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Vassily Ivanchuk vs Veselin Topalov
Novgorod (1996), Novgorod RUS, rd 8, Jul-29
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0


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Given 13 times; par: 46 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-21-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <patzer2: For today's Sunday puzzle solution, the clearance sacrifice 29. e5!! prepares a mating combination>

Actually, Hiarcs tells me that the mating combination is allowed mostly by black's inaccurate responses.

29...h6? (Nc8 or Be6 much better)

30...Qc7? (Qf5 much better)

31...Kh7? (Kh8 much better, but losing anyway).

32...Kg8 (allows forced mate in 9). Not that it matters much at this point; 32...g6 also loses badly.

OTOH, white missed a nice opportunity in move 30:

click for larger view

where 30.Be7! is crushing, e.g. 31...Bxe7 31.Qf7+, with the idea of playing Be4 and Qg6, forcing black to drop some serious material.

Sep-21-08  Slurpeeman: I had the idea of 29. Qxf8 Rxf8 30. Ne7+ Qxe7 31. Bxe7 Rxf1 32. Bxf1 and White like totally has the initiative and a Bishop pair. Oh, and his pieces are more active
Sep-21-08  Slurpeeman: It wasn't quite the move I was looking for....I expected something more immediately crushing. Oh, but then again it's Sunday ;)

It seems White still wins after the line above...???

Sep-21-08  Jason Frost: How does white win after something other than 29...h6?, eg.. 29...Be6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: White to move (29?). Material even. "Insane."

Late start tonight, the Dodgers took over four hours to dispatch the Giants and I couldn't tear myself away.

OK, what have we got here? White's knight is centrally posted, exerting its influence over the entire board, while the black knight is "dim on the rim". White also has good control of the f-file, and four of the white pieces are focused on f6. It really seems like something should happen there.

I think I'm going to have to stop looking at 29 Qxf8+ Rxf8 30 Ne7+ Qxe7 31 Bxe7 Rxf1+ 32 Bxf1 Bf3+ 33 Bg2 Bxg2+ 34 Kxg2 Nc8 and the position looks pretty even.

But all this activity has me now looking at something a little different. How about

29 Ne7+

This really puts the question to black. He has four legal moves

- 29...Qxe7
- 29...Kh8
- 29...Rxe7
- 29...Bxe7

The first can be shown to be losing quickly, eg:

29...Qxe7 30 Bxe7 giving white a queen for a minor piece, as the bishop can't even be recaptured.

29...Kh8 30 Qxf8+ Rxf8 31 Rxf8# is worse. And

29...Rxe7 allows 30 Qxf8# is a quick death. So, it seems that black must play

29...Bxe7 30 Qf7+ Kh8 31 Bxe7

and white has recovered the piece and threatens 32 Qf8+. What does black do here? On


white can play

32 Bxd6

wining a pawn (32...Qxd6 33 Qxe8+). I don't know, it's a little fuzzy at this point, but I'm pretty sure I started down the right path.

I'm going to check and see what was played, as it's getting very late.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Well, it looks like I had the right idea, but was just a little premature with it. It appears that by advancing the e-pawn white can ensure that the black king can't escape on h7.

It seemed too easy. <sigh> Looking forward to Monday.

Sep-21-08  syracrophy: I was thinking in 29.♗e7. What's wrong with it? It threatens 30.♕xf8+ or 30.♗xf8. If 29...♗xe7 30.♕f7+ ♔h8 31.♘xe7. 29...♖xe7 is impossible and 29...♕xe7 loses the ♕. Can somebody post the refutation?
Sep-21-08  Manic: <syracrophy> 31...h6
Sep-21-08  Manic: Or 31...Qd8
Sep-21-08  Manic: OK 31...h6 doesn't work as after 32.Ng6+ Kh7 33.Qxd7 Bxd7 24.Nf8+
Sep-21-08  syracrophy: Well, I'm thinking on: 29.♗e7 ♗xe7 30.♕f7+ ♔h8 31.♘xe7 ♕d8 and now I was thinking on 32.♖f6, maybe trying to play ♖h6 or I don't know. The point is that the ♖ is untouchable because of ♕xf6#, but after the ♖ leaves the f-file, ♕xe7 vanishes the attack
Sep-21-08  Manic: <syracrophy> I had considered it but I think that 32...Nc8 wins for black because the white knight is pinned, and next move black will just take the knight with the Queen.
Sep-21-08  TheaN: 4.5/7

Yeah. Still out of my league. The strangest thing is that I try these kind of things OTB, nonetheless: e5 is pretty forced, and moves like Qc7? make White's attack even better. Although Topa's idea of attacking both hanging pieces seems correct, he misses the overwhelming combination.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Not a good week for me. The long variations have been too much for my poor frazzled brain. I might cite the index of variations or a hard week at the office, but they are just excuses.

Let's try to untangle this one. The move that I was attracted to doesn't work, but it took Fritz to tell me why.

29. Ne7+ Bxe7 30. Qf7+ Kh8 31. Bxe7 Be6 (this was the defence I had overlooked. Now black defends g8). 32. Qxe8+ Qxe8 33. Rf8+ Qxf8 34. Bxf8 Nc8

click for larger view

We have a level position.

Fritz prefers the game continuation, but finds a stronger defence for black. 29. e5 Nc8 30. Nc7 Be6 31. Nxe6 Qxe6 32. Rd1 Kh8 33. Bc6 d5 34. Bxe8 Qxe8 35. Rxd5

click for larger view

White is ahead by the exchange and a pawn. The back rank is still under attack. Fritz evaluates as +3.65.

