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Efim Geller vs Lajos Portisch
Moscow (1967), Moscow URS, rd 4, May-25
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Smyslov Defense (C93)  ·  1-0


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Given 39 times; par: 22 [what's this?]

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sac: 20.Bxh6 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-29-07  Larsker: I was not even close.
Sep-29-07  ycsidney: one of best puzzles for some time!
well done chessgames!!
Sep-29-07  sanyas: This is beautiful! What a way to win a miniature! Who would have thought that this could occur in the Closed Ruy Lopez?
Sep-29-07  King mega: Why cant I see the good moves?
Sep-29-07  SaltiNeil: What a great combo! I was stuck on a solution centered around 20. Ng6 and never even considered Bg5, but at least I had the right file, do I get a half point for that?
Sep-29-07  willyfly: Material is dead even and the first thing I notice is the position of White's ♕, ♘, the b3♗ and even the undeveloped c1♗ all aimed into the Black ♔'s corner while Black's ♘ and b7♗ are removed and insulated from the action.


After trying several lines using the above candidates I came up with the following

18 Ng6 the idea now is to chase the ♕ to the c6 square if 18...Qf6 19. Bg5 Qd6 20. Rad1 Qc6 21. Bxf7+ Kxf7 22. Nxe5+

Black loses the ♕ - now to look

I concidered Bg5 but quickly rejected it because of hxg5. I'll have to study this more after I sleep.

Sep-29-07  xrt999: here is the line I came up with:

18.Bxh6 gxh6
19.Qg6+ Bg7
20.Nf5 Qf6 (the only other move is has to protect against mate on the g7 square. both moves lead to the same fork) 21.Bxf7 Qxf7
22.Nxh6+ wins the black queen

the only way out for black is instead 21.Qxf7, go with 21.Kh8. After a series of forced exchanges black is way down in material.

21 ...Kh8
22.Bxe8 Qxg6

Black is way down in material. The position isnt hopeless but white is winning.

Sep-29-07  xrt999: all time favorite player.
Sep-29-07  Whitehat1963: By the end it's a total slaughter with more than one finish available. For instance, doesn't 23. Ng6 work just as easily as 23. Re3? I think there are others, too. Aren't there?
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I looked for the move to g6 with the queen or knight. It seems that the best move was for the bishop to give inself up for the breakup of black's protective pawn pair. Soon after,black's game crumbled to nothing.
Sep-29-07  I3illieJoe: 23.Nf5 would have been the best move, but oh well...who cares black is lost anyway
Sep-29-07  Wolfgang01: 23. Ng6 works, but it's third choice. 23. Kh7 and there's just the exchange on f7. 23. Re3 mates in some moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: White it play. "Very Difficult". Material even. White's pieces are poised to assault the castled black king. Candidate moves are:

- 18 Bxh6
- 18 Nf5
- 18 Bg5
- 18 Ng6
- 18 Qg6

There are others, but they don't seem as forcing. A big concern of mine is the bishop on b3. This piece seems to be key in hold black's f-pawn in place. Should black have a chance to play ...Nxb3, our attack would likely wither. So our moves must be at least a little "forcing" to stop that move.

Note also that the black queen must keep an eye on f7 to stop Bxf7+ picking up an exchange or Qxf7+ leading to mate in many variations.

The more I look at it, the more I like

18 Bg5

This attacks the black queen (forcing) and is immune to capture by the queen (18...Qxg5 19 Qxf7+ Kh7 20 Qg8#) because it abandons protection of f7. It also cannot be taken by the h-pawn (18...hxg5 19 Ng6 and 20 Qh8#). What's black's response? He must maintain protection of f7 so


Time to bring in fresh troops! How about

19 Rad1

Threatening the queen (who cannot move as this will abandon f7). That means


So far our moves have been forcing enough. Let's try to keep the pressure on with

20 Bxh6

I hope this is right. It's not nearly as forcing as our previous moves, but it does have threats. Black has a couple of replies:

- 20...gxh6
- 20...Nxb3

First, let's consider the capture. After


white can play

21 Qg6+ Kh8 22 Qxh6+ Kg8 23 Qg6+ Kh8 24 Bxf7

threatening mate with 25 Qh6#. The only way I see to stop this is 24...Bf8 or 24...Qxf7, but these both give up the queen (we took the pawn with check on move 22 rather than the bishop capture in case black does want to go for this line, we have an extra pawn) and white should win easily.

