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Predrag Nikolic vs Artur Yusupov
Hastings 8990 (1989), rd 11
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. Flohr-Mikenas-Carls Variation (A18)  ·  0-1


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sac: 13...Nb4 PGN: download | view | print Help: general | java-troubleshooting

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-12-08  Alphastar: White's king is in the middle. He's a pawn up but his pawn structure is beautiful. I immediately like playing the forcing sequence

1. ..Nb4! 2. cxb4 Bxb4+ 3. Ke2 Qh5+ (to prevent the white king from getting to f3). Now we come at a crossroads. White can try:

A) 4. f3: now we can win the white queen. white will get enough material in return for her majesty, but his pieces are so badly organised that this is only very temporary: 4. ..Rd2+ 5. Qxd2 Bxd2 6. Kxd2 (6. Bxd2 Qxe5+ picks up Ra1) Qxf3, forking f4 and h1.

B) 4. Qf3 Rd2+! 5. Bxd2 (5. Ke3 Bc5+ 6. Ke4 Qg6#) Qxe5+ 6. Qe3

Alright, I'm not seeing how to continue this, so my 3rd move must be wrong. I've spent too long on this already so I'm not going to try something different.


Well I don't think I should be ashamed of missing Bd2. Great move by Yusupov.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: Saturday (Very Difficult) Black to play and win

Material: Black is N for B+P. White has 4 P islands and 2 sets of doubled Ps. The White Ps hamper the White Bs (particularly the light-squared B). Both Ks are in the center, but where Black's can castle K-side to relative safety, White's is likely to remain there for some time, because the Rd8 and Qg6 are on open files. The position indicates a strike against the White K might be feasible.

Candidate moves: Nb4 threatening Nc7+

13...Nb4 14.cxb4 Bxb4+ 15.Ke2 Rd7+ 16.Kf3 [Qxd7 Bxd7 17.Kxd7 [Bxd7 Qe4+ 18. moves Qxh1 leaves White with R+2Bs vs Q+R] Qe4 18.Rg8 Qxf4+ leaves White with 2R+B vs Q+R and an exposed K] Qc6+ 17.Qe4 [Kg4 h5 18.Kh4 [Kg5 or Kf5 ...Qg6#] Qxh1 leaves White with Q+R+2B vs Q+2R+B and a very exposed K] Rxf2+ <REMOVE THE DEFENDER> 18.Kxf2 [Ke3 Bc5+ 19.Kd3 Rf3+ 20.Qxf3 Qxf3+ and 21...Qxh1 leaving White with R+2B vs Q+R+B] Qxe4 19.Rg1 Qxf4 leaving White with 2R+B vs Q+R+B.

It looks as though 13...Nb4 is a good move ;>) Time to peek.

Toga II 1.3.1 computer analysis of the best line at 15 ply gives

[value +2.03] 15...Bd2 16.Rg1 Qxg1 17.Qg3 Qxg3 18.hxg3 Bxf4 19.gxf4 Ke7 20.Bg2 Rd4 21.Bxb7 Rxc4 22.Bd5 Rd4 23.Bf3 Rxf4 24.Rc1 Rc8 25.Rd1

[value +1.74] 15...Rd2 16.Kf3 Qc6+ 17.Kg3 Qxh1 18.Qf3 Qg1+ 19.Qg2 Qxg2+ 20.Kxg2 Rb2 21.Bc1 Rc2 22.Bd3 Rc3 23.Be2 Bc5 24.Rb1 Rc2 25.Rxb7 Rxe2 26.Rb8+ Kd7 27.Rxh8 Rxf2+ 28.Kg3

so 15...Bd2 is a little bit better.

Fairly easy for a Saturday, I thought, although at least the analysis shows that I managed to find the first two moves without computer help ;>)

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Nicely done, <zenpharaohs>.>

Agreed!!! <zenpharaohs>'s analysis of 13...Bc5 really aids in understanding the position.

