Main
Date: 01 Jun 2007 02:25:36
From: help bot
Subject: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
In another thread, Sam Sloan described a game between Norman
Whitaker and the many-time champion of Mexico, a Mr. Ferriz. I
already noted in that thread that the move ...Nd4 did not threaten
"mate", but rather, a fork which nets a Rook to add to Black's already
substantial material advantage. I suggested ...h4 as a simple way to
win there, and indeed, this same idea shows itself to work even after
the game continuation of ...Nd4, Rxd4+ Qxd4, Rxc6 (Key position):

White: Kh2, Rc6, pg2, pa4 Black: Kd3, Qd4, ph5

Black has the move, and although taking the a-pawn immediately would
simplify the position a tad while still
covering the crucial f6 square (by which White hopes to maneuver his
Rook to f3 and thereby form a "fortress"),
it is probably better to get right to the task at hand: checkmate!
Let's keep as simple as possible, shall we?

... h4 The idea is to trade this pawn for the one on g2, thus
exposing the King to myriad Queen checks, some
combination of which will pick off the Rook. Just as important, the
disappearance of the g2-pawn will further expose the White King to a
fatal mating attack by just two pieces: the Black King and Queen.

Now, as in other lines, White can choose between a myriad of
options, and it is impossible to show a forced win in every line. But
the general ideas will play themselves out just the same. Ideas such
as picking off the exposed Rook in this variation: ...h4, a5 Qe5+, Kg1
Qe1+, Kh2 Qg3+, Kh1 h3, gh Qf3+ and the Rook bites the dust.

Or how about Re6, to cut off the Black King before he can
approach? ...h4, Re6 h3, and here no matter what White does the Rook
will become a target. The best that can be hoped for is to give up
both pawns and somehow fend off mating attacks, yet that leads to the
elementary Q vs. R ending -- a clear win for Black.

I don't want to suggest for even a moment that advancing the h-pawn
as quickly as possible is the best that Black can do, but even in
these lines, White never even comes close to establishing his desired
fortress -- the means by which he was going to hold a draw.

But what about what may well be the toughest defense for
White: ...h4, Rg6? This move not only fends off certain attacks, it
even may threaten to capture the h-pawn via a later Kh3 and Rg4.
Unfortunately for White, a direct assault foils this evil
scheme: ...h4, Rg6 Ke2 (remember the mating attack I talked about
earlier?), Rg8 Qf4+, and Black now threatens to trade off the h-pawn
or else penetrate deeply with his King. I don't see any hope for
White, apart from trying to hold the (dead lost) Q vs. R ending
mentioned earlier.

-- help bot





 
Date: 21 Jul 2007 21:30:44
From:
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
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Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


 
Date: 13 Jun 2007 11:47:25
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 13, 4:48 am, tin Brown <

 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


  
Date: 14 Jun 2007 15:57:08
From: Dr A. N. Walker
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
In article <[email protected] >,
tin Brown <


 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


  
Date: 13 Jun 2007 12:41:48
From: Dr A. N. Walker
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
In article <[email protected] >,
tin Brown <


  
Date: 13 Jun 2007 12:19:48
From: David Richerby
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
tin Brown <

   
Date: 13 Jun 2007 22:06:21
From: Nick Cramer
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
David Richerby <[email protected] > wrote:
> tin Brown <


 
Date: 12 Jun 2007 11:51:27
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 12, 4:14 am, tin Brown <

 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


 
Date: 11 Jun 2007 18:44:29
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 11, 8:22 am, "Chess One" <[email protected] > wrote:
> Here is a Kling&Horwitz Fortress type.
>
> Black: Ke5, Ne4
> White: Kd7, Bb3, Bh6
>
> white to move, and Fritz gives an initial score of less than +4. The problem
> was thought a draw for 150 years.


It seems rather silly today that experts of old would not
evaluate such a position's ultimate result with perfect play
as anything other than "unknown". The idea that we will
simply presume the "unknowable" rather than admit our
limitations is rather amusing.

Last night I was playing over some games from the
current world championship cycle when I spotted a move
so obvious that even a patzer like me can see it 100% of
the time in no time flat, yet GM Shirov for some reason
had no clue. The exact position I cannot recall, but set
this up and see if you agree: White: Ke5, Ra5
Black: Ke7, White to move. If I am not mistaken, every
1200 player in the world will choose R-a7+ without even
thinking, yet the famous GM left his opponent's King
alone, and shifted some other wood in his game. In fact,
the poor fellow was completely outclassed in his Rook
ending against the powerful Armenian GM. I was left
wondering if he had ever bothered to study the endgame
phase, or if his middle-game "fire" was so hot that few
survived that long.