So I think the second line is key, let's look at


white ignores the capture and responds

21 Bxg7!

threatening 22 Qh8#. If

21...Kxg7 22 Nf5+ Kf6 (22...Kf8 or 22...Kg8 allow a queen check on g5 or h6 and mate next move) 23 Qg4+ Ke6 (23...Kg6 24 Qh6#) 24 Ng7#.

Wow, this required some serious visualization. I really hope I'm right, 'cause I'm not looking any more. Time to check.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Nuts! I had the black king going the wrong way on move 21..., forgetting the f8 was available because the bishop had moved to d6. Well, now you also know what I think you should do if black had played 21...Kh8.

<sigh> And tonight will be "insane".

Sep-29-07  LawrenceT: Why not 18...hxg5?
Sep-29-07  VikingII: ...hxg5 leads to Ng6, which wins, because the pawn on f7 is pinned by the white bishop on b3, and then of course Qh8 would mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: It's a very intrigue position & not so easy to spot the right move at once as there are a few moves first to be checked e.g. 18.Ng6, 18.Nf5 & 18.Bxh6 but none seems to be forceful. Hence, with little more thought, I could found the Black's "Achilles Heels' f7. Therefore,18.Bg5! works since Black cannot grab it either with the Queen or with the h-pawn both leads to mate or heavy loss of material. Black has to guard his f7 so 18...Qd7 19.Rad1 Bd6 20.Bxh6 [ to rip open the fortress ] ...gxh6 21.Qg6+ Kf8 [ if ...Kh8 then 22.Bxf7 ] 22.Qf6! Nxb3? 23.Ng6+ Kg8 24.Qh8# [ if ...Kg8 then 23.Re3 ]
Sep-29-07  GoldenKnight: I saw all the major themes of the puzzle, but did not see 18.Bg5. This was really beautiful. I didn't look any further after a cursory glance convinced me that 18.Bxh6 would work also, but not as neatly (I generally spend very little time on these puzzles).
Sep-29-07  Madman99X: Can Black salvage anything with 20... Nxb3 ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Clearly sac on h6 fails to black's Nxb3. Nf5 & Ng6 both met by Qf6 and again Nxb3. Getting late so just gave up before considering Bg5 carefully enough. Once you see it can't be captured becuse of mate in 2 the win is fairly obvious as white develops all his pieces with tempo on the black queen then Bh6 rips open the kingside.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: a snappy game. Black could survive with 20.Bxh6 Nxb3 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Nf5+ Qxf5?! 23.exf5 Nc5 but with a poor position and threatening kingside pawns for White,
Feb-21-08  ughaibu: Calli: From that position, 24.Qg5 Kf8 25.f6 Re6 26.Qg7 Ke8 27.Rd6 cd6 28.Qg8 Kd7 29.Qf7 Kc6 30.b4 looks pretty much finished.
Mar-30-09  Akdeniz07: 13.Qd7?!
Feb-19-10  falso contacto: Kasparov took some pages of this book?!
Feb-23-11  Dr. J: <ughaibu: Calli: From that position, <20.Bxh6 Nxb3 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Nf5+ Qxf5?! 23.exf5 Nc5> 24.Qg5 Kf8 25.f6 Re6 26.Qg7 Ke8 27.Rd6 cd6 28.Qg8 Kd7 29.Qf7 Kc6 30.b4 looks pretty much finished.>

Good call. That is A Blees vs J R Markus, 1991 which finished 30...Nd3 31.Qxe6 1-0 (because 31...Nxe1 32.f7 will win the other rook).

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