Another winning way (according to the machine) is 29. Nb6 Qc7 30. e5 Be6 31. Bd5 Bxd5+ 32. Nxd5 Qd7 33. Be7 Bxe7 34. Qf7+ Kh8 35. Nxe7 Qb7+ 36. Kg1 Qb6+ 37. Rf2 Rd8 38. Kf1

click for larger view

Fritz evals at over +13, suggesting silly moves such as Qxf2+ in order to stave off the back rank mate.

So then I looked at <syracrophy's> line. 29. Be7 Bxe7 30. Qf7+ Kh8 31. Nxe7 Be6 32. Qf8+ Bg8 33. Nxg8 Qd8 34. Qf5 Rxg8 35. e5

click for larger view

White has a comfortable attacking position. Fritz evaluates as +2.11.

So no credit for 29. Ne7+, but you could have chosen any one of 29. Be7, 29. e5 or 29. Nb6. Interesting that the move e5 features in all the winning lines.

Sep-21-08  dghins: Do any of you know of a Chess web site that will teach me the basics of strategy? Openings, mid games, end game strategies?
I've been coming to this puzzle every day now for 3 years and have learned nothing. I suspect that 99% of chess people looking in at this site arent rated. The same people always comment on the games. I'm incapable of playing a GM or even guessing at how they will move. I go through each game put up here every day and invariably have questions; why some moves were made, some pieces were not taken, why this move and not that one, etc. If each day just one game could be annotated like that, discuss the overall strategy, what was the person thinking before each move, why some moves in a given situation are better than others. How the strategy was adjusted depending on the opponents moves, etc. Simple, basic things. Pretending that I could actually outhink or predict what a GM would do, as in these puzzles is just really fantasy for me, not you guys.
Sep-21-08  realbrob: <dzechiel> Well, I saw and calculated exactly the same things you did. I also thought for a moment that the pawn and the position were good enough.

What made me pretty confident that there was something more was that it took me 4 minutes to see this, and THAT wasn't enough for Sunday.

I'm a bit disappointed because at the very beginning I had considered e5 (it looked like a real GM move, which freed e5, a nice attacking square for the bishop). I should've linked my 2 thoughts together. Well, I hope for better luck next week.

<dghins> If you just started to study chess, don't worry if this seems alien stuff to you. Bobby Fischer himself said that it took him about 4 years to really understand the game!

Sep-21-08  kirchhoff: I chose 29. Be7 and was convinced that it won decisively, but I, like <Once>, missed the defensive move 31...Be6. Even so, I think this is the best I've done on a Sunday.

I would also be interested in the answer to <dghins>'s question. Are there any recommended sites with detailed annotation coupled with a board showing the current position?

Sep-21-08  Eurotrash: I also went for 29.Be7. Damn.
Sep-21-08  VooDooMoves: Hey all!

I found a win of the exchange by white by taking advantage of the f-file battery and the weakened back rank of black.

1) 29. Be7! ( this cuts off communication between the queen and f7 square which becomes important later and also threatens 30. Qxf8+ Rxf8 31. Rxf8#) and now:

1a)29... Rxe7 30 Qf8#

1b) 29...Qxe7 30. Nxe7+ Rxe7 (Bxe7 31. Qf7+ Kh8 32. Qxe8+ Bf8 33. Q/Rxf8#) 31. Qxf8#

1c) 29...Bxe7 This is best as it leads 'only' to the loss of the exchange and not the game. 30. Qf7+ Kh8 31. Nxe7 h6 (31...Rxe7 32.Qf8# and 31...Qxe7 32. Qxe7 and black cannot recapture as 32...Rxe7 33. Rf8#) 32. Ng6+ Kh7 33. Nf8+! Rxf8 34. Qxf8. Anyone find anything better?

Sep-21-08  Samagonka: <dghins> I feel you straight up! For me it's been well over 2 years but I still can't see notable improvement in my games. I used to think the best approach is to calculate numerous moves before picking the best one but it now seems to me that there are usually a few good moves and you need something like an instant insight to choose the most suitable. I stand to be corrected.
Sep-21-08  kirchhoff: <VooDooMoves> In your 1c) line black has a better defence with 31..Be6 (look at <Once>'s line above). 29.Be7 is still a good move--I chose it--but there are better alternatives as shown by <Once>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <dghins> I can't think of a website that might suit you better than this one. CG is about the only place I know where games are picked to pieces and discussed by players of varying strengths. We do tend to focus more on tactics than strategy, so I can see why you might want something else.

Three ideas for you. First, you might want to have a look at the Exeter Chess club site. This has a vast amount of archived training material, including a section on strategy. The website is huge and can be difficult to navigate, but there's lots there. Google Exeter Chess Club to find the link.

Secondly, if you have any questions about a particular game, feel free to ask them on this site. Someone will usually try to help.

Final thought - for me, the best source of advice on chess strategy comes from books. Here are five that might suit you:

Logical Chess Move by Move, by Irving Chernev

Chess the art of logical thinking, by Neil McDonald

Chess Success, planning after the opening, by Neil McDonald

Winning Chess Strategies, by Yasser Seirawan.

Understanding Chess Move by Move, by Dr John Nunn.

All of these annotate games more or less move by move. They explain both strategy and tactics. I have a soft spot for Logical Chess because it was the first chess book I ever owned and I taught myself to play from it. But it is rather dated now.

Sep-21-08  Aas: <dghins> You can check gotd at During top gm tournaments they have a gm going through one game each day where he explains each move and variations in a video (of the board). While has helped me with calculating/tactical play, has made me much better at strategy and picking right moves in closed positions. Unfortunately not enough for theese insane sunday puzzels..
Sep-21-08  hms123: <dghins> Try <kingscrusher's> videos at
Sep-21-08  TrueBlue: this was really insane. No way I could have gotten this.
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