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Pontus Carlsson vs Jan Timman
15th Sigeman & Co (2007), Malmo SWE, rd 6, Apr-23
French Defense: Tarrasch. Closed Variation (C05)  ·  0-1


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Given 14 times; par: 24 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Always good to see other people's analysis, and learn about the shallowness of your own. So, in an attempt to redeem myself, let's look again at <23...Qb4 24.Rf1>. Now, as <rilkefan> and <al wazir> pointed out, my suggested 24...Bb5 doesn't do much against 25.Nxf8. So, instead let's look at <24...Rxf2>.

click for larger view

Mate in one is threatened, and 25.Rxf2 Qe1+ is mate next move. On 25.Ne7+ Qxe7 26.Rxf2 Be3, Black's queen covers the seventh rank and the pin will win back material for Black. Another line is 25.Qxf2 Rxf2 26.Rxf2 Qe1+ 27.Rf1 Be3+, and mate follows.

The fun line is <25.Nxf8 Rxf1+ 26.Kxf1 Bb5+>, when White's king gets caught in a vicious crossfire:

click for larger view

27.Kg1 Qe1# is out, so White must go into <27.Kf2 Qxd4+ 28.Kg3> (28.Kf3 Qe3+ is not substantially different) <28...Qe3+ 29.Kh4 Bg5+ 30.Kg4 Be2+>, winning the queen.

If this is good, then maybe <23...Qb4 24.Re2> is White's best? But now I think that <24...Bb5> works, since after <25.Nxf8 Bxe2> Black threatens 26...Qe1# and White has no check on h7. After <26.Qxe2 Kxf8> White is still down the exchange and has given up his mating threat.

OK, I expect this to be refuted when I check back in later. See you then!

Premium Chessgames Member
  DarthStapler: I didn't get it
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Beautiful. I wonder if Carlsson *knew* he was losing when he played 23.Nxg6 ...? He's already dead meat, thanks to the defensive/offensive resource ...Qb4, hitting the key squares e7 and e1.

In fact Black had been in control for some time -- White's K-side attack is optics, and Timman had foreseen a neat way to combine attack and defence.

Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: The final intermezzo check by black wins it!
Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Black has a rook and the bishop pair for a bishop, two knights and a pawn.

White threatens 24.Nxf8, 24.Rxe6, 24.Ne5, etc.

The obvious 23... hxg6 seems to hold after 24.Qxg6+ Rg7 (24... Bg7 25.Qh7#; 24... Kh8 25.Qxh6+ Kg8 26.Nf6+ Rxf6 27.Qh7#) 25.Qxh6 Qxd4 (25... Re7 26.Rxe6 Qc7 27.Rg6+ Kf7 28.Rf6+, etc.)

The weak spot f2 suggests 23... Rxf2 24.Ne7+ Kf7 25.Qxf2+ Kxe7 (25... Ke8 26.Qh4) 26.Qh4+ Kd7 27.Nf6+ Kc7 (27... Ke7 28.Nxd5+ and 29.Nxb6) 28.Qxh6 Qxd4+ 29.Qe3 Qxf6 and 30.Qxe6 loses to 30... Qf2+ 31.Kh1 Qf1+. However, White can play 25.Qxh7+ Ke8 and then:

A) 26.Qxh6 Rf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qxd4+ and mate soon.

B) 26.Nxc6 Rf1+ 27.Rxf1 Be3+ 28.Rf2 Bxf2+

B.1) 29.Kh1 Qxc6 with the double threat 30... Qc1# and 30... Bxd4. White has several checks but don't seem to lead anywhere.

B.2) 29.Kf1 Bxd4+ followed by 30... Qxc6, with attack against the white king.

C) 26.Nf5 R2xf5

C.1) 27.Qxh6 Qxd4+ 28.Qe3 Qxe3+ 29.Rxe3 Rf1#.

C.2) 27.Rxe6+ Kd8 28.Qe7+ Kc8 29.Bxf5 Qxd4+ 30.Kh1 (30.Kf1 Rxf5+ 31.Ke1(2) Qd2#) Rxf5 - +.

