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Joel Benjamin vs Eduard Gufeld
Cardoza US op (1998)  ·  Sicilian Defense: Chekhover Variation (B53)  ·  1-0
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Given 18 times; par: 53 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  gofer: The first thing that catches my eye the potential of a smothered mate, but it just doesn't seem to work!

30 Rxe4 fxe4
31 Qe6+ Kh8
32 Nf7+ Rxf7
33 Qxf7 ...

At which point we have a nice Queen on f7 with a bishop pair bearing down on the black king but its hardly a "done deal". What about playing a far more sneaky attack...

<30 Rxe4 fxe4>
<31 Qe6+ Kh8>
<32 Qxh6!! ...>

The queen is immune!

32 ... gxh6
33 Nf7+ Kg8
34 Nxh6#

<32 ... Rf6>

At this point white has won N+B for a rook, so its all good. But how to "seal the deal"?

<33 Qh5 ...>

I have to look, too many options to see a clear win...


Hmmm, Black didn't find a decent defence, when there probably was one...

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <30.Rxe4> dismantling the Black position 30...fxe4 31.Qe6+
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Friday puzzle, add me to the crowd that found <30.Rxe4! gxe4 31.Qe6+ Kh8> and followed up with 32. Nf7+.

Now 32. Nf7+ does win slowly after 32...Rxf7 (not 32...Kg8? 33. Nxh6+ Kh8 34. Nf7+ Kh8? 35. Nd6+ Kh8 36. Nxb5 ) 33. Qxf7 (+2.70 @ 23 depth, Deep Fritz 14).

However, it's not as strong or pretty as <32. Qxh6!> (+4.37 @ 23 depth, Deep Fritz 14) with the threat of mate-in-two after 32...gxh6 33. Nf7+ Kg8 34. Nxh6#.

So where does Black go wrong? Instead of 29...Qb5, allowing <30. Rxe4! >, Fritz indicates Black should put up more resistance with 29... Rd8. However, after 29...Rd8 30. Bd4 Qa6 31. Qh5 Rf6 32. Ree1 Qc8 33. Nd3 Rg6 34. b5 (+2.54 @ 21 depth) the position still looks hopeless.

Earlier, Fritz indicates 16...Na7 improves over 16...Ba6?! which allows 17. a4! with the threat 17...bxa4? 18. b5 .

In the opening, instead of <10...Qa5 =>, I prefer 10...Qc7 = as in R Lallemand vs T Kosintseva, 2005, and instead of 12...b5 I prefer 12... Bd7=.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cocker: Guessed 30 Rxe4, but didn't see 32 Qxh6.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: You gotta love these long-range ♗♗
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Uncharacteristically sloppy play by Gufeld
Oct-16-15  Oxspawn: I made a good start for a Friday with Rxe4 and Qe6+ but I did not see Qxh6 even after I'd seen it played on the board. I could feel the logic slowly unpeeling bits of my brain as I stared at this lunatic move. Oh, well. There are other things I'm quite good at.
Oct-16-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: White has a splendid pair of Harrwitz bishops versus B+N; otherwise material is even. Black threatens 31... Qxe2. The pinned d-pawn invites an exchange sac and pattern recognition drives the rest:

30.Rxe4! fxe4 31.Qe6+ Kh8 (Rf7 32.Nxf7 wins) 32.Qxh6!! (the highly productive tactic, Philidor's legacy, is not available in this position) but now:

A. 32... gxh6 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Nh6#

B. 32... Rg8 33.Nf7#

C. 32... d4 33.Bxd4 gxh6 34.Nf7+ forces mate.

D. 32... Rf7 33.Nxf7+ Kg8 34.Qxg7#

E. 32... other 33.Ng6+ followed by 34.Qxg7#

Time for review...

Oct-16-15  CHESSTTCAMPS: Too bad that I missed the game defense.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <piltdown man: It looks so easy when the grandmaster does it.>

So true!

Very nice puzzle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < Chessography: Why not 32...Rf6? (question mark representing confusion, not that it may be a bad move) >

..Rf6 is a better move than Nf5 for sure!
But white has two lovely bishops vs. a black rook, plus the passed B pawn, and after Qd2 it is clear that white will be able to post his pieces on the d5/e4 pair's "stop" squares (d4 & e3) while piling up on the backward d5 pawn. White can be completely happy with his position! The winning chances are his.

Stockfish 6-64 gives the following win...
35/50 24:44 1,091,640k 735k +3.88

32. ..Rf6 33.Qd2 Ref8 34.Bd4 Qe8 35.Ng4 Rf5 36.Rf1 Qd7 37.Ne3 Rh5 38.Bc5 Rd8 39.Bxe7 Qxe7 40.Qd4 Qe6 41.h4 Qf6 42.Rd1 Qxd4 43.Rxd4 g5 44.hxg5 Rxg5 45.Bxd5 Kg7 46.b5 Rd6 47.Rxa4 Rgxd5 48.Nxd5 Rxd5 49.b6 Rd8 50.Rxe4 Rb8 51.Rb4 Kf6 52.a4 Ke6 53.a5 Kd6

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < morphy234: This is Joey's best game!! why not on his "best games" list?? >

It may be one of his most stylish wins, but I doubt Joel would consider it one of his best games since Gufeld made a bunch of mistakes. Besides, other GM's would play over the game and just nod and think "yea nice idea" but would expect him to win in fine style due to the poor defense. Joel would pick as his "best" game one that was a very difficult battle against GOOD defense; a game in which he prevailed in spite of respectable opposition.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: White has the bishop pair for a bishop and a knight.

