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Ivan Sokolov vs Jan Timman
Sigeman and Co (1997), Malmo SWE, rd 6, Jun-??
Gruenfeld Defense: Exchange Variation (D85)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-08-08  kirchhoff: <cyclon:> I have egg on my face. Thanks for the reply.
Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: I too had white's first couple of moves but missed the reply Qc3 thinking it wasnt strong enough. In my defence I was giving Beefheart a listen and thought Nxh5 'a squid eating dough' at the time.
Nov-08-08  Antonius Blok: Damn! I didn't find it! i was looking for a Rook sac 26. Rxf7+ Rxf7 and then Nxh5 or something... Loosie combination wathever !!

When I miss a combination I try to find out what was the good thinking, and here It was:

We have a weak g6 pawn, and the f7 pawn is not able to defend it + The black bishop is protecting it but also protecting the black knight on d7 = If I take the knight it will send away his bishop, and after taking g6 with my knight I will have double pin (Rook on f8 and pawn on h5) and we know how dangerous is the last pin.

After that is just calculation, but It's easy to say it after reading the solution.

However, a master should make a real analysis (Not like us who are - in many cases - just trying all the possible sacrifices without reflexion)

Nov-08-08  Woody Wood Pusher: I saw 26.Rxd7 and the line in the game, but thought that 26..Bg4 defended adequately.

Looking now, 27.Bxf7+ leads to mate

27..Kh8 (27..Rxf7 28. Re8+, Rf8 29.Rxf8+,Qxf8 30.Qd5+ etc + -)28.Nxg6+,Kh7 29.Bd5+,Kxg6 30.Qd3+,Bf5 31.R1e6+,Kxg5 32.Rg7+,Bg6 33.Qxg6+,Kh4 34.Qg5 mate!

Nov-08-08  cyclon: <to fporretto> Are you serious? It`s almost impossible to compete even against 1st-class player with a healthy bishop or knight down (with pawns left in the end-game)! I`m not speaking of blitz here. Now, these players here in this game ARE Grandmasters which understands just about particle-level nuances, dynamics, tensions, timings etc. in the positions. It`s VERY easy to play chess weakly but EXTREMELY difficult to play it well.
Nov-08-08  felix90: hey i'd just looked 26...Bg4 the only move which can be useful for white now if he doesn't want to lose his rook is 27.B*f7+ But with 27...R*f7, 28.Qa8+ which looks keeping the advantage and saving the queen, but the easy 28...Rf8 leads now black to a material advantage if it's not a mate. There is interesting 29Qe4, but if black defends well he's ok with better materials.
Nov-08-08  felix90: ok hi again i've seen the answer to 26...Bg4! : This is the very good 27.R*f7 !!!!! 27...B*f3 28.R*f8+ 1/ 28...K*f8 29.Ne6+ and takes queen with material advantage (N*c5+ whatever black's move) 2/ 28...Kh7 29.Bg8+.Kh8 (of course not Kg7 due to Ne6+) leads to a draw with 30.Bd5+ black can play 30...Q*f8 31.N*g6+.Kg7 32.N*f8.B*d5 and equal positon with 33.Ne6+.B*e6 / if 33.Nd7 i see a little advance for black. so my result is DRAW ^^

if 27...R*f7 white wins with 28.B*f7.K*f7 29.Qb7+ (if ...Qc7, 30.Qd5+ and with little moves it's ok)

Nov-08-08  zb2cr: Rotgut. I tried 26. Nxh5 as a starting move and things got worse from there.
Nov-08-08  MiCrooks: I went for Nxh5 as well, which appears to lead to a winning position but not nearly as convincing as the game move, or even the immediate Nxg6.

What's the old adage, when you see a good move hold off and see if you can find a better one?

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Morning: I also settled for Nxh5. Good enough, but not the best.
Nov-08-08  cyclon: <to Felix90> After your 26.-Bg4> I `offer` 27.Bxf7+ Rxf7 (-Kg7,Ne6+ wins,-Kh8, Nxg6+ wins,-Kh7,Be6+ Kh8,Nxg6X) 28.Re8+ (and NOT Qa8+) and now;1.-Kg7 29.Ne6+ Bxe6 30.Qf6+ mates by choice/2.-Kh7 29.Rxf7X/3.-Qf8 29.Rxf8+ wins by choice/4.-Rf8 29.Qb3+ and now;1.-Kh8 30.Nxg6X /2.-Rc4 30.Rxf8+ Kxf8 (-Qxf8, Qxc4+ mates)31.Qb8+ Qc8 (NOTE, that Rd7 BLOCKS square-c8 from Bg4!)32.Qd6+ mates /3.-Qc4 30.Rxf8+ wins OUTRIGHT with the same idea.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gambitfan: I kind of "felt" rather quickly that Nxg6 was an interesting move due to the pinning of ♙f7 onto the black ♔...

