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Nassim Sakr vs Ali Atwi
ch-LIB (2001), Beruit LIB, rd 1, Jul-25
English Opening: Anglo-Lithuanian Variation (A10)  ·  1-0


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find similar games 1 more N Sakr/Ali Atwi game
sac: 26.Qxc8+ PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Mar-02-09  AuN1: very reminscent of a couple of petrosian combinations.
Mar-02-09  MiCrooks: I agree...Tuesday fare even though all pretty much forced (Black could refuse the Queen sack but that is even worse).

For a beginner finding Rh8 in the middle of the combo would be a bit hard compared to the mate in two fare that Monday's often offer.

Mar-02-09  Alphastar: Is it can be time to sacrifice queen?
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: A little longer than normal for a Monday, but still pretty clear.

Frankly white is already comfortable with a 2P lead, and would love to trade off pieces.

Trading our Q for a R+N with 26.Qxc8+ Nxc8 27.Rxc7+ Kh7 wouldn't be advisable by itself. However, seeing that our N is in a great forking position, we should find the clever decoy: 28.Rh8+! (decoy) Kxh8 29.Nxf7+ (a bonus pawn) with 30.Nxd6 next.

The only piece left on the board is our knight. This and our extra 3P makes for a trivially easy win.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black had two sorry conclusions-instead of resigning.

27...♔h7 28 ♖h8+ ♔xh8 29 ♘xf7+ and 30 ♘xd6. White is then a knight and three pawns ahead. 27...♕f8! 28 ♖xf8+ ♔xf8 and white ends a knight and two pawns ahead.

It's the tiger or the tiger...

Mar-02-09  fyad reject: another monday failure. i wish we had a day between sunday and monday so that i could get at least one puzzle a week
Mar-02-09  ZUGZWANG67: <martinZH: Am I right to assume that spotting such sacs is much harder when you don't know that there is one? How do I solve this problem?>

It is of course easier to spot the combination once one knows it exists. And when one is trying to solve a puzzle, one is aware that there must be a solution.

Nonetheless there is another way to know there is a solution without being 100% sure there is actually one. When you' re playing an actual game, you should be aware of some cues that might suggest the presence of tactics. What helps in an actual game and also compensates partly for NOT being 100% sure of the presence of a forced sequence of moves (which one might call 'tactic') is the fact that one has been commited since the very beginning of that game. This 'being-acquainted-with-the-spirit-of-the-game-fac- tor' should help you expecting that there could be a forced sequence of move, if not immediatly, maybe a bit later. Take the position after 23.Ne5 from today' s game, for instance:

click for larger view

It is probably certain that White has been aware of the vulnerability of the black King since a certain time. And so has been Black, as he plays 23. ...Na7 in order to add some protection to the c8-square. But by doing so, Black also removed the queen' s only defender. There is a principle that suggests that almost any forced sequence of moves involves an undefended (or insuffently guarded) piece. Note that I did not write 'almost any position involving an undefended piece brings a forced sequence of move', but rather 'almost any forced sequence of moves involves an undefended piece'.

But why is the black King supposedly vulnerable ? Notice that I used the word 'vulnerable', instead of lost, being given that at this very moment, the black Rook is doing well in protecting the King from back rank mate. For this reason, White, being aware that the black King is not 'matable' right now, has just brought his Knight to e5, first to activate it in the center, but also, to target one of the squares that will allow to attack the undefended black Queen. Should the white Knight reaches f7, it would attack the black Queen AND some squares aroung the King.

See what we mean by 'being-acquainted-with-the-spirit-of-the-position- -factor'? There is nothing absolute, here, only some factors that could somehow make a forced sequence of moves envisionnable. When the white Knight comes to e5, it is centralised AND ties the black Rook down to the protection of f7. When a certain piece becomes overloaded, that is, when it has too many tasks, this increases the probability of a tactic. Here, the Rook defends the King against back rank mate AND defends the vulnerable f7-square. Meanwhile, before playing the Knight to e5, White had to find out that ...f6 offered Qa2+, as now the black King would have to go to the the awkward h8-square. It is now that White notices the key-relation between d6, f7 and h8. When the King goes to h8, it is subject to be forked with it' s Queen by a nasty Knight at f7.