Black threatens 30... Qxe2.

The pawn on d5 is pinned. Therefore, the knight on e4 is defended by the pawn on f5 only. This pawn prevents Qe6+ so it is overburdened and suggests 30.Rxe4 fxe4 31.Qe6+ Kh8 32.Qxh6:

A) 32... gxh6 33.Nf7+ Kg8 34.Nxh6#.

B) 32... Rf6 33.Qg5 + - [2B vs R] and attack.

C) 32... Nf5 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Rxd5 Nxh6 35.Rxb5+ followed by either Nxf8 or Bxf7+ wins a piece.

Premium Chessgames Member
  PawnSac: < 32 ..Nf5? >

33.Ng6+! Kg8 34.Rxd5!

a classy finish punishing black's 32nd.

if Nxh6 35. Rxb5+ Nf7 36. Nxf8 Rxf8 37. Rb7 or

if Qxd5 35. Bxd5+ Rf7 36. Bxf7+ Kxf7 37. Qxh7

Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Pals am jaw e4 it edict have first then.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  chrisowen: Clink an fly dipoff aim dead try deem i afraid at ashenface 29...Qb5 at rub off in dives an dacode aced it edge ins hall otb ever b5 face better gains a6 efface off dice an duck delicate rook emperor batch eg win e4 it edict have then dime an cinch e6 dence h6 thicket code ash deprive an ducks dislocate fancy am manage harvest hip query h6 in demand dew catch angle better glide bigger trues banger trude basher bet an banter force bubble gives bobble likes bucket beater queen's am fag buffet pin buffer angle basher betty bishop heavens above h6 bodger trues banker ala show boat in uniform appraisal vents ballet dance bummer cains bunter all at boggle gives buster glide batter up tours horns bugles call i wag bounty bade b5 band bind bond bend ive nebula dab band bald bun as nub be flog fang b5 flung a6 instead good be an gift gab feel like buff eg biff give gob life bog fence riven either in ein he bony bent vie beeline for egg as win am afforders 29...Qa6 in affable mists acumens overt aethers glide ashhand aileron route alldone links annoint roves applies angle arrives there assumes backs atrophy black augments haste avarice greed it edict awoogas have axehand ever tickle gaffer fag flog affinity ramble gives park affix give line gave fable for dank and dusty prang coil flank as cadence ogle rook first e6 queen's am fag h6 pin came links flight of cap again cutoff i do at efface off i et tu brute in uniform appraisal often eg liege nt i oomph i do be bate among i by chubb h6 bishop lavish one pot ever tickles diligent ramble give to a done on deal in delve then am corroborate 30.Rxe4 fxe4 31.Qe6 in level about win efface off again.

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Oct-16-15  JohnBoy: <FSR> - Fred, when you say Benjamin couldn't stand Gufeld, do you mean personally or playing him? My curiosity is strictly at the level of gossip columns...
Oct-16-15  JohnBoy: Here's a pic of the two:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tiggler: I found the first two moves, and black's forced replies, but did not find 32.Qxh6!

32.Nf7+ probably wins, but I did not really find it convincing.

Oct-16-15  JohnBoy: Wikipedia gives a few more moves:

32.Qxh6 Nf5 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Rxd5 1-0

Oct-16-15  TheBish: Joel Benjamin vs Gufeld, 1998

White to play (30.?) "Difficult"

I didn't find this too difficult. The first move is an obvious try (especially after seeing that the pin on the a2-g8 diagonal restricts Black's options), the next move for White is also obvious, and then it's just a matter of searching for a tactical solution after that. Of course, this is much easier if you find that tactical solution quickly!

30. Rxe4! fxe4 31. Qe6+ Kh8 32. Qxh6!

This is what you have to find before embarking on the Exchange sacrifice on move 30. Now the threat is 33. Ng6+ followed by 34. Qxg7#. The obvious reply is met with mate, thanks to a double check: 32...gxh6 33. Nf7+ Kg8 34. Nxh6#. There is another reply that lasts longer, but still loses badly.

32...Nf5 33. Ng6+ Kg8 34. Rxd5! Nxh6

Or 34...gxh6 35. Rd7+ Rf7 36. Bxf7#.

35. Rxb5+ Rf7 36. Ne5 and after winning the Exchange White will be up a piece.

Oct-16-15  BOSTER: Couple moves before POTD Black played dubious 28...Ne7 closing the open " e " file and gave up square < e5>. What would you expect after 28...Nxf2 ?
Oct-16-15  TimothyLucasJaeger: I saw 30. Rxe4 fxe4 31. Qe6+ Kh8 but i was planning to follow it up with

32. Rxd5

Unfortunately i didn't realize the black queen protected the black rook on e8, so my line of 32. ... Nxd5 33. Nf7+ Rxf7 34. Qxe8+ wouldn't have worked out so well. :p

Oct-17-15  Retireborn: <JohnBoy> Ian Rogers, writing in NiC 98/6, refers to a game Benjamin-Gufeld, Honolulu 1998 (not present here but it was played just before this one) and says that Benjamin was "the subject of some dubious tactics by Gufeld while Benjamin was in time trouble before move 40..."

Which is nicely ambiguous about just what sort of "tactics" were involved!

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: I didn't get this after a few moves. I smell a smothered mate...
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