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Vladimir Kovacevic vs Hans Ree
Maribor (1980), rd 2, Oct-??
Formation: Queen Pawn Game: London System (D02)  ·  1-0


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Given 41 times; par: 30 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Sep-07-04  dac1990: Wow. This is a pretty good one.
Sep-07-04  azaris: The finish is not so simple here:


(23...♔e8? 24. ♕f7#
23...♔c8 24. ♖xf8 ♖xe5 25. ♖xd8+ ♔xd8 26. ♕xb7)

24. g7! (the simple move) ♗xg7 25. ♖xd8 ♖xd8 26. ♗xg7 ♖d7 27. ♕h6 ♖dxg7 28. ♕xe6+ and White won't mate very soon.

Sep-09-07  Skylark: rather deep, but I got the Ng5 opening the h-file and the follow up with g6... I couldn't calculate everything but I got the main thrust of the variations. I started with Bg5 but decided it was balls. I don't think the concept was so hard to find but playing this over the board was gutsy.
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: How many moves ahead do you have to see to claim this one? I saw the first two and quite possibly would have made the next three. But no way would I have seen the whole attack starting with 11. Bxh7+, much less played it.

And as always, I wonder how much of this attack was calculation, how much was positional sense, how much was luck?

Sep-09-07  narenillo: <al wazir> This is a common theme on the London system and Kovacevic has been one of its main practitioners. So I believe this is more of a gut-feel sacrifice than hard calculation.
Sep-09-07  dghins: Got the opening, but Black's 15...Rf5 on my engine is a loser. Game gets deeper and better for Black with 15...Bxg5 with Black actually winning!
Sep-09-07  narenillo: See another game by Kovacevic with the London system and Bxh7:

V Kovacevic vs T O'Donnell, 1990

On that game, he delays 11. Bxh7+ and castles queenside instead. After 11. ... Nc5, he performs 12. Bxh7+ anyway but I think 11. Bxh7+ would have won in similar manner as this game.

Sep-09-07  narenillo: <dghins> could you show the engine lines after 15 ... Bxg5
Sep-09-07  Alphastar: Unfortunately, I already knew the game; it is featured in Kovacevic' & Johnsen's "Win with the London System".

The losing move is 13. ..f6. Instead, the easiest defending move is 13. ..Ba6 threatening 14. ..Bd3, which pretty much kills the attack. 14. O-O-O is answered by 14. ..Be2!

Only serious alternative: 14. Rd1 Re8! 15. Ng5 Nf8 16. Qxf7+ Kh8 and white has nothing better than to take the perpetual; any new attacking ideas cost time and black will play Qd7 followed by Bd8 when the white attack is over.

<dhgins> that can’t be true because white has at least a perpetual after 16. Bxg5 Qc7 (Qe8? Qh7+ Kf7 Rh4 seals the game in white’s favour) 17. Qh7+ Kf7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 etc.

There must be something better for white here though, I suggest 17. f4 Bb7 18. Qg6 Rfe8 (any other move allows Rh7 or Qxe6+) 19. Bf6 Nf8 20. Qh5 and crafty already thinks white has a significant (1 point) advantage.

Sep-09-07  vibes43: Been here. Not done that. Good puzzle.
Sep-09-07  Dilbertarian: 14 Ng5 was pretty obvious in this position. But Black could probably have saved himself with 15... Bxg5 16 Bxg5 Qc7 17 Qh7+ Kf7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: I would have played Ng5 in an OTB game just because it feels so right--but I certainly would not understand it, as least not with my "waking consciousness" :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sneaky: <Dilbertarian> That's an interesting line you gave: 15...Bxg5 16.Bxg5 Qc7

click for larger view

I'd like to say that White has a forced win here but I don't see anything concrete. The problem for White is that Black can capture on e5 with Queen or Knight, and that's a very good defensive measure against most obvious threats. E.g. 17.Qh7+ Kf7 18.Rh3? Nxe5 or 17.Qh7+ Kf7 18.Bh6? Qxe5

Does this cook the problem? I suppose technically not, because after the initial sacrifice Bxh7+, the idea of Ng5 is still a "best move", but does it refute the win?