-- help bot








 
Date: 11 Jun 2007 18:15:35
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 11, 7:11 am, tin Brown <

 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


  
Date: 11 Jun 2007 17:39:30
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation

"tin Brown" <


 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


  
Date: 11 Jun 2007 12:22:55
From: Chess One
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
Here is a Kling&Horwitz Fortress type.

Black: Ke5, Ne4
White: Kd7, Bb3, Bh6

white to move, and Fritz gives an initial score of less than +4. The problem
was thought a draw for 150 years.

Phil Innes




 
Date: 05 Jun 2007 03:51:34
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 5, 5:46 am, tin Brown <

  
Date: 07 Jun 2007 13:22:25
From: David Kane
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation

"help bot" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> On Jun 5, 5:46 am, tin Brown <


 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


  
Date: 05 Jun 2007 11:56:21
From: David Richerby
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
tin Brown <

 
Date: 05 Jun 2007 01:38:16
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 4, 6:35 am, tin Brown <

 
Date:
From: Martin Brown
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation


 
Date: 01 Jun 2007 20:29:30
From: help bot
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 1, 8:20 am, Larry Tapper <[email protected] > wrote:

> > That a nice "descriptive analysis," that certainly deserves to be
> > tested. Tested on two fronts: (1). Can modern EG theory and computer
> > analysis find the draw he claimed?

I expect that any computer analysis will result in
verification that the Rook will never make it to the
intended square (f3). Not long ago, we were told
that this was in the tablebases; now the story has
changed. But what if we magically removed a pawn
or two -- would this be in any of the tablebases then?
Q & (h5)p vs. R & (g2)p; or Q vs. R & (g2)pawn?


> > or (2). Did he simply know that
> > there were similar fortress positions and expected, using slippery
> > morality (and isn't that what the man is known for?) to "mesmerize"
> > his audience and readers?

Another explanation is also plausible: seeing the
almost-a-fortress idea, NW may have deluded himself
into thinking it worked. But the timing of his attempt
to claim a draw argues for his dishonesty, as does
the fact that since there is no "fortress draw" claim
in the rulebook, the best way to get one would be by
demonstration OTB, not preemptive claims.


> > This strikes me as a most interesting project, both from the
> > standpoint of the practical player and the endgame enthusiast.
>
> > So I see am on, and need to see if we need to go at it ala Diemer and
> > Gunderam. Well, if I end up being wrong, no problem... I'll have
> > learned something.- Hide quoted text -


I learned something from this endgame as well; even
where it appears that the h-pawn will hang and thus a
difficult battle will ensue, the Queen reigns supreme.
Once the Black King approaches, it's all over (but the
whining).


> I think help bot is right and it's not all that hard to fill in the
> concrete details. The simplest winning plan is to force h3 as soon as
> possible, thereby putting an end to any thoughts of fortress-building.
>
> Here's a sample winning line:
>
> 1...Qf4+
>
> Now if either 2. Kh1 or 2.Kg1, 2...h4 and ...h3 cannot be stopped.

(Okay, 1. ...Qf4+, g3 h4, gxf4 h3 What's yer point? White can
hold this. ; >D) There are just too many variations to show forced
wins in all of them. What is needed here is to grasp the key ideas:

1) On an open board, the Queen blows the Rook out of the water.

2) All that is required for a mating attack is the safe approach of
the Black King to, for example, f2.

3) The Rook is more of a target than an asset here, because
the White King is exposed to so many checks. The single
pawn on g2 is not sufficient shelter.

4) Winning or trading the g2-pawn results in an even simpler
win, although not as direct as the mating attack.


> Note that the attempt 3. Rb6, hoping to get in Rb3, drops the rook in
> both lines.
>
> so:
>
> 2. Kh3 Qf5+
>
> and on either 3. Kg3 or 3. Kh2, 3...h4 and again, there's no
> stopping ...h3.
>
> In all these lines, the position after gxh3 will be a very clear win
> for Black because there's no fortress, the White king will be more
> exposed, and there'll be fewer places for the rook to hide safely.

But there will always remain a few who desire so desperately
to believe it draws that even the outright capture of the Rook
will not necessarily avail! : >D


> Both pawns will fall soon, then we'll have the winning though not so
> easy queen vs. rook endgame.

