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Watu Kobese vs Boris Gelfand
FIDE World Cup (2005), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 1, Nov-27
Sicilian Defense: Fischer-Sozin Attack. Flank Variation (B87)  ·  0-1


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Given 13 times; par: 24 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-29-05  KingG: As far as i know, this is the first time that this sacrifice has been allowed in Grandmaster play. It's very famous though, and is mentioned in all books covering the 6.Bc4 Najdorf, but they all say the same thing: don't allow this sacrifice if White can get 3 pawns for the piece.

Luckily for Gelfand, White goes wrong almost immediately. 15.e5?! is probably a mistake and i think it might even be the losing move! At first i thought the losing move was 16.Ng3?, which is obviously horrible, White needs to keep the initiative before Black can develop his own threats to the White king. 16.Rf2 is better, but after 16...dxe5 17.Nd6+(17.fxe5 Nxe5 18.Nd6+ Bxd6 19.Qxd6 Neg4! looks awful for White) Bxd6 18.Qxd6, Black has the amazing move 18...Bxg2!, 19.Rxg2 Rxg2 20.Kxg2 Qb7+ 21.Kf1 Qf3+ and i think Black is definitely better here, as Black will soon equalize in material, and is better placed to threaten the opponent's king.

So going back to move 15. I think White had two promising continuations. The first is 15.Nxd6+ Bxd6 16.Qxd6 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4. The advantages of this continuation are that White gets rid of one of the knights that were doing a great job of protecting the king, and Black is also left with an opposite coloured bishop, which should be in White's favour if he can keep the initiative, although admitadly White might prefer to have the colours reversed.

The other (perhaps more)promising continuation is 15.Bd4 Rg8 16.Ne3! b4(16...Rg6?! 17.e5! dxe5 18.fxe5 Bh6 19.Ncd5 looks very good for White) 17.Ncd5 Rg6 18.Nxf6 Nxf6 19.f5! Rh6 20.Bxf6 Rxf6 21.Ng4 looks good for White, although even better improvements might be found in this line.

Nov-29-05  ughaibu: Richard Britton once told me that the sacrifice is no good unless the bishop is on g5.
Nov-29-05  KingG: <ughaibu> Well, it's certainly even stronger with the Bishop on g5, but i think if White can get three pawns for the piece, then he should always play the sac. But, i agree, if the Bishop is on g5, or can easily get to g5, then the sac is virtually winning.
Nov-29-05  pastpawn: What's wrong with 15 ♘xd6+ ? There's also 15 ♕xd6 , though after 15 ... ♗xd6 16 ♘xd6+ ♔e7 17 ♘xc8+ ♖xc8 Black will win one of the 4 pawns back (and probably have the better game).
Nov-29-05  KingG: 15.Nxd6+ is certainly better then 15.e5, but i think 15.Bd4! might even be better, as i explain in my (long) post above.
Nov-29-05  alicefujimori: If 15.Nxd6+ then 15...Bxd6 16.Qxd6 Nxe4 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.f5 Qc6 19.Rad1 Qxd6 20.Rxd6 Ne5 and I definitely prefer Black's position. White shouldn't exchange pieces so prematurely here as exchanges will just ease Black's defensive task. So the only way to keep the threats going seems to be 15.Bd4 (suggested by <KingG>). Now 15...Rg8 16.Ne3 as suggested by <KingG> is very dangerous for Black in many lines.

Eg. 16...b4 17.Ncd5 Qc6 18.c4! (and White breaks through on e5) or 16...Qc6 17.Ncd5 Re8 18.Bxf6 Nxf6 19.Nxf6 Kxf6 20.Nd5+ Kf7 21.Qh5+ Kg7 22.Rf3 and White wins.

However, Black could try a very stange move. It's 16...Ke8!? and now 17.Ncd5 Bxd5 18.Nxd5 Bg7 19.Nxf6+ Nxf6 20.Re1 Qc6 21.e5 dxe5 22.Rxe5 Kf7 and I don't see any immediate threats for Black. But there are so many lines that we need some computer analysis here before we draw any conclusions about 16...Ke8

Jul-05-06  you vs yourself: <KingG> Since you've studied najdorf extensively and this line is familiar to you, I want to know the right plan of action in this line. Here's the game, I just finished on FICS where my opponent could've played 9.Bxe6 but he didn't see it. Thankfully!

