knight and bishop isn't something I'd qualify as an easy win. At least not resignable, which was the condition. f4-e5-f5 is going to be annoying, no?
Posted by: Mig at June 18, 2006 00:08

Hikaru Nakamura with black in that position versus Mig with white: that will determine which color has the better position!
Posted by: superfreaky at June 18, 2006 02:36

I think the stipulation is better illustrated by the fact that there is no way Hikaru would resign that position with white against anyone in the world!
Posted by: Mig at June 18, 2006 03:36

Of course Nakamura would not resign: Nakamura would not resign that position even were it black to move and white's queen were on e3. Play might go Qxe5 Bxh5 Qxh5. Two pawns for a piece. So that's a tough calculation, but I'm up to it: 2-3=-1. So Nakamura would only be -1. I seem to recall Nakumara getting a draw with -2. So -1 is like Nakamura getting two chances in a -2 situation for a total of 1/2+1/2=1 points, or the full point.
Posted by: superfreaky at June 18, 2006 07:38

I'm sorry to certainly look stupid to a lot of strong players, but why is the position should be so easily won for black after Kf6?

From the material point of view, it's even slightly better for white. And after Kxf7 Qxf7 Kc3, I find white position just good. In this position, if white castles long, with the queen position, 4 white pawns against 2 black ones and 2 rooks behind the pawns, I have the feeling that white has good attacking chances.
Posted by: Ruslan at June 18, 2006 17:29

Glad to see this debate. I considered ...Nf6 before Hikaru's comment, with Black having 2 minor pieces for R+2P, and I figured Black is better, perhaps even much better, but well shy of "easily winning." That's based on the static aspects (beginner's point-counts aside, 2 minors usually are superior to R+2P in middlegame).

Based on your comments above, the dynamic aspects -- the possibility of White pawn-roller with e- and f-pawns, quick activation of White R's on central files after Nc3 and 0-0-0, etc. -- seem to further narrow the gap, and -- who knows? -- maybe even tilt the balance in White's favor, as Ruslan suggests.

But if a 2700 thinks Black is easily winning, I wasn't about to argue with his assessment. I'm glad someone else is, and would be interested to see further debate, and perhaps some analysis.

Our silicon friends may be of use here too. Only -- beware of simply concluding that "Fritz gives +0.48" -- especially if that evaluation is made only 8 or 10 plies from the diagram position and is based on only a single main line and no sub-variations.
Posted by: Jon Jacobs at June 18, 2006 18:26

Out of obstinancy I put the diagrammed position and the position after the 1.Qg3 Rxf7 2.Qg5 Nf6 as the starting positions for a chess engine blitz tournament. (My own main line was 2.Nxf7+ directly, which can transpose from the vastly cuter 2.Qg5.)

Six top engines, 42 games played. White won 20 and lost 10. Of course a strong human might be able to approach White's relatively limited possibilities and construct a way to consistently neutralize them. Still, rook and pawns versus two minors also gives good drawing chances in many endgames. And it's not trivial for Black to make progress without allowing counterplay and/or liquidation.
Posted by: Mig at June 18, 2006 19:55

Which 2700 think ...Nf6 is winning easily?
Posted by: Mike Parsons at June 19, 2006 12:20

Even strong players make way too categorical statements - log on to, say, ICC to see it daily during live games...
Posted by: acirce at June 19, 2006 16:17

OK, I ran Hikaru's line through S10 trying everything I could think of and then everything S10 came up with for about two hours. If S10 is to be believed, and I didn't slop things up too much, it definitely is not easily winning for Black. It seems to be a complicated draw after 14. Nf7+ Qf7 15. Nc3. It now takes Black a move or two to get his minor pieces to good squares which gives White time to castle and activate rooks. At some point in the game, assuming the heavy hardware doesn't all come off, Black has to give back the two minor pieces to stop the passed e-pawn (getting the f-pawn too most lines) and then the position becomes balanced and is drawn. It is an unbalanced situation to begin with, which I wouldn't want to have to deal with, from either side. I can see where Hikaru's prefences would lead to his liking Black though. Another pieces is another piece with which to attack! But White can deal with it (passed pawn's lust...).
Posted by: noyb at June 19, 2006 22:25

If white is not careful, and rushes his pawns up too soon, black can blockade on the white squares and win by slow strangulation. Also, if castling was illegal in the original position (white king stuck in the middle) black would win in short order. If white castles queenside, black has nebulous chances associated with a queenside pawnstorm. All this means white has to be extremely careful, avoid a blockade, and deal with a bum's rush of black's queenside pawns in the event of O-O-O. All in all, a long, complex struggle is in prospect. White doesn't have any particular "attacking" chances but he does have good chances of keeping his solid structure. And no, there will no forced sacrifice of minor pieces for pawns any time soon. It would be a good position to have a theme tournament of "minor pieces versus potentially strong pawns."
Posted by: Mark Ginsburg at June 20, 2006 13:13

I agree with Ruslan the Armenian Supremacist, in that white isn't worse than equal. Black lacks good squares for his minor pieces, especially the knights, which are vulnerable to white's pawn roller. Where to place black's light-squared bishop? On e6, where it can be kicked? Not pretty.
If black cannot coordinate his minor pieces, it won't be much stronger than the rook in the middlegame, and weaker in the endgame.

White's king is safer on the kingside, where it can provide close support for a gradually advancing pawn majority in the endgame. Black's minor pieces will have difficulty coordinating a blockade against white's supple e + f + g pawns...

If the queens and a pair of rooks are traded, black will have extreme difficulty stopping the pawns AND defending his queenside against the maurading white rook, a typical problem in a R v B+N endgame. The e+f pawns would alone tie down two out of the three (K, B, N). So, I think most of the practical chances are white's.
Posted by: Der Strudel at June 20, 2006 21:01

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 16, 2006 7:55 AM.

    UKR Stealth Tourney was the previous entry in this blog.

    Aerosvit-Foros 06 - r3 is the next entry in this blog.

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