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Gata Kamsky vs Vladimir Kramnik
"Gata Go Now" (game of the day Feb-18-2009)
PCA Candidates Quarter-final (1994), New York, NY USA, rd 1, Jun-??
Semi-Slav Defense: Botvinnik System (D44)  ·  1-0


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Given 32 times; par: 55 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I saw tpstar's comment. I remember an early book by Kasparov in which he played this line as Black leading to a complex position and won. He then told the other GMs he would do it again. He challenged them to prepare. Despite that he won again! He was young. Nigel Short was in NZ in 2016 and I mentioned this re a book that was for sale. He knew that story of course and named the GM who lost.

But that line in general has been played for years...I got into a line that Smyslov had played against Botvinnik. I didn't know that in that one I probably should have given up my Queen for R and B or something. It had been played in the mid 50s in the World Championships.

And if I play the Slav I try to avoid this line as I don't know the complex theory. I wonder if that matters as most players wont know it either. I suppose young ambitious players playing White will know it well...Obviously Kamsky and Kramnik knew a lot about it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: And I recall, that Nc3 move now I come to think of it but I don't remember where I saw it. Maybe a YouTube tutorial or something...Perhaps it stayed in my mind...Interesting.
May-27-18  Patriot: I saw the main ideas here which start with a clearance sacrifice of the knight to threaten Rxa7. <23.Nc3 bxc3 24.bxc3> hits the rook and opens the possibility of Rfb1. Black has no time to save the rook, so already this is bad for black. <23...Qb6 24.Nd5+ Rxd5 25.Bxb6 +->.

I don't think a lot of calculation goes into the decision of <23.Nc3>. But it's fun to see how it plays out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: I don't think it is "unfortunate it is mostly theory" but it is a pity that Kramnik is seen as a drawish player. He isn't. Both players are and were very sharp in certain positions.

And Kramnik knows a lot of theory. It is good he played this sharp line and it is also good to see Kamsky's play. But the 'unfortunately' is unfair. Shirov played a brilliant game and then 'confessed' after the game he had found it with a computer. I think Ivanchuk's sacrifice of a Q for 2 pieces in (White side of a Sicilian, probably a Najdorf) was still valid although obviously openng preparation. Unlike myself and many others her remembers the preparation or remembers what he has forgotten sometimes. He at least knows enough to know what he doesn't know which is part of why GMs etc are so good. Theory carries them through. But then they can calculate often very deeply. Intuition also plays a part...

May-27-18  mel gibson: Richard <Intuition also plays a part>

It's got to.
A human can't look at 1 trillion nodes every 10 minutes like an
i7 Quad core using Stockfish 9.

May-27-18  Walter Glattke: I don't agree to Stockfish 9, I propose draw with 27.-Bxe3. If now 28.fxe3, then 28.-Qxe3+ 29.Kh1 (Kf1 Qd3+ and Qxb1) 29.-Qxg3! 30.h3 Rxh3+ 31.Bxh3 Qxh3 Looks perpetual or QxRb1. / 27.-Bxe3 28.Rc6+ Qxc6 29.Bxc6 Bxf2+ 30.Kxf2 Kxc6 is draw, too. So, metal brain, find an answer after 27.-Bxe3, so 28.fxe3 is surely draw.
May-27-18  Walter Glattke: Black wins after 27.-Bxe3 28.fxe3 Qxe3+ 29.Kh1 Qxg3 30.Rc6+ Kd7 31.b8N+ Rxb8 32.Rxb8 Qe1+ 33.Bf1 Qxf1# / 30.Rc6+ Kd7 31.Rc7+! Kxc7 32.b8Q+ Rxb8 33.hxg3 Rxb1+ 34.Kh2 c3
May-27-18  WorstPlayerEver: Totally missed Nc3. Oh well.. still better than seeing Nc3 and don't make it happen :P
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <WorstPlayerEver: Totally missed Nc3. Oh well.. still better than seeing Nc3 and don't make it happen :P>

Bit of a self-serving argument, wouldn't you say? Keep sucking on those sour grapes!

