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Judit Polgar vs Viswanathan Anand
SKA-Mephisto Tournament (1991), Munich GER, rd 5, May-??
Spanish Game: Open Variations. Classical Defense (C83)  ·  1-0


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Given 13 times; par: 94 [what's this?]

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sac: 30.Bxg6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jun-07-08  Samagonka: Why do I feel white could have finished this one off better?
Jun-07-08  stacase: 30 Bxg6 was obvious.
31 Re6 was on my list of obvious choices. And then ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I got the first move
Jun-07-08  znprdx: Well the neon light move must be 30.Bxg6

....f7x[B]g6? 31. Qxg6+ Bg7 (forced) 32.Be5 Rh7 33. Re6 Ne8 and its gone off my radar - all too fuzzy.

However Judit, the giant killer, might have chosen the more strategic 30. Be5 Rh4 31.Qg3 since neither Ne4 nor Nf5 are playable so if Ne8 perhaps now 32.Bxg6 works.

With my luck this week perhaps the incredulous 31. Re6 is the key..but I'm way out of my depth - and this was Anand...

Jun-07-08  znprdx: Well I didn't realize it was April Fool's day nor a <CG> week of Sundays...I'm looking forward to the kibitzing, but pleased that at least I had a clue...yet surprised by 31.Re6 - although I see the value of doubling however missed the real point: 32. Bxd6. I was certain keeping control of the dark squares was critical...ironically that is exactly what followed. This is a great chapter for 'thinking like a grandmaster'
Jun-07-08  hedgeh0g: Impressive stuff, especially when you take into consideration that Judit was only 15 when this game was played...
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult): White to play and win.

Material: B for N+P. The most striking feature of the position is how the White Rd1 and Re1 dominate the center. The Rd1 is on the same file as 3 Black units: Pd5, Nd6, and Qd8. Because Bf4 attacks Nd6, removal of Pd5 would burden both Qd8 and Bf8 with protecting the Black Nd6. Also notable is the White B-pair. In concert with the White Qg4, Bc2 attacks Pg6, an obvious sacrificial target, because only Pf7 protects it. Moreover, the Black K-side has dark-square weaknesses, which Bf4 can exploit at e5. Finally, the White Qg4 pins Pg6 to Kg8. Overall, the harmonious White development is well worth a P and easily able to support the obvious sacrificial strike with 30.Bxg6. After removal of Pf7, the square e6 will be useful, particularly to Re1 and Qg4.

It seems this week's theme is "obvious first moves".

Step up, step up! Everyone's a winner!

Candidates (30.): Bxg6


Because the alternative is a losing position (inferior development and an open K facing a B pair), Black must accept the sacrifice of Bg6:

30fxg6 31.Qxg6+ Bg7

Now, the next move is far from obvious. The obvious candidate 32.Bxd6 Rh6 puts White in dire straits; and neither 32.Qxd6 Qxd6 33.Bxd6 nor 32.Qe6+ Nf7 do the initial position justice.

As <dzechiel> is fond of saying: Rewind!

The obvious capture 31.Qxg6+ is an error. Instead, let's delay gratification and use e6 to bring more pieces to the front.

31.Re6 (threatening 32.Rxg6+ or 32.Qxg6+, then 33.Rxd6)

Black cannot defend Pg6:

31Rh6 32.Bxh6 Bxh6 [else, drop an exchange]

33.Qxg6+ Bg7 [else, down a P] 34.Rxd6

Black cannot "counterattack" (31Qh5 32.Rxg6+ and the end is near), so the only hope is to move Nd6. Of the 2 feasible moves,

32Nf7 33.Rxg6+ Kh7 [Bg7 34.Rxg7+] 34.Qh5+

quickly surrenders the sacrificed material with interest. Thus,

32...Ne8 33.Rxg6+ Bg7

[33K moves lead to mate]

[33Ng7 34.Qe6+ Kh7 35.Rh6#]

34.Qe6+ (threatening a R lift with 35.Rd3)

34Kf8 35.Rxg7 Kxg7 [Nxg7 36.Bd6+] [else, mate]

36.Rd3 (threatening 37.Rg3+)

36Nf6 [Qf6 37.Be5] 37.Rg3+ Kf8 38.Bd6+

and White must surrender Qd8.

Anand found a tougher defense than I did. I am surprised (NOT!).

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <dzechiel>'s consideration of 30...Rh4 and Anand's choice of 31...Rh7 show real defensive perspicacity. I found defense the more interesting side today, once the advantages of delayed gratification (not 31.Qxg6+!) became apparent. The Thursday puzzle I Sokolov vs S Williams, 2006 also involved a key move not followed by a check. The Thursday puzzle involved a mate-in-one follow-up, however, which is as good as a check. Here, the point is that Pg6 cannot be defended, so White can take it at her leisure.
Jun-07-08  TrueBlue: I went for 32 Rxg6, believe also works
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<al wazir> wrote : [snip] But what is the reason for 34.g3 [snip] >

