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Friso Nijboer vs Viswanathan Anand
Hoogovens (1998)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer. Classical Variation (B65)  ·  0-1
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Annotations by Viswanathan Anand.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  lost in space: Position after 17...Rxc3 18. Qd4 Rxc2

click for larger view

19. Kxc2 Ba4+ 20. Kb1 Rxd4 0:1

19. Qh4 Rxb2+ 20. Kxb2 Qxe5+ 21. Kb1 Qe4+ 0:1

19. gxf6 Ba3 20. bxa3 Rxe2 21. fxg7 (21. Qg4 Qb5 Qb4 Qxe5 0:1) 21. Rxg2 22. Rh8+ Kxg7 23. Rxd8 Qxd8 0:1 as after 24. Qxd7?? Qb6+ and mate soon

19. exf6 Ba3 20. Kxc2 Ba4+ 21. Kb1 Rxd4

Oct-11-09  KNIGHTSTALE22: A lovely game to watch, but anyone who plays the Sicilian Dragon will find R*C3 in seconds like I did. Fair Enough, I didn't see all the different lines, but OTB I am sure I would find the winning lines with the right amount of time. Sometimes you need to calculate, other times you know the move will win without calculation.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane):

Nijboer vs Anand, 1998 (17...?)

Black to play and win.

Material: Up a B for P, but White can capture Nf6 with 18.exf6 or 18.gxf6. White has sacrificed a piece, but the potential battery Rh1 and Qh3 along the open h-file against the Black Kg8 might pay dividends. Counter-attack is always to be preferred, but in this case, fear is not an option: White has an overwhelming attack. The White Kb1 has 2 legal moves, both dark squares on the back rank. The Black Rc8 controls the semi-open c-file and attacks Nc3. The White attack loses its punch without Qe3, suggesting a standard Sicilian exchange sacrifice at c3. The Black Kg8 has 2 legal moves and is vulnerable to 17Rh8+.

Candidates (17...): Rxc3

17Rxc3 (preventing 18.Qh3 and threatening 18Rxe3)

(1) 18.Qxc3 Qxc3 19.bxc3 Nd5 (threatening 20Nxc3+ or 20Bxg5)

Black has B+N vs. R+P, but the pathetic P-structure should lose rapidly for White.

(2) 18.bxc3

Candidates (18): Nd5, Ba3

18Nd5 (threatening 19Nxe3 and 19Nxc3+)

Now, White must win material or lose.

19.Qh3 [Rxd5 exd5, and White is down a B with Bd7 covering h3]

With the White threat of mate-in-1, Black loses unless every move is a check or a defense against the mate.


(2.1) 20.Kb2 [Ka1 Qxa2#]

20Qa3+ 21.Ka1 Qxa2#

(2.2) 20.Kc1

Candidates (20): Bxg5+, Qa3+

20Bxg5+ 21.Kb2 [Rd2 Qa3#] [Qe3 Bxe3+ is similar]

21Qxa2+ 22.Kxc3 Qa3+ 23.Kc4 [Kd4 Bc6+ 24.Kc4 b5#]

24.b4+ Kd4 25.Bc6#

Toga agrees that Nijboer's 18.Bd3 is the best defense.

Here is just about everything else, he said sheepishly.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Here is a whole new can of worms for everyone to enjoy :)

Toga assisted the following analysis and stamps 18.Bd3 <Ba4> as best play.

(3) 18.Bd3 <Ba4>

Just in case anyone wants to relax after 18.Bd3, note the following variation :)

[19Nd5? 20.Rh8+ Kxh8 21.Qh3+ Kg8 22.Qh7+ Kf8 23.Qh8#]

(3.1) 19.bxc3 Ba3

(threatening 20Qb6+, 20Qb5+, 20Rxd3, or 20Nd5)

The threats burden Bd3 and Qe3, while the clearance of e7 gives the Black Kg8 luft. Toga gives as best play

20.Bc4 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Nd5 22.Rxd5 exd5

White has a material deficit without any mate threat.

(3.2) 19.Qh3 Bxc2+ 20.Ka1 Kf8 21.exf6 Bxf6 22.gxf6 gxf6

23.Qh6+ Ke7 24.Bxc2 Rxc2 25.Rxd8 Qxd8

White has a material deficit without any mate threat.