C.3) 27.Bxf5 Qxd4+ 28.Kh1 and Black looks lost.

A passive defense like 23... Re8 doesn't seem to help after 24.Ne5 with several threats: 25.Nxf7, 25.Nf6+, 25.Ng4, etc.

Blocking the b1-h7 diagonal with 23... Rf5 allows 24.Ne7+ Kh8 25.Rxe6.

Another option is to try to divert the white queen from the b1-h7 diagonal with 23... Ba4:

A) 24.Qxa4 hxg6 25.Bxg6 Rxf2 and Black looks better.

B) 24.Qd3 Bb5 25.Qc2 Ba4, etc.

C) 24.b3 hxg6 25.Qxg6+ Rg7 26.Qxh6 Qxd4 doesn't seem to improve upon 23... hxg6.

I think I'd try 23... hxg6.

Premium Chessgames Member
  agb2002: Another bad day. 23... hxg6 loses miserably to 24.Qxg6+ Rg7 25.Qxe6+ (I saw this trivial move but forgot it) Rgf7 (25... Rff7 26.Nf6+ Kh8 27.Qe8+) 26.Qg6+ Rg7 27.Nxg7 Rf6 (27... Bxg7 28.Re7; 27... Qxd4 28.Qh7+ Kf7 29.Ne8+ Bg7 30.Bg6#) 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Kf7 30.Bh7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: <Phony Benoni> <If this is good, then maybe <23...Qb4 24.Re2> is White's best? But now I think that <24...Bb5> works, since after <25.Nxf8 Bxe2> Black threatens 26...Qe1# and White has no check on h7. After <26.Qxe2 Kxf8> White is still down the exchange and has given up his mating threat.>

I think this line is white's best, but black should not take the knight with the king.

click for larger view

After 26...Kxf8 above, white has 27 Qxd6, with the threat of 28 Qxh6+.

Black should take back with the bishop instead, 26...Bxf8. Now 27 Qxd6 is no good because black has 27...Qxd4, below, with two mate threats, that will cost white a piece or more to defend against.

click for larger view

Dec-18-10  dcarlisle: Bad mental day for me - how does black counter 25 nxf8? White still threatens mate so black must make forcing moves here. Somebody? Anybody? Bueller?
Dec-18-10  dcarlisle: never mind... 25 rxQ and its over
Dec-18-10  BOSTER: If you see the position untill move 22. white to play you can understand that white can simple play 22.Nxf7 and have the good position. But they played 22.Qc2 creating three! weaknesses : rook on e1, pawn d4 and pawn f2. After 22...g6 23.Nxg6 white added hanging knight on g6.And now after such mistakes <CG> want me to find the solution .
Dec-18-10  AxelBoldt: There is another trick in the position: 23...Qb4 24.Re2 Rxf2? is refuted with the only move 25.Ngf4! (25.Rxf2 Qe1+; 25.Ne7+ Qxe7 26.Rxf2 Be3; 25.Nxf8 Rxe2 26.Qxe2 Kxf8 and White can't take on e6 because of Bb5+, so the central pawns should win for Black) after which Black has to go for 25...Qe1+ 26.Rxe1 Rxc2 and it peters out.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jimfromprovidence: I thought that I had an unstoppable line after 23...Qb4 24 Re2 with 24...Rxf2!?

click for larger view

The rook on f2 is untouchable, because if 25 Rxf2, then 25...Qe1+, with mate next move.

But white has an amazing resoucrce, 25 Ngf4!.

click for larger view

Now the rooks are disconnected, leaving black with no mate threats. And white now threatens mate in one.

Black has to exchange queens with 25...Qe1+, (seeing 26 Rxe1 Rxc2) to stop this threat.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <JimfromProvidence>: Quite right. After <23...Qb4 24.Re2 Bb5 25.Nxf8 Bxe2 26.Qxe2 Kxf8 27.Qxe6> White gets counter threats, and 26...Bxf8 is better.

