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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 12 times; par: 47 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-21-08  TrueBlue: obviously, even Topalov didn't see it :(
Sep-21-08  znprdx: Well I'm confused to be sure. I saw an immediate 29.Ne7+ although on second thought e5 is more precise. But why 30.Nb6 - or was Ivanchuk just double checking his good fortune?
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <MostlyAverageJoe><Actually, Hiarcs tells me that the mating combination is allowed mostly by black's inaccurate responses.>

Of course you're right there's not an immediate forced mate until it gets to 34. Ne7+! (mate-in-nine after 34...Bxe4 35. Qf7+ ).

However, I don't know if I'd characterize Black's response as inaccurate since he reaches lost positions fairly quickly in those lines. For example:

If 29...Be6, then 30. Nb6! Qc7 (30...Qf7 31. Qh4 ) 31. Be4 gives White an overpowering position.

If 29...Nc8, then 30. Nc7! Be6 (30...Qxc7? 31. Bd5+ begins a mate in three) 31. Nxe8 is clearly winning.

If 30...Qf5 (the kind of clearly losing defensive move computers like and humans avoid), then simply 31. Qxf5 Bxf5 32. Rxf5 is obviously decisive.

Although 30. Be7! (as well as 30. Bxh6! ) scores higher on the computer evaluations, the probability Black would play 30...Qf5 is so low I still prefer 30. Nb6! with White's winning plan.

The fact Black avoided other losing possibilities, which eventually but surely lead to mate anyway, to take his chances on White misplaying a King-side attack is the sense in which I asserted 29. e5! sets up a mating attack.

However, to be more clear, perhaps I should have said 29. e5! leads to a mating attack in the game continuation as Black avoids other difficult, but arguably stronger, losing possibilities.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheTamale: The puzzle's key move at least suggests itself due to how it opens the diagonal for the bishop on g2. However, knowing how to follow up--or even whether this is the correct move--is beyond my current scope, alas. As someone else mentioned, it's hard to know for sure when the key move isn't immediately crushing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: The f column, the 8th rank, the a2-g8 diagonal, the cornered knight and king's bishop and the king's position look like the black's main weaknesses.

A) 29.Ne7+ Bxe7 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Bxe7 h6 32.Bxd6 Qxd6 33.Qxa7 Qxb4 and white seems to lose the advantage.

B) 29.Be7

B.1) 29... Qc8 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Qxf8+ Rxf8 32.Rxf8 Qxf8 33.Bxf8 winning a piece.

B.2) 29... Bxe7 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Nxe7 Qd8 32.e5 dxe5 33.Nc6 Nxc6 34.Bxc6 Rg8 35.Bd5 Re8 seems to lead nowhere.

C) 29.e5

C.1) 29... dxe5 30.Nb6 Qc7 31.Bd5+ Be6 32.Bxe6+ Rxe6 33.Qxf8#

C.2) 29... Nc8 30.Nc7 Qxc7 31.Bd5+ and mate in few moves.

C.3) 29... Be6 30.Nf4

C.3.a) 30... Bf7 31.e6 Bxe6 32.Nxe6 Qxe6 33.Qxa7 winning a piece.

C.3.b) 30... h6 31.Nxe6 Qxe6 32.Be3 Nc8 and white is surely better but I cannot see a forced win.

I think I'd try to activate the king's bishop with C). Let's see.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: Black got greedy with 24...Nxa7?, allowing the crucial move 25 gxf7+, etc.

He probably first should have played 24...f6, below.

click for larger view

White still has options, like the clever combination 25 Nxf6+ Qxf6 26 Qd5+ Kh8 27 Qxc6 Qxg6 below,

click for larger view

...but none of them look like they obtain any advantage.

Sep-21-08  benjinathan: <dghins> I am in the same boat as you virtually precislely; I have also been playing for three years am quite frustrATED. I have spent a large amount of time, have reached a certain level and have been stalled for at least six months.

With that in mind I offer the following:

1) Ask questions here; ask exactly the questions you have. 90% of the time (at least) you will get an answer. Even the really stupid ones. Believe me, I know.