Then comes 24.a4, because White dreams of bringing the Queen to c3 without being bothered by an annoying ...Nb5. And 24. ...h6 becomes almost necessary, as to bring air to the King. The advance of the pawn provides the black King an exit, but only to h7, as g6 is covered by the white Knight. The well advised white player knows that with the black King to h7, a white Rook to h8 AND a white Knight at e5, the Black King would be forced back to the last rank. By the way, 24. ...h5 would not be more efficient here, as a white Knight at f7 covers h6 as well.

By playing 25.Qc3, White adds up some pressure on c8. The Queen also targets g7 AND c7. This very last point threatens to take control of the entire 7TH rank, attacking f7 an other time through 26.Qc7 Qxc7 27.Rxc7, with tempi. This is probably what caused Black' s mistake here.

And when the unfortunate 25. ...Rc8 comes, all White has to do is counting the points. That is because while the game was in progress, he had had the chance to notice that a certain number of factors was evolving. He had become acquainted with the spirit of the game, which ultimately helped him at what chess players call 'pattern recognition'.

I hope this may help. :0)

Peace !

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Here is the Petrosian game that this reminded me of ...

Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966

Mar-02-09  ZUGZWANG67: <martinZH> About the position I posted in my answer to your question, actually, it is the one after 23. ...Na7.
Mar-02-09  TheaN: <ZZ> ^o.O... good phrases there. Consider my post as something like this is short form ^^.

To elaborate on <27....Qf8> I see some posters refer to. White has a nice final blow for Black there I guess: 28.Nc6 :). Although White wins the Queen, a pawn, and the game with 28.Rxf8 Kxf8 29.Nd7, the variation 28.Nc6 is very subtle: 28....Qxc8 29.Ne7 Ke8 30.Nxc8 b5 31.axb5 axb5 32.Na7 and the the b-pawn decides, or 28....g6 29.b5 axb5 (29....Qxc8 30.Ne7 Ke8 31.Nxc8 with 32 or 33.Nxb6 or 29....Kg7 30.Rxf8 Kxf8 31.bxa6 ) 30.axb5 Kg7 (30....Qxc8 31.Ne7 Ke8 32.Nxc8 with 33.Nxb6 ) 31.Rxf8 Kxf8 32.Na7 Ke7 33.Nc8 Kd7 34.Nxb6 Kd6 35.Na4 Kc5 36.b6 and White will Queen. Not that this wouldn't have happened after 28.Rxf8 Kxf8, thouh XD.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: <FSR: Do you know something about the laws of chess I don't?>

No, I stand corrected.

Mar-02-09  TheaN: And indeed, 28.Nc6 is +6.35 whilst 28.Rxf8 evaluates as +6.44... but that's without endgame tablebases XD.
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <zb2cr> All true. Just being a smart aleck. :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <martinZH:>

You are certainly getting good value for your question! Here's my three pennorth about how to spot when a combination might be "on".

First, combinations generally occur when you have some form of advantage or your opponent has a disadvantage. It's a bit like Spiderman's spidey sense. You just get the feeling that the position is "juicy" and ripe for tactics. Then it is worth investing some time to look for spectacular moves.

In the starting position for today's puzzle, white has two plusses. He has a queen and rook battery (ie standing on the same open file) and he has a far advanced knight. When knights get to the fourth, fifth or sixth ranks then exciting things often happen.

Secondly, you should always be looking for the contrarian move. The natural instinct for most beginners is to move the queen away when she is attacked. Instead, take a few moments to see what happens if you don't react in the stereotypical way. Can you counter-attack or ignore the threat to your queen?

One way to develop these sorts of instincts is to work backwards from the puzzle position. Once you have found out the winning line, look at the position again to find the factors which make the combination possible, such as rook/ queen batteries and far advanced knights.

Over time, you will develop a repertoire of positional plusses. This has two advantages - it helps you to spot when tactics are more likely and it helps you to create the circumstances when tactics can arise.

Mar-02-09  Billy Vaughan: I got this one and I'm happy because the latest few Mondays have been stumbling blocks for me. The knight is looking awfully suspicious, so near the enemy king and just one move away from attacking the Queen. And exchanging on c8 with check is a forcing line. The hardest part of this puzzle is figuring out the sac on h8 setting up the knight fork.
Mar-02-09  WhiteRook48: I got the puzzle solved!!
Mar-02-09  SamAtoms1980: I love positions like this. After looking at it for a moment, it's like blue-green and orange lines of force appear and show what the pieces do, like with this program here:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: A nice little clockwork machine, clearing up the c-file then finishing with a Petrosian fork that leaves white with the last piece on the board.

