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Yuri Averbakh vs Alexander Kotov
"Think Like a Grandmaster" (game of the day Jan-22-06)
Zurich Candidates (1953)  ·  Old Indian Defense: Normal Variation (A55)  ·  0-1
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Last move:

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Given 22 times; par: 75 [what's this?]

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sac: 30...Qxh3+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 4 OF 4 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-21-09  kingmundi: Bronstein comments on this game in his excellent book covering the Zurich 53 tournament. It has been a long time since I read the book, but I recall him stating that the game was adjourned right after the queen sacrifice, and then Kotov worked out the variations overnight. Some of the book is available online through Google.
http://books.google.com/books?id=VU...
Aug-18-09  jrbleau: I don't want to rain on the parade, but this is one of the most overrated combinations in history. It's obvious that Black has an assured draw and a strong chance for a win. Overlooking the queen sac would, on the other hand, be a blunder.
Apr-17-10  miguelito: 30..qh3!!! genial
Jul-31-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  ajile: White played as bunch of useless moves and allowed Black to organize an attack.

After 29..Rf6 Black's pieces are ready to spring into action and draw White's king to it's demise.

Aug-12-10  TheRavenPK: I am posting this comment just to make sure I will find this game again to show to my friend, perhaps to remember the position before the queen sacrifice.. just to show off :)
Aug-19-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: My analysis has moved ... the old GC server has been shut down.

http://www.ajschess.com/lifemastera...

Sep-24-10
Premium Chessgames Member
  sevenseaman: What a bind the White K gets into!
Sep-24-10  tonsillolith: Think like a grandmaster? Does that mean make a speculative sacrifice and then let your team analyze the position?
Feb-17-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I have video annotated the key combination move here which put this game on many lists for one of the most brilliant moves ever played.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhTN...

Feb-19-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kinghunt: From January 2006: <MarvinTsai: Maybe this is the kind of games for proving computers can't "think".>

Amazing how far computers have come in the past 5 years. Houdini spots Qxh3+ at only 15 ply and decides that it's winning in about a second.

Sep-08-11  fetonzio: ugh so thats a 20-move queen sacrifice. all right then
Sep-26-11  kastle55: 38... Nxd5 by black was not necessary that gave a way to white Q for a check
Dec-07-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kinghunt: <kastle55: 38... Nxd5 by black was not necessary that gave a way to white Q for a check>

I believe that move was played for the practical reason of wanting to repeat moves until the time control without a draw by repetition.

Dec-07-11  Riverbeast: <I believe that move was played for the practical reason of wanting to repeat moves until the time control without a draw by repetition>

Yes... Bronstein explained it in his book

Back then, the players adjourned after move 40 and continued the next day

Kotov knew there was a mate in the position somewhere, but wanted to analyze it all night to make sure....So he just wanted to get to adjournment without threefold repetition

Dec-21-11  Tigranny: <jrbleau> I agree. One of the most overrated games and sacrifices ever along with the Game of the Century and Wagner vs. Schoenmann.
Dec-21-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <jrbleau: I don't want to rain on the parade, but this is one of the most overrated combinations in history. It's obvious that Black has an assured draw and a strong chance for a win.

Overlooking the queen sac would, on the other hand, be a blunder.>

Well said. It took no courage to play this sac. "Hmm, should I let White tie up the kingside with Ng1 and draw, or should I play a queen sac that <at least> draws and may well win?" It's a no-brainer. Nor, since Kotov was able to sac the queen and <then> adjourn the game, can you even credit him with great tactical vision. Wow - you play a sac that guarantees at least a draw, then go back to the hotel room and work out the win with your seconds. True genius, that. An 1800 could have done the same thing.

Jan-19-12  Tigranny: Why not 30.Rh1? White can escape with 31.Kg1 if 30...Qxh3+ (not 31.Kxh3 because of 31...Rh6+ 32.Kg4 Rxh1 33.Kf5 Rh6 34.Kg4 Rf8 35.Nb5 Nf6+ 36.Kf5 Nh5+ 37.Kg4 Rg8+ 38.Kf5 [38.Kh3 Ng3#] Rf6#).
Jan-19-12  King Death: < Riverbeast: ..Back then, the players adjourned after move 40 and continued the next day..>

Not always. The player to move after 5 hours of play sealed a move regardless of the number of moves that had been made. Often it was 40 but it didn't have to be. There were also designated days for adjournments in many cases so that a player could be stuck with more than a single one to play in a session.

Mar-09-12  Tigranny: I take back my comment from December 21st. It was a nice and well-thought queen sac, not overrated. :)
Apr-26-12  Llawdogg: Thanks for the video, kingscrusher.
Jul-09-12  jancotianno: One of my favourite games.
Aug-24-12  Tigranny: Actually I change my mind. Sorry.
Feb-03-13  jovack: So many cynics here... if nothing else, this game is quite instructive and I would recommend it to any students interested in breaking free of their 1,3,5,9 rule
Feb-03-13  nummerzwei: <Kinghunt: From January 2006: <MarvinTsai: Maybe this is the kind of games for proving computers can't "think".> Amazing how far computers have come in the past 5 years. Houdini spots Qxh3+ at only 15 ply and decides that it's winning in about a second.>

I don't want to spoil your fun, but my old Fritz 10 has no problems with the finishing combination at all, either.

Feb-26-14
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: 9 Rd1 was already a new move; The Old Indian has never achieved much popularity. Not sure what the idea behind 13 h3 was. Perhaps an alternative for White would be 15 b3 with the idea of a3 and b4. Another alternative was 22 Rf1..f5 23 f4; instead 23 g4?! seems awfully weakening. 24 Qe2 would have been preferable to Averbakh's 24 f3?!. 28 exf followed by Ne4 was suggested as an alternative. After the game several of the players thought that 32..Rf8 would have also been winning but Kotov showed that after 33 Nxf4..Nf6+ 34 Kg5..Ng4+ 35 Kxg4..Rg8+ 36 Ng6+..Rxg6+ 37 Kf5..Rh5+ 38 Rg5..Bxg5 39 Kg4 Black's advantage would have been minimal. A nice variation is 44 Rh1..Rxh1 45 Kxg5..Rh6 46 Bh4..Rg6+ 47 Kh5..Rf7! 48 Bg5..Rfg7 49 Bxf4..exf 50 Qxf4..Rg2 51 Nc3..Rg1 52 Qh4..R7g6 and wins.

<Tigranny: Why not 30.Rh1? White can escape with 31.Kg1 if 30...Qxh3+ (not 31.Kxh3 because of 31...Rh6+ 32.Kg4 Rxh1 33.Kf5 Rh6 34.Kg4 Rf8 35.Nb5 Nf6+ 36.Kf5 Nh5+ 37.Kg4 Rg8+ 38.Kf5 [38.Kh3 Ng3#] Rf6#).>

Wood's tournament book gives 30 Rh1..Rh6 31 Rg4..Nf6 as good for Black but 30..Qxh3+ would also still have been good for Black. Yes, if White had forseen the attack he could have given up his h-pawn but this still is very good for Black.

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