2)Nunn's "understanding chess move by move" is a great book. Informative and entertaining.

3) Check out Chesscafe dot com. There is lots of stuff there, including the stuff you are looking for.

4) if you surf around you will find annotated games all over the place on the web and youtube.

5) Get a pre mium membership and watch the live games.

On my part I blame myself for my failures. I still can't make myself to properly do 15 or 30 minutes of puzzles every day or every couple of days and I supspect that is what it takes. BTW to plug a Canadian book, "Winning Chess Exercises for Kids", is not just for kids and is great IMO.

Good luck.

Sep-21-08  KingG: <dghins> I think these articles by Dan Heisman are pretty good for beginners and intermediates: There are also many other articles of interest on

As previously mentioned, the exeter chess club is also quite informative:

You could also try Jeremy Silman's site

If you want to improve your tactics, is worth looking at, although you should probably first buy some basic tactics books.

Once you are comfortable with the Heisman articles, then I would recommend looking at Silman's books to learn basic positional play, although there are many other books as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: <dghins> Are you setting your expectations too high? I've been playing chess for 50 years and I've never even met a GM, much less played against one.

Like you, I've been doing these puzzles for three years: but I have learned from them. Oh, not to see ten moves ahead for both sides--that's fantasy. When I started, I couldn't solve any of the puzzles: now I can sometimes solve a Saturday, or even (on rare occasions) a Sunday. By seeing the same tactical patterns over and over again, in the puzzles and in the historical games, I've learned to see them (sometimes!) in my own games. So I would say, yes, my chess has improved over the last 3 years. And must get a pretty big share of the credit for it.

As for hitting plateaus and getting stuck there, some advice other kibitzers here have given me has turned out to be good advice, so let me pass it on.

A good way of getting off the plateau is to start doing some things differently. Learn a new opening and play it a lot, until you start winning with it. Replay the games of a master you never studied before.

Asked in his old age how he managed to keep his mind so fresh and sharp, the philosopher Solon said, "By trying to learn something new every day." It was good advice then, and it's good advice now!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: 23..Nc6 does flog the rider so Ivanchuck pitches in with a monster g6. <iron maiden> as the first person who shoots from the hip, (trying the underpromotion) suggests he sinks it as a necessity of reach - is that some feat? The thing with e5 is that it helps negotiate the pitfalls of 29. Qxf8 rxf8 ne7+ qxe7 bxe7 rxf1 bxf1 nc8 bg5 - a draw. In the game the final doom for black is the BFG on the 7th.

<dghins> you are asking questions that is a good start

Sep-21-08  jovack: i was wasting my time trying to make an attack work with all the existing pieces, when all that was required was 1 pawn move to allow the light bishop to jump into the game at any time

just goes to show that forcing things never works

(based on the situation) the quiet move: to remove potential back rank threats, to open a line, etc, tends to make all the difference you don't want to be losing tempos, but on the other hand, chess is all about action/reaction, and typically the one with the better reaction is the winner

Sep-21-08  lost in space: It took me a while to get more insights into this position.

Finally I found the following lines:

29. e5 dxe5
or 29...Be6 30. Nf4 Nc8 31. Nxe6 Qxe6 32. Rd1! Kh8 33. Bc6! h6 34. Bh4 g5 35. Bxe8 Qxe8 Bg3 ; or 29...h6 30. Nb6! Qc7 31. Bd5 Kh8 32. Qxf8 Rxf8 33. Rxf8 Kh7 34. Be4+ g6 35. Bf6!

30. Nc7 Rc8
or 30..Bxb4 31. Nxe8 Qxe8 32. Qxa7

31. Bd5+ Qxd5+ 32. Nxd5

This was the condensed form I found for showing the solution of this puzzle.

Time to check

Sep-21-08  clocked: <patzer2>
move 33 is forced mate as well
31. Qxf5 Bxf5 32. Rxf5 is not "obviously decisive" as material is even after hxg5.
Sep-21-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I saw 29. Ne7+,bxe7 30.Qf7+,Kh8 31.Bxe7,h6 32.Bxd6,Qxf7 33. Rxf7,Rd8 34.e5 with a good endgame for white a pawn up.

