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Vasilios Kotronias vs Vladimir Kramnik
cat. 14 (1992), Halhidiki (Greece)
French Defense: Tarrasch Variation. Chistyakov Defense Modern Line (C07)  ·  0-1


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Given 4 times; par: 51 [what's this?]

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sac: 25...Bxg3 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Well, the bishop sac DID work. <MAJ>, does the move I came up with win, or does white have some resource that I overlooked?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HelaNubo: dzechiel and al wazir: 25... Bb5 26. c4! Bxc4 27. Rc1 b5 28 Bg2 with a fairly equal position. (Courtesy of Fritz.) Of course Black can always try 26... Bxg3 after c4, and it works, but then it is more meaningful to try it at the 25th move. It is interesting to note that Kramnik's play could be dramatically improved at move 30 with 30... Bb5! (instead of 30... Rg4) threating mate in g3. A reasonable line would be 31. Qf3 Qh4+ 32. Ke3 Rg3 with a much clearer win than in the game.
Jul-19-08  VaselineTopLove: I started with 25...Rxh2

How does that hold? Is it winning?

Premium Chessgames Member
  tallinn: The key position for the combo is the position after the 30th move of white:

click for larger view

While playing for this position I intended to continue with Bc6. But my computer told me that after Qxf7 Rxg2+ Rxg2 Qxg2+ Ke3 the position is equal. Kramniks move Rg4 was the next one I tried but again Fritz told me this is (by far) not the best one - although black has a winning advantage then.

The best move in this position is three pawns better then Rg4. Try to find it. I think that the position poses a puzzle on its own.

Once my computer showed me the best move I fall in deep respect for Kramnik as I was convinced that he must have seen that move when starting his attack with Bxg3 as this move is such a crushing cool justification for the sacrifice. Now, reading the game score I have to take back at least part of it :-)

Jul-19-08  jeeky1996: Rxh2 is not really so correct because the white rook is guarding the h2 square.

However, if kramnik was playing NN at this point in time, after Rxh2, if NN plays Kxh2, there could be a trap that NN has to beware of.

25...Rxh2 26. Kxh2 Bxg3+ 27.Kg1 or Kg2...

27...Bh4! gaining the queen.

However, Bxg3 opens the h-file for the rook.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Takya Kotov: I think most people would examine 25....Bxg3 and a good player might get as far as 31. Rg1 However you would have to be a bit special to see 31...Rg4 as the way to proceed back at move 25.
Jul-19-08  Manic: <tallinn> Unfortunately <HelaNubo> spoiled that a bit =/
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: My first thought: If Kramnik got it I should be able to find it, too.

Now I'm waiting for a spontaneous inspiration... :D

Jul-19-08  Confuse: <whiteshark> interesting thought process; I had the exact opposite line of thinking: "Dear God. Kramnik for a puzzle? Theres no way I can figure this one out!" : )
Jul-19-08  Towershield: <30...Qg3+> is also ok: 31.Ke2 Bb5+ 32.Kd1 Qd3+ 33.Nd2 Rd8 threatening mate on d2 and b1.
Premium Chessgames Member
  tallinn: <manic>: yes, I missed that. Too sad ;-( 30. ... Bb5 is a wonderful move.
Jul-19-08  234: Friday puzzle Jul-18-08 <29. ?> Bologan vs B Redon, 1994
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The key to this one is not starting the attack,but keeping it rolling.

In the end,white is hopeless;the pieces are under fire and he is already down a rook for a knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I didn't get it, I kept thinking Rxh2 first
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, Kramnik sets a winning pin beginning with the demolition of pawn structure tactical shot 25...Bxg3!!

