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Srinath Narayanan vs Viacheslav Ikonnikov
Hastings (2006/07), Hastings ENG, rd 1, Dec-28
Sicilian Defense: Old Sicilian. Open (B32)  ·  0-1
ANALYSIS [x]

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May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  johnlspouge: <<JG27Pyth> wrote: [snip] Ugh. ugh. and triple ugh.>

Don't worry, <JG27Pyth>, your sense of humor is still the best around. Do you have a special avatar for occasions like this, showing your plane smoking at its tail, in a nose dive? ;>)

May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <kevin86: The tempting sac at e3 is a loser ...>

Actually, 25...Qe3 isn't a loser, but 26.Qxe3 is!

After 26...Ng3+ 27.hxg3, the move you missed is 27...f4!! (rather than the immediate 27...Rh6+).

However, 25...Qe3 doesn't win since 26.Qxe3 isn't forced, and is probably best met by 26.Nd1.

May-29-08  LoveThatJoker: <iscu two: <MostlyAverageJoe>: BTW, 25...Qe3 looks cute, but is refuted with 26.Nd1! Nope. The Nd1 just pushes the black Q to d2, and Qd2/Qe3 are equivalent squares for the purpose of displacing the Q-guard on f2 that prevents Ng3 (if 26. ... Qd2 first then Nb1 also buys a move, changes the location of what will be an irrelevant white N, but no impact on future play determined by forcing the white Q to h4). As a result, Im still hesitantly thinking that 25. ... Qd2/Qe3 is also a winning move, although much slower and uglier and weaker than the line played in the game. The point seems to be that the eventual white Q on h4, while it can easily be pushed around and eventually gotten out of the way for a strong black attack (best play for white I think is Qh4 Rh6 | Qd8+ Kf7 | Qc7+ Ke8 | and then the white Q is still basically out of the game and the black attack proceeds with QNR&possiblyB on the white K), is still able to stay on the board in a way it is not in the in-game line. P.S. Can someone tell me (or point me to where I can find out) how to insert images?

Thanks!
Isaac>

Ok Isaac. You should most definitely be hesitant of calling 25...Qe3? a winning move. It is actually not.

26. Nb1! is a sterling refutation. And there are no 'buts' about it.

Think about it: Why is Black's Q going to e3? To displace the White Queen and allow the pretty mate ...Ng3+ ...f4!! and Rh6#, right?

Right.

The only thing is that once White plays 26. Nb1, Black has no mate.

If 26...Qxf2 27. Nxf2 Ng3+? 28. hg Rh6+ 29. Nh3 and White is ahead.

Also if 26...Qxf2 27. Nxf2 Rh6 28. g3! f4 29. g4 Ng3+ 30. Kg2 and White is very good.

So, you most certainly have NOT refuted MostlyAverageJoe's Idea of 25...Qe3? 26. Nb1!

25...Qe3? is vastly inferior to the "insta-win" 25...Ng3+!

LoveThatJoker

PS. You mentioned the possibility of 25...Qe3? 26. Nb1! Qd2 White would then simply play 27. Qxd2 with an eye on the h6 square.

May-29-08  JG27Pyth: <PS. You mentioned the possibility of 25...Qe3? 26. Nb1! Qd2 White would then simply play 27. Qxd2 with an eye on the h6 square.>

Ah crap. I finally get it.

May-29-08  JG27Pyth: <Don't worry, <JG27Pyth>, your sense of humor is still the best around. Do you have a special avatar for occasions like this, showing your plane smoking at its tail, in a nose dive? ;>)>

Yeah, I need that one today, for sure... I've wasted the morning concocting wrong line after wrong line and then wrongly working out the variations of wrong moves that refute my otherwise incorrect observations of things I've failed to fully see.

May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: zooter: "The first thing I saw was that if black plays 25...Ng3+ and the both queens were not on the board, then white would be forced to take 26.hxg3 Rh6#

So, I tried to work some way of diverting the white queen from g3 by playing black queen to e3 and d2 and see that the white queen still protects g3.

Then I also noticed the other option, black can checkmate with his rook alone after 25...Ng3+ 26.Qxg3 f4 27.Qf2(e1) Qxh2+! 28.Kxh2 Rh6+ 29.Qh4 Rxh4#"

I spent a lot of time trying to get the mate with the rook by disposing of the queens. I looked at

25 ... Qe3

a lot. There are two answers for white. The one I spent a lot of time playing out was 26 Qh4 and the one I missed was 26 Nd1. In this position Nd1 is a pretty subtle move.

