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Alex Sherzer vs Helgi Olafsson
Philadelphia World op (1991)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation. English Attack (B90)  ·  1-0
To move:
Last move:

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Given 19 times; par: 22 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  goldfarbdj: I also saw roughly what dzechiel saw.
May-25-08  MostlyAverageJoe: I contemplated 18.Bh5 for a while, but it seemed to me that Nxf7 would be the solution. I haven't analyzed it as deep as <dzechiel>, though.

Engine analysis shows this as the likely play in that line.

18. Nxf7 Kxf7 19. Bh5+ Kg8 20. Qg6 Nf6 21. Bxf6 Be8 22. Bxd8 Bxg6 23. Bxc7 Bxh5 24. Bxd6 Bxd1 25. Rxd1 Nxc2 26. Bxf8 Rxf8

Alas, the advantage for white is dwindling as the line progresses. The final position in the above line is:


click for larger view

which seems to be nothing to be extatic about. One pawn extra, slightly better position (+1.32 at 20 plies).

In the line played in the game, black could resist a bit longer with 19...Bc6 (since 19...g6 results in a forced mate in 11, but black accelerated it with 20...fxg6 instead of playing 20...e5), but not that much longer (the position evaluates at +8.14 at 15 plies, and is very complex, with many equivalent lines).

May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: The clues are here for a kingside attack. We have a far advanced knight, queen on the same file as the black king and the black heavy pieces are cut off on the queenside. Black has a weak f7 square.

So Nxf7 cries out to be played. Get the king onto the semi-open f file so that the rook can play too. Like <dzechiel> and <woodpusher>, I wanted to play 18. Nxf7 kxf7 19. Bh5+ Kg8 20. Qg6 when white surely has all the fun.

Running the game through Fritz 9 shows that 18. Nxf7 does work. Fritz spots this move first and eventually analyses it as around -1.4 to +1.75. White has a strong position, but no clear forced win.

Then Herr Fritz gets very excited about 18. Bh5! and the line played in the game. The evaluation quickly climbs to over 5.8.

The same goes for the rest of the game. Fritz initially starts with more prosaic moves (20. Qf3) then hits on the game continuation as the strongest move. By 20. Bxg6, Fritz is quoting mate in 16.

But we don't play the game with Fritz running in the background. In the real world, Nxf7 has to be the safer and more pragmatic line. I'll leave moves like Bh5 to the superheroes.

May-25-08  ruinme: What if instead of 17...h6, black had played Nb4Xc2?? Then what does white do. More lines... More lines people!!!!
May-25-08  ruinme: Also, why does white play 11. h1? And is 11..Rd8 a good move by black?
May-25-08  ruinme: This game deserves to be put in a book w/Shirov analyzing it. Shirov, where are you? Analyze this game and send it to me thru mail please. Thankyou.
May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <ruinme> If black had played 17. ... Nxc2 instead of 17. ... h6, Fritz 9 wants to play 18. f5 Nxd4 19. Bh5 Nf6 20. Bxf7+ Kh8 21. Rxd4 exf5 22. Qh4 h6 23. exf5 d5.

After about 6 minutes sitting on infinite analysis, Fritz reckons that this gives white an advantage of around 2.2 or a little more than two pawns. A strong attack, but not quite a decisive advantage.

11. Kh1 gets the king away from any potential checks along the b7-g1 diagonal. Fritz marginally prefers Qe1, but there is not much in it. White has a slight space advantage in any case.

11. ... Rd8 is a sensible developing move. It places the rook opposite the white queen and eyes up the possibility of playing d5 at some point in the future.

At this early point in the game, there are not many tactics to analyse so both black and white are concentrating on putting their pieces on good squares. So it is difficult to give concrete lines - there are just too many variations and nothing is particularly forcing.

Fritz reckons that 11. ... Bd7, Rd8 and Na5 are all playable in this position, with just a slight advantage to white in either case.