White's play is based on the one-trick pony of a mate threat, but it <is> a good trick.

Oct-11-09  antharis: Well, black is already ahead an exchange. So 17... Rxc3 should be sound.

After 18. Qxc3 Qxc3 19. bxc3 Ne4 black has two possible forks at the same time: 20... Nf2 and 20... Nc3+.

And after 18. bxc3 19... Nd5 attacking the queen and threats also Nxc3+, winnig the rook.

To be honest, I saw Rxc3 after a quite short time and simply knew (felt) it should be correct although I didnt calculate the following moves very carefully. I think Rxc3 is a kind of move you can find intuitionally especially if you are up an exchange already. I hope, Anand played it. Checking time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <patzer2> <White can also try for 19. Rxd3!?, but then 19...Nh5! 20. Rxh5 Bc6! holds the fort.>

This position wins (slowly) because white is limited in his responses. He cannot move his queen (particularly to the h file) because of the back rank mate threat Qe2+ as well as the queens protection of the e pawn. The two g pawns are threatened as well.

click for larger view

One way to win from this point (assuming 21 Rh2 as the best response) is 21Rxd3 22 cxd3 (not Qxd3??) Bc5 23 d4 Bb6 (seeing Qd5) 24 Rh4 Bxg2, etc.

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <johnlspouge> How does Toga evalate 17...Rxc3 18. Bd3 Rxd3? It was the line played by Anand, and appears to give Black excellent winning chances with no danger of losing.
Oct-11-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: Few minutes. Any different move found 18.Qh3 with mate in h8, so black had seen this combination before, the goal: 18.Qxc3 Qxc3 19.bxc3 Ne4 recover material with best position. White followed 18.Bd3 with his mate in mind based on gx or exf6. So again the combination 18...Txd3! Black make a very good defence and white attack is over after some rounds. At the end: 37.dxe5 black mates starting with Tc1. With Qh2 white treats 37.Txg5 with both Tg8+ or Qb8+ possible continuations. Black blocked with e5 the Q diagonal attack, and openned the Be6 mate daigonal for him self. The best reply.
Oct-11-09  WhiteRook48: 17....Rxc3 easily
Oct-11-09  goodevans: <Marmot PFL: ... However I did not find a totally satisfactory solution to 19 Qf4 ... 19...Ba4 20 b3 Rxd1+ 21 Bxd1 Nh7 22 Qh2>

22 ... Ba3 should just about sort it because now white is tied down to defending e5 (else ... Qxe5 threatens the unstoppable ... Rxb3+ / ... Qb2#).

This still requires some enterprising play from black, e.g. 23 Qxh7+ Kf8 24 Qh8+ Ke7 25 Qxg7 Be8 26 Be2 Rd3!

Oct-11-09  King.Arthur.Brazil: Its very interesting the position shown by OPENDEFENCE after 18.Qxd4 Rxc2!! Seems obvious that this R is untainable, so Qh4? cannot be played. Also 20.Bd3 loose after Ba4 21.Qh4 Txb2+ with mate attack, nor 20.Bc4 simply Rxd1+. Seems that white was confident that Bd3 will give him better chances. The game proof it wasn't too much. Tc3 is a thematical Sicilian sac. as said, so a Sicilian player problably will not hesitate to do it first, and think after play and tick the clock...
Oct-11-09  gofer: 17 ... Rxc3

18 Qxc3 Qxc3
19 bxc3 Ne4 winning by one of the following options...

20 Rd3 Nf2
20 Kb2 Nf2
20 Bc3 Nxc3+

So white must take with the pawn!

18 bxc3 Nd5

moving the queen is fatal for white...

19 Qh3 Nxc3+
20 Kc1 Bxg5+ (Kb2 Qa3+ 21 Ka1 Qxa2# or Ka1 Qxa2#)
21 Kb2 Qxa2+ (Rd2 Qa3#)
22 Kxc3 Qa3+
23 Kc4 b5+ 24 Kd4 Bc6#
23 Kd4 Bc6+ 24 Kc4 b5#

So white is forced to take the knight with the rook

29 Rxd5 exd5

Now black is a piece up and Qh3 is no longer playable, so white's immediate mating threats are gone! The queen or king has to move because otherwise Qb6+ is going to move black into a won end game.

