is the Vienna game sound?

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:24 pm

Angus French wrote:
Leonard Barden wrote:... As for the claim above of two variations with mates in four and seven, that also baffles me.
Is it four and five?
Probably. I see now that my mate in 7 line can be reduced to a mate in 5 with the rook on e7 (by playing a check on b5 first instead of capturing on e7). :oops: (too many mates to choose from! :mrgreen: ) Though I now wonder how Simon "won in 16 moves" (as he said earlier) when it will be mate on move 15.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Simon Brown » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:26 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:
Simon Brown wrote:Before I shifted to d4 I played the Vienna, because I wanted the option of playing f4 later, which is prevented by 2 Nf3. At lower levels it also has the benefit of not being that well known, so now and then you may get 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 Qg4 which is great fun. Leonard Barden will no doubt remember he published a game which I won in 16 moves because I knew of two old games, one Morphy, one Alekhine.
I can just about remember the publication with this prompt, I think it was in The Field where the chess column is now long defunct. However, Simon's references to Morphy and Alekhine defeat me. The prototype was a game with identical moves, published in Chess Review in the 1940s and possibly played by IA Horowitz in a simul around 1941. As for the claim above of two variations with mates in four and seven, that also baffles me.
As usual, Leonard's memory astonishes. It was published in The Field, possibly in 1975, and my opponent was a D Mills. I think I still have the magazine at my mother's house. As for the references, I am now doubting myself re Morphy as Horowitz seems to ring a bell, but I still recall an Alekhine game which went 9..Nd8 and didn't last very long.

I too can't find two variations. The Morphy or Horowitz game I knew ended 11 Qg7 Kg7 12 Bh6 Kg8 13 Rg6 and 14 Nf6 mate and I guess mate follows quite soon if 11..Ke8 is played.

For the record, my game ended 9...d6 10 Qf3 Bh3 11 Rf1 Be6 12 c3 and a few more moves before resigning.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:10 pm

How bizarre. It seems there are two different mates in four if the queen sacrifice is accepted, and. two different mates in five if it is declined. Not sure how often that sort of thing is seen. I was only joking when I said there were too many mates, but that is at least three that I missed (while seeing two other ones).

I wonder which of the paired mates people find easier to see? I suppose most people stop looking after they find even just one of the mates.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Tim Harding » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:23 pm

Angus French wrote:
Leonard Barden wrote:... As for the claim above of two variations with mates in four and seven, that also baffles me.
Is it four and five?
Yes if after Qxg7+ Black plays Ke8 which is obviously hopeless in any practical game slower than bullet, the mate in 5 is the quickest though mate in 7 with the pawn is also possible. The mate in four when the Q is taken is of course much prettier.
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:43 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Angus French wrote:
Leonard Barden wrote:... As for the claim above of two variations with mates in four and seven, that also baffles me.
Is it four and five?
Yes if after Qxg7+ Black plays Ke8 which is obviously hopeless in any practical game slower than bullet, the mate in 5 is the quickest though mate in 7 with the pawn is also possible. The mate in four when the Q is taken is of course much prettier.
That is only three of the mates. There are two more. Maybe the position is best presented as a timed test?



White to move.

(i) Find the best continuation for White.

(ii) In the main line and its variations, give seven different mates on five different squares.

(iii) In the least forcing line, Black has two opportunities to move his king instead of his other pieces, ending up on the same square each time and each time allowing White the choice between four different mates. Identify this square and give the eight moves resulting in the eight mating positions.

Give yourself five minutes to complete this test.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Tim Harding » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:04 pm

Simon Brown wrote: I too can't find two variations. The Morphy or Horowitz game I knew ended 11 Qg7 Kg7 12 Bh6 Kg8 13 Rg6 and 14 Nf6 mate and I guess mate follows quite soon if 11..Ke8 is played.

For the record, my game ended 9...d6 10 Qf3 Bh3 11 Rf1 Be6 12 c3 and a few more moves before resigning.
The one I spotted (sans engine) and meant yesterday went 11 Qxg7+ Kxg7 12 Bh6+ Kg8 13 Ne7+ Nxe7 14 Bxf7'# so there are two mates in two after 12...Kg8.

AND Stockfish finds 13 Rf3 Qg1+ 14 Nxg1 and 15 Nf6# which is presumably one of the duplicates on f6.
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:18 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Simon Brown wrote: I too can't find two variations. The Morphy or Horowitz game I knew ended 11 Qg7 Kg7 12 Bh6 Kg8 13 Rg6 and 14 Nf6 mate and I guess mate follows quite soon if 11..Ke8 is played.