I was wanting to keep Black's bishop on h6, thinking it didn't make much difference how Black captured on f8. Obviously, it does.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: For today's Saturday puzzle, Timman's surprise double attack 24...Rxf2!! (threatening mate or the win of decisive material) combines defense and offense in avoiding the trap 24...hxg6?? 25. Qxg6+ Rg7 26. Nxg7 Bxg7 27. Qh7+ Kf7 28. Re5 Re8 (28...Qd2 29. Bg6+! Kf6 30. Qh4+ Kxg6 31. Qh5+ Kf6 32. Qf5#) 29. Bg6+ Kf8 30. Bxe8 Bxe8 31. Qf5+ Bf7 32. Qc8+ Be8 33. Qxe8#.

If 25. Ne7+, then 25...Qxe7! 26. Qxf2 ( 26. Rxe7 Rf1#) 26...Qxe6 leaves Black up a Rook.

If 25. Qxf2 Rxf2 26. Kxf2 Qxd4= also leaves Black with a decisive material advantage.

If 25. Qd3, then 25...Rf1+ 26. Qxf1 Qxd4+ transposes back to the game continuation with mate to follow in one or two moves.

P.S.: While the legendary GM Jan Timman is well known, the story of Pontus Carlsson, a Black GM from Sweden, might not be so well known in the U.S.

At is a fascinating story about the life of GM Pontus Carlsson.

I suspect his play in the French Tarrasch has improved since this game. See, for example, P Carlsson vs J Avalos Parra, 2010 in which he uses a surprise tactic to score a win in the French during Gibraltar 2010.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <Phony Benoni> Indeed, after 23...Qb4!! 24.Re2 Bb5 25.Nxf8 Bxe2 26.Qxe2 Bxe8 Black is clearly winning.

Seems to me 23...Qb4!! is the key move in the game, and that it refutes the 23. Nxg6!? trap idea entirely. Objectively 23. Nxf7 Rxf7 was objectively better. However, in OTB play 23. Nxg6!? was not at all a bad try to steal the full point from GM Timman. It's just that the old fox found a brilliant defensive/attacking resource in 23...Qb4!!

Dec-18-10  knight knight: Black has rook for knight + pawn but his king is under a strong attack. I think this must be black to play and draw.

a) 23...Rxf2 looks tempting but fails to 24. Ne7+ Kf7 (24...Kh8 25. Qxh7#) 25. Qxf2+ Kxe7 26. Qh4+ Kd7 27. Nf6+ and 28. Qxh6

b) 23...hxg6 24. Qxg6+ Rg7 (24...Bg7 25. Qh7#) 25. Qxh6 Qxd4 26. Nxg7 Qxg7 27. Qxe6+ Kh8 white's two pawns up and winning

c) 23...Qxd4 24. Nxf8 Bd2 25. Re2 this line doesn't look good for black

d) 23...Rc8 24. Rxe6 Bd7 25. Qxc8+ Bxc8 26. Rxb6 axb6 27. Ne5 white has two pawns for the exchange, drawish.

23...Rc8 24. Rxe6 is hardly forced tho. Maybe 24. Ne5 Bd7 25. Nxd7 Rxc2 26. Nxb6 Rcxf2 and the threat of 27...Be3 means white can't save the knight, e.g. 27. Nd7 Be3 28. h3 Rf1++ 29. Kh2 Rxe1.

Or 24. h3 Bd7 25. Qd3 Qxb2 with threats on f2, if the queen moves off the c2-g6 diagonal with e.g. 24. Qd2 then now we can capture the knight with 24. hxg6.

This puzzle's a bit too much for me but I'll go with 23...Rc8, since as well as the lines above it gets out of the way of the g6 knight and gives the king a potential flight square on f8.

Dec-18-10  knight knight: Rubbish. Didn't even consider 23...Qb4! And no-one else has mentioned 23...Rc8 which suggests it's obviously losing.
Dec-18-10  knight knight: 23...Rc8 24. Rxe6 Bd7?? 25. Rxb6 Rxc2 26. Bxc2 axb6 27. Ne5 Re7 28. Nf6+ winning a piece.
Dec-18-10  WhiteRook48: i never saw qb4
Dec-18-10  wals: 23...Qxd4, 2nd best, but still effective.