After the follow-up's 29...Rg8! and 30...Rg4!, Black's double attack and deflection threats decisively exploit the pin, enabling Kramnik to win back his sacrificed material with interest (i.e. wins the exchange).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: As a side issue. I thought that the reason black did not exchange bishops by playing 33Kxb7 followed by 34 Qxd7+ was that black was afraid of a draw by perpetual check.

click for larger view

Its actually much more sinister than that, because, after 34Ka8 35 Qc8+ Ka7 36 Qc7+, the rook is lost.

click for larger view

Jul-19-08  Slurpeeman: 25...Rxh2, 26. Rxh2 Rxg3+ 27. Kf1 (if Kh1, then ....Bc6 wins the Queen) Bbs+ et cetera. i think this is still winning for black
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Finally I got it upto <30.Rg1>

click for larger view

but here it I couldn't find the k.o. move <30...Bb5!!> (with Qg3# threat). Way beyond my strength. But Kramnik couldn't find it either.

Jul-19-08  ruzon: I did not see that 27...Qh2+ is possible because of the pin. On the bright side, I didn't have the anguish of deciding between 30...Rg4 and 30...Bb5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <HelaNubo (and Fritz)>: Thanks. I guess all that work was necessary.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Found the game line up to move 30 and gave up on it indecisive for black. Missed Kramnik's 30...Rg4! which pretty much decides the game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Nowdays Kramnik plays mainly the Petroff and would probably also play 18...Qxh5 without much thought.
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult): Black to play and win.

Material: B for N+P. Black has 2Rs ready to swoop down the g- and h-files. Black has a battery Qc7 and Bd6 attacking the dark squares around the Black Kg1, specifically reinforcing the Rs attack on Ph2 and Pg3. Only the Black Bd7 requires activation.

Candidates (25): Bxg3

25Bxg3 (threatening 26Bxh2+ and ruinous loss of material)

White must accept the sacrifice:

26.hxg3 Qxg3+

In a sacrificial attack, the reinforcements must be brought up rapidly. The Qc7 has no other entry point for attack, because the White Nc3 protects c5 and can reinforce the defense by interposing at d4. Thus, 26Qxg3 is correct, not 26Rxg3.

Because of 27.Kf1 Qg8#, White has 2 feasible responses, interposing R or B.

(1) 27.Rg2 Qh2+ 28.Kf2

[28.Kf1 Bg4+ forces 29.Kf2 and makes the variations for 28.Kf2 and 28.Kf1 confluent]

28Rg8 (threatening 29Rxg2+ or 29Bc6 30Rxg2+)

The move 28Rg8 is a critical resource, preventing Qf6 from defending Bg2 along the g-file.

29.Rg1 [else, Kf2 faces Q+R almost alone] Bc6

To avoid facing a material deficit in an inferior position, White must play the P grab

30.Qxf7 Qg6+ 31.K moves Bxg2

and White has lost the minor exchange in an open position and faces a vicious K-hunt with a loose Rg1.

(2) 27.Bg2 Qh2+ 28.Kf1 [Kf2 Qxg2+] Bc6 29.Qf2 [Bxc6 Qg1#] Bxg2+

30.Ke1 [Qxg2 Rxg2 31.Rxg2 Q moves leaves White R+N for Q+P] Qg6

White is up a P in a better position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheaN: 5.5/6

No full post with half a point: got up to 29.Bxg2 where I played Bc6 believing it wins the Bishop.... nonono it doesn't: 30.Qg7 saves it fair and square. Afterwards, I was confinced 30....Bc6 had to win because of the same reason, but now it's also the pesky Queen that does not safe the Bishop but does create an even position: 31.Qxf7 Rxg2 32.Rxg2 Qxg2 33.Ke3 (for an initiative) to =.

Hey, for those who are interested, I have quite a nice game posted on my TheaN chessforum (FICS Blitz game with me only on 1423 after a terrible day yesterday) with quite a great tactical combination. Comments and annotiations appreciated!

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <HelaNubo>, thanks for telling us about 30...Bb5. There is always some tendency in an attack to keep on checking, but many puzzles demonstrate that the threat of a mate-in-one is often more effective than a check.
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