Jan-12-08  Samagonka: I dismissed Nb4 immediately it popped up in my mind, without foreseeing the fork that would follow. Sharp move! The pinner is the winner once again.
Jan-12-08  rigel1503: I suppose Yusupov's move 15. ... Bd2 is slightly better than 15. ... Rd2+, but I still think 15. ... Rd2+ still wins fairly easily, despite white's bishop on f4, as white has so many loose pieces like Rh1 and Bf4 EG: (a)
15. ... Rd2+ 16. Qxd2 Bxd2 17. Bxd2 Qe4+ 18. Be3 Qxh1 White only has a pair of bishops for the Queen

(b)15. ... Rd2+ 16. Kf3 Qc6+ 17. Kg3 (17. Qe4 Rxf2+ 18. Ke3 Bc5+ 19. Kd3 Rf3+ 20. Kd2 Qxe4 is crushing) Qxh1 White is an exchange up

(c)15. ... Rd2+ 16. Qxd2 Bxd2 17. Kxd2 Qe4 (loose pieces on f4 and h1) 18. Bg2 Qxg2 19. Ke3 O-O 20. Rhd1 f6 21. Rd5 fxe5 22. Rxe5 Qxh3+ 23. f3 Qh4 24. Re4 Qf6 25. Re1 g5 26. Bxc7 Qxf3+ 27. Kd4 Qf2+ 28. Kd3 Rf3+ 29. R1e3 Rxe3+ 30. Rxe3 Qxa2 31. Be5 And white's rook and bishop will be no match for black's extra Queen and pawns

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <zooter: Is it just me or does 13...Nd4 win immediately?>

After 14.cxd4, the Rd8 does not support the move Bd2 and cannot contribute to the attack as profoundly as in the game line.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <rigel1503>: We saw on Wednesday's puzzle

Schlosser vs NN, 1940

that computer evaluation seems insensitive to relative advantage: it seems to score absolutely, by the number of pieces or pawns ahead (e.g., Q+2P vs Q+P is evaluated the same as 2P vs P, "ceteris paribus" ;>). The 15...Rd2 line exchanges material and chases the White K, reducing White's ability to sequester the Black Q, as seen in <zenpharaohs>' lines. I have some personal preference for the positions emerging from 15...Rd2 over those from 15...Bd2, even if computer analysis declares it an inferior move.

I wonder what <MrSpock> would say...

Jan-12-08  TrueBlue: This was a real difficult one. First thing I noticed is that I want to get my knight on c2, wouldn't it be great!!! So I need to move Nb4 or Nd4, but the pawn on c3 is a problem :( I can try the deflection Rd4, but then white has time to play Rc1 and Rxc2 :(. I can play Qxc2, but white has Bd3, I don't see it working ...

Learning from past puzzles, what if I skip the deflection move !?!? How about 13 ..Nb4. Then if Rc1 Nc2, Rxc2, Qxc2, and now white can't play Bd3 because of the rook on the d file. So the line must be something like :

13. .. Nb4 14. cxb4 Bxc4+ 15. Ke2, which leads to another complicated position ... I want to use the strong queen to capture one of black rooks. Maybe if I can only get the king to move on the h1-a8 diagonal I can pin it . So maybe if I am able to take the c4 pawn but I can't move Qe4. How about Bd2 Qg3 Qe4 Be4 Qxc4 Kf3 Qc6+. Really complicated stuff and maybe not forced ...

Jan-12-08  TrueBlue: OK, I still don't believe my line is forced, but it is the played line :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Isn't is strange how such an simple sac as 13...{Nb4 turns white'sw position into a house of cards (not to be confused with THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS). And,no,the house of Cards is not in Saint Louis!
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: johnlspouge: "<zenpharaohs>'s analysis of 13...Bc5 really aids in understanding the position."

In another sense Bc5 just a big complication from the real line (Nb4) and because it requires a lot of time, you might not eliminate it if you were playing over the board.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <zenpharaohs: In another sense Bc5 just a big complication from the real line (Nb4) and because it requires a lot of time, you might not eliminate it if you were playing over the board.>

Some posts, in particular those with two-move declarations of solutions from the game or computer analysis, are obviously intended to impress. I assume the rest of us are contributing analysis and interacting with the ultimate aim of improving or enjoying our chess.