Rybka 4 x 64 blunders only

depth: 21 : 9 min :
(-1.58):22.Qc2. Best, Qd3, =-0.66.

1. (-0.66): 22.Qd3 Rf5 23.Nxc6 bxc6 24.Ng3 Qxb2 25.Nxf5 exf5 26.Qa6 Qc3 27.Re6 Qxd4 28.Rxc6 g6 29.Bd3 Rf7 30.Rc8+ Bf8 31.Bf1 Kg7 32.Qc6 f4 33.a4 f3 34.g3

2. (-0.79): 22.Nxf7 Rxf7 23.b3 Bd7 24.Ng3 g6 25.Rf1 Bg7 26.Ne2[] Bc6 27.g3 a6 28.f4 Bb5 29.Kg2 Bxe2 30.Qxe2 Bxd4 31.Qg4 Bc3 32.h4 Rg7 33.Qg5 Qd6

depth: 16 : 5 min :
(-7.45):24.Rxe6. Best, Re2, -1.58.

depth: 17 : 3 min :
Game over for White.
1. (-#4): 25...Rf1+ 26.Qxf1 Qxd4+[] 27.Re3 Bxe3+ 28.Qf2 Qd1#

Dec-18-10  M.Hassan: "Very Difficult" Black to play 23...?
Black has a Rook for a Bishop and a pawn (assuming in middle game 2 N's are equivalent to 2 B's) I followed two lines as below:
23.....Rxf2 and 23.....Qb4
Let us study the first line:
24.Ne7+ Kf7
25.Qxf2+ Ke7
26.Qh4+ Kd6
27.Qg3+ Kd7
28.Qe5 Qxb2
29.Nf6+ Kd8
30.Qd6+ Kc8
31.Qxe6+ Kc7
32.Qe5+ Kb5
I don't know what happens next. It may be a draw

Second line of study:
24.Rxe6 hxg6
25.Qxg6+ Rg7
26.Nxg7 Qd2
27.Ne8+ Bg7
I think this latter line has been followed in the actual game. Time to check. -------------
Tonight is not my luck!.Worked hard but did not solve it like the actual game After 24.....Rxf2 why didn't White give a check by Knight 25.Ne7+??

Dec-18-10  TheBish: P Carlsson vs Timman, 2007

Black to play (23...?) "Very Difficult"

Black is up an exchange for a pawn (it look like the last move was 23. Nxg6, taking a pawn). Taking the knight seems incorrect -- 23...hxg6 24. Qxg6+ Rg7 (forced) 25. Qxh6 leaves White with two pawns for the exchange with an attack. Also, 23...Rxf2 loses to 24. Ne7+ Kf7 25. Qxh7+ Ke8 26. Nxc6 (threat: 27. Qe7#) bxc6 27. Qxh6. After much searching, I thought I found the key with 24...Ba4 25. Qd3 Bb5 26. Qc2 Rc7, but instead White goes 26. Qg3, so that's not it. Maybe there's something in 23...Qb4, attacking the rook. Wait a minute... 23...Qb4 covers e7, stopping the knight check after ...Rxf2. That's it!

23...Qb4! 24. Rf1 (or Re2) Bb5 or if 24. Rxe6 Rxf2, threatening mate and the queen -- 25. Qd1 Rf1+! 26. Qxf1 Qxd4+ (the point), leading to mate.

That's all the time I have now, will check out game later -- going to play some OTB chess now!

Dec-18-10  nariga: How about 24. Qc3?

I dont see any major threats once black Q is exchanged or driven out of the attack. Next is to break the two black rooks by NxR

Dec-18-10  sevenseaman: A game loaded with possibilities but after 23...Qb4, I think the Dutchman has it sewn up.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <nariga> After 24.Qc3 Qxc3 25.bxc3, Black can safely take the knight with 25...hxg6, leaving him a rook ahead.
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