Saturday, June 21, 2014

Brilliant chess tactic

White to move. What is the best continuation for White?

Vitolinsh, Alvis - Gaidarov (Riga, 1979), presented by Andreas

r5k1/6bp/p7/3P1N2/8/2Pn4/1r2R1PP/5RK1 w - - 0 33


Yancey Ward said...

Well, I might be missing this one. I can find a forced draw by repetition for white, which may be what the whole point is- white is down a piece for two pawns, so a draw can be called a great tactic here.

1. Re3 Nc5 (alternatives below)
2. Rg3 Rb7

Here, 2. ...Ra7 loses brutally: [2. ...Ra7?? 3.Nh6 Kh8 4.Rf8 Bf8 5.Rg8#]. Continuing:

3. Nh6 Kh8
4. Nf7

And now black has to make a calculation. He can concede the draw by playing Kg8, or he can give up the exchange:

4. .....Rf7?
5. Rf7 Be5 (any better?)
6. Rh3

And, it is unclear to me who is actually ahead here, but I like white's chances more.

Now, black's options at move 1 are just worse than Nc5. Ne5 loses to the simple Nxg7 followed by Rxe5. Finally, protecting the knight with the rook loses quickly:

1. .....Rd2??
2. Rg3 and the bishop can't be saved by Ra7 since white still has the same mating threat I outlined above.

If white can win this, I don't see it, but he can ensure a draw.

Anonymous said...

Saw a lot of possibilities. But, the following do not work:-
1.Nxg7 .Rxe7!
1.Rxb2.Nxb2 And black need not fear!
White needs to move e rook while creating winning threats without being attacked! Hence,
1.Re3!!! If black drops a piece now, he would lose because of the passed d pawn and exposed king.
>>A3-2....Ne5.3.Nxg7!.And wins easily
>>>A41-5....Rf8.6.Rxg7+.Kh8.7.Rg5!.h6.8.Rh5!.Kh6. 9.Rxh6+.Kg8.10.g4! And wins easily
>>>A42-5....Ra7.6.Rxg7+.Rxg7.7.Nxg7.Kxg7.8.Ke2!.Kf6. 9.c4!! And wins easily. White King catches the a pawn, the c and d pawns are connected and passed and hence cannot be captured by the BK. WK saunters over to capture the a pawn and then escort the cd pawns for queening!

>B-1...Ne5.2.Nxg7!.Kxg7.3.Rxe5 wins easily.

>C-1...Nf4.2.Rxf4 wins easily

>D-1...Nc5.2.Rg3!! And wins as in A.

>E-1...Bxc3.2.Rxd3 and wins easily.
Other variations transpose into one of above (some even worse for black!)

This was one of the toughest problems! I had to take a break to clear my mind of solutions starting with Re7 and Ne7+ which looked promising. Then this Re3-g3-g8 idea struck me!


Anonymous said...

The title for this puzzle is:
"Brilliant chess tactic". Since I could not find any brilliant move, I give up this puzzle. It's too hard.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't solve it and I can't improve on Yancey Ward's analysis of 1. Re3 with the idea of Rg3.

Harry's analysis of the Black defense 1... Nc5 is incorrect. It doesn't win as in the variation 1...Rd2 because Black retains the option of 2...Rb7 in response to 2.Rg3, which is the line that Yancey looks at without reaching a firm conclusion
- Craigaro

Anonymous said...

I confess that I missed Rb7 defense of Yancey.
1.Re3!.Nc5.2.Rg3!.Rb7!.3.Nh6+.Kh8.4.Nf7+ Leads to a perpetual.
If 4......Rxf7.5.Rxf7.Be5. Then,

A-6.Rh3.Bg7.7.Rg3. Would be perpetual.

If white wants to win,
B-6.Re3!.Bg7.(to stop Rxh7). 7.Rc7!.kicking the Knight to an ineffectual corner! Na4.8.d6!.Rd8.9.d7!.followed by Re8 should win! If 9....Bf6.10.Re8+.Kg7.11.Rxe8.Bxe8.12.Rc8.Kf7.
13.Rxd8.Ke7.14.Ra8!.Kxe7.15.Rxa6 wins easily for white!
Given the above, it is clear that black loses if he gives up the exchange. He can draw if he refuses the exchange.
There is a possibility that white can win by forcing black to give up the exchange through 1.Re3.Nc5.2.Rg3.Rb7.3.d6! Followed by 4.Ne7+ Etc.


Yancey Ward said...


I have been working with your line for a couple days off and on, and just can't make the pawn push win for white:

1. Re3 Nc5
2. Rg3 Rb7
3. d6

Now, I think black draws with a variety of moves here, the one I like best is Kh8 (anticipating either knight check):

3. .....Kh8

Now, if white tries Ne7, black should win:

4. Ne7??Ne4
5. Rd3 Nd6!

Removes the defender of Ne7, and removes white's compensation for being down a piece.

I am not really sure what is best for white at move 4. I lean towards getting the c-pawn off of a black square so that the bishop isn't attacking it....

4. c4

From here, I favor doubling the rooks for black...

4. .....Rab8
5. Ng7 Rg7

And I just don't see how white hangs on to the d-pawn and c-pawn here. White can't exchange the rooks at g7, this just concedes black's win. However, if white tries to prevent the exchange by moving the g3 rook....

6. Ra3 Rd7
7. Ra5 Rc8!
8. Rd1 Rc6

And this is surely lost for white. Note, some of this is speculative, but I haven't included a lot of variations from move 4 on that I have looked at in some detail, and they aren't any better.

Anonymous said...

Understand your point. However I would not like to move c pawn till the BB is off the board as it stops Re3 by white. When black plays Rb7 white is at black's mercy to give up the exchange for white to win. Obviously black will just take the draw.
So, the best for white at move 2 would be to stop Rb7! And allow white to advance pawns. This gives
1.Re3.Nc5.2.Nxg7!.Kxg7.3.Re7+.Kh8.4.R1f7!.immediately doubling the rooks on the 7th rank, playing h3/4 creating a escape hole for WK and then advancing the d pawn and c pawn when time permits. In the worst case scenario, white should have a perpetual! This probably is white's best chance-needs to be studied in detail!

Yancey Ward said...


It is an interesting idea, and one that is probably beyond my ability to analyze in a comprehensive fashion, but I would suggest black does best to get the king of the 8th rank:

1. Re3 Nc5
2. Ng7 Kg7
3. Re7 Kg6!

Removes the main fang of doubling the rooks on the 7th- inhibiting the black king. After that, maybe white gets some pressure, but I don't see a real knockout blow available. If you really want an answer, I would suggest sticking the position into chess engine.

Anonymous said...


That was the best I could think of. I believe that BK in 8th rank would be safer, sixth rank could be met with g/h pawns and some sort of mating net!

Incidentally, I just got hold of the full game to see some notes or indications. Guess what - the game went exactly as I had expected-Re3.Rd2?.Rg3.Ra7.Nh6+.1-0. I and black had missed your Rb7! I guess Rd2 was more natural based on previous moves but not aligned to the positional assessment of white's opportunities and black's vulnerabilities.

In the process saw Vitolinsh's games. They are fast, furious and complicated and enjoyable.A great player!