Friday, 15 June 2007

Elista Episode

The picturesque position (above left) has already been published in several places on the web. It is from the 2nd game of the Grischuk-Rublevsky play-off in Elista (the moves of the game being 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Be3 Be7 9. f4 d6 10. a4 O-O 11. Kh1 Re8 12. Bf3 Bf8 13. Qd2 Rb8 14. Rad1 e5 15. Nde2 b5 16. axb5 axb5 17. f5 b4 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. Qxd5 Ba6 20. Qd2 Nd4 21. Bxd4 exd4 22. Rfe1 Bxe2 23. Qxe2 Be7 24. Rxd4 Bf6 25. Rc4 Qa5 26. c3 bxc3 27. bxc3 d5 28. Rc6 Bxc3 29. Rd1 Bf6 30. Qc2 Qb4 31. e5 Bxe5 32. Bxd5 Qh4 33. g3 Bxg3 34. Bxf7+ Kxf7 35. Qa2+ Kf8 36. Qa3+ Re7 37. Qxg3 Qe4+ 38. Qg2 Rb1 39. Rcc1 Qe1+ 40. Qg1 Qe4+ 41. Qg2 Qxg2+ 42. Kxg2 Rb2+ 43. Kg3 Rb3+ 44. Kf4 Rb4+ 45. Kg3 Re3+ 46. Kf2 Re5 47. Rc8+ Ke7 48. Rc7+ Kf6 49. Rd6+ Kxf5 50. Rf7+ Ke4 51. Rxg7 Rf5+ 52. Ke2 Rb2+ 53. Rd2 Rxd2+ 54. Kxd2 Rf2+ 55. Ke1 Rxh2 56. Kf1 Ke5 1/2-1/2).

It shows the position after 40 Qg1. There turned out to be no way for Black to exploit his initiative.

However, I found another fascinating position when looking at another possible defence, 39 Rcd6. Once again Black plays 39...Qe1+ 40 Qg1 (see diagram, top right) but this time Black has a remarkable winning move. Can you see it?


  1. How about Qe4+?

  2. No, Qe4+ just repeats the previous position. But Qb4 is a nice winner, with the general idea of Qb7+ facilitating Re1+.

  3. Yes, 40...Qe4+ just leads to a repetition. 40...Qb4 is an interesting idea, but then White can play 41 Qf1 and if 41...Qb7+ 42 Kg1 and I don't see how Black can continue the attack.

    Fritz comes up with the amazing 40...Qe2!! with the deadly threat of 41...Qf3+ and then 42...Rxd1+. If 41 Rxb1 Qe4+ 42 Qg2 Qxb1+ 43 Qg1 Rd1 wins the white queen. And in fact 43...Qb7+ wins even quicker. If 41 Qf1 Black simply plays 41...Qxf1+ and wins a rook. White has one remarkable defensive try which doesn't quite work: 41 Rd8+ Kf7 42 Rf8+!? Kxf8 43 Rd8+ Kf7 44 Qxb1 Qf3+ 45 Kg1 Re2! and, somewhat unjustly, White has no good way to check the black king or defend his own monarch: if 46 Rd7+ Ke8! and if 46 Qf1 Qe3+ followed by Re1 wins the white queen.

  4. I found 40...Qe2 without Fritz, but then I knew in advance that there was a win in the position, which does not happen while actually playing! I then refuted all the defences apart from for some reason being blind to the rather obvious mate in 3 after 41.Qd4 (Qf3+ 42.Kg1 Re1+! 43.Rxe1 Rxe1#)