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Bent Larsen vs Brian Eley
Hastings (1972/73), Hastings ENG, rd 2, Dec-28
Nimzo-Larsen Attack: Modern Variation (A01)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  jahhaj: Easy puzzle, obvious first move. But after the plausible but incorrect moves of Monday and Tuesday I thought I should check carefully.

The possibility of 19...♗g5 held me up a while, White has lots of pieces en prise, but then I saw 20.♖d7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jahhaj: The notorious Brian Eley (in the UK anyway). Check out his own page for what this man allegedly got up to.
Sep-14-05  Averageguy: I got it up to 20...Bf6, jumping to the conclusion that black would get too much for his queen.
Sep-14-05  Goumindong: <pantlko> So would i, its a rook sack either way.
Sep-14-05  Goumindong: Thinking about it, Ng5 sacks a Knight, Bishop and Rook for a Bisop, Knight and Rook. Black might be able to even get out of it ahead.
Sep-14-05  sataranj: if chessgames continues with such tough problems i'd better call it a day
Sep-14-05  PDup: Found it. Always consider sacrifices in positions where you have several pieces threatening the king's position. Identifying the weak g6 should help tip the balance in favour of the forcing Rxf7.
Sep-14-05  sharkbenjamin: Patzer2 thanks for your notes.
Sep-14-05  Rama: Larsen plays a really nice game here, economical, precise, Karpov-like. He achieves his ideal position in his favorite opening but is that winning? Where did black go wrong?

Everything seems okay until 15 ... Nc5. He has just exchanged off his white-squared Bishop leaving only this Knight to cover the white squares on the K-side. By going to c5 it allows 16 Qg4, threatening mate and forcing 16 ... g6 which them begs the advance 17. f5 .... This move spells real trouble for black.

So instead of c5, the Knight should go back to f6 I think. Then Qd7 and the situation is covered: 15 Qxe2 Nf6, 16 Nh5 Qd7, 17 Nxf6 Bxf6, 18 Bxf6 gxf6. This is a double-edged position.

Sep-14-05  MoonlitKnight: Two flaws: Your knight is on g3, so Nh6+ is impossible, and Nxb2 is much stronger than Nxc1.
Sep-14-05  peabody88: <JustAFish> <After thinking that Rxf7 allowed black to squeeze out equality, I tried 19 Rf5 Nxc1 20 Nh6+ Kh7 21 Rxf7 Kxh6 22 Bg7+ Kh7 23 Bf6+ K g8 24 Qxg6#> white's ♘ is in g3 so it can't reach h6 to give the check
Sep-14-05  zb2cr: Got the key move, but did not see why
Black would resign after 21. ... Qxf6;
22. Rxf6+. After all, Black would have 2R vs. Q+P--close to material equality. Also, while Black's Pawns would have been weak, it didn't seem to be cause for immediate resignation.

<Iron Maiden>'s, and <patzer2>'s, comments cleared it up for me.

In <patzer2>'s line declining to take the B, 21. ... Qc8. I think
22. Be5+ is easier to see. The reply 22. ... Ke7 is forced--22. ... Kg8; 23. Qxg6#.

After 22. ... Ke7; 23. Qg4+ Black has
two replies.

a. 23. ... Kd7; 24. Rf7+. Now if
24. ... Ke6; 25. Qf6#, or if 24. ... Re7; 25. Qxe7#.

b. 23. ... Ke6; 24. Rf6+.
Two variations--
b1. 24. ... Kd7; 25. Rf7+ and things are just the same as in variation (a).

b2. 24. ... Ke7; 25. Rd6+, K(f7 or f8); 26. Qf6+, Kg8; 27. Qg7#.

Sep-14-05  JustAFish: Whoops. I meant 19 Nf5.
Sep-14-05  Norman Glaides: Brian Eley famously applied for the England manager's job back in the eighties but didn't get it because he wanted to put Seaman in the under fifteens.
Sep-14-05  GoldenKnight: As <patzer2> has pointed out if you follow some of his variations, while the material may not seem too unbalanced, White will be able to cherry-pick his pawns. White demolished Black's pawn structure on the Kingside, which then exposed the vulnerabilites of his Queenside pawn structure to White's Queen. I do not know the details of this opening, but it seems to me that Black's mistakes were on moves 7, 9 and 10. Nimzovitch wrote at length about the problems of doubled pawn structures of this type, and the fact that you *don't* want to advance such as structure, as it weakens it. In fact he said that when you face such a structure, you should "coax" it forward for that reason!

