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Ossip Bernstein vs Alexander Kotov
Groningen (1946), Groningen NED, rd 18, Sep-05
Sicilian Defense: Scheveningen. Classical Variation (B84)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-20-04  duboy77: The finish would have been worth seeing on this one... I know that a lot of people like to complain about the queen sacrifice... but it is a truly extraordinary concept to uncover as a player.

exf5 2. Qxh6+ gxh6 3. Rag8#

Premium Chessgames Member
  paulalbert: Berstein was about 64 years old when he played this! Paul Albert
Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: In which the veteran Ossip Bernstein overcomes his much younger Soviet adversary in bravura way - Notice the Rooks' manoueuvres...

<17.Nd5> Now, if 17...ed, then 18.ed Bd5 19.Bd7 Ra7, and White would have a slight edge.

<21.Qb4> Or 21.Qa6?? Qc7! 22.e5 d5 followed by Ra8, and the white Queen would be trapped.

<29...d5> Whith the center stabilized, White can act calmly in manoeuvres aimed for the castled black King's position, while Black, as an alternative for passive play, can prepare a rupture in 'b4'

<33...b4> Kotov was in principle right in his valuation of the present position - to improve an assault, White would have to proceed whith somewhat daring measures, like an advance g2-g4 and further mobilization of the blocking Rd4 - so Bernstein's last move could be readen as a draw offer - that he promptly refuses sacrificing temporarilly a Pawn as an attempt to seize the initiative

<36.Rc3> It's noteworthy in the sequence how Bernstein uses 'c3' as a base for the control of line 'c': an exchange here would consolidate his advantage, strenghtening 'b4'


<37.h3>! Beware of the short-circuit ('f1')

<44.Rfc1>! The finale is already outlined

<45...Rb7> Marked by logical consistency, but quite unaware of the danger to which the black King is exposed

<47...Reb4>?? The final clumsiness - Also 47...f5 was unsuitable, due to 48.Rcc8 Qf7 49.Rh8 Kg6 50.Raf8! etc, so Black's last chance to avoid heavy losses was 47...Rc4: White could then maintain his passed 'b4' Pawn, but his own King being more exposed than his counterpart, the effective materialization of this favorable factor was yet uncertain

<48.Rcc8> Now is all over

Feb-19-05  chopbox: A one-move follow-up that completely escaped (and astounded) me. Truly beautiful. I hope that Bernstein was able to play this over and over in his head for the rest of his life (and hope that Kotov too could do the same with perfect equanimity).
Feb-19-05  Shah Mat: wonderful! i found the winning move rather quickly (a big suprise for me on a saturday puzzle), but i was unable to see why it was winning. in this game, it wouldn't have mattered, if my opponent was to resign after i played it.
Feb-19-05  yoozum: Yes, I'm 2/2 for today and yesterday! I think my tactical work is finally starting to pay off. Thanks Reuben Fine!
Feb-19-05  Bogdanel: Saw this very quick. Am I becoming better?
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: The final 50. f5+ is a very good example of a deflection mate threat with 50...exf5 51. Qxh6+ gxh6 52. Rg1# being decisive.

Of course Black could play 50...Qxf5 just to be stubborn, but then White still plays 51. Qxh6+ gxh6 52. Rg1#

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I think I deserve a pat on the back for this daily double:I solved a Saturday problem-and-I found an error in patzer2's analysis:

<patzer2>the 52nd move is ♖g8# not ♖g1,An error-as rare as chicken's teeth.

Feb-19-05  JohnBoy: <kevin> - Pat yourself on the back if you saw WHY f5+ is such a killer. Simply finding the move gets 0 points.

Not to knock <patzer2>, as I enjoy debating plenty with him here, but he makes plenty of mistakes. Poking holes in <karlzen>'s analysis, or that of <acirce>, is worth significantly move back-pats.

Feb-19-05  Shubes82: hey "yoozum", what is the Reuben Fine book that has improved your tactical play?? I need some work there myself.
Feb-19-05  yoozum: "The Middlegame in Chess"

I don't know exactly how it has improved my tactics, but I think it has helped me see more when I'm looking at the board. I try to do most of the puzzles in my head, though.

It's 20 USD, but well worth it, I think.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Geronimo: <VonKrolock> I don't follow one of your comments. You write <17.Nd5> <Now, if 17...ed, then 18.ed Bd5 19.Bd7 Ra7> But 19. Bd7 and 19...Ra7 are impossible moves, and 18...Bd5 just gives away the Bishop. So we've gotten off track somehow. Do you mean 18.ed, Bd7; 19. Qxe7, equalising (at least in material, although I'm not sure about white's Queen on e7)?

Otherwise, why doesn't black take the knight on d5? I'm sure the answer is obvious, but it's Saturday and I'm thick as a brick.

Premium Chessgames Member
  vonKrolock: <Geronimo> Thanks for remark, it was a typo: Now, if 17...ed, then 18.ed Bd5 19.Bd5 Ra7 etc - Of course this sample line was not forced, White could play also 19.Qe7, whith the sequence 19...Bf3 20.Rf3 R(any)e8 etc - then 'd6' would remain a weakness, although for the while Black's pieces gains good activity

But whith 17...ed 18.ed Bd7 19.Qe7, it seems for me that Black simply loses a Pawn, whithout compensation...

Nice that You apreciated the remaining comments!

Feb-19-05  Billage: QWhy did he do that?
Feb-19-05  minimaxing: This is one of those puzzles that pretty easy once you know it has a solution. To find the queen sac during a game without knowing a forced win exists is very impressive.
Feb-19-05  aw1988: [Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "New game"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "R6R/1r3pp1/4p1kp/3pP3/1r2qPP1/7P/1P1Q3K/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "5"]

1. f5+ exf5 (1... Qxf5 2. Qxh6+ $1 gxh6 3. Rag8#) 2. Qxh6+ $1 gxh6 3. Rag8# 1-0


Feb-19-05  Ernesto7: I got it!!..i was looking at Rxh6 but found no winning line and then the beautiful Queen sac struck me!...pretty cool finish and one i wont soon forget...also id like to add that the purpose of these puzzles is to completely figure them out, without the time pressure of a real game and then apply the concept to your own chess.I've found this is a great way to improve one's game and I encourage all of the players on this site to do the same.
Feb-19-05  yoozum: Exactly. Do you guys use a board to solve these?
Feb-19-05  aw1988: I do.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Kevin86> Thanks for the correction. <JohnBoy> I also enjoy and learn from our exchanges, and readily admit my analysis is not as strong as that of GM Keene, IM Lawrence, clocked, Honza cervenka, acirce, or Karlzen (all of whose analysis I respect and admire). However, this case was not a mistake in analsis, but rather an obvious mistake in recording the move. I was in a hurry and had not used a computer to solve the problem or check the result. <aw1988> recorded what I intended with 50...exf5 (50...Qxf5 51. Qxh6+ gxh6 52. Rag8#) 51. Qxh6+ gxh6 52. Rag8#.
Feb-26-05  minimaxing: <yoozum> No, I don't use a board. I write my answer as a .txt file before looking at the game. This helps me organize my thoughts and forces me to give a concrete answer.
Mar-09-05  JohnBoy: <p2> - I could see that it was a simple typo. Hope you didn't take offense.
Mar-09-07  Magician of Riga: This truly is a beautiful combination. It shows how terrible the consequences of greedy pawn grabbing can be. To see the combo in a game?!? Unbelievable!
Aug-30-07  wolfmaster: Bernstein's vision clearly was just as sharp as in his prime, to see a combination like this!
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