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Jan Timman vs Nigel Short
Tilburg Interpolis (1990)  ·  Dutch Defense: Classical. Stonewall Variation Botvinnik Variation (A93)  ·  1-0
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Given 2 times; par: 41 [what's this?]

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sac: 29.Qg8+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-01-08  njchess: Fun puzzle depicting a smothered mate. Black never really got much going this game. He never managed to break down White's central pawns.

As early as move 8. ... Nc6, Black is looking uncomfortable; c5 might have been a better. 11. ... Be8 is a sign of bad things to come, and by 20. ... Nd8, the game is all but over. Nicely played by Timman.

Dec-01-08  BKITU: Philidor mate jumped immediately to mind. It helped that I spent a lot of the weekend doing chess puzzles, and had stumbled across a couple of them. I see this one last Monday, and I probably miss it. =/
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: I would say there's more than one way to win this. The first idea I tried looks pretty winning to me (although not as slick as the smother mate).

I tried the simple & direct 26.Qxf5, which immediately threatens Qxh7#, let alone Qxg4.

It seems like the only reasonable way to avoid these threats is 26...Nf6 (saving the N and guarding h7). But this sets up a little windmill: 27.Qe6+ Kg8 28.Nf7+ Kg7 29.Nd6+ Kg8 30.Nxe8 Nxe8 31.Rd8 (pinning & winning N with mate threat).

I did seem a little more involved than the typical Monday, but the line wasn't hard to see...

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A mate in 5 on a Monday! Wow!

OK,it's the gold standard of mating combinations-the smothered mate.

Just think,if you've never seen it before:A queen sac leading to a mate by a single knight.

But even after a million times,it is still brilliant and artistic!!

Dec-01-08  DarthStapler: Got it
Dec-01-08  YoungEd: This mate never gets any less beautiful, no matter how many times I see it! Hooray to me (along with the rest of us) for catching it quickly.
Dec-01-08  xrt999: 26.Qc4+ Kh8 27.Qf7 also wins by force
Dec-01-08  JG27Pyth: Monday -- a new week, I crawl from my dark Sunday bomb-shelter and step into the new week's sunlight blinking, bright-eyed and pink cheeked, ready to take on the world... HERE I AM! I sing out to the birds and bushes as I go skipping merrily down the lane swinging my little basket of chess pieces, my gingham bonnet tied neatly in a bow (just visible behind my full beard...)

Ahh... Monday... innocent carefree Monday...

I think 20.Nd8 was a poor move -- very unShort... surely he had better there, than passively defending like that... Nxe5 looks very complicated to me but a possibility (I can't do any engine analysis as my computer is DEAD and I'm on the wife's laptop (jeez, this Mac OS ... I feel like I'm in some tacky rich stockbroker's idea of a moderne apartment... everythings just a little too 'styly' and clean -- I like sweaty ugly windows XP -- water stains and doghair everywhere... homey.)

Dec-01-08  MaczynskiPratten: <Woody Wood Pusher: Don't worry <dz>, Short once thought the Budapest Gambit would be a good idea against Karpov! THAT is embarrassing!> Actually Short doesn't seem to be doing too badly for most of that game Karpov vs Short, 1992 - and he got a draw against Ivanchuk in the same variation
Premium Chessgames Member
  number 23 NBer: 26 ♕xf5 seems instantly crushing, as 26 ... ♘f6; 27 ♕e6+ ♔h8; 28 ♘f7+ ♔g8; 29 ♘h6+ ♔h8; 30 ♕g8+ ♘(or ♖)xg8; 31 ♘f7#, 26 ... g6; 27 ♕f7+ ♔h8; 28 ♕xh7# and on any other Qxh7 is mate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  number 23 NBer: Ah. Clearly my variation was lacking in forcefulness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: The Philidor smothered mate after Qc4+ is the most efficient ... though, as <xrt999> says, Qf7 also wins quickly. Interestingly, there are at least three classic games where Short beat Timman: this is a case of the boot on the other foot. Why Nigel played on after Nf7+ is another question.
Dec-01-08  bullsbehad: Two questions:
1. If you solve to "one of the possible" mates, but its not the one played, do you still pat yourself on the back? Or just say to yourself "silly amature, no wonder your not a GM!?"

2. Can someone explain or send me to a place to fully understand what a "Philidor Mate" is? Sounds interesting, and I'd love to know more. When I saw the Knight move in, I was like "what the he...Not Qf7? Ooooh that's cool!"

Thanks for the great Kibitzing...very informative!

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: << bullsbehad > wrote : [snip] >

As <agb2002> pointed out (and his kibitzes are always right :), you can find the answer to your question at, where the present game is featured in a prominent diagram.

Dec-01-08  Tactic101: Typical Monday. Queen sac in a Smothered Mate. Several moves down the line, but pattern recognition makes finding the solution a snap.
Dec-01-08  TrueBlue: here is what I got, I little difficult for Monday:

26. Qc4+ Kh8 27. Nf7+ Kg8 28. Nh6+ Kh8 29. Qg8+ Rxg8 30. Nf7

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Monday Dec 1, 2008 puzzle solution, White initiates a smothered mate combination with 26. Qc4+!
Jan-01-09  WhiteRook48: why didn't Short resign I thought he knew this checkmate well. wait a minute it was blitz
Feb-27-09  WhiteRook48: basic wins 101
Nov-07-10  Tigranny: Smothered mates are one of my favorite mates.
Apr-13-12  Joey Hawks: Ever notice how knights seem to deliver the final blow?
Jul-07-13  Travis Bickle: Beautiful ending!
Oct-08-15  SimplicityRichard: "Why didn't Short resign after Nf7+, or at least after Nh6+"? Rhetorical question: in my view, Short was "being a sport" and allowing the game to end artistically for posterity. I am a club player and saw the mate immediately after Nf7+; and it is therefore my view that a super grandmaster will see this just as quickly if not quicker.#
Oct-08-15  Retireborn: Short has let himself be mated quite frequently in his games - at least ten examples that I know of. The famous one against Beliavsky was accidental, but I suppose it's usually a generous impulse to let the opponent have the satisfaction.

Timman returns the compliment here:-

Short vs Timman, 1992

Oct-08-15  Howard: No, you mean that Short "returns the compliment", not Timman.

But then Timman mated Yusopov in their 1992 candidates match, later that same year.

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