Sep-09-07  paulsss: nice game, i think it was not done on calculation, but an eye for the position.
Sep-09-07  znprdx: Forcing the issue is 14. Ng5 which of course obliges f6xg5[N] 15.h4xg5 but Bxg5 and it was all just an illusion. Sigh, this supposed to be of “insane” difficulty, so its back to my first inclination envisioning 14.Qg6 so that if the logical Qe8 15.h5 but here after qxg6[Q] and with 16. h5xg6[Q] it is getting murky at 6ply. There must be better – castling and doubling the rooks is just too slow so perhaps the key is 14. g4 threatening g5>g6 which forces Qe8 but seeing a potentially hanging knight at f3, it is panic time. I have now just lost on time in rapid play – worse, if I keep up this type of pedantic analysis before even having my first coffee you might have to call for the men in white – as my eyes start rolling, my mouth gets drier, I am cracking - am I giving up? The humiliation of having to face those smug & glib CG posts claiming to have solved it without any difficulty whatsoever – have you noticed how they never post their thought processes? OK it is over for me ...
Sep-09-07  znprdx: znprdx: ...Good News! could this be vindication? < dghins: ...Black's 15...Rf5 on my engine is a loser. Dilbertarian: 14 Ng5 was pretty obvious ..... 16 Bxg5 Qc7 17 Qh7+ Kf7.> Can't wait see what the regular il cognescenti ( and their engines ) have to say. I agree with <paulsss: nice game, .. not done on calculation, but an eye for the position.> and <al wazir: much of this attack was ...calculation... positional sense, how much was luck?>

Unfortunately today's puzzle doesn't really meet the standard - other than that some of Black's defensive moves seemed brilliant. I was actually disapointed that White fluked the win. Time for my coffee - in the real world this type of speculative dramatic play invarialy loses by a single tempo from an unforseen check, or countersacrifice.

Sep-09-07  xKinGKooLx: Yes, I got it! I got all the moves up to 23. Qh7+. The first five moves were very obvious, and the rest of the moves just needed some calculation. I'm very pleased with myself! Pity I missed Thursday, Friday and Saturday though! I hope I can do better next week.
Sep-09-07  openingspecialist: <<Alphastar>There must be something better for white here though, I suggest 17. f4 Bb7 18. Qg6 Rfe8 (any other move allows Rh7 or Qxe6+) 19. Bf6 Nf8 20. Qh5 and crafty already thinks white has a significant (1 point) advantage.> Openingspecialist is back on deck and now id like to say that i didnt in fact have a look at the puzzle for longer than 30seconds but Ng5 was obvious with little calculation. now above that quote Bb7 is a blunder as is Qg6 as Qh7+ is much better and is followed by Kf7 Rh6 and black is dead.
Sep-09-07  Alphastar: <Sneaky>, <znprdx> : 17. f4! seems winning, the key point beeing that black will not have any counterplay through the centre or on the queenside. the e5-pawn really restricts him.

A) 17. ..Ba6? 18. Bf6! (threatening Qh8+ Kf7 Qxg7+ Ke8 Qe7#) wins cleanly: 18. ..Nxf6 (gxf6?? Qg6#) 19. exf6 Rxf6 (not taking the pawn results in f7+ xf7 Qh8#) 20. Qh8+ Kf7 21. Qxa8 and white is up the exchange.

B) 17. ..Bb7 is critical; the above lines don't work because Ra8 is guarded. 18. Qg6! seems winning though: 18. ..Rfe8 (18. ..Nb8 19. Bf6 and black has to lose alot of material to prevent mate) 19. Bf6! Nf8 (again, 19. ..Nxf6 20. exf6 is a quick way for black to lose) 20. Qh5!

click for larger view

Now white is threatening Qh8+ followed by Qxg7# as well as Qh8+, Qxg7+ and Qxc7 picking up the black queen, so black has only 2 decent replies:

B1) 20. ..Re7 21. Qh8+ Kf7 22. Bxg7! d4 (Ke8 23. Bxf8 ; Ng6 23. Qh7 ) 23. Bh6 and white regains the piece with Qf6+ and Bxf8 and has a completely winning position.

B2) 20. ..Rec8 21. Qh8+ Kf7 22. Bxg7! again the winning blow; white has alot of threats, eg Bxf8 Rxf8 Qh7+ picking up the black queen, and black can't try anything against it.

so the Bxg5 line has been busted.

Sep-09-07  ConstantImprovement: White is attacking, at first it seems like a typical sacrifical problem, but White is two pieces down. That means that there are probably many countersacrifices to weather the storm.

The motifs that, at first sight, seem to be inherent in the position:

1. Ng5, threatening Qg7# and forcing an opening of the h-file

2. The open h-file after g5: g5:

3. The possible advance g6 after g5: g5:, with unavoidable mate by Qh8#

4. The countersacrifice Ne5: or, more probably, Nf6

5. Seen during analysis: Perhaps even 0-0-0 with moves like Rh3, Rdh1, if Black is tangled up enough that he has to allow such a White buildup.

6. A move like Qg6 and, after Qe8 by Black and Qg6: g6:, still a buildup of Rooks on the h-file, albeit this might be eventually too slow.