For the record, my game ended 9...d6 10 Qf3 Bh3 11 Rf1 Be6 12 c3 and a few more moves before resigning.
The one I spotted (sans engine) and meant yesterday went 11 Qxg7+ Kxg7 12 Bh6+ Kg8 13 Ne7+ Nxe7 14 Bxf7'# so there are two mates in two after 12...Kg8.
That was the one I spotted as well. The 13.Rg6+ one is much harder to spot (IMO), but much prettier. After 13...hxg6, the mate has to be on f6 with the knight (to cover h7). After 13...fxg6, the double-check and mate works on both f6 and e7. This arguably counts as three mating positions, so my count above is a bit messed up now (I forgot to account for that).

What I was really after was seeing how easy it is for people to see the two separate mates in 5 after 11...Ke8.
Tim Harding wrote: AND Stockfish finds 13 Rf3 Qg1+ 14 Nxg1 and 15 Nf6# which is presumably one of the duplicates on f6.
That is a weird computer line. Still counts as a forcing mating variation, and one I didn't count. Wonder how many more mating variations there are! I mean, I know that in obviously winning positions there will be lots of ways to mate, but this seems a bit out of the ordinary.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by John Moore » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:44 pm

Sorry Chris but I have to say I really don't care how many mates in 4, 5 or however many moves there are. As I think you may have said earlier in this thread, you spot one and you play it as a practical player.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:59 pm

John Moore wrote:Sorry Chris but I have to say I really don't care how many mates in 4, 5 or however many moves there are. As I think you may have said earlier in this thread, you spot one and you play it as a practical player.
True. Probably best not to try and mix practical positions and play with problem-like aesthetics! :D

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:19 pm

So Chris your conclusion is that the Vienna game is sound as well as fun for White but not Black?
Bearing in mind other options which may be more sound as well as fun?

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Tim Harding » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:24 pm

Joshua Gibbs wrote:Hi I've been advised by my trainer to stop playing the same openings and try other lines until I get better.

I looked at e4 and found the Vienna appealing

how come it isnt played that much at Grandmaster level?

Is there something unsound about it?

Any responses are greatly appreciated
To get back to the original question, the major premise is not quite well founded. In my database I have found almost 100 games played by 2500+ players during the 13 months Jan 2016-Jan 2017, with players on the White side including GMs Vachier-Legrave, Mamedov, Kasparov (!), Ponomariov, Hou Yifan, Nakamura, Maze and Sveshnikov

Admittedly a high percentage were in rapid and blitz events. This implies that the reason the Vienna is not seen much in high-level classical games is that it lacks strategic depth rather than soundness.
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Joshua Gibbs » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:04 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Joshua Gibbs wrote:Hi I've been advised by my trainer to stop playing the same openings and try other lines until I get better.

I looked at e4 and found the Vienna appealing

how come it isnt played that much at Grandmaster level?

Is there something unsound about it?

Any responses are greatly appreciated
To get back to the original question, the major premise is not quite well founded. In my database I have found almost 100 games played by 2500+ players during the 13 months Jan 2016-Jan 2017, with players on the White side including GMs Vachier-Legrave, Mamedov, Kasparov (!), Ponomariov, Hou Yifan, Nakamura, Maze and Sveshnikov

Admittedly a high percentage were in rapid and blitz events. This implies that the reason the Vienna is not seen much in high-level classical games is that it lacks strategic depth rather than soundness.
Many thanks. I know you wrote a book on the Vienna and FM David Lawson who briefly taught me at Atticus likes it. I was aware that Mamedov plays it with g3 and ive tried this a bit in blitz!


For anyone reading this Tim's book is on Amazon as is the new one by Ovetchkin and Soloviov.
Last edited by Joshua Gibbs on Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by PeterFarr » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:44 pm

David Howell gave the g3 Vienna a whirl at Gibraltar against Matlakov a few days ago. Don't think it's an example that would tempt me to try it particularly.

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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Tim Harding » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:12 pm

Joshua Gibbs wrote:
For anyone reading this Tim's book is on Amazon as it the new one by Ovetchkin and Soloviov.
I am astonished to hear that, but on doing a search I see it's true: second hand paperback over 40 years old and in descriptive.
5 Used from £42.65
2 New from £92.33
Ridiculous; don't buy such an out of date book. It won't earn me a penny if you do anyway.
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Re: is the Vienna game sound?

Post by Joshua Gibbs » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:35 am

Tim Harding wrote:
Joshua Gibbs wrote:
For anyone reading this Tim's book is on Amazon as it the new one by Ovetchkin and Soloviov.
I am astonished to hear that, but on doing a search I see it's true: second hand paperback over 40 years old and in descriptive.
5 Used from £42.65
2 New from £92.33
Ridiculous; don't buy such an out of date book. It won't earn me a penny if you do anyway.
if anyone does want to buy its on abe books for $30 plus £6 p and p
Chess, translation, dealing with the police, programming and almost getting killed or arrested: http://honyakujoshua.blogspot.co.uk/

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