30 Ka1 Rc8
30 Kc1 Qa3+ 31 Kb1 (or Kd1/Kd2) d4 32 Qxd4 Be6 winning the white queen!

30 Qd3 Qb6+ 31 Ka1 Qg6 winning
30 Qf3 Bxg5 31 Qh5 Bh6 32 g4 Qb6+ 33 Ka1 Qg6 34 g5 Qxg5 winning

Time to check...

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <patzer2> wrote: <johnlspouge> How does Toga [evaluate] 17...Rxc3 18. Bd3 Rxd3? >

Hi, <patzer2>. Although the gods are likely to strike me dead, <the only move> according to Anand's annotation is only second-rate according to Toga:

[ply 15/63 time 03:35 value (to White) -2.41]

18...<Ba4> 19.Qh3 Kf8 20.exf6 Bxc2+ 21.Ka1 Bxf6 22.gxf6 gxf6 23.Qh6+ Ke7 24.Bxc2 Rxc2 25.Rxd8 Qxd8 26.Qe3 Qb6 27.Qa3+ Qc5 28.Qxc5+ Rxc5 29.Kb1 f5 30.Rh5 Re5 31.Rh1 Re2

[ply 15/49 time 00:49 value (to White) -2.03]

18...<Rxd3> 19.cxd3 Ng4 20.Qh3 Nh6 21.gxh6 Qxe5 22.h7+ Kh8 23.Qf3 Bf6 24.d4 Qf5+ 25.Qxf5 exf5 26.d5 f4 27.Ka1 Bf5 28.d6 Be4 29.d7 Bf5 30.Rhe1 Kxh7

< [18...Rxd3] was the line played by Anand, and appears to give Black excellent winning chances with no danger of losing. >

The time Toga required for the two computations is particularly instructive in this regard. Certainly, I have no complaint about Anand's practical choice.

Oct-11-09  wals: Friso Nijboer - Viswanathan Anand, It (cat.17) Wijk aan Zee (Netherlands)

Analysis by Rybka 3 1-cpu: ply 13 time 4 min 5

1. (-1.99): 17...Rxc3 18.Qf4 Ba4[] 19.Rxd8+ Bxd8 20.Bd1 Nd5 21.Qh4 Kf8 22.Qh8+[] Ke7[] 23.g6 Rc4 24.gxf7 Kxf7 25.Bh5

2. (2.72): 17...Ba4 18.Rxd8+ Bxd8[] 19.gxf6 Rxc3

For what it's worth.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: < <wals> wrote: [snip] For what it's worth. >

The gods are going to strike you dead, too, <wals> ;>P

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: After <24...Bg5?> Anand wrote:

"A silly error. I saw <24...e5>, but thought it didn't make a difference. After the game I said that 24...e5 would have been easier. Friso simply answered: <after e5, I was going to resign!>"

<24...e5! 25.Qh2> (25.Qh5 Bf6!) <25...Bf5+>

click for larger view

After <25.Rg3 f6 26.Qg4!> White is back in the game! Black is still winning, but he has to be very careful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I at least considered the first move.
Oct-11-09  MaczynskiPratten: A thoroughly exciting battle. Some of Anand's play (especially after he missed 24...e5) would qualify for Nimzowitsch's term: Heroic Defence.
Oct-11-09  Athamas: Black has a bishop to white's pawn. Black's knight is under attack from two pawns and the h-file is wide open in favor of white's attack. However, if you play the sicilian very often, the initial move is pretty obvious and very aggressive.


Now if the queen takes, white loses after queen trades at a grandmaster level. Two pieces for a rook and white's pawn scattered and broken would be terrible. However, bxc3 is also not advisable after Nd5. Qf4 looks decent, but Ba4 seems to keep black's advantage. I suppose that leaves

18. Bd3 Rxd3

Black doesn't seem to have a choice but to take it.

19. cxd3

I think white might be able to try Rxd3, but it doesn't seem as strong. The only open line worth having to white is the h-file I think.

19...Ng4 20. Qh3 Nh6 21. gxh6 Qxe5

Black's 2 bishops should be able to beat white's rook especially if you are Anand's caliber.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <johnlspouge><wals> Thanks for the comparative analysis of 17...Rxc3!! 18. Bd3 Rxd3! and 18...Ba4! .