I was not too ambitious for this puzzle since we are on Saturday...

My "quick vote" would have been 26 ♘xg6.

I failed to see the preparatory move aimed at diverting ♗f5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: A different way to win. White uses a heavy piece-a rook-as bait to lure away a bishop and allow a knight to penetrate the shields. The g6 square is unprotected,as the pawn at f7 is pinned.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Here's a breakout of the combination:

<26. Rxd7!! Bxd7>

26... Bg4 27. Bxf7+!! Rxf7 28. Re8+ Kg7 (28...Rf8 29. Rxf8+ Kxf8 30. Nxg6+ Kg8 31. Qf7#) 29. Nxh5+ Bxh5 30. Rxf7#

<27. Nxg6! Qc3>

27... Bg4 28. Qf6! Qxf2+ (28... Kh7 29. Nxf8+ Qxf8 30. g6+ Kh6 31. gxf7+ Kh7 32. Be4+ Bf5 33. Bxf5#) 29. Qxf2 Rxf2 30. Kxf2 Rd8 31. Nf4

<28. Qxh5> 1-0

Black resigns in lieu of such possibilities as 28...Re8 29. Re5!! Kg7 [29... Qa1+ 30. Kh2 Qxe5+ 31. Nxe5 Rxf2 (31... Rxe5 32. Qxf7+ Kh8 33. Qg8#) 32. Nxd7 ; 29... Rxe5 30. Qh8#] 30. Qh6+ Kg8 31. Qh8#

P.S.: Earlier, Black might have improved with 17...Nf6 =.

Nov-08-08  beginner64: <cyclon: <To Al Wazir and Beginner 64> If 27. -Be6 (instead of -Qc3), then instead of 28.Qxh5 (leaving guarding of the f2-square), I`d rather suggested 28.Qf6 (>29.Qh8X,`simply`) and if now proposed "Zwischenzug" 28-.Qxf2+ (-Qc3? 29.Ne7+ Kh7 30.Qh6X) then 29.Qxf2 Rxf2 30.Nxf8>

Well, <Al Wazir>'s point was that after 27. .. Be6 28. Qf6 Qxf2+ 29. Qxf2 Rxf2 30. Nxf8 Bxd5 31. Kxf2 Kxf8 leaves black only an exchange down. It seems to me as well that that leaves a R v Bishop end game with blacks pawns well placed and a draw possible, if not likely.

Or did I misunderstand your point <cyclon>?

Nov-08-08  cyclon: <to Beginner64> No you did not, I miss (overlooked) that variation, but resulting position IS theoretically won for white by correct play. Still, by a closer `look`, previously proposed (27.-Be6) 28.Qxh5! (instead of Qf6) WINS indeed. 28.-Qxf2+ 29.Kh2 fxg6 (-Qd4,Ne7+ Kg7,Qh6X)30.Qxg6+ (Bxe6+ Rf7, Qxg6+,Kf8 holds for the moment) Kh8 31.Qh6+ Kg8 32.Qxe6+ (only so) Rf7 (-Kg7,Qh6X/-Qf7,Qg6+ wins)33.Qg6+ Kf8 (-Kh8,Re8+ Rf8,Qh6X)34.Qd6+ (this is a difference;B on e6 this check would be impossible) wins by choice. Also (27.-Be6 28.Qxh5!)-fxg6 29.Qxg6+ Kh8 30.Qh6+ Kg8 31.Qxe6+ Rf7 (-K-,Qh6X)32.Qxf7+ Kh8 33.Qg8X.
Nov-08-08  SufferingBruin: Missed it by a country mile.

My candidate moves were Rxf7 or Bxf7+ and when those didn't work, I checked the solution and lo and behold. I never saw Rxd7, never considered Rxd7, probably because I never saw why taking the Knight was necessary (of course, it gets the Bishop out of the way).