Eley looked like he was trying to overwhelm Larsen, but he got what he asked for. If anyone would like to update me on this opening and the theory behind it, I would appreciate it. I don't have the facilities for doing that myself right now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <zb2cr> Thanks for exploring the 21...Qc8 declined line. Your suggestion 21...Qc8 22. Be5+! looks good for a win and in a practical game against a human opponent does seem to be easier to play OTB.

An analysis with Fritz 8 gives:

21...Qc8+ 22. Be5+ Qf5 [As you indicate, most human players would of course play into the "forced" 22... Ke7 23. Qg5+ Ke6 (23... Kd7 24. Rf7+ Ke6 25. Qf6#) 24. Rf6+ Ke7 25. Rd6+ Kf8 26. Qf6+ Kg8 27. Qg7#] 23. Rxf5+ gxf5 24. Qg7+ Ke6 25. cxd5+ Kxd5 26. Bxc7 Ne5 27. Bxe5 Rxe5 28. Qd7+ Kc5 29. Qd4+ Kb5 30. Qxe5+ (+15.81 @ 12 depth) with a clearly decisive material advantage.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I first looked at the queen and rook sacs-but missed the incursion of the second rook. I tried the more passive Nh5.
Sep-14-05  jackpawn: Found this one almost immediately. With heavy pieces bearing down on the king you just naturally begin looking at sacs.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: got to get my eyes checked, I saw the names on top of the puzzle on the home page and saw Larsen vs. Ebay...
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: Well, I found the 19. Rxf7 Kxf7 20. Rf1+ Bf7 line, but I figured that 21. Rxf7+ line was pretty good, and left white with a winning game, where the black king is very exposed and the white queen has lots of mobility (such as Qd7+) to start picking off pawns. I see that 21. Bxf7 is better, but they both look winning to me.

This is a tactic that is often seen when there are 2 connected rooks on the back rank, and one of them can attack the opposing king's defense. Sac the first rook to open the defense, then after it is captured, slide the other rook to the spot vacated by the first rook - with check, and further attack to follow. Is this a "clearance sacrifice"?

Sep-14-05  dhotts: I believe the final part of the solution to the puzzle is in 21...Qxf6 22.Qd7+ Re7 23.Rxf6+ Kxf6 24.Qxc6+ winning the rook at a8!

Not recapturing the Bishop on f6 looks like a hopeless venture for Black as well.

Sep-14-05  zb2cr: <patzer2>,

I stand corrected! I didn't look at the potential countersacrifice of the Queen. Thanks for contributing to my education.

Sep-14-05  dhotts: Zb2r and patzer2, the option of declining the white bishop on f6 leads to mate, 21...Qc8 22.Bd8! Kh8 23.Qxg6 followed by Rf7 and mate. If 22...Kg7 23.Nh5+ and 24.Qg5+ and 25.Rf7+. There is no hope for the Black monarch.
Sep-16-05  zb2cr: <dhotts>,

I'm assuming you had a typo in your solution, since 22. ... Kh8 is not feasible. Both <patzer2> and I would agree with you; the only debate is in how fast the mate can be forced, or if
Black can stave it off at ruinous cost
in material (as in the Fritz 8 Queen countersacrifice line <patzer2> presented).

Your line looks impressive, as it also works to produce a quick mate against the Fritz 8 line, besides the two cases you mentioned.

21. ... Qc8; 22. Bd8+, Qf5; 23. Rxf5+, gxf5; 24. Qxf5+, Kg8 ( if 24. ... Kg7 White can force the King to g8 anyway with 25. Qf6+ ); 25. Qg6+, Kf8 ( 25. ... Kh8; 26. Bf6#. ); 26. Nh5 and I don't see any way for Black to stop the mate. E.g., if 26. ... Rexd8; 27. Qg7+, Ke8; 28. Nf6#.

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