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Bg5 Nbd7 8. O-O Be7 9. Qf3 O-O 10. Rae1 Qc7 11. Bd3 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. Nde2 Ne5 14. Qg3 b5 15. a3 Bb7 16. f4 Nc4 17. Kh1 Nd2 18. Rf2 Nc4 19. f5 Be5 20. Qg4 Nxb2 21. fxe6 Bxc3 22. exf7+ Kh8 23. Nf4 Bxe1 24. Nh5 Rxf7 25. Rxf7 Qxf7 26. Be2 Rf8 27. h3 Nc4 28. Bd3 Ne5 29. Qe2 Nxd3 30. cxd3 Qf1+ 31. Qxf1 Rxf1+ LeonHoang resigns 0-1

After the game, I was thinking maybe 8...b5 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Re1 e5 would be the right way to go. What do you think?

Aug-06-06  KingG: <you vs yourself> Sorry for taking so long to respond. I hadn't noticed your post until now.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bg5 Nbd7?! <I think 7...Be7! is the best move here. It introduces the idea of 8...Nxe4 8.Bxe7 Nxc3 9.Bxd8 Nxd1, depending on what White plays. Another idea that just be taken into account is ...Nxe4 Nxe4 d5. It might be safer just to castle first though, but these ideas should always be taken into account. In general, i wouldn't play 7...Nbd7 unless White had played the usual 7.Bb3, and then i would quickly follow up with Nc5 to cover the e6 square and to be ready to chop of the b3 bishop.>

8.00 Be7?
<Black is already in a bit of trouble, but this makes 9.Bxe6! very strong. But even if Black plays something else, Bxe6 might still be dangerous. For example after 8...Nc5?!(trying to protect the e6 square) 9.b4! Ncd7 10.Bxe6! looks very dangerous.

8...b5 and 8...Qc7 can also be met with 9.Bxe6, while after 8...Qb6, White has the interesting 9.Nxe6!?.

The safest bet might be 8...Ne5 9.Bb3 Be7 10.f4 Nc6, and Black is quite a bit behind in development, although maybe he can hold.>

<9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.Nxe6 Qa5 11.Nxg7+ Kf7 12.Nf5 . I believe that White shouldn't really even have to think about this sac, it just needs to be played. Otherwise, why even play the 6.Bc4 line?>

9...00 10.Rae1 Qc7
<Black is fine now, but 10...Ne5! looks good, getting rid of the dangerous light squared bishop.>

For the rest of the game, White just played aimlessly, and gets outplayed.

Black has to be really careful in the early stages of this opening, always making sure the e6 square is covered, or if that's not, at least the g7 square, so that White can't get 3 pawns for the piece. On the other hand, Black should always be on the look out for tricks involving ...Nxe4 to get a comfortable game.

Aug-06-06  euripides: I'm not sure whether Sajtar was of GM strength, but one of the early outings for this sacrifice was

Keres vs Sajtar, 1954

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <euripides: I'm not sure whether Sajtar was of GM strength ...> Sajtar's strengh was either that of a very strong master or of a journeyman GM. When he was active, Sajtar's 'rating equivalent' fluctuated between 2530 and 2570 and he was ranked 50-100 in the world. He does hold the IGM title now, but it was awarded to him retroactively, long after he left active arena. For years, he represented Czechoslovakia in FIDE.
Aug-06-06  you vs yourself: <KingG> Thanks. That 8..Nxe4 idea is pretty new to me. I usually play 7...Nbd7 to at some point play d5. In that case, white can't play e5 and has to let my knight occupy d5. But in this line, that idea is too soon and too dangerous.
Aug-06-06  KingG: <euripides> Yes, but in that game, White only gets two pawns for the piece. It's difficult to prevent White from playing the sac at some point or another. But under no circumstances should White be allowed to get 3 pawns, completely destroying Black's kingside.

That's my understanding anyway. Obviously Gelfand, an infinitely stronger player than me, disagrees. Other than him, i can't find anyone else who allows it though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: I played Watu Kobese in the Commomwealth Championshipin 1996. He is a nice gentleman!
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