However,I too had overlooked 31...Be6 which scuppers all my plans.

I never even considered 29.e5!

Some variations:

29..dxe5 30.Nc7,Qxc7? 31.Bd5+ (mate in 4)

29..dxe5 30.Nc7,Bxb4 31.Nxe8,Qxe8 32.Qxa7 + -

29..dxe5 30.Nc7,h6 31.Nxe8, Qxe8 32.Bd5,Kh7 33.Qxf8, Qxf8 + -

This is so complicated, I'm glad <once> posted a fritz analysis. Cheers.

Sep-21-08  clocked: <Jimfromprovidence> after 24...f6 white has an advantage. Here is an example: 25.gxh7+ Kxh7 26.Ra3 and now if either Ne5 or Ne7, white can play 27 Rh3+!

Do any of the engines find this move?

Sep-21-08  Woody Wood Pusher: This combination is insane!!

After 34..Bxe7 35.Qf7+,Kh8 36.Qg6,Bf5 37. Rxf5,Kg8 38.Rf7, Bf8 39.Rxd7,Re7 40. e6,Rxe6 41.Qh7 mate

OMG! what a finish to a great game. Bravo Chucky!

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <30.Be7!> would have been a real cracker. It's disturbing the square f7 defence. Black is directly lost.
Sep-21-08  bakuazer: although did notice e5 in the very first second or so, but could not get anywhere with it. spent some time on Ne7+ but did see that it does not work.

difficult and nice one. great game by ivanchuk.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <clocked> <after 24...f6 white has an advantage. Here is an example: 25.gxh7+ Kxh7 26.Ra3 and now if either Ne5 or Ne7, white can play 27 Rh3+!>

I really like your way of thinking, but what is the continuation to your line after both 26...Ne5 or Ne7, followed by 27 Rh3+?

Please put a complete line(s) out there for scrutiny.

Furthermore, there are probably additional viable moves for black than those two knight moves.

What happens if black plays 26...Qd7, 26...Rb7, or for that matter, 25...Kh8 instead?

Sep-21-08  SouCapi: I´ve spotted in a flash the basic themes and then the moves sequence to solve todays´puzzle, so it seems that I´m improving my chess vision some how.
Sep-21-08  Underworld: I didn't see e5, but I would've played Be7.
Sep-21-08  clocked: <Jimfromprovidence>

26...Qd7 27.Qf2 Kg8 28.Qh4 Be6 29.Rg3
26...Kh8 27.Rh3+ Bxh3 28.Bxh3 Kg8 29.Qg2
26...Ne7 27.Rh3+ Bxh3 28.Bxh3 Ng8 29.Bf5+
26...Ne5 27.Rh3+ Bxh3 28.Bxh3 Kg8 29.Qg2

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Sunday (Insane): Ivanchuk vs Topalov, 1996 (29.?)

White to play and win.

Material: Even. The Black Kg8 has 1 legal move. White has a battery Rf1 and Qf2. The Nd5 can give check on e7 and (but for Pg7) on f6, the latter forking Qd7, Re8, and Bg4. The White Bg5 supports the N forks, so only Bg2 is inactive. The Black pieces are somewhat loose, with Qd7 burdened with support of both Na7 (which is out of play) and Bg4. Both the Black Re8 and Kg8 are required to protect Bf8 from the battery.

Candidates (29.): Qf7+, Qxf8+, Ne7+, Nf6+, Be7

29.Ne7+ (threatening 29…Kh8 30.Qxf8+ Rxf8 31.Rxf8#)

29...Bxe7 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Bxe7 (threatening 32.Qf8+ Rxf8 33.Rxf8#)

I missed 31...Be6, to save the back rank.

Sep-21-08  DoctorD: Has no one else commented this is a Novotny?
Sep-21-08  sataranj: whats the catch in 29. Ne7+ Bxe7 30.Qf7+ Kh8 31.Bxe7?
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