ROME 22/10 – Day 24: Passers and Palafrenieri

The sunrise here in Rome was at 7:31, sunset is at 18:18 and the Ave Maria should ring at 18:30.

It is the traditional Feast of the Archangel Raphael, the healing angel who acts in the Book of Tobit, one of the seven Archangels who stands before the Lord.

O Lord, thank you for this day.

Here is a lovely devotional painting of St. Raphael and Tobit with his fish.

Remember that we are not to invoke the names of angels that are not in Scripture.  We have only three names: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.   I have always thought it odd that we have so few angelic names even though angels are all over the place in Scripture.

Inside the rarely open church of the Archconfraternity of the “Palafrenieri”, that is, of the guys who used to carry the sedia gestatoria and the deceased popes.

An early morning street.

I still have some alstroemeria going, pink and white, but I’ve culled it a bit and put it in smaller vases (actually cheap 1 liter pitchers).  I couldn’t pass up a good deal with my flower guy at the Campo de’ Fiori for white lilies.  It smells like an Easter altar in here. They’re huge.

I’ll arbitrarily thank the last person who made a “wavy flag” Roman Trip donation that was about amount I spent on the flowers.  Thanks DH!  Your donation brightened up the place, as do your occasional comments and notes.  I remember all my benefactors with Masses and prayers.

The Summit Dominicans make more than soap. They make splendid candles, too. I have them in the Two Trinities Chapel across the pond.  Advent is coming up FAST, 27 November, just over a month away.  Whaddya say? Get your candles from these lovely sisters?

This was, for me, really hard.   Take note of the situation.  Each side has both rooks and passed pawns close to promotion.  White’s King is in the path of the enemy black pawn.  On the other hand, the black King is on the other side of the board from white’s passer.

White to move and maybe provoke a headache!

1. Kf3 is to block the f4 pawn is tempting, but then black can play … Rb8, blocking white’s pawn attacking it twice. So that’s not going to work. We have to start with something that will force black. The enemy King is stuck on the 8th rank and is limited by the f8 Rook. That’s a clue. Hence, 1. Ra7 connects the Rooks on the 7th rank (often a deadly combo). Black’s f6 Rook can’t take the a6 pawn, because that would hang inevitable mate in three. 1. … Rb8 to clear space for the King and attack the pawn brings 2. b7, which threatens Ra8. So that’s not going to work for black. Instead, make a check with 1. … f3+. This brings 2. Kf2 to block the passer. However, black takes the g file with 2. … Rg6. This leaves the f pawn protected by the other Rook, threatens a check and protects that vulnerable g7 square and the mating net. Now 3. b7 and white’s passer is one square from promotion and Ra8 looms large. Would black’s 3. … Rb3 work to attack the pawn and X-ray the b8 promotion square? No (4. Ra8 Rb2+ 5. Kg3 f2 6. Rxf8+ KxR 7. Kg2 Ke8 8. Rc8+ threatening promotion). Black needs counterplay. 3. … Rg2+ 4. Kf1 f2. White must not succumb with 5. KxR because then f8=Q protected by the f8 Rook and the 7th rank mating net won’t work anymore because of the b7 pawn. Instead there is 5. Rf7. If black’s King takes the Rook, white promotes with a discovered check. If black’s Rook takes the Rook on g7, then the pawn promotes with check. It looks like black’s option is Rb8 to block the passer.

Good grief… I’ll stop there and let you work it out.

I’ve gotten you to about half way. What’s your solution?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JonPatrick says:

    Is there something missing in the diagram? I don’t see a b2 pawn.

    [My bad. b7 of course. I’ve been playing black lately… a lot.]

  2. Kentucky Gent says:

    I evaluate this position as a draw. (But evaluating positions correctly is not my strong suit). Picking up from where Father left off, after 5…Rb8, the black rook on g2 is hanging and there is no longer a black rook on the f-file to control the f1 queening square.

    So white can play 6.Kxg2 or 6.Rxf2:

    6.Kxg2 Kxf7 7.Kxf2. But the black king gets over to the c7 square and there is a final liquidation on the b7 square.

    6.Rxf2 Rxf2+ 7.Kxf2 Kf7 8.Ke3 Ke6 9.Kd4 Kd6 and once again black’s king is in time.

    Black could try to avoid the rook exchange after 6.Rxf2, by playing 6…Rg7, but this gets very complicated because white can keep his pawn with 7.Rb2. So this line seems very risky for black. In an actual game, I’d stop analysing at this point and make the rook exchange if I had the black pieces.

  3. Joseph7505 says:

    i found a win for white… Ra7 is threatening mate also threatens promoting the b pawn

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    “Remember that we are not to invoke the names of angels that are not in Scripture. We have only three names: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. “

    I think I see the sense in this (considering the example of Joseph Smith and the angle Moroni), but I hadn’t actually heard this instruction before. Is there a good resource to learn more? I don’t suppose there would have ever been an encyclical on the topic.

  5. Zephyrinus says:

    Dear Reverend Fr. Z.

    Stupendous photos, today (especially of those magnificent Lilies. Saint Joseph would be proud, I’m sure).

    I now have that photo of your Lilies on my Desktop. Stunning. I can smell them from Across The Pond (I know you’re currently in The Eternal City, but you know what I mean).

    Plus, those “moody” photos of Rome at night and very early dawn.

    Please, never change your camera settings !!!

    in Domino

  6. benedetta says:

    I got a jump on Stir Up Sunday today and ordered suet and supplies from your Amazon link!

    [Thanks for the mention of “Stir Up Sunday”!]

  7. VForr says:

    These photos made my day. Thanks, Father!

  8. Gaby Carmel says:

    About the painting of Tobit with the archangel Raphael: where is the dog? See Tobit 6:2. It’s the only place in the bible, I think, where a dog features as a companion and pet.

  9. Here’s how I did it.

    1. Raa7 f3+
    2. Kf2 Rg6
    3. b7 Rg2+
    4. Kf1 f2
    5. Rf7 Rb8
    6. Ra8 Kxf7
    7. Rxb8 Rg1 +
    8. Kxf2 Rb1 (and here white’s tempo is winning)
    9. Rh8! Rxb7
    10. Rh7+ Kg8
    11. Rxb7 (and now it is a basic R and K v K race to mate or draw in 50 moves)

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    Great photos Fr. Z. You have quite an eye for a good shot, interior or exterior. I like the street scene with the bus at the forefront, but they’re all fun to look at. The lilies are beautiful, as well as the furniture, you really get a feel for the timelessness of Europe. That photo could have been taken in the 50’s.

  11. monstrance says:

    Thank you Father Z for Advent Candle reminder. I just put my order in. Looks like October is optimal for a Rome visit. Hope to be there in 23.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Apparently Eastern Catholics/Orthodox have four more angel names, but they mostly get them from 2 Esdras/Ezra, which is canon for them.

    (There’s one angel name they use that isn’t found in the Bible, but rather is traditional and is in one of the Enoch books. One that’s canon for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, though.)

    Other denominations from the East have very different angel lists, but that’s way above my paygrade.

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