It highlights the profound difficulty of today's Sunday puzzle solution.

Oct-12-09  Old Wolf: Why do so many posts (and the official annotation) say that ..Rxd3 is the "only move"? It is not the only move, it is not even the best move.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheBish: Nijboer vs Anand, 1998

Black to play (17...?) "Insane"

Black is up a piece for a pawn, but has a knight attacked (by two pawns). On first glance, moving the threatened knight will spell certain doom for Black, i.e. 17...Nd5 18. Qh3 and mate can't be stopped, or 17...Nh7 18. Qh3 and Black must ditch the knight with 18...Kf8 19. Qxh7 Bb4, (or Bxg5), which leaves White in good shape. But Anand has an answer prepared. The question is, how far ahead did he plan it?


A thunderbolt! Now White has no time to threaten mate with Qh3, and 18. Qxc3 Qxc3 19. bxc3 Ne4! 20. Rd1 Nxc3+ 21. Kb2 Nxe2 22. Rxe2 Bxg5 leaves Black with two bishops and pawn for a rook, with the remaining White pawns very weak.

18. bxc3 Nd5

Here's another big point: After 19. Rxd5? exd5, suddenly Black's light square bishop comes to life, attacking the h3-c8 diagonal and preventing Qh3. So White must move the queen, allowing ...Nxc3+. Might as well threaten mate!

19. Qh3 Nxc3+ 20. Kc1

Obviously, 20. Ka1 Qxa2# and 20. Kb2 Qa3+ 21. Ka1 Qxa2# don't work out well.


Also winning is 20...Nxe2+ 21. Kb2 Qb4+ 22. Ka1 Qc3+, leading to three pieces for the rook, but this line leads to a direct mate.

21. Kb2 (or 21. Rd2 Qa3#) Qxa2+! 22. Kxc3 Rc8+ and now there are four roads to mate:

A) 23. Kd3 Qxc2#.

B) 23. Kd4 Qd5#.

C) 23. Kb4 a5#.

D) 23. Bc4 Rxc4+ 24. Kd3 Qxc2#.

I think I'm on the right track, because I believe I saw the finish to this in a puzzle (Black to mate in...) on

Oct-12-09  tacticalmonster: 1)White sacrifice a bishop for a pawn

2)White has the open h file. He threatens Qh3-h8 mate

3)Black knight is attacked by e5 and g5 pawn

4)Opposite castling.Black king is a lots more exposed than White king

conlcusion: In opposite castling formation, material consideration is of little importance. The main idea is to checkmate your opponent king in the middlegame. In order to win, black must stop white's threat while sacrificing materials to expose the enemy king

Condidate: Rxc3!

1. Rxc3 2. Qxc3 Qxc3 3. bxc3 Ne4
1. Rxc3 2. bxc3 Nd5 3. Rxd5 (if 3. Qh3 Nxc3+ 4. Kf1 Ba3+ 5. Kd2 Nb1+ 6. Ke3 Qxe5+ 7. Kf3 Bc6+ 8. Kg4 ) exd5 black is simply up a piece

Oct-12-09  goodevans: Much as Ive enjoyed todays position, I would either class it as quite an easy puzzle or not really a puzzle at all.

If youre looking for the best next move then 17 ... Rxc3 very quickly emerges as the only candidate worth considering. Its a thematic Sicilian sacrifice and it soon emerges as being necessary to provide enough counterplay to prevent white pursuing his h-file attack. Easy enough then.

When you try to take the puzzle to the next level I would claim that it ceases to be a puzzle at all. What you have instead is a very interesting position where both sides have tactical chances and blacks resources appear to be just that little bit better. Theres no clear winning theme and I would argue that its no more a puzzle at this level than is the position after any sharp opening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Sorry, <TheBish>, but there is an error in your analysis. After 23. Kd3, Qxc2+ is not checkmate, white can play 24. Kd4. However, black can still force mate with 24... Qc5+ 25. Kd3 (if 25. Ke4, then Bc6+ 26. Rd5 Qxd5#) Bb5+ 26. Ke4 Bc6+ 27. Kd3 (27. Rd5 Qxd5#, same as the earlier line), Rd8#
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