The reason I didn't see how 25 ... Ng3+ wins is that although I saw

25 ... Ng3+
26 Qxg3 f4
27 Qh3

I missed 27 ... Bxh3. This is the third time this week I've missed a long range move that should be obvious.

Now if you miss Bxh3, then the line is a loser, which is why I gave up on it.

This is my worst week so far at these problems.

May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: iscu two: "<MostlyAverageJoe>: BTW, 25...Qe3 looks cute, but is refuted with 26.Nd1!

Nope. The Nd1 just pushes the black Q to d2, and Qd2/Qe3 are equivalent squares for the purpose of displacing the Q-guard on f2 that prevents Ng3 (if 26. ... Qd2 first then Nb1 also buys a move, changes the location of what will be an irrelevant white N, but no impact on future play determined by forcing the white Q to h4). As a result, Im still hesitantly thinking that 25. ... Qd2/Qe3 is also a winning move, although much slower and uglier and weaker than the line played in the game."

Yep. Nd1 refutes Qe3 since black goes from a clear win to almost no advantage. Here is the position after

25 ... Qe3
26 Nd1!


click for larger view

Rybka values the position as 0.00 (likely drawn).

if

26 ... Qxf2
27 Nxf2

The knight holds the h3 square which will block the rook check.

26 ... Qd2
27 Qxd2

the queen holds the h6 square the rook needs to give check. If you block that

27 ... f4

you have lost the tempo and white can create luft with g3, g4, h4, or hold the h3 square with Nf2.

Because Nd1 threatens the Queen you don't have a lot of extraneous possibilities.

If I had seen Nd1 I would have quickly given up on Qe3.

May-29-08  SickedChess: i missed it! :(
May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I got the main line but I discounted Qh3 because it loses the queen. I think that means I solved it
May-29-08  MikedaSnipe: Amazingly I naturally saw Ng3+, and I was thinking of f4 (would have probably played that midgame), but I never would have put them together midgame. Augh! Well at least I solved it in puzzle form.
May-29-08  MiCrooks: Zenpharaohs - you still have it wrong :)! If you play Qxd2 after Nd1 Qd2 then you still lose. Something simple like Be2 is fine, but you STILL don't have time to take the Q. You flaw is f4 first...just as before you have to play Ng3+ which stops the luft-making THEN play f4...wouldn't it feel bad to avoid the trap of Qe3 with Nd1 only to fall right back into it the next move!
May-29-08  234: Wednesday puzzle <34. ?> May-28-08 Janowski vs Schlechter, 1899
May-29-08  number 23 NBer: 25 ... ♘g3+! 26 ♕xg3 f4 and white loses the queen or is mated, la 27 ♕f2 ♕xh2+! 28 ♔xh2 ♖h6+
May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <MiCrooks: Zenpharaohs - you still have it wrong :)! If you play Qxd2 after Nd1 Qd2 then you still lose. Something simple like Be2 is fine, but you STILL don't have time to take the Q. >

I thought this too at first, but it's wrong. If 25...Qe3 26.Nd1 Qd2, then white wins with 27.Qxd2! because black can no longer force mate along the h-file. It's interesting to compare two positions:

(A) Here's the position after 25...Qd2 26.Qxd2?


click for larger view

(B) And here's the position after 25...Qe3 26.Nd1 Qd2 27.Qxd2!


click for larger view

The only difference is the knight on d1 instead of c3. But notice how it changes the outcome!

In (A), we have 26...Ng3+ 27.hxg3 f4! and there's no stopping ...Rh6#

In (B), we have 26...Ng3+ 27.hxg3 f4 28.Nf2! and ...Rh6 is answered by Nh3

[Note: I deleted my first reply]

May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  zenpharaohs: MiCrooks: "Zenpharaohs - you still have it wrong :)! If you play Qxd2 after Nd1 Qd2 then you still lose."

No, white wins in that case. The knight and rook can no longer force the mate because white's queen at d2 holds the h6 square. Black can try to replace the mating threat with f4, but that is met with g3, g4, or h3 (creating luft) or Nf2. And with the threat gone, and white up a queen in material, it's all over for black.

May-29-08  thorndeux: Got it! Ikonnikov is a great guy - very calm and humble. He plays top board for our team in the German league (2. Bundesliga).
May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: This puzzle is a good one for those of us (I know I'm not the only one) who have difficulty solving puzzles that involve 'quiet' pawn moves.

When I looked at the answer to today's puzzle and saw that <25...Ng3+ 26.Qxg3> was answered by <26...f4>, I thought: So what? It looked like some lame patzer move, as if black is thinking "Oops, you took my knight -- uh, well then I guess I'll threaten your queen with my pawn!".