You know the Anthropic Principle in physics? At its simplest, it answers the question "why do we live in a universe that seems almost designed for us to evolve and survive in?" -- gravity and other forces with just the right strength, lightspeed neither too hot nor too cold: spooky.

The Anthropic Principle - which some say is just a tautology - asserts that we live in a fine-tuned baby-bear universe because, well, because we do. If it was different there wouldn't be any us around to observe it.

Combinations like this remind me of the Anthropic Principle. It actually hinges on a fact that never comes directly into play: the knight's control of g6. But if g6 wasn't covered then the sac Rh8+ would fail, as the king could run to g6.

So the combination seems designed. Or does it work because, well, that's the way these things work ... and if they didn't we'd have to find another combo.

Profound. Next week: discovered check and string theory ... how Nimzo restrains the branes ...

Mar-02-09  VaselineTopLove: Let me point you to

and please scroll down to 'Criticisms'.

I quote from the above wikipedia article

"Steven Jay Gould [53] [54], Michael Shermer[55] and others claim that the Anthropic Principle seems to reverse known causes and effects. Gould compared the claim that the universe is fine-tuned for the benefit of our kind of life to saying that sausages were made long and narrow so that they could fit into modern hotdog buns, or saying that ships had been invented to house barnacles. These critics cite the vast physical, fossil, genetic, and other biological evidence consistent with life having been fine-tuned through natural selection to adapt to the physical and geophysical environment in which life exists. Life appears to have adapted to physics, and not vice versa.

Lee Smolin argues using his fecund universes theory that fine-tuning for black hole creation is the fundamental cause for the observed values of physical constants. Conditions for carbon based life are similar to conditions for black hole creation which creates the illusion of the anthropic principle. Instead there is a black hole principle. Compare correlation is not causation."

It's best to present both sides of the argument I think. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Breunor: Once,

That Petrosian vs. Spassky game is great, thanks for sharing it!

Mar-02-09  newton296: <domdaniel So the combination seems designed. Or does it work because, well, that's the way these things work ... and if they didn't we'd have to find another combo.

Profound. Next week: discovered check and string theory ... how Nimzo restrains the branes ...>

wow ! good post . If you don't get paid to write , your in the wrong business .

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <newton296> Thankfully, I *do* get paid to write. Sometimes, anyhow. But I get nicer responses here ...

<Vaselin Toplove> -- <It's best to present both sides of the argument>

I agree. It *is* best, especially when you're actually making an argument. But I wasn't making one - I think the A.P. idea is interesting, but I'm agnostic on it - I don't care much either way, and I certainly wasn't trying to defend its validity.

I *did* say that some people regard it as a tautology, which at least suggests that there are two (or more) sides. And all I meant was that this game reminded me of it.

And I *really* don't trust Wikipedia, btw, except as a guide to better sources. Almost every time I look up something I actually know about, I find either mistakes or one-sided arguments. I admit I use it a lot, but never as a proof of anything.

If I said that, let's say, Kramnik's play reminded me of minimalist painting, Suttles used to play like a surrealist, and Topalov made me think of eclectic postmodernism, would you want me to give a full description of contemporary art, along with my own opinion? Probably not, but it would be only fair to explain what I meant by the comparison.

Something like this. Kramnik reminds me of minimalism because his style is no style - he has few personal flourishes. He can be highly efficient, or a bit dull - but you'd rarely call his play beautiful. Topalov, on the other hand, is the wildly emotional type of postmodernism, more expressionist, full of energy and personality, but sometimes badly flawed - which is the price you pay for riotous brilliance.

And Suttles was like the surrealists because he seemed to *dream* his games, not play them.

As you might guess, I write about art more than I write about physics. But I'm interested in both, and in links between them and chess.

Ah, yes, chess ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Now I have a different problem with this game. The scoresheet gives the venue as "Beruit LIB" and s uggests it was played in the championship of LIB.

Is there a place called Beruit in Libya? Or maybe Liberia? Or is it really the better-known city of Beirut, in Lebanon?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: According to, ahem, Wikipedia, Ali Atwa is "Ali Atwa (born about 1960) ... is a Lebanese national and member of the Islamist organization Hezbollah."

And features on "Most Wanted Terrorist" lists ...

Maybe it's a common name in Lebanon. Or Libya. Or Liberia ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Domdaniel: > Excellent stuff today - very enjoyable!
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