At 15 plies (and I tremble at the thought of <MAJ>'s remonstration here), Toga II 1.3.1 prefers 34.Be5 (value +2.20) marginally to 34.g3 (value 2.38), but indicates the best line for 34.Be5 exchanges Qs. Perhaps in a fit of reverse sexism, Judit decided to keep the Qs on the board. The Polgars (particularly Susan) have probably experienced a lot of sexism, so for 0.18 Ps, IMHO Judit is entitled ;>)

Jun-07-08  Salaskan: The game is eventually won by the whopping material advantage of one pawn. Daily Puzzle F.A.Q. says "Just find the best move. Usually, this move (...) wins substantial material." It does say "Occasionally, the material will be only a single pawn--this usually happens in endgame situations where the extra pawn will surely decide the game.", but I don't think that applies here since we are asked to find the 30th move, and the game is decided after 65.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: See a pawn,pick it up

All the day,you'll have good luck.

Jun-07-08  ganstaman: <Shams: <gangstaman> in that line 33.Be5+ Kg7 34.Bf6 picks up the rook>

Someone else suggested this already, and someone else shot it down already.

<MostlyAverageJoe: <dzechiel: ... 30 Bxg6 Rh4 31 Bxf7+ Kxf7 32 Qe6+ Kg7 33 Be5+ Kh7 34 Bf6 Forking the rook and queen.>

Ahem, 34 ... Rh6 draws>

Jun-07-08  Marmot PFL: I wanted to play the obvious 30.Bxg6 with the idea fg6 31.Qxg6+ Bg7 32.Bg5 (Re6? Rh6) but after 32...Qf8 33.Re7 Nf7 34.Qxc6 followed by Rxd5 white has good compensation but no winning line. Polgar found the much better 31.Re6! Good game by Polgar but Anand really misplayed the opening then made made the endgame easier by letting her trade rooks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: Saw White's first two moves, but not Black's best defenses. But since those "best" defenses acquiesce in a lousy position, and since I normally don't do tactics well, I'll cheat and claim three-quarters credit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Hi, <Once>! Welcome aboard.

While a student in Britain, I collected a scrapbook of humour, which I quickly abandoned once I arrived here in the United States.

Draw your own conclusion.

Your avatar (User: Once) reminded me of a cartoon in my scrapbook, which I posted at

Jun-07-08  stukkenjager: did anyone spot this line:

30.Bxg6 fxg6 31.Re6 Rh7 32.Bxd6 Bg7 33.Rde1 Rh6 34.g3 Qd7 35.Bf4 g5 36.Bxg5 Rg6 <37.Rxg6!! Qxg4> 38.Re7 Kh8 39.Rgxg7 looks ok to me

Jun-07-08  234: Friday puzzle <13. ?> Jun-06-08 Timman vs Korchnoi, 1991
Jun-07-08  pawn52: Saw Bxg6. I also saw the rook lift to e6. But I thought that after Black captured the bishop with fxg6, that White would retake with Qxg6. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind why Qxg6 wasn't played?
Jun-07-08  Magic Castle: <Pawn52> I guess, White did not take the pawn with the Queen because he is weary of Qh4. e.g. 31. Qxg6+ Bg2 32.Be5(or 32. Qe6+? Nf2) Rh7. And now if 33. BxN or QXN. Qh4 generating a counter attack. The succeeding moves by white clearly show this. She did not remove her queen until she is sure that h4 is secured.
Jun-07-08  Confuse: seeing moves I don't understand revive chess for me time and again. Kudos, Polgar.
Jun-08-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <johnlspouge: <<al wazir> wrote : [snip] But what is the reason for 34.g3 [snip] > [snip] Perhaps in a fit of reverse sexism, Judit decided to keep the Qs on the board.>

Indeed, this might have been the reason. By looking at the board, it seems that if black was allowed to play Qh4, this would just about force the queen exchange. This is easily verified with the "null move" technique, giving the black two moves in sequence, and indeed, the engine claims that Qh4 would be the best move for black.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<MostlyAverageJoe> wrote: <johnlspouge: [snip] Perhaps in a fit of reverse sexism, Judit decided to keep the Qs on the board.> [snip] This is easily verified with the "null move" technique, giving the black two moves in sequence, and indeed, the engine claims that Qh4 would be the best move for black.>

I can carry out the null move technique with Arena and Toga only artificially, e.g., by triangulating Qs. (The null move menu option makes the combination program crash.) Your computations are the closest we get to absolute truth on this site, <MAJ>, so thanks.

Jun-08-08  zenpharaohs: Polgar gains a piece advantage, but gives it away with

37 Qf5+?

37 Rxg6, f4, or f3

all preserve the win.

In the game line, 38 Qxe6+ is not as good as 38 Rxe6 either.

They both soldier on, and Polgar grinds Anand's defense away until he starts handing the game back with

46 ... Bxd4

and worse yet

47 ... Bb2?

So it is interesting that the problem was based on a critical position in the game, but not the critical position which ultimately determined the outcome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Saturday June 7, 2008 puzzle solution, Judit Polgar's demolition sacrifice 30. Bxg6!! winds up winning a pawn which turns out to be a decisive advantage in this 1991 game against Anand.
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