In the original game, the superior side would have been
played by the "many times Mexican champion", Mr. Ferriz,
and the defender would have been Norman Whitaker. In
my experience, although many decent players cannot win
this unaided, it is crucial that the weaker side be defended
by the superior of the two players. This is because of the
importance of the fifty-moves draw rule, and how often a
"plan" can be foiled so as to exploit it optimally.


> If I'm not mistaken, that's all there is to it. It's a good story
> though --- of course it was in character for Whitaker to try to talk
> his opponent out of the win.

I wish Mr. Sloan had posted the entire game, because
even at the beginning of his story the Mexican champ
was already clearly winning; we never got to see how
he won the piece, for instance.

This reminds me of some "games" which were published
in Chess Life. One example was a horrible crush by GM
Reshevsky of GM Evans. It looked to me as though the
famous child prodigy were toying with a mere child in the
opening and middlegame; but then, just as he was about
to finish off his victim, the "child" lashed out with a truly
brilliant combination, securing a draw. The moves of the
game are never shown, and we only get to see the
culminating drawing combination. It leaves the reader
wondering "how ever did such a genius get himself into
such a *horrible* position?" : >D

-- help bot



 
Date: 01 Jun 2007 05:20:53
From: Larry Tapper
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 1, 5:41 am, SBD <[email protected] > wrote:
> On Jun 1, 4:25 am, help bot <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > In another thread, Sam Sloan described a game between Norman
> > Whitaker and the many-time champion of Mexico, a Mr. Ferriz. I
> > already noted in that thread that the move ...Nd4 did not threaten
> > "mate", but rather, a fork which nets a Rook to add to Black's already
> > substantial material advantage. I suggested ...h4 as a simple way to
> > win there, and indeed, this same idea shows itself to work even after
> > the game continuation of ...Nd4, Rxd4+ Qxd4, Rxc6 (Key position):
>
> > White: Kh2, Rc6, pg2, pa4 Black: Kd3, Qd4, ph5
>
> > Black has the move, and although taking the a-pawn immediately would
> > simplify the position a tad while still
> > covering the crucial f6 square (by which White hopes to maneuver his
> > Rook to f3 and thereby form a "fortress"),
> > it is probably better to get right to the task at hand: checkmate!
> > Let's keep as simple as possible, shall we?
>
> > ... h4 The idea is to trade this pawn for the one on g2, thus
> > exposing the King to myriad Queen checks, some
> > combination of which will pick off the Rook. Just as important, the
> > disappearance of the g2-pawn will further expose the White King to a
> > fatal mating attack by just two pieces: the Black King and Queen.
>
> > Now, as in other lines, White can choose between a myriad of
> > options, and it is impossible to show a forced win in every line. But
> > the general ideas will play themselves out just the same. Ideas such
> > as picking off the exposed Rook in this variation: ...h4, a5 Qe5+, Kg1
> > Qe1+, Kh2 Qg3+, Kh1 h3, gh Qf3+ and the Rook bites the dust.
>
> > Or how about Re6, to cut off the Black King before he can
> > approach? ...h4, Re6 h3, and here no matter what White does the Rook
> > will become a target. The best that can be hoped for is to give up
> > both pawns and somehow fend off mating attacks, yet that leads to the
> > elementary Q vs. R ending -- a clear win for Black.
>
> > I don't want to suggest for even a moment that advancing the h-pawn
> > as quickly as possible is the best that Black can do, but even in
> > these lines, White never even comes close to establishing his desired
> > fortress -- the means by which he was going to hold a draw.
>
> > But what about what may well be the toughest defense for
> > White: ...h4, Rg6? This move not only fends off certain attacks, it
> > even may threaten to capture the h-pawn via a later Kh3 and Rg4.
> > Unfortunately for White, a direct assault foils this evil
> > scheme: ...h4, Rg6 Ke2 (remember the mating attack I talked about
> > earlier?), Rg8 Qf4+, and Black now threatens to trade off the h-pawn
> > or else penetrate deeply with his King. I don't see any hope for
> > White, apart from trying to hold the (dead lost) Q vs. R ending
> > mentioned earlier.
>
> > -- help bot
>
> That a nice "descriptive analysis," that certainly deserves to be
> tested. Tested on two fronts: (1). Can modern EG theory and computer
> analysis find the draw he claimed? or (2). Did he simply know that
> there were similar fortress positions and expected, using slippery
> morality (and isn't that what the man is known for?) to "mesmerize"
> his audience and readers?
>
> This strikes me as a most interesting project, both from the
> standpoint of the practical player and the endgame enthusiast.
>
> So I see am on, and need to see if we need to go at it ala Diemer and
> Gunderam. Well, if I end up being wrong, no problem... I'll have
> learned something.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

I think help bot is right and it's not all that hard to fill in the
concrete details. The simplest winning plan is to force h3 as soon as
possible, thereby putting an end to any thoughts of fortress-building.