May-25-08  znprdx: Another truly exquisite execution ...It seems that 18.Nxf7 would probably also win handily - but the text was calm cool and calculated - certainly not 'insane': but brilliant.
May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Square f7 is the weakest point in the black position and white's Ng5 is under attack. Thus <18.Nxf7 Kxf7 19.Bh5+ Kg8 20.Qg6> is o.k., but not that insane one would suspect. My thoughts only toughed Bh5 for a second - 'but Ng5 is hanging' - and so went back to Nxf7. In retrospect this was the critical moment for finding the better solution...
May-25-08  234: Saturday puzzle <33. ?> May-24-08 Vaganian vs Hjartarson, 1991
May-25-08  vaskokibika: My solution begins with
18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bf7+ Kf7 20.fxg5+ and I don't see a good defence for black.
May-25-08  Billy Vaughan: I saw 18. Bh5 -- it looked like the most natural way of taking advantage of the tactics on the f-file and g-file (and fits the general idea of "throw your pieces at the enemy king" that these puzzles seem to promote).

I was thinking along the lines of opening up the f-file to prepare Rxf8, removing the defender of g7 so the white queen could harass the king there. I didn't see how to continue the line and I would probably have become discouraged seeing the g-file close up (as in the game's continuation), so I'll give myself half-credit. Black has a lot of ways to resist but it doesn't look like any of them can prevent at least one of the lines from opening up.

May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  playground player: This kind of attack looks great when it works. Then I try to imitate it, and all I get is the chess equivalent of the Battle of Fredericksburg (from the Union side).
May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <vaskokibika: <My solution begins with <18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kf7 20.fxg5+> and I don't see a good defence for black.>>


click for larger view

This is a great continuation, too!
Now neither
<20...Kg6 21.Rxf8 e5 22.Be3 Qc4 23.Qf3 Qe6 24.Bb6 > nor <20...Kg8 21.Qf2 Nf6 22.Bb6 Qb8 23.gxf6 g5 24.f7+> works.

May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Out of deference to those who dislike long posts, I am going to write a prolog. I went for

18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.fxg5+

Upon analysis, my lines appear adequate to win (although rarely with the mates I "foresaw"). In particular, however, the computer needed a lot of coaxing to show my line

20...Kg6 21.Rf6+

yields a win and not a perpetual check, and it preferred 20...Kg8 for Black and 20...Kg6 21.Rxf8 for White. I note that <MostlyAverageJoe> found at least one line where the White advantage sputtered. I will report back with computer-aided analysis, after I absorb the kibitzing.

Sunday (Insane): White to play and win.

Material: Even. White has a typical K-side attack in the Sicilian defense. The particular features of this attack include: the White Qg3 on the same file as the Black Kg8, separated by the White Ng5 and Black Pg7; the White Bd4 focused on Pg7, like Qg3; and the White Rd1 and Rf1, which will be active against Pd6 and Pf7, after the obscuring White pieces move. Only the White Nc3 and Be2 require activation. Black has two threats: Nxc2 and hxg5 (the latter apparently forcing the retreat of Ng5). The Ng5 is almost immune to capture, however, because after its capture, fxg5 opens the f-file for attack against Pf7.

Candidates (18.): Nxf7, Bh5

18.Bh5 (threatening 19.Bxf7+ 20.Nxe6)

To avoid outright loss of a P, Black must capture or threaten at least a piece, because the original Black threat

18Nxc2 19.Bxf7+ Kh1 20.Nxe6 Bxe6 21.Bxe6

leaves Black a P down and cramped in a dangerous position. The response

18g6 19.Nxf7 (threatening 20.Qxg6+)

is also inadequate, so Black must accept the sacrifice of Ng5.

18hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 [else, 20.Qh3#] 20.fxg5+

Black has 3 flight squares for Kf7 and 1 interposition. Black's most serious try 20Kg6 seems to require White to throw Rf1 onto the fire.

(1) 20Kg6 21.Rf6+

Black has 4 legal moves, of which 3 can be rapidly disposed of.

(1.1) 21Kh5 22.Qf3+ and mate soon, with the aid of Bd4

(1.2) 21Kh7 22.g6+ 23.Qh4 and mate soon

(1.3) 21Nxf6 22.gxf6+ (threatening 23.fxg7 then 24.g8=Q or 24.Qxg7+ 25.Rf1)

Black is mated if Rd1 enters the K hunt with tempo at f1. The Bd4 and Qg3 can check Kg3 to either f7 or g8, however, at which point Pf6 disappears with f7+ or fxg7 and Rd1 enters with tempo at f1.

(1.4) 21gxf6 22.gxf6+ (threatening 23.Qg5 24.Qh5+)

The same pattern prevails as in line (1.3), so Black is mated.

