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Kiril Dimitrov Georgiev vs Alexey Shirov
Biel (1992), Biel SUI, rd 12
Sicilian Defense: Four Knights Variation (B45)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-12-08  Onlyapawn: Nice puzzle. The forst thing I noticed was the discovered check on the Queen and Black's weakness on f-6. So the first thing I looked for was a good place for the White Bishop.

Through trial and error,I finally saw g-6 which attacks the Queen, blocks the Rook from getting to f-6, gains a tempo allowing the White Queen to come crashing through to "crush da enemy"

Nov-12-08  Marmot PFL: Cute problem. Bg6 breaks the rooks defense of f6, and if Qe6 Bf5. Surprised that Shirov missed that though
Nov-12-08  maclouly: why dont play 23.. Qxg2
will produce a balanced game
Nov-12-08  Patriot: Looking at the "seeds of tactical destruction", both of black's rooks and knight are loose...white has a battery along the f-file...the black queen is aligned with the rook on d1 so a discovered attack on the queen is possible with Bh7 or Bg6 or Bc4.

As Dzechiel pointed out, I thought about playing 23.e4 so that 24.Qd2 (forking rook and knight) could be played but this runs into 23...Qc5 and the white queen is pinned.

23.Bh7 Qxd1 24.Rxd1 Rxh7 and white has lost a bishop and rook for queen--not a huge advantage but perhaps white can play 25.Qd2 Nc6 26.Qxd6+ Ke8 and 27.Qxf6. But I like <alshatranji>'s line better: 23...Qxg2+ 24.Qxg2 Rxg2+ 25.Kxg2 Rxh7--simple and probably best with approximate equality.

23.Bg6 is promising because it has a double-threat of Rxd5 and Qxf6+. At first glance it looks like 23...Qe6 stops both threats, but 24.Bf5 and the queen is trapped. So one try is 23...Qxd1 24.Qxf6+ Kd7 (24....Kd8 or 24...Kc8 25.Qxg8+ is an easy win) 25.Qxf7+ Kc6 26.Be4+ and 27.Rxd1.

Another idea for black: 23.Bg6 Qc5 24.Qxf6+ Kd7 25.Qxf7+ Kc6 26.Qxg8 Qxe3+ 27.Kh1 and white wins.

Nov-12-08  maclouly: i dont belive that a shirov dont see this variant
23...... Qxg2
24 Qxg2 Rxg6
25 Qxg6 Rxg6

This is balanced final 2 peons for a quality

Nov-12-08  Patriot: <maclouly> 23.Bg6 Qxg2+ and white has two options: Qxg2 or Kxg2. After 24.Kxg2 Rhxg6+ 25.Kh1 and white is winning easily.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Wow! A powerful blockade theme! White attacks the queen and blocks the rook to allow an incursion deep into black's country-via Qxf6+
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I spotted it also, 23..Qe6 forces bishop for queen. These puzzle positions hold wonder, Georgiev must've had a Biely good time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Major blind spot here. I saw no way through on the f-file, tried toying with fantasy lines involving a rook sac on d6, and reluctantly decided there was nothing better than the dubious 23.Bh7.

Small consolation -- it seems Shirov didn't see Bg6! coming either.

Nov-12-08  njchess: A fun puzzle, but easily solved. Everything is going smoothly for both players until Shirov makes an odd knight move with 15. ... Na5? The point of that move was to follow up with a later Nc4 attacking the e3 pawn and thereby provoking b3 weakening the knight on c3.

However, none of this make much sense to me given the position. With the center essentially locked (at least until Black opens it), as well as four out of five of White's major pieces on the queenside and king side castling in White's future, I would have thought beginning a king side attack on White's already weak king side would have been more advantageous. Black places rook(s) on the g-file, add the bishop and h pawn and Black has a credible king side attack. The only real issue would have been to get the queen involved.

15. ... Nb4 followed by d5 would have been a better play aiming for a king side attack. Even the immediate 15. ... h5 followed by 16. ... h4 sacrificing the f6 pawn would have been more playable. In short, what was Shirov thinking with 15. .. Na5? ??? lol

After 16. 0-0 Ke7 17. Qe1 h5 18. b3 Qc5 19. Nd5+ Bxd5 20. exd5 Qxd5, White plays the obvious 21. Rd1. At this point, the warning lights should have been going off for Shirov. He plays 21. ... Rcg8 but in response to 22. Qf2 he plays 22. ... Rh6. Slightly better would have been 22. ... Qc5 or Qc6. They are both losing as well after White plays b4 and then Black's central pawns are mowed down. But, Black gets to keep his queen and White's task is anything but easy given that Black still has both rooks and his queen.