I'd say seeing the first moves is a step in the right direction but you'd have to be nearly a GM to see the whole mind-blowing follow-up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: Seen that 23.Nc3 gives access to a7,
if 23...bc3 24.bc3 opens the b file

23.Nc3 Qe8 (23...Qb6? 24.Nd5+ )24.R:a7

23.Nc3 bc3 24.bc3 Rd8 25.Rfb1 Qe8 26.B:a7

May-27-18  stacase: <ChessHigherCat: ...seeing the first moves is a step in the right direction but you'd have to be nearly a GM to see the whole mind-blowing follow-up.>

I saw 23.Nc3 - not like yesterday's ego trip, but getting the 1st move everyday of the week is a personal first.

Premium Chessgames Member
  catlover: This puzzle definitely merits the four stars.
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has a bishop, a knight and a pawn for the queen.

The rook on a1 x-rays a7 and the knight doesn't look well placed. These details suggest 23.Nc3:

A) 23... bxc3 24.bxc3 (threatens Rfb1 and cxd4)

A.1) 24... Rd8 25.Rfb1

A.1.a) 25... Qe8 26.Bxa7 (26.b8=Q+ Rxb8 27.Rxa7+ Kd6 28.Ra6+ Kd7 unclear)

A.1.a.i) 26... Bd6 27.b8=Q+ Rxb8 28.Rxb8 Qxb8 (28... Qd7 29.Rxh8 + - [2R+B+2P vs q]) 29.Bxb8+ Rxb8 (29... Kxb8 30.Ra8+ Kc7 31.Rxh8) 30.Ra7+ Kd8 31.Bd5 (probably better than Rxf7) with a won endgame.

A.1.a.ii) 26... Rb8 27.Bxb8+ wins (27... Kxb8 28.Ra8+; 27... Qxb8 28.Ra8; 27... Kd7 28.Bxe5 Qxe5 29.b8=Q).

A.1.b) 25... Qd7 26.b8=Q+ Rxb8 27.Ra7+ wins decisive material due to the intermediate checks.

A.1.c) 25... Qxb1+ 26.Rxb1

A.1.c.i) 26... a5 27.Bb6+ followed by 28.Bxd8 wins decisive material.

A.1.c.ii) 26... Bd6 27.Bxa7 recovers the exchange and ends up two pawns ahead.

A.2) 24... Bc5 25.cxd4

A.2.a) 25... exd4 26.Bf4+ Bd6 27.Bxd6+ Kxd6 28.Rxa7 followed by Ra8 sems to win material but Black has two connected passed pawns.

A.2.b) 25... Bb6 26.dxe5 Bxe3 27.fxe3, unclear.

B) 23... Qd7 24.Bxd4

B.1) 24... Qxd4 25.Nb5+ wins.

B.2) 24... bxc3 25.Bxe5 Bd6 26.Bxc3 Bc5 27.Be5+ Bd6 28.Rxa7 + - [R+B+4P] (28... Bxe5 29.b8=Q+ Kxb8 30.Rxd7).

B.3) 24... exd4 25.Rxa7 (25.Nd5+ looks unnecessarily complex)

B.3.a) 25... bxc3 26.b8=Q+ Kxb8 27.Rxd7 cxb2 28.Rxd4 + - [R+P].

B.3.b) 25... Bd6 26.b8=Q+ Kxb8 27.Ra8+ Kc7 28.Nd5+ followed by Rxh8 wins decisive material.

C) 23... Qe8 24.Bxd4 looks similar to B.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: stacase: <ChessHigherCat: ...seeing the first moves is a step in the right direction but you'd have to be nearly a GM to see the whole mind-blowing follow-up.>

<I saw 23.Nc3 - not like yesterday's ego trip, but getting the 1st move everyday of the week is a personal first.>

That's true. I wasted 10 minutes trying to make 23. Nb6 work (if axb 24. Ra8 wins and if 23...Kxb6 then b8=Q. Unfortunately, if 23. Qxb6 white has nyattinkk.