Great puzzle for a great game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: There are several candidate moves:

A) 26.Bxf7+ Rxf7 27.Qb3 Qxf2+ 28.Kh1 Qh4+ 29.Nh3 Qc4 doesn’t look very promising.

B) 26.Rxf7 Rxf7 27.Qb3 Qxf2+ followed by Qxe1 and Black wins.

C) 26.Nxg6 Bxg6 27.Rxd7 and White has won a pawn.

D) 26.Rxd7 Bxd7 27.Nxg6 Qc3 28.Qxc3 Rxc3 29.Nxf8 Kxf8 and White is a pawn up.

E) 26.Nxh5 (threatening Rxd7 followed by Nf6+):

E.1) 26... gxh5 27.Qxf5 Nb6 28.Rxf7 winning.

E.2) 26... Be6 27.Rxd7 Bxd7 28.Nf6+ and 29.Nxd7 winning.

E.3) 26... Qc3 27.Qxc3 Rxc3 28.Rxd7 gxh5 (28... Bxd7 29.Nf6+ Kg7 30.Nxd7 Rd8 31.Nf6) 29.Rxa7 and White has a won ending.

E.4) 26... Rc1 27.Nf6+ Nxf6 28.gxf6 Rxe1+ 29.Rxe1 Qd4 and Black is not too bad.

I cannot see a forced win for White but, for practical purposes, I think I’d try 26.Nxh5.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: I saw the first two moves but missed 28.Qxh5 thinking that 27... Qc3 forced the endgame because of the double threat ... Qxe1 and ... Qxf3. I forgot that one can reply a threat with another bigger threat.
Nov-08-08  ruzon: Wow, I did just as well today as dzechiel and johnlspouge. What a great Saturday I'm having! Get that pawn!
Nov-08-08  SufferingBruin: It's hours later. I did not go the country, I did not go outside. I stayed in, wondering aloud why I missed this puzzle.

I gave up. I looked at two lines and quit outright. Never, ever quit.

No, I don't have an "obsession" problem with this game, why do you ask?

Nov-08-08  newzild: I found the main line quite easily today, but missed Woody Wood Pusher's defense:


and what I believe to be its refutation:

27.Bxf7+ Rxf7

a) If 27...Kg7 then 28.Nxh5+ followed by 28.Qf6+

b) If 27...Kh8 then 28.Nxg6+ Kh7 29.Nxf8+ Qxf8 30.Bxg6+ and 31.Qxf8

28.Re8+ Kg7

or 28...Rf8 29.Rxf8+ Kxf8 (29.Qxf8 30.Qb3+ Kh8 31.Nxg6++) 30.Nxg6+ Kg8 31.Qf7++

29.Nxh5+ Bxh5 30.Qxf7++

Nov-08-08  Kings Indian: Got this one from start to finish. The bishop's pin was the key. The knight was itching to move in Removing the guard with the rook opened the way. Following with the queen to H5 was both defensive and offensive. There was no choice.

Kings Indian's Dad

Nov-09-08  njchess: I managed to get this one. After studying the position for some time, I realized that the bishop's were the key to the position. With White, the bishop pinned the f7 pawn preventing recapture of the g6 pawn. But Black's bishop enabled recapturing this pawn.

Given Black's castled position and having his pawns linked together from f7 to h5, it is generally more desirable to grab the g6 pawn, if possible. This move usually smashes he king side wide open by 1) weakening the h5 pawn and 2) exposing the king to rook/queen threats.

In this case, Black's bishop was overworked protecting the vital g6 pawn and his knight. If 26. Rxd7, then Bxd7 seemed natural since giving up a knight at this stage of the game would be losing. 27. Nxg6 meant Black had to protect the a1-h8 diagonal to prevent Qf6. That meant I could expect Black's queen on either c3 or d4 (probably c3 since it would attack my rook). But, I didn't care since 28. Qxh5 followed by Ne7+ would produce mate.

Nov-09-08  Woody Wood Pusher: 26.Rxf7,Rxf7 27.Nxh5,Rc1 28.Rxc1,Qxc1+ 29.Kh2,Qxg5 30.Bxf7+,Kxf7 31.Ng3,Qh6+ 32.Kg1,Qc1+ 33.Kh2,Qc7 - + and white can probably not even draw.
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