Here's a sample winning line:

1...Qf4+

Now if either 2. Kh1 or 2.Kg1, 2...h4 and ...h3 cannot be stopped.
Note that the attempt 3. Rb6, hoping to get in Rb3, drops the rook in
both lines.

so:

2. Kh3 Qf5+

and on either 3. Kg3 or 3. Kh2, 3...h4 and again, there's no
stopping ...h3.

In all these lines, the position after gxh3 will be a very clear win
for Black because there's no fortress, the White king will be more
exposed, and there'll be fewer places for the rook to hide safely.
Both pawns will fall soon, then we'll have the winning though not so
easy queen vs. rook endgame.

If I'm not mistaken, that's all there is to it. It's a good story
though --- of course it was in character for Whitaker to try to talk
his opponent out of the win.

Larry T.





 
Date: 01 Jun 2007 09:41:44
From: SBD
Subject: Re: "Impenetrable Fortress" Refutation
On Jun 1, 4:25 am, help bot <[email protected] > wrote:
> In another thread, Sam Sloan described a game between Norman
> Whitaker and the many-time champion of Mexico, a Mr. Ferriz. I
> already noted in that thread that the move ...Nd4 did not threaten
> "mate", but rather, a fork which nets a Rook to add to Black's already
> substantial material advantage. I suggested ...h4 as a simple way to
> win there, and indeed, this same idea shows itself to work even after
> the game continuation of ...Nd4, Rxd4+ Qxd4, Rxc6 (Key position):
>
> White: Kh2, Rc6, pg2, pa4 Black: Kd3, Qd4, ph5
>
> Black has the move, and although taking the a-pawn immediately would
> simplify the position a tad while still
> covering the crucial f6 square (by which White hopes to maneuver his
> Rook to f3 and thereby form a "fortress"),
> it is probably better to get right to the task at hand: checkmate!
> Let's keep as simple as possible, shall we?
>
> ... h4 The idea is to trade this pawn for the one on g2, thus
> exposing the King to myriad Queen checks, some
> combination of which will pick off the Rook. Just as important, the
> disappearance of the g2-pawn will further expose the White King to a
> fatal mating attack by just two pieces: the Black King and Queen.
>
> Now, as in other lines, White can choose between a myriad of
> options, and it is impossible to show a forced win in every line. But
> the general ideas will play themselves out just the same. Ideas such
> as picking off the exposed Rook in this variation: ...h4, a5 Qe5+, Kg1
> Qe1+, Kh2 Qg3+, Kh1 h3, gh Qf3+ and the Rook bites the dust.
>
> Or how about Re6, to cut off the Black King before he can
> approach? ...h4, Re6 h3, and here no matter what White does the Rook
> will become a target. The best that can be hoped for is to give up
> both pawns and somehow fend off mating attacks, yet that leads to the
> elementary Q vs. R ending -- a clear win for Black.
>
> I don't want to suggest for even a moment that advancing the h-pawn
> as quickly as possible is the best that Black can do, but even in
> these lines, White never even comes close to establishing his desired
> fortress -- the means by which he was going to hold a draw.
>
> But what about what may well be the toughest defense for
> White: ...h4, Rg6? This move not only fends off certain attacks, it
> even may threaten to capture the h-pawn via a later Kh3 and Rg4.
> Unfortunately for White, a direct assault foils this evil
> scheme: ...h4, Rg6 Ke2 (remember the mating attack I talked about
> earlier?), Rg8 Qf4+, and Black now threatens to trade off the h-pawn
> or else penetrate deeply with his King. I don't see any hope for
> White, apart from trying to hold the (dead lost) Q vs. R ending
> mentioned earlier.
>
> -- help bot

That a nice "descriptive analysis," that certainly deserves to be
tested. Tested on two fronts: (1). Can modern EG theory and computer
analysis find the draw he claimed? or (2). Did he simply know that
there were similar fortress positions and expected, using slippery
morality (and isn't that what the man is known for?) to "mesmerize"
his audience and readers?

This strikes me as a most interesting project, both from the
standpoint of the practical player and the endgame enthusiast.

So I see am on, and need to see if we need to go at it ala Diemer and
Gunderam. Well, if I end up being wrong, no problem... I'll have
learned something.