Ossip Bernstein vs. Alexander Kotov

Ossip Bernstein vs. Alexander Kotov, Groningen (Holland), 1946. This endgame illustrated as an online puzzle will show you how the anticipation combined with audacious sacrifices could result in a victory. White moves and wins in 3.

Roll over to see the solution: 1. f5+ exf5 2. Qxh6+ gxh6 3. Rag8#

FEN: R6R/1r3pp1/4p1kp/3pP3/1r2qPP1/7P/1P1Q3K/8 w - - 1 0

About the players

Alexander KotovAlexander Kotov (1913-1981) was a well-known Soviet author on chess and a chess master. He won, among other titles, the title of Chess Champion of the Soviet Union.
Ossip BernsteinOssip Bernstein (1887-1962) was a Russian-French chess grandmaster and financial lawyer. In 1950 he was awarded the International Master title.

2 Responses

  1. nouri
    nouri at

    1. f4-f5+ e6xf5
    2. Qd2xh6+ g7xh6
    3. Ra8-g8#

  2. John Tsamis
    John Tsamis at

    A brilliant puzzle! The key is opening the dark-squared diagonal d2-h6, with a tempo (aka, a threat), so that the White Queen can come closer. Yet, the only way to deliver checkmate is the stunning sacrifice of the White Q, because otherwise the Black King has an escape square on h7 (e.g: 2. Rxh6+ gxh6 3.Rg8+ Kh7). So, the check must be delivered via the Q and not the Rh8, hence the sac!
    So, as it is already written, we have this forced checkmate:
    1. f5+ (opens the diagonal) exf5
    2. Qxh6+!! (delivers the check) gxh6
    3. Rag8#

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