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Yasser Seirawan vs Vassily Ivanchuk
"The Miracle of Damascus" (game of the day Jun-21-12)
Groningen,FIDE WCH k.o NED (1997)  ·  King's Indian Defense: Six Pawns Attack (E77)  ·  1-0
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Given 28 times; par: 35 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-28-09  Jim Bartle: Mig's comments:

"Good old Vassily "Nerves of Fiberglass" Ivanchuk made his debut today against Yasser "This guy's 2700?" Seirawan. Seirawan played a rather rare line against Chukky's KID (5. Bd3) that he played in 1991 against Igor Ivanov in Los Angeles (draw, 51).

"Ivanchuk followed Ivanov's play (could he actually have been prepared for this? I think not.) with 8. ... Nd7, but when Seirawan played 9. Be3 instead of 9. 0-0 as in the Ivanov game Ivanchuk, instead of simply transposing into that decent-looking line, tried to make White lose time with the early bishop development by trading it off with 9. ... Bh6. This handed over too many dark squares after 10. Qd2 Bxe3 11. Qxe3 and led to rapid disaster.

"Ivanchuk eschewed normal black KID play (castling, playing ...f5, etc.) and instead embarked on an odd plan to exchange dark squared bishops (9. ... Bh6, creating roughly 18 billion weaknesses on his dark squares. Notice the snack on d6) and create queenside counterplay. That's right sports-fans, he gave up his kingside dark squares and decided to play on the queenside WITH BLACK IN A KING'S INDIAN."

Jun-21-12  Mudphudder: What positional madness by white!!!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: It's our old friend, the Six Pawns Attack-- so named because White attacks with four pawns.
Jun-21-12  HeMateMe: Hmm...Seirwan was born in Syria; his family moved here later. Is there a "Miracle of Damascus" in the bible, or something like that?
Jun-21-12  LoveThatJoker: Tremendous game from GM Seirawan!


PS. This game is featured in GM Neil McDonald's "Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <HeMateMe> At first I thought the pun referred to Paul's conversion, but instead it refers to something not just more recent but actually still ongoing:

<The Miracle of Damascus centers around a Syrian girl named Mary (called Myrna) who has had visions of the Virgin Mary the Theotokos and our Lord Jesus Christ since 1982. Pure olive oil flows miraculously from a small icon of the Virgin Mary in the home and also from copies of the icon regularly. It flows as well from the hands, face, eyes and entire body of the girl Myrna.>

They should test it and make sure its real olive oil. Most stuff from Europe isn't, you know.

Jun-21-12  HeMateMe: Me thinks it is more Shroud of Turin tomfoolery.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: Is there a notation error here?

If the game proceeded as shown, I have two questions:

(1) Why did White play 16. ♖f1 rather than castling?

(2) How is the final position won for White?

With the king on e1, Black has 22. ...♘xe4 and after 23. ♕b6+, ♔c8, White must beware of discovered checks. And if he captures on e4 with the bishop, Black recaptures with check and can try to find a way out., please re-examine your source documentation. In light of the foregoing, I am fairly certain that this score is incorrect and that White has castled.

Jun-21-12  King Death: < Abdel Irada: Is there a notation error here?

If the game proceeded as shown, I have two questions:

(1) Why did White play 16. Rf1 rather than castling?>

Probably because 16.0-0 allows 16...Nd3+ 17.Kh1 Nf2+ 18.Rf2 Qf2 19.Nf4 when White has play for the exchange. When you compare this to the game where he gets to blow open the position without sacrificing it may be OK for him but it isn't as good as what Seirawan played.

<(2) How is the final position won for White?

With the king on e1, Black has 22. ...Nxe4 and after 23. Qb6+, Kc8, White must beware of discovered checks. And if he captures on e4 with the bishop, Black recaptures with check and can try to find a way out.>

22...Ne4 23.Be4 Qe4+ 24.Kf2 is just winning for White, he's threatening Qb6+ and Nd6+. If Black plays 24...Qe6+ then 25. Qb6+ is still a winning line.

<, please re-examine your source documentation. In light of the foregoing, I am fairly certain that this score is incorrect and that White has castled.>

Don't be so sure. I've seen mistakes where it's obvious things were copied from one DB to another but I'll make a friendly little wager with you that this isn't one. CG got it right.

Jun-21-12  xenophon: Damascus needs more of a miracle than a good chess game.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: You are correct to note that castling into a discovery on move 16 would have been incorrect. If White castled at all, it would have had to occur earlier or later, so I sit corrected.

In the line with 22. ...♘xe4; 23. ♗xe4, ♕xe4+; 24. ♔f2, Black can't defend with 24. ...♕e6 (which isn't check), not only because of 25. ♕b6+, but also because the rook on f8 is en prise with check.

That said, you are also right in pointing out that Black is lost in any case. It was perhaps merely the timing that led me to question the accuracy of the score, since Black could have resigned with a clear conscience on any of the preceding four moves.

Jun-21-12  dhotts: Black's goose is cooked after 22....Nxe4 23.Qb6+ Kc8 24.Nd6+ with mate to follow on b7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I can't figure this one out. What happens next?
Premium Chessgames Member
  maxi: No, <dhotts>, that does not work because of 24.Nd6+ NxN+ (discovered). The correct line has already been pointed out: 22...Ne4 23.Be4 Qe4+ 24.Kf2, and White has horrible threats.
Jun-21-12  Everett: <xenophon: Damascus needs more of a miracle than a good chess game.>

When I saw the title of the game, I thought along similar lines. May a true miracle come quick for that land.

Jun-21-12  Kinan: Indeed, I am from Syria and we need a miracle to get rid of these terrorists calling themselves rebels.
Jun-21-12  Pnice: Too bad Seirawan couldn't use this resourcefulness against Karpov earlier this month!
Jun-21-12  ianb902: Wow, disastrous game by Ivanchuk.
Jun-21-12  gars: From move seven on Seirawan is better and better and Ivanchuk goes from bad to worse. A very good game by Seirawan.
Jan-29-14  GREYSTRIPE: <Karpova> Nicely said about the have a giftedness for catalogue transposing..Nice
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: Thank you for your kind words, <GREYSTRIPE>! Michael Greengard deserves the compliment instead, as I was quoting him on April 23, 2005.
Jan-30-14  GREYSTRIPE: <Karpova> Since it was not your quote, and the quote wasn't attributed in your paragraph, Michael Greengard must be an intelligent man if he were to have said what you paragraphed?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: <GREYSTRIPE: [...] and the quote wasn't attributed in your paragraph [...]>

I gave the link first, then the quote in <> and introduced it as an excerpt: Seirawan vs Ivanchuk, 1997

The link itself gives away it already, even if you don't click it (, migonches...).

That's Mig's player page if you are further interested in him: Michael Greengard

Jan-31-14  GREYSTRIPE: <Karpova> Nice to have seen the attribute-Pandolfini as the signature-series sines for the Vidmar-series. I think best it be that the attribution-clause of E be made ready for goodness-go. I am cogent in my chess.. The way of Anand would be to make a statement and the website sines true..if not, then Chrysler isn't for the petitioner..

Max Weiss sines for True Chess..
Do you like him? You seem should if square-chess appeals to you..

Praise God for Good-Chess Go!
Col 1:17 KJV

Premium Chessgames Member
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