Looking at the puzzle position, I noted five things. One, Black's knight is just a bystander and moreover, it actually competes with Black's queen should it need to move. Two, Black's queen is resting unguarded on a white square subject to a disclosed attack by White's rook. Three, Black has virtually no control over the light squares. Four, Black's king and parallel rook are protecting the doubled f6 pawn which is being attacked by White's queen and rook. Five, Black is threatening mate via the rook on g8 and queen on d5 (therefore, if White is going to move his queen, he must check the Black king).

Given the above, a bishop move seemed obvious as the strongest candidate moves. Among them were, Bxa6, Bh7 and Bg6. Bxa6 nets a pawn and not much else. Bh7 forces an exchange to a two rook vs. knight and rook ending. Probably winning for White, but Black's central pawns coupled with White's weak king side make it anything but easy, much less conclusive.

Bg6 had possibilities though. Besides attacking Black's queen and gaining a tempi in the process (something Bxa6 did as well), it also had the virtue of cutting off the rook from the f6 pawn which would allow Qxf6+ and so forth. It wasn't until I really looked at the position after Bg6 that I saw how hopeless Black's position became. After 23 Bg6, Black has to either move Qc5 or Qc6 (23. Bg6 Qe6 24. Bf5! and Black loses the queen), or play Rhxg6; all of which lead to a crushing loss of material for Black. Game over. Well played by White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Cool! -- I saw the right move almost instantly after I assimilated the position. :-)

Observations: My queen wants to take Pf6 in the worst way, but it's guarded by Rh6. My Pg2 is facing danger from the black queen and Rg8. I would love to move my bishop somewhere useful so that my discovered attack on the black Q would have some bite.

When all of this is taken into consideration, the g5 square starts flashing. By plunking my bishop there with 23.Bg5, I block both rooks from doing their thing, threaten Qxf6+, and force Black to move his queen.

But where? Not 23...Qe6 (to guard Pf6) since 24.Bf5! traps the queen. Other Q moves are simply lame because they allow 24.Qxf6+ with massive losses to follow.

One example: 23...Qc5 (threatening ...Qxe3+) 24.Qxf6+ Kd7 25.Bf5+ Kc7 26.Qxh6 (winning a rook and guarding Pe3 after all).

Nov-12-08  zb2cr: Oh rats, all I saw was 23. Bh7. I didn't see the mayhem that follows if White stops the Bishop one square earlier--on g6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: 23.Bg6! is murderous, threatening both 24.Rxd5 and 24.Qxf6+. Moves like 23...Qc6 or the attempt at a queen sacrifice with 23...Qxd1 are crushed by 24.Qxf6+. The only try to save both the queen and the f-pawn is 23...Qe6, but that allows White to "Shirov" Black's queen with 24.Bf5.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: I wouldn't call this a "Four Knights Variation," btw. It's a Sicilian Sveshnikov (or "Lasker-Pelikan") if you like, Bird variation. The "normal" move order to reach this line is 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 (Shirov's 2...e6 reaches the same position a move later unless White deviates) 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 Be6, as in Robatsch vs Larsen, 1963 Bird himself took 9 moves to reach this position in the seminal game Sellman vs Bird, 1883
Nov-12-08  JG27Pyth: I loved this move, Bg6 with the double attack double interference and the queen trap coming if Blacks tries the obvious defense Qe6... all great... BUT

<Maclouly> has pointed out that Black gets what appears to be a playable game with <♕xg2+! ♕xg2 ♖hxg6 ♕xg6 ♖xg6+> -- It's all rather forcing that I can see... and Black emerges down the exchange but up two pawns. By material count it's even... and with all those pawns on the board... it's way too early (for me at least) to resign.

Did Shirov really miss this?... or does a GM look at that ending and see nothing but defeat for Black?

Nov-12-08  Antonius Blok: <5hrsolver>

Damn! you're right!

I nexted the Bg6 move (however I tought it was the best move)because of Qe5, and I didn't see this Bf5 infernal trap !!!

Today it the second move was the most difficult.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <JG27Pyth> If 23.Bg6 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2, and white wins easily - as I think somebody already pointed out.
Nov-12-08  TheaN: Wednesday.


White: a2, b3, c2, e3, g2, h2, Bd3, Rd1, Rf1, Qf2, Kg1

Black: a6, b7, d6, e5, f7, f6, h5, Na5, Rg8, Rh6, Qd5, Ke7

Material: -♘+♙/♗

Candidates: <[23.Bg6]>

DISCOVERY. ON. QUEEN. It was the first alert that jumped out from the position. And to be honest, the solution is not very difficult afterwards. We want to use it, and want to take out the defender of f6. We can do that, in one blow.