Any response to 20.fxg5+ other than 20Kg6 rapidly undermines the Black position. White does not need to invest Rf1, which then supports the infiltration of Qg3 and blocks the Black K's flight at the f-file.

(2) 20Kg8 21.Qf4 (threatening 22.Qf7+ 23.Qh4+ 24.g6 and mate soon)

21Bc6 [Nf6 22.gxf6 (threatening 23.f7+) wins]

22.Qxf8+ Kh7 23.Rf7 (threatening 24.Rxg7+ Nxg7 25.Qxg7#)

Black must lose material and still face a potent mating attack.

(3) 20Ke7 21.Qf4 Nf6 22.gxf6+

and as above, a massacre ensues.

(4) 20Nf6 21.gxf6 g6 [else, 22.fxg7] 22.Qh4 (threatening 23.Qh7+)

and the Black position collapses.

May-25-08  TrueBlue: saw the first move and didn't expect black was stupid enough to take the knight, so I considered some other lines like f6.
May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<dzechiel> wrote: Wow, not even close. <MAJ or JS> are there any chances in the line I chose?>

<dzechiel>, the line appears a good second choice.

<<MostlyAverageJoe> wrote: [snip] Engine analysis shows this as the likely play in that line [snip] >

Toga II 1.3.1 agrees with <MAJ>'s monster up to 25...Nxc2, so I have little to add to his analysis of 18.Nxf7.

As my candidates show, I considered 18.Nxf7 but discarded it quickly, because it looked premature. From practice with the puzzles, I now enumerate my <inactive> pieces (as well as my threats) and favor specifically those threats that activate them. Once I saw 18.Bh5, I did not look back - a sea change from the indecision I used to have after Thursdays.

May-25-08  TrueBlue: I think the key to today's puzzle is to realize that the knight on g5 is immune to capture. It's in great position, so why move it? This means white has the tempo and can attack with his next move. Nh5 is obviously the best move, where h4 also deserves consideration.
May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: The following is a Mom-and-Pop Toga II 1.3.1 analysis, under the usual conditions and after the <move> I entered.

[ply 15/69, time 05:56, value +2.39]

18.Bh5 hxg5 19.Bxf7+ Kxf7 20.<fxg5+> Kg8 21.Qf2 Nf6 22.Bb6 Qb8 23.gxf6 g5 24.Bxd8 Rxd8 25.Qe2 Be8 26.Qg4 Bh6 27.Qh3 Bf8 28.Qxe6+ Kh7 29.Qb3 a5

The computer improves my lines for 20.<fxg5+> with 21.Qf2 (instead of 21.Qf4), because 21.Qf2 adds the threat of 22.Bb6, forcing Qc7 away from its lateral defense of the K-side.

The game line looks like a big improvement on the other possibilities, however.

May-25-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: Didn't get it
May-25-08  Marmot PFL: This was a well played attack that black seemed to lose without any obvious mistakes. (I felt the same way when I played Sherzer, like I was playing well but his attack kept growing and eventually broke through). In any case after finding the first three moves I missed the key 21.Rxf8+!, although OTB at move 21 I believe I would find it. I didn't even consider <johnlspouge> Tal like idea 19.Bxf7+! (don't get sore, sac some more) when black can't defend by returning one or even both pieces. That is some deep analysis.
May-25-08  Rama: Black he denudes his K-side. Why? 11. ... Rd8, puts the Rook on a closed file and then 12. ... Bd7, buries it. Bf8 and Ne8 complete the ruin of this whole variation.

This gives the waiting move 11. Kh1! an exclamation point -- it prompted the error sequence, lulled black to sleep.

May-26-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: MostlyAverageJoe: "I contemplated 18.Bh5 for a while, but it seemed to me that Nxf7 would be the solution."

That is exactly what I did. And eventually I decided on Nxf7. Well Bh5 was the right answer, and Nxf7 looked OK at first but not after I turned the computer loose on it.

May-27-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White's piece sacrifices cleared out the black king side like a tear gas attack.
May-27-08  patzer2: White's 18. Bh5! builds a likely decisive attack against the weakened Black castled position, and solves the Sunday May 25, 2008 puzzle. See <johnlspouge>'s posts for analysis of a strong continuation.
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