13...Nb4 was so natural and attractive to me that I did not search for other moves. I was aware that under conditions slightly different from the variations I found, the Black Q could have her troubles in the corner after capturing the Rh1. I really enjoyed your analysis, whether necessary over the board or not. I did not even consider 13...Bc4, and I thank you for pointing the move out.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: Black to play. White is "up" a pawn. "Very Difficult."

If you only counted the pawns on the board, you would think white was ahead. But White has five, count 'em, five isolated pawns. And two sets of doubled pawns. That, along with white's lack of development almost ensures a black victory on its own.

If I was Yusupov in this position, I would probably just castle. This gets the king off of the e-file and completes black's development. And while that's a good move, it probably isn't what Yusupov played.

Looking for ideas, I see


This move has it all! The threat is 14...Nc2+ picking up at least an exchange. The only "good" way that white has of stopping this move is

14 cxb4 Bxb4+ 15 Ke2

So far, pretty forced. Now black has some candidate moves to consider:

- 15...Qc2+
- 15...Qh5+
- 15...Rd2+
- 15...Bd2

Well, after a longish think, I would like to try

15...Qc2+ 16 Kf3 Bd2

Attacking the queen. The queen must move, but also has to keep an eye on the c3 square as 17...Qc3+ followed by 18...Qxa1 leaves white down an exchange. A quick glance and I think white must play

17 Qa3 Bxf4 18 Kxf4 Rd4+

I don't know. This looks like pretty good stuff, but I'm finding it increasingly difficult to visualize the position.

It's about 1:20a here in California, I'm going to take a peek at the game score.


I wrote the above last night, but when I went to post it, the ChessGames site was not responding. I'm now posting it about 10 hours later, and I see that while my initial idea was OK, there was a much better follow up.

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <dzechiel>: Hi, David. I was becoming concerned about your health: I cannot recall posting earlier than you before :)

I found it interesting that you regarded White's ragged P position with such horror (correctly, I am sure). Your 15...Qc2+ is a good alternative. Toga II 1.3.1 gives the following 15-ply evaluation:

[value +1.32] 15...Qc2+ 16.Kf3 Bd2 17.Qb3 Qf5 18.Qa4+ c6 19.c5 Bc3 20.Qe4 Qxe4+ 21.Kxe4 Bxa1 22.Ba6 Rd4+ 23.Ke3 bxa6 24.Rxa1 Rb4 25.Rd1

(I note 18-ply changes to 17.Qe4 Qc3+ with value +1.65.)

It appears that there were lots of good alternatives on move 15...

I am now concerned about <patzer2>. The computer analysis is usually his forte ;>)

Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: johnlspouge: "13...Nb4 was so natural and attractive to me that I did not search for other moves."

Yeah I got stuck the other way. I felt that Bc5 was the answer for black and I kept looking for just one more move to finish white. But in the end white had answers for everything.

Jan-12-08  wals: Didnt get within cooee of it. Dithered about kingside castling, weakness of whites pawn structure but missed the clearly obvious (now) World champ beater Frits 11 had this to sayPredrag Nikolic - Artur Yusupov, Hastings 8990 1989

click for larger view

Analysis by Fritz 11:

1. (-1.48): 13...Nc6-b4 14.c3xb4 Be7xb4+ 15.Ke1-e2 Bb4-d2 16.Qe3-g3 Qg6-e4+ 17.Bf4-e3 Qe4xc4+ 18.Ke2-f3 Qc4-c6+ 19.Kf3-e2 Bd2xe3 20.f2xe3 Qc6xh1 21.Qg3xg7 Rh8-f8 22.Qg7-g2 Qh1xg2+ 23.Bf1xg2 b7-b6 24.Ra1-c1 Rf8-g8 2. (-1.03): 13...Be7-a3 14.Ra1-d1 Rd8xd1+ 15.Ke1xd1 Qg6-b1+ 16.Kd1-e2 Ba3-c1 17.Qe3xc1 Qb1-e4+ 18.Qc1-e3 Qe4xh1 19.Qe3-d3 0-0 20.Qd3-d5 Qh1-g1 21.Qd5-g2 Qg1xg2 22.Bf1xg2 Rf8-e8 23.Bg2xc6 b7xc6 24.Ke2-f3 Re8-d8