<23.Bg6> take note that 23.Bh7?! allows 23....Rxg2! 24.Qxg2 Qxg2 25.Kxg2 Rxh7 with some problems for White. Also winning, but this threat is way more severe. What can Black do here? Moving the Queen in order to safe f6 is deadly. Btw, I'll not consider any move that gives away the Queen for nothing. Ke6, due to Qxf6, falls in that category, and any other move not depicted below.

<23....Qe6 24.Bf5 > whoops. Bye bye Queen. Critical move, though.

<23....Qc5> or Qc6 or Qb5, doesn't really matter; it might allow a check or two more so I think that in this category -Queen move without guarding f6-, Qc5 is best.

<24.Qxf6 Kd7 (Ke8 25.Qxf7 Kd8 26.Qxg8 Kd7 27.Qg7 or Kf8 25.Qxf7) 25.Qxf7 Kc6 26.Qxg8 > Black is lost: the King position is not really in Black's advantage, with a Rook down. Qxe3 with Kh1 and the pieces can go back in the box.

<23....Qxd1> original idea: getting Rook and Bishop for the Queen. White should not be greedy though.

<24.Qxf6 Kd7 (Kf8 25.Qxf7)> with Ke8, the same as in B happens forced, after which Rxd1 follows: 24....Ke8 25.Qxf7 Kd8 26.Qxg8 Kd7 27.Qg7 Kc6 28.Rxd1 .

<25.Qxf7 Kc6 (Kd8 26.Qxg8) 26.Be4!> a nice little intermediate move that does not allow Black to get Rook+Bishop, but only Rook for the Queen.

<26....d5 (Kc5 27.Rxd1 or Qd5 27.Qxd5 ) 27.Rxd1 > and is impossible due to 27....dxe5 leading to 28.Qxg8, so White keeps the Bishop. +♕/♖ with a deadly position wins easily.

<26....Rhxg6 27.Rxd5 > is with all due respect the best variation for Black, but pointless. Black can't play 27....Rxg2 going two Rooks down against Knight for the Queen he just lost. White wins the +♕/♗ ending easily. A more complex situation than C, however, where it is more simplified. Here Black still has the Rooks and White has to be slightly careful in the upcoming. Winning for sure, though.

Nov-12-08  TheaN: 3/3

Oh forgot to mention the slightly ill-faded variation rated around variation B: <23....Qxg2 24.Kxg2 (Qxg2?! Rhxg6 ) Rhxg6 25.Kh1 > and the White King is safe. I did see it, just forgot to mention it. One point for me.

Nov-12-08  JG27Pyth: Domdaniel <If 23.Bg6 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2, and white wins easily - as I think somebody already pointed out.>

Thanks! How could I not see that? ! LOL... I've got an ongoing two week case of chess blindness.

Nov-12-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I saw 23.Bg6 but missed a couple of continuations.

I thought 23.Bg6, Qxd1 24. Rxd1?! (24.Qxf6+ wins easily), Rhxg6 25.Qd2,Rxg2+ 26.Qxg2,Rxg2+ 27.Kxg2 with a won endgame for white IMO which is why I didn't try and improve the line earlier on.

Also 23.Bg6,Qxg2+ 24.Qxg2?! transposes into the same endgame 24..Rhxg6 25.Rf2,Rxg2+ 26.Rxg2,Rxg2+ 27.Kxg2 but black can improve here and keep the other rook on putting up a much tougher fight. (e.g. 26..Rc8 or h8 maybe even g6?! draws after 27.Rxg6,fxg6 and no invasion squares...)

< Domdaniel: Major blind spot here. I saw no way through on the f-file, tried toying with fantasy lines involving a rook sac on d6, and reluctantly decided there was nothing better than the dubious 23.Bh7>

I initially thought 23.Bh7 as well, but 23..Qxg2 ruined the idea.

There are lots of half tries in this position though.

I also briefly considered 23.e4 planning on Qd2 attacking both Na5 and Rh6 but 23..Qc5! ruins that idea.

Lots of ideas to sift through in this, nice puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <confuse: <zooter> good comments. I had the same thought. : )>

Exactly what I was thinking :)

Nov-12-08  cn1ght: I looked at B-g6 but then I I didn't check for a continuation after ...Q-e6 as I simply assumed Black's position would hold then I noticed B-h7 winning the exchange with a probable won endgame... According to my computer B-h7 does still win, just nowhere near as nicely as the test move :(
May-22-09  dwavechess: 17/23 concur with Rybka 3 at 3 min. per move for Kiril Georgiev
Mar-25-16  PJs Studio: I'm a huge Shirov fan and I'm not surprised he missed Bg6!! It's an outstanding move. Plus, what else is he going to play 25...Qe6 while better, runs into similar awful tactics for black.
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