Then I almost gave up when I thought, well let's try the knight move on the other side and saw that it set a whole Rube Goldberg mechanism in motion :D

Premium Chessgames Member
  malt: Missed 23...Qc5 from my previous post
24.R:a7 bc3 (24...Q:a7 25.Nb5+ )
25.Ra8 Qb5 26 Rc8+
Premium Chessgames Member
  landshark: I thought 25...exd4 26. Bf4+ Bd6 27. Bxd6+ Kxd6 28. Rxa7 Qh5 looked dicey. So I threw up my hands and looked. Turns out I was on the right track but no point on this one. Two 5/7 weeks - got all the work days right but zero for the weekends -
May-27-18  Walter Glattke: From agb2002: A2a) I think for 28.-Kc7 29.Ra8 Rb8 30.Rfa1 and the black pawns win against the rook with 30.-Rxb7 31.Bxb7 Qxb7 32.R1a7 c3 33.Rxb7+ Kxb7 34.Ra1 d3 and Rb1+ Ka6 Ra1+ Kb5 only good for black. / 30.-c3? 31.Rxb8 Kxb8 32.Ra8+ Kc7 33.b8Q+ Qxb8 34.Rxb8 c2! / 33.Rc8+ Kd7 34.b8Q Qxb8 35.Rxb8 c2! 36.Bh3+ Kc6 37.Rc8+ Kb5 38.Bf5 or 33.-Kd6 - the rook party wins against the pawns then.
May-27-18  Walter Glattke: Oh, not 34.-d3, 34.-c2!, while 34.-d3? 35.Kf1! wins for White.
Premium Chessgames Member
  messachess: Difficult. Gata found it all back in the days of his run for the wc.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Didn't even know where to start! Great game.
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

Analysis by Houdini 4: d 28 dpa done

1. = / + (-0.36): 21...Kb8 22.Be3 e5 23.Rfe1 Bc5 24.Rec1 Rhd8 25.Bf1 Bf8 26.Bxd4 Rxd4 27.Rxc4 Rxc4 28.b3 Qxb7 29.Bxc4 Qf3 30.Bxf7 Qxf6 31.Bc4 Qf3 32.Re1 e4 33.Re3 Qf5 34.Re2 Bh6 35.h4 Kc7 36.Nb2 Kd6 37.Nd1 a5 38.Nb2 Kc6 39.Rc2 Kd7 40.Re2 Qf3 41.Nd1 a4 42.bxa4 b3 43.Ne3 Kc7

2. + / = (0.62): 21...Kc7 22.Be3 e5 23.Nc3 bxc3 24.bxc3 Bc5 25.cxd4 Bxd4 26.Rfb1 Qc5 27.Ra6 c3 28.Rc6+ Qxc6 29.Bxc6 c2 30.Rc1 Kxc6 31.Rxc2+ Kxb7 32.Bd2 Ra8 33.Ba5 Ka6 34.Ra2 Kb5 35.h4 e4 36.Kf1 Bxf6 37.Ke2 Bd4 38.f3 exf3+ 39.Kxf3 Rh8 40.Be1 Bb6 41.Re2 f6 42.Bc3 Rh6 43.Re1 a5 44.Rb1+ Kc6 45.Rc1 Kd5 46.Ra1 f5 47.Bxa5

May-27-18  BxChess: <Walter Glattke> Your arguments for 28...Bxe3 neglect the idea that 29. Rc6+ eventually pulls the Black king from the defence of the b8 queening square, and so in the end black will lose the h8 rook for the b7 pawn. This is presumably one of the reasons that 28...Rb8 was played.
May-27-18  njchess: I got the game line up to 26. ♖fb1 which was the point of the knight sac. I'm not sure if White is winning, but I do value the position as ±.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Richard Taylor: <mel gibson: Richard <Intuition also plays a part> It's got to.
A human can't look at 1 trillion nodes every 10 minutes like an i7 Quad core using Stockfish 9.>

True. Some players don't think there is. Some have an idea GMs etc calculate everything or something like that. Of course here Kamsky would have seen a lot...

I make sacs OTB and on the Internet and they are what I call 'speculators' so I kind of calculate and judge ("intuition" however that is defined). Obviously I lose a lot of games missing good defenses etc but sometimes such a sac can open things up and win a game....

The Najdorf is similarly complex. And of course the first move here was theory. But you have to know why the move is play and how to get there...

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Just now getting around to attempting to deeply analyze this game from the Sunday May 27, 2018 puzzle (23. ?).

One resource that appears to be particularly helpful in getting started is he Kingcrusher video analysis of it at

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