Then I was surprised by <27.Qh3> surrending the queen to <27...Bxh3> (obviously, I was missing something!).

The move I greatly underappreciated was <26...f4!!>. It's attack on the queen was merely to deny white a chance to defend against the REAL threat. The REAL threat arose from the fact the the black f4 guards g3, trapping the king within the soon-to-be-opened-by-queen-sac h file. Of course, <27.Qh3> was the necessary but expensive move required to keep the h-file closed.

May-29-08  TheaN: 4/4

25....Ng3+
A demolishing check with really only forced answers.

26.Qxg3

26....f4
Threatening the Queen, but something far worse, which is simply g3.

27.Qh3
--a--Qf2 Qxh2+!
Beautiful, but not that hard.
--a--28.Kxh2 Rh6+
--a--29.Qh4 Rxh4# 0-1

27....Bxh3

Quit here. I believed it would be enough. Actually, in the view of White losing his Queen for minor material I stopped (even a Rook would've been enough). White playing on is a shame though, ending with seven straight rook moves until the pretty forced recapture.

May-29-08  iscu two: Oops - thanks. I was just wrong. And thanks for the explanation of the diagrams.

Actually, come to think of it, Im not sure I was entirely wrong. 25. ... Qd2 should force 26. Qh4 and the inferior winning line I suggested above (kibitz p.2). No?

May-29-08  MostlyAverageJoe: <zooter: <MAJ> Does this rank as an easy Thursday according to your calculations?>

Okay, the computer is functional again, and it rated this puzzle as the easiest Thursday of about 45 samples that I evaluated. The difficulty level (1960) appears to be slightly harder than average Tuesday (1830) and quite a bit easier than average Wednesday (2160). Thusrdays usually average about 2520, a marked increase over Wednesdays.

May-29-08  jovack: i think this one was straightforward. White was clearly playing to maintain material and not for positional edge.
May-29-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's puzzle solution, Black creates a winning mate threat with the clearance sacrifice 25...Ng3+! 26. Qxg3 f4 (i.e. 27. Qf2 Qxh2+! 28. Kxh2 Rh6+ 29. Qh4 Rxh4#), which forces White to give up the Queen after 27. Qh3 Bxh3 for a decisive material deficit.

May-30-08  LoveThatJoker: <zenpharaohs: iscu two: "<MostlyAverageJoe>: BTW, 25...Qe3 looks cute, but is refuted with 26.Nd1! Nope. The Nd1 just pushes the black Q to d2, and Qd2/Qe3 are equivalent squares for the purpose of displacing the Q-guard on f2 that prevents Ng3 (if 26. ... Qd2 first then Nb1 also buys a move, changes the location of what will be an irrelevant white N, but no impact on future play determined by forcing the white Q to h4). As a result, Im still hesitantly thinking that 25. ... Qd2/Qe3 is also a winning move, although much slower and uglier and weaker than the line played in the game."

Yep. Nd1 refutes Qe3 since black goes from a clear win to almost no advantage. Here is the position after

25 ... Qe3
26 Nd1!

click for larger view

Rybka values the position as 0.00 (likely drawn).

if

26 ... Qxf2
27 Nxf2

The knight holds the h3 square which will block the rook check.

26 ... Qd2
27 Qxd2

the queen holds the h6 square the rook needs to give check. If you block that

27 ... f4

you have lost the tempo and white can create luft with g3, g4, h4, or hold the h3 square with Nf2.

Because Nd1 threatens the Queen you don't have a lot of extraneous possibilities.

If I had seen Nd1 I would have quickly given up on Qe3.>

I actually replied to his post before you did, man. Oh well...At least he has two sources for the inferior 25...Qe3 move.

LTJ

May-30-08
Premium Chessgames Member
  al wazir: <MAJ>: Thanks for the analysis. I realized after I looked at the game that 25...Ng3+ is forcing, a win, and the best move. I posted my line anyway because I thought it was a win also and because, like <dzechiel>'s posts, it shows my thought processes -- for what they're worth.
May-30-08  LoveThatJoker: < iscu two: Oops - thanks. I was just wrong. And thanks for the explanation of the diagrams. Actually, come to think of it, Im not sure I was entirely wrong. 25. ... Qd2 should force 26. Qh4 and the inferior winning line I suggested above (kibitz p.2). No?> Ok 25...Qd2!? - as opposed to 25...Qe3? - is interesting, iscu. I will grant you that.

However unless you are Bobby Fischer, you can hardly call it a winning move.

It seems to lead to drawish positions. Chessbase light for example gives two very strong lines as minimal advantages for Black.

And why should Black be struggling to win on move 40 when he has an insta-win on move 25?

LTJ

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