Since the puzzle is of the highest difficulty, there might be the possibility that there is another starting move, but White does not seem to have time for moves like Bh6 or g4.


I. 14. Ng5 g5: (the only move) 15. g5:

1. 15. ... Bg5: 16. Bg5:

a. 16. ... Qe8 17. Qh7+ Kf7

a1. 18. Rh3

a11. 18. ... Rh8 19. Rf3+ Nf6 20. Rf6:+ Ke7 21. Qg7:+ winning

a12. 18. ... Nf6 19. Rf3 (pinning the Knight) Ke7 20. Rf6: Kd8 21. Qg7: with 0-0-0, Rh1 and further pressure (or 20. f6:+ Kd8 21. Qg7: with the same ideas), though it is not entirely satisfactory

a2. 18. Rh6 with the idea 0-0-0, Rh1 and then Qg6+, Kg8, Rh1#, but Ke7 to escape via d8 seems to defend.

b. 18. ... Nf6 19. f6:, which is decisive: The threat of f7+ Rf7: Qh8# cannot be parried adequately, for instance 19. ... Rf6: 20. Qh8 Kf7 21. Qd8:, winning.

2. 15. ... Nf6 16. ef6: Rf6: (the only move)

a. 17. f6: Bf6: 18. Qg6 (preparation for 0-0-0, Rh1, Rh8#) Bd7 19. 0-0-0 Qe8, when White has difficulty to continue the attack

b. 17. g6 Rg6: (the only move) 18. Qg6: (with the advantage of one tempo compared to line I.2.a) Bf6

b1. 19. 0-0-0 Bd7 20. Rh1 Qe8 defends

c. 17. g4 (with the idea f6: Bf6: g5 Bg5: [forced, else g6, winning] Bg5:, and the Bishop can go to f6 or h6, helping at the attack, which probably breaks through after Qg6, Ba6, Bf6, Qf8, 0-0-0 and Rh1), and moves like Rh6 do not help either after h6: and g7:.

This could be seen as our main line.

Again we saw that motifs dominate the understanding of combinations.

At the end our main line:

14. Ng5 g5: 15. g5: Nf6 16. ef6: Rf6: 17. g4 Bd7 18. f6: Bf6: 19. g5 Bg5: 20. Bg5: Qe8 21. Qh7+ Kf7 22. Rh3, with a winning attack.

Sep-09-07  Marmot PFL: White has sacrificed a piece and must attack on the h file so play is forced for several moves and not hard to find. Black could have improved his defense at several points starting with 15...Bxg5. After all with two extra pieces the idea of returning material to break the attack is very plausible. After 16.Bxg5 Qc7 I can't find a win for white - 17.Qh7+ Kf7 18.Rxh3 Nxe5 18.Bf4 Ke8 19.Qh5+ g6 20.Qxe5 Qxe5 etc is but probably drawn. 17.f4 as suggested above looks stronger and perhaps winning. This qualifies as a true sacrifice in that no mate or immediate material gain is apparent, just a strong attack as compensation.
Sep-09-07  pawnofdoom: This is too easy for an "insane" problem. I got this one faster than I normally get the Thursday and Friday and Saturday problems. The only way white could really make progress was to attack, and with just those two minor pieces, it was easy for black to defend. Black's h-file was open to attack, so all that needed to happen was to clear the h-flie for White's rook. And Ng5 easily did that, and the capture was pretty much forced.
Sep-09-07  TrueBlue: not to bad for a Sunday! First move was obvious. Saw it up to:

14. Ng5 fxg5 15. hxg5 Rf5 16. Qh7+ Kf7 17. g6+ Ke8 18. Qxg7 (not bad 4 moves ahead, but it was pretty forced!)

Than black has Bf8 or Nxe5 and we get several variations ... Incredible how I get stuck on Wednesday puzzles and solve Sundays ...

Sep-09-07  midwood2001: What is white's reply to 23 ...Qe7
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: Claiming you solved this one to setting up the board and making the moves Black played doesn't prove anything, since Black didn't defend well. 15...Rf5 is a clear losing move. As Dilbertarian said, the key line is 15... Bxg5 16 Bxg5 Qc7! (not 16...Qe8? 17. Qh7+ Kf7 18. Rh4!), which is where I got stuck when I analyzed this. However, I think Alphastar has the right idea: 17. f4! is not immediately forcing, but Black's cramped position prevents him from organizing an effective defense. Despite being a piece down, White does not have to rush his attack.

* * * * *

On second thought, after 17. f4, take the pawn anyway: 17...Nxe5! and if 18. fxe5 Qxe5. Black gives the piece back to uncramp his position. White is still a pawn down, and where is his attack?

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