(, 13.01.2008)

Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <dzechiel>: After seeing the analysis of 13...Ba3, in a fit of misplaced enthusiasm and not entirely seriously, I evaluated your vanilla alternative 13...O-O.

Toga II 1.3.1 at 15 plies again:

[value +1.22] 13...O-O 14.Be2 Rfe8 15.Qg3 Qc2 16.Kf1 Bc5 17.Rg1 g6 18.Re1 Qxa2 19.Qh4 Re6 20.Kg2 f6 21.Bg4 f5

Black probably could have played anything sensible and had a winning advantage. 13...Nb4 was inspired, but unnecessary. As you implied, White had a rotten position.

Premium Chessgames Member
  dzechiel: <Black probably could have played anything sensible and had a winning advantage. 13...Nb4 was inspired, but unnecessary. As you implied, White had a rotten position.>

John, I appreciate your concern for my health, :D, as well as the follow up on 13...O-O.

Jan-12-08  znprdx: It is satisfying to find ..13.Nb4 - but dis-satisfying to see ...15.Bd2 I get the feeling ...Bc5! is more efficient
Jan-12-08  willyfly: White has one more ♙ than Black but White's ♙s are in disarray. Two pairs are doubled and isolated while the a-♙ is just isolated and it's only move 13. I won't spend much time on this since it's the <very difficult > level. But I'm going to suggest a few candidates

...♕c2 Δ ...♗a3

Now to look and see the action which led to this position

took me a while but I finally saw the forking threat in 13 ♘b4. So the ♘ must be captured and then 14...♗xb4+ prevents White from castling. But it costs Black two ♙s and then Black doesn't get to castle either. Morphy said it was worth a piece loss to prevent your opponent from castling but I doubt that holds true today. The trouble with a continuation like this is that it looks like something I might try in one of my games. And if it looks like something I might do then I usually figure it's not sound.

Jan-12-08  D.Observer: Can 13. ... ♕c2 save the game?
Jan-13-08  D.Observer: ♘b4, finally, was the winning fork.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For the Saturday Jan 12, 2008 puzzle solution, Black's 13...Nb4!! sacrifices the Knight for a winning pursuit (King hunt) attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <johnlspouge> Thanks for your concern. Sometimes I take a few days off for other work, and then come back and catch up quickly on the puzzles I missed.
May-29-10  rigel1503: I need to elaborate on variation b), namely 15. ... Rd2+ 16. Kf3 Qc6+ 17. Kg3 Qxh1 White is an exchange up, however 18. Qxa7 threatens Qa4+ winning the Bishop and Bxd2 winning the exchange back with interest and Qa8+ winning black's Kings Rook. However, Black has the move 18. ... h5! bringing another weapon into the attack. If 19. Bxd2 h4+ 20. Kg4 Qe4+ 21. f4 Bxd2 22. Qf2 f5+ 23. exf6ep exf6 24. Be2 Bxf4 25. Qxf4 Rg8+ winning the Queen. OR 19. Qa8+ Ke7 20. Bg5+ f6 21. exf6 gxf6 22. Bxf6+ Kf7! 23. Qxh8 Qg1+ 24. Kh4 Rd4+! 25. Bxd4 Be7+ 26. Bf6 Bxf6+ 27. Qxf6+ Kxf6 and white has no answer to Qg5# OR 19. h4 Qg1+ 20. Bg2 Rd3+ 21. Be3 Qxa1 22. Qa4+ Kd8 23. Qb5 to cover e5 but now Black has a winning material advantage.
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